Vel'Koz AMA Summary, NA And EU Stability Update, S4 Tier Dropping, Valentine’s Day-Themed Creations, Champion And Skin Sale

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Vel'Koz AMA Summary

Since the AMA is essentially a scrolling frenzy, here are some TL;DR-style bullet points:

  • The work on Vel'Koz started about a year ago with a concept art done by Larry Ray ("TheBravoRay")
  • Vel'Koz received a movement speed boost due to the lack of mobility skills and realiable CC
  • The Demacian Soldien in Vel'Koz's trailer is not Kassadin, but just a "super dead guy"
  • His "R was intentionally given a low-ish AP ratio and high base so that it felt impactful to Vel'Koz and the enemy in any situation which it was used effectively"
  • His voice has different processing for his Battlecast skin
  • Vel'Koz probably won't get along or ally with any champion - "he probably doesn't even get along with the other void creatures due to not being obsessed with eating"
  • A lot of Battlecast Vel'Koz's sound design was inspired by the sentinels from The Matrix: Revolutions
  • There are ideas in Vel'Koz's development that were inspired by Shuma Gorath
  • "A void character of another role isn't out of the question"
  • Until about 2 months ago, Vel'Koz's Passive would stack to full, and then would CONTINUALLY deal bonus true damage until you stopped casting spells
  • It was "a little disheartening" to the devs to see that Vel'Koz was leaked, "but the response was positive and that made it a little less painful. It was super cool reading all of the speculation."
  • RiotOpeli: Vel'Koz himself is not a watcher, but I don't think it's crazy to think that a rift may have opened in the Freljord a long time ago.
  • "Actually at one point Vel'Koz was named "The keeper of secrets" So kos was thrown around during his development. So later we drop the "s" put in the a "z" and named him other Void champs, Vel'koz."
  • The voice actor for Vel'Koz is Eric Braa

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

Hey guys!

David "RiotRepertoir" Capurro here along with some of the other members of the Vel’Koz team, including:

  • Leslee "RiotOpeli"
  • Ian "subninja" Holowka
  • Skylar "Reach4TheSkylar" Surra
  • Larry "TheBravoRay" Ray
  • Jason "chupacobbler" Willey
  • Eugene "Kyugene" Kang

We'll be here for the next few hours answering your questions about Vel’Koz and sharing stories from his development, so whether it's his story, gameplay, art, sound, or anything else... AMA!

Here's some info about Vel’Koz for those of you wondering what we're talking about:

EDIT - Alright guys, we're heading back to work. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, and glad you like Vel'Koz!

[Lightnink] What was your favourite thing about Vel’koz when creating him?
[riotsubninja] I saw the art by Larry, and thought "I bet that guy could shoot a giant death beam". And then went ahead into trying to make him shoot a giant death beam. The art really opened up a ton of possibilities in terms of gameplay, which made for a really interesting space to design in.
[FightForGlory] Does he know when I'm sleeping? Does he know when I'm awake? Does he know if I've been bad or good? Should I be good for goodness sake?
[riotsubninja] I don't know, but you better watch out.
[Ximon] I made that post about 6 months ago. I completely get that Vel'Koz was likely in development long before this thread was made, and that his design and trope are fairly common concepts, but the similarity in the lore, apart from the learning by lasers, has been bugging me. So all I want to know is, did my comment have any influence at all on Vel'Koz's character design? If so, great, I did something you guys liked. If not, nothing lost, I just keep working on my concepts. I just really, really would like to know, if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity. Other than that, I'd like to know what the thought process was from developing Vel'Koz's original character concept, to the development of his abilities. It's a pretty interesting transition that I'd like to hear some context for. Thanks for doing this AMA, and congrats on the successful release of Vel'Koz! He looks like a pretty fun champ to play. Keep up the great work, guys!

[riotsubninja] Hey thanks for the comment. Vel'Koz has been in the works for a long time (the original concept art was made probably around a year ago). I started doing design work on him in April of last year, so we did have most of the groundwork done quite some time ago.

In terms of development, Larry spent a lot of time iterating on the art, then Leslee, Larry and I met up to choose a direction based on the art. We figured we could do a Psionic character, a space invader character, or a Cthulu-esque horror character. We all generally liked "space invader" the most of all, and I started spinning on kits based on that, and Leslee started thinking about story/character. That led us to the knowledge-hungry laser beast you know and (may some day) love.

[Valenten] Serious Question: What makes you give a mage the movement speed that they get? Is there a trade off of if they dont have mobility they mages get high burst dmg?
[riotsubninja] It's all done on a case-by-case basis, there's no hard rule. In Vel'Koz's case, he has no mobility skills, and no reliable CC, which is the price he pays for having sustained long range damage. His movement speed was originally a bit slower, but in internal competitive playtests, he was getting wrecked by divers a bit too easily, so we figured it would be healthy to give him a bit of a movement speed boost.
[RiotRepertoir] This is actually a pretty challenging choice to make. Lack of mobility is an intended weakness of Vel'Koz, but we gave him particularly high base Movement Speed for a mage. We did this because we wanted to give him at least a chance to keep up with moving fights. A lack of moveblocks in any form makes this difficult, so we think that his high base MS is justified.
[Bludcee] Do you think vel'koz will see immediate play in the competitive scene, or will he be more of a niche pick due to his lack of mobility?
[riotsubninja] I'm hopeful that people will pick him up competitively, I feel like he'd be really strong if people are able to build the right team around him. At the same time though, it is possible to build the right team AGAINST him, so it's hard to judge.
[Xzorcist] Does making a non-humanoid champion like Vel'Koz present any unique challenges you would not necessarily face while make a humanoid? If so, how did you guys overcome these issues in the design of Vel'Koz?

[riotsubninja] Yeah there are a number of challenges. I'll just list off a few that we ran into:

-How to portray his intelligence? We couldn't really do it through model/animations, had to do it through VO and to a lesser extent gameplay.

-How creepy/strange do we make his movements

-How to make VO for him (does he speak? what does he sound like?)

-No legs, where do we put homeguard particles?

A lot of things are different when you're not dealing with a human.

[Kazumo] Does his beam get through walls? Like Lux's ultimate?
[riotsubninja] His beam goes through everything. Including those pesky wind walls.
[ItsDJ] How long did it take to create Vel'Koz, from start to finish?
[RiotOpeli] Almost a full year. We started concepting him last March!
[CursedByTheLaG] Vel'koz is a tentacle monster, while alll the other void champs are pretty much bug-like. Is he superior to the others, or just a different breed?
[RiotOpeli] He's just a different type of void creature.
[detective-throwaway] Any chance there are some H. P. Lovecraft fans on the team that was creating him? I really like the vibe of this champion!
[RiotOpeli] I'm a huge Lovecraft fan! To be fair, though, the Void already encompasses a lot of Lovecraftian flair so it felt right to maintain some of that.
[Flurryx] Is the "Demacian Soldier" in trailer kassadin?
[RiotOpeli] Nah. The guy in the trailer is super dead.
[CountLagula] Can he move while casting his ult? This is the only thing I couldn't find a definitive answer on.
[RiotRepertoir] He cannot move while casting his ultimate. We want players to feel vulnerable, but incredibly powerful, while using it.
[thecadwaller] Was our new favorite tentacle monster conceived at a time when champions with gap-closers that can be very strong against him when played well were not as prevalent as they are now? Haven't played him versus LeBlanc and such, but I assume that he is not a very safe pick against them. He seems like he was not designed with the current meta in mind.

[RiotRepertoir] Vel'Koz wasn't really designed to fit into a particular meta. He is particularly vulnerable to mobile assassins like LeBlanc, but we feel that this weakness can allow him to be really powerful in areas where he excels.

