This morning’s red post collection includes a gameplay overview for the TFT: Reckoning set, a new Ask Riot on clarity in League, Beardilocks with a look at Kog’Maw VFX updates coming to PBE, and more as we head into the weekend!
TFT: Reckoning hits the PBE in 11.9! Here’s a dev blog previewing some of the comps and champions – “A sneak peek at a few team compositions that are coming with Reckoning.”
“Well, I reckon it’s about time for the Reckoning Gameplay Overview. About a month ago we officially announced Teamfight Tactics: Reckoning. By now, you know the drill: in