[theDoc3694] Hi guys,i want to ask a question regarding his R's ap ratio.Why give him such a low ap ratio and high base and not the opposite?I think the opposite would let him scale better late game or am i wrong?
[RiotRepertoir] R was intentionally given a low-ish AP ratio and high base so that it felt impactful to Vel'Koz and the enemy in any situation which it was used effectively. If the AP ratio was too high here, it Vel'Koz would be able to stroll over to lower-level, underfarmed opponents, press R, and collect a few kills. We want this to feel good when he's ahead, but not completely oppressive to the enemy.
[ZehmaGoon] And the part where he excels is in the laser destroying the battlefield?
[RiotRepertoir] We certainly hope so :)
[Kinperor] Hey there, thanks for the AMA;
  • Question 1: Is Vel'Koz' voice going to be modified in his Battlecast skin? I'm a sucker for Battlecasts, but I also happen to really like how Vel'Koz sounded in the Arrival teaser.
  • Question 2: Which champion, if any, would Vel'Koz be the most likely to ally with?
  • Question 3: About, the music in 'The Arrival' trailer, is there a full track or that's all we're getting?
[kyugene] About Question 1: Yup! His voice has different processing for his BC skin. Question 2: No one--he probably doesn't even get along with the other void creatures due to not being obsessed with eating :p Question 3: Sorry, that music was made specifically for the trailer, so yeah.
[Nippopotamus] Hey Kyugene, How awesome was your college roommate? Did you guys play Street Fighter together?
[kyugene] He was a pretty awesome summoner. Not sure about his Dudley chops though. Hope his addiction to Ocean Spray cools off.
[GunnySgtRleeErmy] Did you base battlecast Vel'Koz off of those machines from the Matrix Revolutions?
[kyugene] Just a little :p A lot of the sound design was inspired by them, I can say that for sure.
[CommandaDuck] Does Vel'koz's design have any inspiration from Shuma Gorath?
[kyugene] Totally--not to say that Shuma was the sole inspiration for him, but ideas from the poses he does (see Shuma's "Mystic Stare" from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 vs. Vel'koz's ult) for instance were drawn from him.
[Confide_] Do you thing Vel'Koz could possibly fit the meta of a S4 jungler?
[RiotRepertoir] We don't see that being a role that he naturally excels in, but we could be wrong. He gets beat up pretty hard in the jungle, and is pretty reliant on getting those first two blue buffs if he does. Any pressure from Vi/Elise/LeeSin/etc. would probably make him pretty sad. Feel free to prove me wrong here, though!
[justJoekingg] Also the whole if you're behind as Vel'koz your ult will still hurt them due to high base damages. If his damage was reliant on high AP ratio, Vel'koz's who are behind wouldn't really have an impactful ult.
[RiotRepertoir] Yep!
[9Lyves] What was your inspiration to make another AP mid laner from the void? what about a support void champ or maybe perhaps an adc? Is there anything in the works for upcoming champions such as this?
[RiotRepertoir] This champion started with an art concept, and it just more naturally fit the traits of a mage. That said, a void character of another role isn't out of the question.
[Habmania] When do you think Vel'Koz performs best in a game? Early, Mid, Late etc?
[RiotRepertoir] We've generally found his mid- and early-late-game to be quite powerful. Because his passive scales solely on his character level, he has quite the advantage over lower level characters at these points in the game. That being said, if he's hitting his Q's in lane, he'll seem pretty crazy early too!
[batmanforever1211] Thanks for doing this AMA. My question is: How much consideration of the current meta goes into developing a champion?
[RiotRepertoir] We internally play and consider the champion's balance with consideration to the meta, but we don't really design for it.
[jendrok] How do you want Vel'Koz to be used?
[RiotRepertoir] We've found that perhaps the most important part of playing Vel'Koz is exercising a fair amount of patience as a fight gets started, throwing out Q's and W's as a fight gets started, dropping an E to create distance on encroaching enemy frontliners, and then channeling a huge R on the enemy team when it's safe to do so.
[voozersxD] Is he meant for late game? He doesn't really have huge burst and his ap ratios are lower than other mids.
[RiotRepertoir] He should perform pretty well in the late-game, but if he's not at Karthus late-game levels, we're okay with that. Still, his total AP ratios on Q, W x2 (because it's on ammo), E, and R are actually quite high when combined, and that's before his passive is even considered.
[NovusPrime25] So, I've kind of noticed since I started playing league that all the new champions released/reworks in the past year or so in some form or fashion an emphasis on mobility (Yauso's.... whole kit, Jinx's passive, Lucian's dash, Lissandra's claw, Zac's jump, Xerath's rework, etc.) and Vel' Koz seems to have none of that. Any particular reason why this sudden break in the trend happened or was it unintentional and I'm making up patterns that aren't really there?
[RiotRepertoir] It is intentional that Vel'Koz doesn't have any mobility on his kit, but it's not really an intended trend that other would have it and he would not. Given the type of character from an art and lore perspective, it didn't really make a whole lot of sense to add a dash or speed burst to him.
[JLoable] How would Vel'Koz do in the pro scene?
[RiotRepertoir] This is still up in the air. It would be great if he was in such a state that he can be a niche pick in the pro scene, but since he's not quite as flexible as most of the picks we see there, it may not happen right away.
[CptTerrific] I really like Vel'koz it's incredibly refreshing to see a non-humanoid champion enter the league, its been a really long time. Did you go into Vel'koz with an idea of a floating eyeball tentacle monster or how did you go about making a non-humanoid champion?
[riotsubninja] Yeah there's a good story behind this one, Larry (bravo ray) I believe is typing it out right now. The goal of Vel'Koz's art was to add something really different to the League.
[CrossNDiamond] I dont mean to be nosy/judgemental/agro but you guys mention that the first champ of 2014 was supposed to be a support. Vel Koz(while having some support potential) is not a support. so whats happened to the new support?
[riotsubninja] I don't think we said the first champion, I think it was "ONE of the first champions."
[Ondelight] What happens if you cross the streams ?
[riotsubninja] The Vel'Koz with more AP wins.
[Drne12] 1. What led you to decide to make Vel'Koz as a creature of high intelligence and learning instead of the usual void creatures "dumb" and uncontrolled violence or consumption? 2. Why juggling? I feel like there is a good story hear :) Thank you so much for doing this guys! Really appreciate it!
[riotsubninja] I'm not sure what Opeli's initial inspiration was to pitch him as an intelligent knowledge seeker. The ideal really appealed to me personally since it added some depth of character. It also adds this really interesting "dark humor" where he's doing horrible things and destroying people, but to him it's just him going about his day and acquiring knowledge. I personally like that a lot more than "mindless world destroyer".
[theDoc3694] Hi guys,i want to ask a question regarding his R's ap ratio.Why give him such a low ap ratio and high base and not the opposite?I think the opposite would let him scale better late game or am i wrong?
[riotsubninja] Also this ability, just based on the way it works is really easy to land properly when you're ahead, and really hard to land when you're behind. The R's current tuning is designed to offset that to some degree.
[TheImmenseFence] Does Yasuo wall stop the laser?
[riotsubninja] Yasuo's body doesn't even stop the laser.
[rampageofunicorns] Arcade Vel'Koz with Pew Pew Ult :P

[riotsubninja] I want like... daft punk vel'koz. With dubstep beams.

Either that or gentleman vel'koz. With 4 monacles.

[godplusplus] How do you feel his hunger for knowledge is reflected on the character design? It was just funny for me that, in the video, he was like "I seek knowledge" BOOM! Laser beam to your face! And another question, is the Battlecast skin based on the sentinels from The Matrix? What else is that skin based on?
[riotsubninja] So it's hard to sell "knowledge seeker" on a tentacle creature. However, our pitch for the character is "knowledge through destruction." By destroying things with his laser beams, he learns about them. I think the VO does a good job of making this clearer.
[gnasher5] who was the one the came up with the idea for his passive? i think it is a great one and thumbs up to them
[riotsubninja] That was me! It did end up going through a lot of iteration. In fact, until about 2 months ago, it would stack to full, and then would CONTINUALLY deal bonus true damage until you stopped casting spells. In the end, we moved it to more of a "stack and proc" mechanic, since tiny amounts of true damage over time are not nearly as satisfying as occasional huge chunks of true damage.
[daswef] Was Velkoz created solely to be a counter to Yasuo? Since all of his abilities outside of his ultimate essentially counter Yasuo's kit and wind wall. How will his lore connect to the rest of league of legends, and will we see more Velkoz centered lore content?

[riotsubninja] I think Yasuo would do pretty good against Vel'koz, he's able to dodge stuff pretty handily, and can block most of Vel'koz's stuff (aside from the ult).

As for beating wind wall, the kit was designed partially around having fun with your opponent in lane - the Q in particular is designed to be able to hit an opponent hiding behind minions, so he does have some tools for tagging people in unconventional ways.

[Welterweis] Was there any sort of acknowledgement from someone that Vel'koz would be subjected to rule #34 a bit more than a normal champ would be? Any jokes or funny stories regarding that?
[riotsubninja] Just a lot of jokes.
[AtlasJackal] Are you worried he'll be to strong or overpowered even? I know alot of people see early beta versions of the champion and immediately think its overpowered. The true damage I'm sure, has some people worried.

[riotsubninja] We're not too concerned, since he has a ton of tuning points that we can modify. For example, if he's too mobile/kitey, we can hit his base movement speed, his E knockback range, or his Q slow. If he's just doing too much damage, we can look at his passive numbers. If he's clearing waves, we'll look at his W damage (especially vs minions). We think he's pretty close, but we end up being radically wrong, we're confident he can be tuned easily.

And true damage alone is nothing to be afraid of, it's just another mechanic. We could make it be as high or as low as needed, I don't feel that true damage is inherently problematic alone.

[Hrud] Did you guys consider making Vel'Koz female or was he a dude from the start? I know lots of players had high hopes for a lady void monster.
[riotsubninja] He was always either a man or non-gendered as far as I know.
[MugendaiKage] What was the hardest part about creating Vel,Koz's Kit?
[riotsubninja] Making an ability where you have to stand still for a long period of time feel satisfying and not overpowered was really hard. Most of the kit is actually designed around letting him stall for time and get positioning so that he can actually use the ult effectively.
[Myprey] Do you think Vel'Koz will see any light in the support role as champs such as Annie have migrated to support? What relations to Zilean does Vel'Koz has?
[riotsubninja] I've seen some people on PBE run him as a support. Our thought is that he could probably do an okay job as support, but not necessarily better than other supports run today. His Q is nasty in bot lane though.
[Honkernoodles] Oh I've got a question.
"Username: Creator
Password: **********"
What's Viktor's password?*
[riotsubninja] B@ttleCast4Life99
[VeryTenaciousToaster] Over the last few champion releases, there has been a growing discrepancy between how much a champion is "teased", with some like Jinx, Lissandra, and now vel'koz getting a lot of attention while others get the usual reveal and release such as Aatrox. What is it that causes some to get their own music video or creative spotlight while others just kinda the standard fare?
[riotsubninja] Basically we're getting better at it and getting the chance to spend more time/resources on launches. Also, different champions get different opportunities for story pieces (ie Jinx having a music video is awesome, Vel'Koz maybe not the best candidate for a music video)
[neoshero55] Do you have any other skin ideas in the works for Vel'Koz?
[riotsubninja] I mentioned this earlier, but my PERSONAL favorite is Gentleman Vel'Koz (top hat, hella monacles, shoots a beam of concentrated classical music)
[JakkOfAllTrades] LAZORS??
[riotsubninja] Yes!
[MightyFifi] What was the most difficult aspect of creating Vel'Koz? What are you most proud of with him? Thanks for the AMA and the great work! You guys rock!

[riotsubninja] Mechanically, getting his passive and his ult to feel satisfying was really hard. His passive was historically "get 3 stacks, then every spell/auto attack after does bonus true damage" - but "a lot of damage over a long period of time" is hard to show to players, and makes it hard to appreciate.

From a holistic standpoint, selling his intelligence and the theme of "knowledge through destruction" was really tough, but we thought the challenge was worth it to make a deeper character.

[PlasmaPuffball] What does Vel'Koz think of the other Voidborns in the League, such as Cho'Gath, Kha'Zix, and Kog'Maw? Does he not really care for them and see them as primitive since they just seek to consume things like the other Voidborns in Vel'Koz's lore? Or does he see them as allies more than nuisances? Also, is Vel'Koz familiar with Kog'Maw's daddy?

[RiotOpeli] Well ... Vel'Koz is a little highbrow. Creatures like Cho, Kha'Zix, and Kog are a little primitive to him but he'd keep that opinion to himself, unless he's about to vaporize them. But as long as they don't get in his way, they're fine.

He's probably familiar with Kog's dad. :]

[adagiosummoner] Is this how long it usually takes to do a champion, from concept to release?
[RiotOpeli] Nowadays, yeah. I'd say at least eight months of work gets put into our champions, from ideation to release.
[Grave-Rogue] With the existing three Voidborn, the reoccurring theme of hunger has always been present. While Vel’Koz Seems to deviate from this idea, his lust for knowledge could be considered a hunger in its own right. Was this intended, or did it just coincidentally happen to fit thematically with the other Voidborn? If this was a purposeful move to maintain thematic continuity, do you hope to do the same with any other potential future Voidborn champions?

[RiotOpeli] We've always considered Vel'Koz's vaporizing & absorbing as "consumption" because we wanted him to be thematically consistent with other Void creatures. He's HUNGRY FOR KNOWLEDGE!

Personally, I would be interested in deviating a little in future Void champions, but I think it should somehow still revolve around the Void's desire to consume.

[killbot44] Thanks for doing this AMA. My question what was it like reading through all the different rumors and speculation stories the community came up with for Vel'Koz when the leaked rumors of him started to surface?
[RiotOpeli] It was a little disheartening to see that he was leaked, but the response was positive and that made it a little less painful. It was super cool reading all of the speculation.
[adagiosummoner] What kind of details go into creating a champion? Would your team be willing to show us what the creative process is behind champion creation one day?

[RiotOpeli] A couple months go into the concept of the champion. It'll be concept art, a solid kit (it doesn't have to be finalized), and a thematics direction. Once that's all in a good place - and people actually LIKE it - we'll go into exploration, which is determining what we have to do to actually make this champion. VO exploration and more kit exploration usually lives here, and sometimes we'll want to have certain tech nailed down so it doesn't become an issue later. We'll have certain exit criteria and that changes from champion to champion.

Then we dive into production, which is just a word for "MAKE THE GODDAMN CHAMPION." This is the longest phase in champion development, unless the concept phase was slow.

[Kruzy] Thanks for holding this AMA, I've been really looking forward to it. Where did idea for Vel'Koz come from? Was the leak planned? If not, what was your reaction at the office and how did it change your plans to reveal him? Is there going to be an "invasion" event with his release? And what was your opinion on the theories about him being a Watcher? Is it true that he shows the Shrödinger equation in his taunt?

[RiotOpeli] Larry answered this down the thread somewhere: I was with Alex "Skribbles" Yee in a room thinking of what we needed to do for the next creature champ. He jokingly said "you can do my champ idea I had for years" I said what is that? "Squid on a rainbow cloud champ."

We don't have an event planned for Vel'Koz's release, but we've definitely noticed all your guys awesome speculation and excitement, and it's something I'd personally love to explore more in the future.

Vel'Koz himself is not a watcher, but I don't think it's crazy to think that a rift may have opened in the Freljord a long time ago.

[Lightnink] What was your favourite thing about Vel’koz when creating him?
[RiotOpeli] His VO lines, hands-down. It was just ... so much fun. :D
[Jayux] I read in another comment that you guys work about 8 months on each champion, that is amazing and I use to complain about how slow new champs come out but now I have a different view on it. What do you feel after all that hard work when your baby (champion) is released to the world?

[RiotOpeli] It feels great to be able to talk to people about the champion and see players' reactions.

There's a bit of a weird gap between when we're finished with a champion and when they're released, so you KNOW they're done but you still have to keep your mouth shut and wait until he comes out. It's a little torturous, haha.

[Pasq] How difficult is it to animate the tentacles, compared to other champions?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] Animator here! We don't really have anything like Vel'koz in league right now so the tentacles were actually one of the biggest technical challenges of this champion. There was actually a time when we weren't even sure we were going to be able to do Vel'koz because of all the technical hurdles. Making tentacles look good is damn hard! Myself and some of the other animators did a big exploration spike on the character and with the help of our riggers/tech animators figured out some awesome techniques for achieving the look we wanted. Originally we thought a more math driven solution would work where we let the computer do all the work, but in the end we settled on brute forcing it, 15 joints per tentacle all hand animated. We still had huge problems with blending between animations. Because his tentacles are constantly moving, every time he would switch between animations the tentacles would fly all over the place. You may have even seen some videos of this on youtube : P However thanks to the hard work of our Animation engineers and tech animators, we were able to come up with some fancy tech which makes those tentacles butter smooth. We learned a ton that will help us tackle other champions in the future with all sorts of wiggles and cloth.
[DemonHydra] First off, I just want to say that I love Skylar's name. Reach4TheSkylar is truly brilliant =). Second, regarding the AMA, if Vek'koz had to pick a non-void champion to befriend, or at least see as an intriguing specimen, who would it be and why?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] The Story: When I was in college living in dorms, a guy down the hall upon seeing me every morning, would make a gun with his fingers. In his best Clint Eastwood drone he'd command me to "reach for the skylar." I do pride myself on at least some level of wit but as much as I'd like to claim that gem, I must give credit where credit is due.
[snowbanks] why you made another champ getting counterd by teemo?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] Well, let's think this through. If Teemo can blind a normal human with a single dart that's 2 eyes per dart. So actually to blind Vel'koz with 4 eyes he'd have to hit him twice. I'd actually say that gives Vel'koz an evolutionary advantage.
[Lightnink] What was your favourite thing about Vel’koz when creating him?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] I did a lot of exploration animation on Vel'koz which was a super blast (no pun intended). That early proccess is always my favorite. Taking a static character and bringing it to life for the first time is always so exciting. This was particularly fun on vel'koz as a flying tentacle creature is not exactly something that exhists in nature, so it required a lot of imagination and experimentation (and lots of creepy videos of walking octopi).
[Confide_] Do you thing Vel'Koz could possibly fit the meta of a S4 jungler?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] Anything is possible if you believe in yourself... and if you can't believe in yourself, believe in the me that believes in you.
[sapitntapit] When does Riot plan to reveal the truth about Vel'Koz and LoL to their players? I already know. Summoner's Rift and The League are all created by Vel'Koz. The map even resembles him: I already know that The League is just Vel'Koz's "database" on all heroes he has slain in the past. That's why all bios are written in a third-person perspective besides his. The question is just when will Riot tell their players the truth? The truth that the whole game we've been playing is just Vel'Koz's recreation of the "Legends" of the past.
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] My mind...
[HumaneWolf] Cool champ! Really liked him when I played him at PBE. :P
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] Glad you like him. He was a ton of fun to work on : D
[DayGrr] What was the most difficult part about Vel'Koz'es development?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] Animation was a huge hurdle. It's damn hard to make tentacles look good. It required a ton of trial error and in the end a lot of amazing pieces of tech to make him look all buttery smooth.
[haruboo] How long have you been planning on creating this champion? Has is influenced any of the other champions and their back story/lore?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] There have been tentacle champs in many forms on the ideation wall since I started working here nearly 2 years ago so the idea has been floating around for a long time. Vel'koz in the current iteration manifested about a year ago.
[zyxba] Can you confirm that Vel'Koz's next skin will be Vel'Kozby, a sweater wearing Void creature that blasts things with pudding?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] I can neither confirm nor deny this.
[Noromac] What about cassiopea tail?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] Cassiopea tail actually has many similar problems. However, she actually doesn't have a lot of the tech that helps velkoz transition well between animations. You'll notice that she actually has some problems with this. I hope someday if we ever go back and rework her that we will be able to take advantage of some of the new tech and really make her shine.
[Outflight] I really love his soothing movements of tentacles, really good work. For some reason it makes me hungry too. Also does he have a critical hit animation by using all of his 3 tentacles?
[RiotReach4TheSkylar] That's a good question. I wasn't the only animator on the project so I don't actually remember what his crit looks like. Go on pbe and build ad crit vel'koz and let me know : D
[FlyingSpaniard] Who came up with the idea for this champ? What was the thought behind this idea? Do you think he'll be strong, underpowered, or balanced? :o

[TheBravoRay] I was with Alex "Skribbles" Yee in a room thinking of what we needed to do for the next creature champ. He jokingly said "you can do my champ idea I had for years" I said what is that? "Squid on a rainbow cloud champ" 0.o

So I literally on a marker broad drew a squid on a rainbow cloud. From there it started the conversation of actually doing a squid like champ.

That was a year ago, and here we are.

[SAGEMOD] How did Vel'Koz pass the art-style test ? He looks cool but he also looks like he doesn't fit in the league ( IMO).
[TheBravoRay] Vel'koz was an opportunity to link the other creatures together. Example, he shares a lot of the same design carapace of Kog'maw.
[DayGrr] What was the most difficult part about Vel'Koz'es development?
[TheBravoRay] The animation constraints to get him work in game was a challenge, but the animation team worked through it and really made him look fluid in game.
[SunDX] Are there any inspirations from Matrix when you created Vel? And the name, what's the scheme behind it?
[TheBravoRay] That was definitely had a lot inspiration for his battle-cast skin. It just made sense to make him one for launch.
[Lightnink] What was your favourite thing about Vel’koz when creating him?
[TheBravoRay] For me personally working with a great team on a complex project. Making a void creature was a blast to do, truly love his distinct shapes and the way he reads in game. This was a great opportunity to expand the void line up.
[AlexD1891] If you could choose between doing more champs like vel'koz (monster like champs) or more human champs, what would you choose?

[TheBravoRay] I would prefer more creatures, but having some more humans is just as cool. I feel a balance is always needed.

Humanoids have a lot of ways to tell story and personality. Creatures can as well but in a totally different way.

[aqhtran] What part of creating Vel'koz did you enjoy the most?
[TheBravoRay] Seeing the ult work in game was one of the best experiences for me personally. Complete visual eye candy! it was the game experience we hope the player would feel, being the Death Star!
[th3fedz] Thanks for holding this AMA, I've been really looking forward to it. I have a question regarding the coloring of vel'koz. in all the trailers and pictures he has more of a darker color, yet in game the top part of him is more of a goldy/light color. why did you end up making him less purple/darker?

[TheBravoRay] That is the hard thing to do, Trailer and splash paintings usually include atmospheric, rim, and environment lighting to bring mood and story to the piece. He is actually using the same color, just it has a lot of extra thrown on him.

Unfortunately this does change the color a bit when in game. We will always strive to bring the best read and quality to the players. Making the art assets close to splash/trailer as we can as long as we are not sacrificing readability.

[discocardshark] I must say the battlecast vel'koz is really cool, but out of curiosity, what other skin ideas for the champ are in development/knocking around your heads?

[TheBravoRay] Lots!

He has a lot of potential for cool things we want to do to him going forward, so keep a "EYE" out. /:)

[zeio1] Are those three little eyes on the head of Vel of any utility or are they there just for thr juggling animation?

[TheBravoRay] They are actually used to give the player something to focus on. With out the smaller eyes, the the main eye would be covered most of the time in game.

So we decided to put those there as an opportunity to give Vel' Koz emotion and a face if you will. Plus it made him a little more creepy and bizarre, perfect for the void aesthetic.

[JohnnyLavender] What was the thought process behind creating VK? Did you guys want to shoot for something completely different? (His laser similar to Phoenix's from DOTA2) is a new concept in League. Why did you choose to go in this direction?
[TheBravoRay] Yes, we wanted to do something new. The Death Ray was such a huge part of his thematic, something not seen compared to other champs. That moment was the starting point to flesh the rest of him around the Death Ray theme.
[nptristanb36] Can we expect a deep sea skin in the future? Octopus of death sounds fun.
[TheBravoRay] That sounds like a great idea, definitely something to talk about internally. We are really excited on the fact that his silhouette is so distinctive, it gives him a lot of room to change it without losing readability.
[Kflisgoold] Thanks for holding the AMA, I was just wondering one thing. The Vel'Koz kit looks amazing, and so has the kits of other recently released champs. I was just wondering if the complexity of a champions kit is decided by the team working on the champion or by the technology available to the team at the time?
[TheBravoRay] Tech and kit restrictions go hand and hand. We do have limitations when we start, but they also help us work harder to break through them and find solutions.
[Elchali] Who initially came up with the Vel'Koz idea, and where did it come from?

[TheBravoRay] "We should do my idea for a champ, squid on a rainbow cloud champ "- Alex Yee

Was the first conversation on doing a squid like champ.

[cheetdor] I wonder where did you get his name from ?
[TheBravoRay] Actually at one point Vel'Koz was named "The keeper of secrets" So kos was thrown around during his development. So later we drop the "s" put in the a "z" and named him other Void champs, Vel'koz.
[Mansana2g] What was the inspiration for the design of Vel'koz (by that i mean the art aspect of how he looks like)? Metroid Prime?

[TheBravoRay] There was a lot of inspirations from many other games/movies in his creation. The "space invader thematic" was something easily approachable, we just needed to find a angle that made him with a League twist.

Eye ball laser guy was just a cool idea to pursue.

[kill1now] I would just love to say i really appreciate the hard effort your putting into all the new champions and reworks to perfectly tweek them. Thank you so much guys :)
[TheBravoRay] Thank you for playing brother!
[Auragazer] Thank you so much for holding this AMA!!!! Vel'Koz is a Champion that I have extreme interest in (I have dreamed of a knowledge absorbing Champion). I have a few questions: 1. Where did Vel'Koz's concept come from? 2. What exactly is his dance? 3. Any Doctor Who type inspirations? (Ex. Prisoner Zero) 4. When will we be seeing the invasion of the Void or anymore Void Champions? Thanks again! EDIT: One more question, Will we ever see a Gentlemen Vel'Koz O_O?

[TheBravoRay] I can try to answer a few of them

Where did Vel'Koz's concept come from? The concept was done by The Bravo Ray

Any Doctor Who type inspirations? (Ex. Prisoner Zero) Not to my knowledge, but love Dr.Who.

[Totsmahgoats] With Vel'koz joining the glorious robotic revolution, can we expect any more additions to the Battlecast line in the near future?
[TheBravoRay] Viktor is always up to something. Always locked away in his lab, who knows what else will come from the "The Glorious Evolution".
[DemonHydra] In regards to Vel'koz's release skin, did any other ideas come up while thinking about release skins for him, or was it a given that it had to be a Battlecast skin?
[TheBravoRay] No we did a lot of iterations of what was the best for his launch, the skins team felt the battle-cast hit the perfect counter balance for his launch skin.
[Nippopotamus] Hey Kyugene, How awesome was your college roommate? Did you guys play Street Fighter together?
[DatChupacobbler] Kyugene is my friend
[Stylerer] Was it hard to create Vel'Koz voice? I think it's one of the best voice's in the entire League!
[DatChupacobbler] Thanks! The FX processing and sound of the voice wasn't too difficult - but the entire process including auditioning, casting and line selection, along with the FX was quite an undertaking.
[OverdramaticToast] So what was the development behind Vel'Koz's gorgeous voice? How did you guys decide how you wanted his voice to sound, and what was it like working with the voice actor? I absolutely LOVE the way his voice sounds!
[DatChupacobbler] I don't know if I'd call his voice gorgeous haha but thanks! The FX processing and sound of the voice wasn't too difficult - but the entire process including auditioning, casting and line selection, along with the FX was quite an undertaking. If you're interested in the actually effect chain here are some specifics: We have all kinds of plug-ins on his voice. It's a relatively complex chain blending a down pitched dry signal, with a processed track containing Absynth, phaser, chorus, RBass, LoAir, reverb, slight delay, EQ, compression and a "little void magic".
[spyro1132] How did you record the sound effects for his ult?

[DatChupacobbler] There is all kind of stuff going on for his ult sound. The majority of what you hear is a combination of custom synth patches, processed guitar madness and organic plasma-ish source material that was created for Vel'Koz in general. All of the synth elements are tuned to "F" to match the purple color of the void. I actually have a funny story about recording guitar stuff the ult sound - when recording the alien void scream (which is blended in with the laser sounds), Casey from network security came in my sound room asking what the heck was going on as it sounded like Brolof yelling Broooooooooo from outside my room. Thats when I knew I had the guitar vocal stuff too loud and mixed it in better!

[motajones] What are the Effects on his voice?
[DatChupacobbler] We have all kinds of plug-ins on his voice. It's a relatively complex chain blending a down pitched dry signal, with a processed track containing Absynth, phaser, chorus, RBass, LoAir, reverb, slight delay, EQ, compression and a "little void magic".
[IdRatherNotEatRandy] Yes, I love this champion because of the way he sounds, it is just spot on! I'm wanting to know what they did to make the sound effects.
[DatChupacobbler] Hey Thanks! The majority of what you hear is a combination of custom synth patches, processed guitar madness and organic plasma-ish source material that was created for Vel'Koz in general. All of the synth elements are tuned to "F" to match the purple color of the void.
[Delight_Sparkle] Who is Vel'Koz's VA? He sounds like Keith Szarabajka, the guy that voiced The Harbinger in Mass Effect 2.
[kyugene] That would be Eric Braa :D
[JakkOfAllTrades] LAZORS??

[kyugene] I KNOW RIGHT?

[ThatGuyInHD] Has it yet been confirmed that Vel'Koz/Battlecast Vel'Koz is the unknown entity in the background of the Creator Viktor skin? Also of any champions you guys may have played/worked on, is Vel'Koz close to being your favorite, and if not who is your favorite?

[kyugene] Yup he sure is!

My personal favorite was Jinx--making her W and R sound effects were a ton of fun.

[tesmundo89] What is Vel'koz scared of?
[kyugene] Eyelashes.
[homealone23] Hello, did vel'koz/battlecast vel'koz have any influence from the reapers in mass effect? when i saw him in the creator viktor splash and in his skin shooting lasers all i could think of was the reaper invasion which coincidentally is what vel'koz is doing.
[kyugene] Some of his sound design is inspired by them, yeah :D
[nyda] I must say... Kyugene's username is pretty clever!
[kyugene] Ty ty :D
[Cryomancer0179] With Vel'Koz having the abilities with such range would it be too far fetched to say he can go toe to toe with a Xerath range wise in mid lane?
[RiotRepertoir] Xerath pretty easily outranges Vel'Koz due to the range of his Q, but he also pays a pretty heavy Movement Speed cost if he channels it to max range. If Vel'Koz can dodge Xerath's Q with his exceptional base Movement Speed, then he should be able to hit some spells pretty easily against Xerath. Should be a pretty fun matchup overall!
[Sher101] 1. Do you think Vel'Koz has enough compensation in his kit to handle the high-mobility champions that are often considered the counter to many underused champions or is he destined to fall into neglect based solely on his kit? 2. From a design standpoint, do you think that champions without significant mobility abilities need more power in each ability to compensate, and if so, do you think the current champion pool is representative of this standpoint.
[RiotRepertoir] We think that Vel'Koz's control over fights will make him powerful enough to fight most other champions he should come across. If Vel'Koz manages to interrupt a highly mobile champion's movement with his E or punish them while their mobility is on cooldown, he should have the upper hand.
[potatozzminions] If velkoz happend to be too strong, what side would you hit? Damage? Utillity? And what if he happend to be too weak? What would you buff?
[RiotRepertoir] This all depends on where is is too weak or too strong. If he's just dealing too much/little damage, then that's a pretty solvable problem. A bigger problem would be if he didn't perform well in his areas of intended strength or performed too well in his areas of intended weakness. We'd probably have to reevaluate these on a case-by-case basis.
[LowBatteryDamnIt] What was the worst part about making Vel'Koz?

[RiotRepertoir] Playing against him in internal playtests when his Q was on a 3 second cooldown and his R did like double its current damage. That world existed, and it's not a pretty one to be a part of.

[supericarus] Currently the mid-lane is dominated by mobility champs - leblanc, gragas, kassadin the obvious ones - what things did you guys do to keep a mid champion without mobility relevant?
[RiotRepertoir] Find another intended strength (sustained damage, utility, poke, counter engage, hard engage, etc.) and hone in on how to make him relevant in that regard.
[Madbeany] What did you try and balance out on a very high damage champ like him?
[RiotRepertoir] It's really difficult to decide how much damage an immobile mage is allowed to deal, but it's something that the balance crew definitely tried to keep in mind when considering his final numbers. The amount of power budget consumed by mobility on highly mobile characters is frequently hard to gauge.
[squngy] Do you think Vel'Koz will be viable and why?
[RiotRepertoir] Vel'Koz may be a hard sell for the very very highest levels of play where mobility is so highly valued. That being said, he will almost assuredly be a viable pick to win games with in Solo Queue or just to pick up and main. A lot of the highest winrate champions aren't necessarily defined by their high mobility at the moment.
[lightning87] Thanks for doing this AMA, I really like how Vel'Koz comes off as not only incredibly intelligent, but insanely powerful. Really great job with the voice and effects. I have two questions. When making a champion do you focus more on the feel being right in their kit, because I really love when a champions kit fits their personality or on the champions model and kit. Secondly since we all love void creatures and I'm sure I'm not the only excited one, is there any plans for a void lore related event in the future? Similar to how awesome the Battle for the North event was?

[RiotRepertoir] To your first question, it's really important that the kit fits the theme and feel of the champion. This had a lot of influence over why Vel'Koz doesn't have any mobility on his kit. The character is supposed to be calculated and methodical, and any versions of the champion that emphasized mobility didn't really feel true to the intent of the character.

[cccchhhheeessseee] Serious Question - Was Vel'Koz made to obviously synergize with other champions, or is he more of a rogue champion that works better alone rather than team fights? Do you expect people to be able to grasp his mechanics or to have trouble with him? From all of us League players at UHS - thank you for your hard work and genius ideas!
[RiotRepertoir] Vel'Koz probably leans on his team to set him up more than most of our recent releases. His mechanics look really simple at first glimpse, but it actually takes several plays to get a good feel for what you should be doing. Once you get that first fight where you get your passive rolling on several enemies and channel a full duration, uninterrupted ultimate, you'll be wanting to play some more eyebeam in your subsequent games.
[TheScootToad] How do you come up with these alternate targeting paradigms (Vel'koz Q, Lucian W)? How do you know when it will fit on a certain champion or when it should be scrapped?
[RiotRepertoir] Generally speaking, we just try them out and see how it feels. If it feels like a bad ability, then we don't go with it. If it feels like it's a good ability but it doesn't fit the particular champion, then we log it and see if it might fit somewhere else better in the future. But if it feels like a good ability and it fits what the champion wants to do, then we've found a match and it's likely found a permanent home on the champion's kit!
[Najzee] Against what kind of enemies Vel'Koz is the best?
[RiotRepertoir] The ones that don't deal with him IMMEDIATELY.
[BobtehN8b] Vel'Koz's ultimate is a very unique ability. The cursor-following mechanic has never been done before and I love seeing new ideas. Did you conceive his current ultimate right off the bat or did you cycle through different types of "death beams"? If the latter is true, could we know some of the unused ideas for his ult?
[RiotRepertoir] This ultimate has been around in some way, shape, or form since his first playtest a long time ago. One of the things we knew we wanted from the character was a face-melting death laser.
[Talez_pls] Was there any special reasoning behind the charge system of his W?
[RiotRepertoir] Putting W on an ammo system fits better into a kitey gameplay style without just giving him the spell on a 3-4 second cooldown. It let us keep the ability impactful on each cast without having to give it a longer cooldown.
[Reversus] I've playing around on the pbe and I enjoy the awesome vibe of "raw power" he gives off. Two questions: 1. how do you justify his low mana costs, such as how his spell rotation/burst barely puts a scratch on his mana bar even early on. (Chalice makes life even easier) 2. could we see mana cost changes to other immobile mages such as our tentacled friend in the future? (It would be interesting to see if champions like Anivia had this luxury)
[RiotRepertoir] We want players to feel good about using Q and E in lane, hence the low mana costs. We think this is okay due to their skillshot nature. W actually has a reasonably high cost, and since it's his main waveclear tool, he'll find his mana bar pretty empty if he's spamming it on minions. If chalice solves this problem, then that's pretty much okay since it's the point of the item for the most part. We will definitely monitor his performance on launch, though, and if mana costs are the biggest culprit, we can adjust as necessary :)
[cbridge26] Hi, am I going to be able to spam all his spells, ult, and then spin super fast around in a circle with his ult when I get caught out of position? Or is his ult speed slower?
[RiotRepertoir] His ult speed has a limited turn speed, so you can't just go 180 degrees instantly.
[snowbanks] why you made another champ getting counterd by teemo?
[RiotRepertoir] Big eye sees more cute than average. This is a valid, intended counter.
[Daigeil] I think it's fair to say that so far, very few sustained damage casters have ended up seeing significant play - Ziggs is probably the only exception because his kit is a little overloaded with power at the moment. Champions like Cassiopeia, Xerath, Heimer and so on just don't get touched because they simply can't compete with the assassins and high-CC mid champs - how have you avoided that issue with Vel'koz?

[RiotRepertoir] Balancing the power level of sustained damage mages tends to be pretty difficult. When tuning Vel'Koz, it was hard to stay reminded that though his numbers may appear high on paper, he pays a pretty heavy mobility cost for them. Mobility and assassination are intended to be a weakness for Vel'Koz; it's just a matter of honing in on his strengths and allowing him to be very powerful in those areas. We think he can be competitive if this has been done correctly. What we didn't want to do was fight fire with fire for Vel'Koz.

[happythinker2008] When the laser follows the cursor, does it follow at the same pace or is there a set speed at which the laser rotates?

[RiotRepertoir] The turn speed caps out.

[darkdestroyi] question, does his ult go through enemy champs like a lux laser?
[RiotRepertoir] It passes through all units, including champions.
[Frumpy78] Hi, I have always wanted to know, How does your team intend to create more champs and intend to keep each champion's skills unique? Also, how long is a champion in production before it is released on live? Thanks!

[riotsubninja] It's hard to make unique champion skills (and have champions add new mechanics to the game). On the champion design team, we've been holding brainstorming sessions to try to come up with new skills, mechanics and ways to interact with the game. We feel that the design space isn't close to exhausted, it just gets a bit more challenging when approaching some of the more complex mechanics.

Champion production schedules differ between champions. Vel'koz was close to a year total (with the sound/model/animators coming in about 8 months or so ago).

[climber_g33k] What was the hardest part of the design, be it programming, story, etc?

[riotsubninja] I am both a programmer and designer. I find design to be a lot harder - when you're programming, you can generally know where you're going, and how to get there. In design, you can be inches away from an amazing, cohesive design, and those inches will cause people to give feedback that your character is garbage.

For Vel'Koz, scripting the laser beam was kind of tough, since we didn't have any abilities that really work that way. But it was super fun to create that ability. I love abilities that are really straightforward and understandable.

[justJoekingg] One for All Vel'koz addition. everyone go to mid and press r.
[riotsubninja] I did have a team of people test that to make sure the server didn't crash. That's a lot of beam for one server.
[sapitntapit] When does Riot plan to reveal the truth about Vel'Koz and LoL to their players? I already know. Summoner's Rift and The League are all created by Vel'Koz. The map even resembles him: I already know that The League is just Vel'Koz's "database" on all heroes he has slain in the past. That's why all bios are written in a third-person perspective besides his. The question is just when will Riot tell their players the truth? The truth that the whole game we've been playing is just Vel'Koz's recreation of the "Legends" of the past.
[riotsubninja] Wake up, sheeple.
[ujussab] Santa'Koz skin confirmed
[riotsubninja] He shoots presents that explode at a 90 degree angle into toys?
[Syluxrox] Who is Vel'Koz' favorite champion to...ehem..."observe"?
[riotsubninja] Himself. He's very vain.
[Valenten] Why not Octodad Vel'koz
[riotsubninja] Why not indeed! We'd have to re-do his controls though.
[thetrueEndo] Are there going to be superawesomelaserclub skins for Viktor, Lux and Vel'Koz? Please say yes :3
[riotsubninja] I can't say yes. But I can say that sounds awesome. Viktor's laser is not nearly as... formidable though.
[Avelden] Hey guys! Thanks for having the AMA! I really like how Vel'koz's kit comes together and how awesome it feels to combo with him. Did his kit go through a lot of variations? What are some abilities that he originally had but lost because of balance/theme/etc?

[riotsubninja] Yeah, his kit went through a ton of iteration. The only thing that was consistent on his kit was the ult. The first iteration of vel'koz was awful, his auto attacks would create tethers between him and the target, that would ramp up in damage over time (and last forever). I laned top against a Vlad in our playtest, attacked him, and we both ran to his tower and he died. And so that iteration was scrapped. He also had an ability for a time (early on) called "boring dash" instead of his E which was just that, a very short range dash.

Another iteration of his kit, he would create a Jayce-style void portal that he could shoot his abilities through to amp them up. His W was a little void portal that would shoot shots that would also get amped. It wasn't amazing, but it did create a ton of super lasers that would fly all over the place which was sweet.

[BestLuxIndia] Was Vel'Koz's passive originally meant to use silence as a mechanic? In the leaks he was seen to be able to silence.
[riotsubninja] Nah, that's just our test bot that we can spawn in games, it's a silenced/rooted annie.
[Ivanarg] Could we cut the ultimate with vayne condenm?
[riotsubninja] Yeah any form of hard CC (stun/suppression/knockback) or silence will interrupt it.
[veda123] why did you choose lasers over tentacle smash?

[riotsubninja] 3 reasons, his archetype, his source of power, and his character.

We wanted him to be a mage with a death beam, that meant he would probably trend towards ranged abilities. He also is clearer with his power coming from one kind of thing (lasers/eyebeams). Finally, his character is a more intelligent, calculating void creature, it would be brutish and not really as fitting IMO.

[ZeroAurora] What is the majority of this time spent on? Is it mostly designing the kit and feel? Is it spent scraping all ideas until you have one? Or is it the number tweaks on the Riot Servers before they hit PBE then Live?

[riotsubninja] A large part is trying to get them into a healthy state (ie not necessarily tuned yet, but with a clear role/strengths/weaknesses), bringing something unique to the table in terms of playstyle, bringing a unique reason to pick them, and making the character feel and flow nicely, while at the same time giving them clear counterplay. There's a lot of eyeballs to juggle, and it takes a long time to get it all right.

Also, a lot of it is tweaking and tuning models/animations/particles/VO/sounds to make sure that they all align and strengthen the character. It's actually pretty tough to make everything line up properly.

[imtoojuicy] screw you, i'm playing Vel'koz support anyway!!!
[riotsubninja] hashtag anarchy
[Aqua_Dragon] Vel'koz is the only void monster champion who doesn't evolve in some way at every ultimate level up excluding damage/cooldowns (Cho gets larger, Kog gets more range, Kha gets evolutionary abilities). Was this an intentional decision?
[riotsubninja] Not particularly intentional. I think Kha'zix is the "evolution guy". That's kind of his jam. Cho'gath eats, Kog'maw (in his lore) is supposed to eat as well. Our interpretation of these void beasts is that they kind of "consume" in general. Vel'Koz fits into this by consuming knowledge (while at the same time destroying that which he consumes).
[Xployd] Why his ulti doesnt grant vision? It is a LAZOR! Seriously now, when ppl flash over walls or fog of war it would really help to grant vision of the area LASOR strikes!
[riotsubninja] So this got brought up internally and on PBE. So if he's ulting someone in a bush, and can see them, he holds the beam on them, and they get the full damage on them. End of story. If he CAN'T see them, it gets a lot more interesting. He has to predict where they've gone, and they have to predict where he's going to shoot (while avoiding this giant beam that's searching for them). To me, the second case creates a lot more interesting opportunities for players to outplay each other, which is why I've kept it the way it is.
[rampageofunicorns] Vel'koz, Lux, Karthus, Viktor, Caitlyn (laser sight) The Lazar Collection Ultimate Wombo hahaha
[riotsubninja] We've found curse of the sad life form disintegration bullet time to be pretty effective.
[Spirit_rush] What does Vel'koz think of the 'augmented' humans so to speak like Viktor and Urgot? Would this throw his recognition of humans off, or entice him to test these champions further?
[riotsubninja] My read is that he'd be really interested in how these humans managed to upgrade their feeble bodies.
[MarkMcBones] @RiotOpeli - I just wanted to say hi! I follow you on Twitter and I don't have much of an idea of what you do at Riot, but I love seeing the pictures you post of your dog and you just seem like a generally super happy person. So hi, again! And for any of the team, what do you find hardest about designing a champion? Or more specifically, what was the greatest challenge you encountered while designing Vel'Koz?

[RiotOpeli] Glad you like them! They're not going to stop anytime soon so that's really good, haha.

The hardest part, I think, is seeking alignment on a champion. While we don't all have to 100% agree on a direction for anything, we need to be able to justify our decisions and have people get behind them even if it's not what they wanted. This is especially true for creative decisions since Vel'Koz could've been anything.

[Arbuthnot] I found Vel'koz to be actually really creepy in a way that other champions aren't. Quotes like "Gender can be easily discerned by the pitch of their cries" actually made me uncomfortable. Did you have to dial this element back during production? Is Vel'koz sympathetic towards anything on Runeterra?

[RiotOpeli] This was something we REALLY wanted to get right. He was originally a little more humorous and in on his own joke, but amoral/evil science was always a theme for him. We actually had to make him more creepy over time.

He's a heartless bastard.

[ninjapig123] Basically lots of coroutines? Would love to hear how you guys did this programmatically :)

[RiotReach4TheSkylar] So the tentacles were actually animated all by hand. We were unable to find a procedural solution for them that we were happy with. However we weren't able to solve the blending problems with animation alone.

As for the tech that makes the blending work correctly, it's even a bit beyond me. I am but a lowly animator who gravels at the feet of our tech wizards. If you really want to talk tech, the guy to hunt down is Griftrix. He hangs out in the playwithriot channel on LoL all the time. Tell him I sent you his way : D

NA And EU Stability Update

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

We are sorry for the ongoing server issues in many parts of the world including very recent North America and Europe problems. Lots of work has been done to help improve things and more work is still being done.

We have seen significant increases in hackers running distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) against game and platform servers. League of Legends has not been the only target, most large game companies have been feeling the pain along with other online businesses, but we have been a more frequent target than most. In the last 6 months over half of all DDoS attacks we have seen against LoL have been in the last 2 months. We are currently seeing 2 to 4 attacks every day against one or more regions. The strength of these attacks has increased significantly over the last few months as the arms race against hackers continues to grow in scale.

League of Legends is made up of dozens of components, some of these are easier to protect against DDoS than others. Typically websites are easiest to protect, while game servers are hardest (most standard forms of protection would create lag in game like League of Legends).

In the last 2 weeks world record breaking DDoS attacks have been seen by several companies including Riot. These attacks are so big that the ISPs and Telecom's that service League of Legends have not been able to keep their Internet circuits up while the attack is underway. This means that our servers often do not even see or feel the malicious traffic itself because the Internet connections feeding our data centers are being cut off due to the size of the attacks filling the very large Internet circuits the telecoms and ISPs have.

When our data centers lose the Internet, your connections to game servers and/or services like Chat and Login get disconnected in the worst case or lots of players will see serious in-game lag for the duration of the attack. If lots of players get disconnected, you will often see a login queue to get back into or the game.

We expect the current attacks to get better soon. We already have been able to fend off many problems before they create problems for you. Our network team has been working almost non-stop for several weeks both fighting off DDoS attacks around the world and strengthening our Internet services. We have also been working with telecoms and ISPs to help them understand how to block these attacks so that their services are not affected. Some fixes have required new equipment and ISP circuits to be ordered which can take weeks to get shipped and installed. Some telecoms and ISPs are slower than others in applying the fixes needed to ensure they do not fall over from these attacks, we depend on many ISPs so its important that all ISPs make the fix or the bad traffic finds a way to knock off our servers.

Of course this is an arms race so as one defense gets put in place, eventually we can expect new methods to launch attacks that will often require time to put a defense in place. About half of the equipment investment in League of Legends is network gear with a large part of that in place to just handle the ongoing rise in frequency and size of DDoS attacks. We are investing even more every day around the world and will continue to work hard to win the fight. We are also working closely with our equipment providers and other services to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect the many components that make up League of Legends.

Sometimes we lose the fight and that sucks because it means players like you feel the pain too. It also means that instead of our engineers building cool stuff for players we have to fight off bad stuff from hackers, so players lose again. It's frustrating, but the reality of large scale Internet services, so we have to get smarter and better to make sure players around the world can have fun when you want to have fun.

I apologize for the pain and promise that we will continue to get better. New data centers with stronger and even more Internet connections are getting close to being live for Europe and North American players, with all other regions scheduled for complete overhauls as 2014 goes on. These new data centers will help us keep up the fight in the hacker arms race, they won't solve all the problems we deal with all the time, but they should level up our side of the fight a great deal.

In the meantime we are not helpless, teams are still working long hours, expect daily improvement.

See you on the Fields of Justice,

VP of Network Operations
Riot Games

P.S. for the more technically curious here is some background reading on the current attacks:
Europe..... "recent"....
Dude Europe has been coming to our forums and complaining for MONTHS. Pretty sure EUW has been unplayable for over a year now.
I mean, I'm happy you're finally addressing this issue for us (NA), but.... don't pretend like you care about Europe LOL
Not long now for all new EU (EUW first than EUN not long after) directly connected to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange:

In the meantime we have this week finally moved all existing EUW game servers off to new bigger circuits directly connected to the Frankfurt DE-CIX Internet Exchange, tuning in progress. EUN game servers now have their own circuits as well with tons more bandwidth.

Sonic when can we expect improvements to the NA servers and communications?
Work has been underway on NA for many months. We need to get EUW on our new architecture and make sure we have it baked into our automation. Then on to NA and EUN. Should start to see better network to game servers real soon. Also we are working on improving ping time for NA East Coast players. Cool things coming.
Should this mean, my ping ( EUW) should get better? It feels like the opposite to me.
In the last few weeks, my ping in League of Legends was about 90% of my Playtime at 150ms.
This only occurs in League. If I do another pingtest in another game or software, I stay at about 30ms.
Could this be the cause, because of the EUW Server-move?
If not, is there anything else, that could cause this?
How many Km are you from Frankfurt, Germany? (don't share your city/town name please)
My ping is so bad that they're days where I can't even play. On very good days my ping is 98 and on very bad days it can spike up to 800+ and on average days my ping spikes to 300+ the whole game. I've gotten to the point where I don't even want to play because the game isn't even fun anymore. I live on the east coast, southern Ohio [NA]
Are you playing on WiFi? What ISP do you use?

if you were keeping up at all, there have been reds admitting for at least 3 weeks now that serious ddos attacks are happening, but meh you just want to *****
To be fair here, we hate talking about security issues and DDoS. Most hackers want the publicity so we don't like to feed the trolls. However the pain does not usually last this long or gets so severe.

how about you guys make some east coaster servers? thanks.
there's some people saying it would split the community into east and west? how would that happen? if that does happen, why not just make central servers to be fair to all players?
if i'm getting 150ms (on a bad day) and someone in CA is getting is that fair? with this game being so competitive, how is such an unfair advantage being overlooked?
We are working on getting game servers more centrally located in North America. We can share more on this soon. We are also optimizing our connections to many large ISPs in the USA and Canada which should improve things for everyone in the meantime. A few more were just hooked up just last week. Comcast, Level 3 and Cogent are now in the mix. Key changes coming first is a direct connection to the San Jose, CA and Seattle, WA located Internet Exchanges, this should reduce ping time a bit even for East Coast players (while also improving our DDoS defense). These Internet Exchanges bring us direct connections to many more USA and Canadian ISPs, cable companies, and telecoms than we have directly connected today in NA. Connections are ordered, so not too much longer to wait.

We also have truck loads of game servers built and waiting to be delivered closer to the Eastern US Coast as soon as we nail down the best place to put them to benefit the most NA players. This year for sure, hopefully soon. Won't be able to give everyone in the US 20 msec ping time but I think we will achieve getting most player closer to the same ping time (and still keep almost everyone faster than a Ferrari FXX can shift gears).

Have you guys notified the police? I understand if it's not something you might be able to discuss, but if that's the case can you just say you can't really give that info?
I'm asking this because I think I speak on behalf of the entire league community including riot when I say that I hate these hackers and ddos'ers , they only annoy people and I hate them. They have made people rage at you, they have made you guys spend so much money I'm sure, made many rioters stressed about their game. They need to be jailed.
Attacks of the scale we have been seeing, especially when they affect lots of businesses and get carried in the national press, tends to attract law enforcement. The publicity is a two edge sword for hackers, as their infamy grows so does the police pressure. In general we like to focus on players vs. dealing with law enforcement complexities but we are always obligated to comply with the legal system when approached (per the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for LoL).


S4 Tier Dropping

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

It is possible to drop tiers this season. For that to occur your MMR needs to be substantially lower than the average for the tier you're in. Additionally you'll get a warning when you're at risk of dropping down.
Can you drop tiers due to inactivity? Or is that still only divisions which you drop due to no playing.
Yes, you can drop both tiers and divisions through inactivity.
I'm scared of dropping. Was on a steady losing spree. Lost 70 LP by losing 4 games (or was it 5). I'm currently at zero. Will I drop if I lose 1 more game?

Also any tips for ranked based on your experience as a player?
Generally you'll need to go through a pretty extended number of loses to drop down a tier, so I'd be very surprised if you were in danger of dropping in your current situation (assuming you are indeed in one of the 5th divisions). As above you'll also get a warning when losing the next game will cause you to drop.

Edit: Ranked wise I've had best success when I've prioritized learning to play a couple of roles well and focused on improving as a player, rather than tunnel visioning on what my current LP/tier is.

Valentine’s Day-Themed Community Creations Roundup

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

In the spirit of Heartseeker Ashe, here’s a quiverful of community creations that shot their way straight to our hearts. Have a taste of some of the sweet stuff you guys baked up this Valentine’s!

Swept off your feet by any other awesome Valentine’s creations we might’ve missed? Share the love and post ‘em below in the comments.

Champion And Skin Sale: 02.25 - 02.28

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Grab these champions and skins on sale for 50% off for a limited time:

Skin Sales

Give your champions a new look with these skins:

Vandal Twitch

975 487 RP

Secret Agent Miss Fortune

975 487 RP


520 260 RP

Champion Sales

Add these champions to your roster:


975 487 RP



880 440 RP


Miss Fortune

790 395 RP


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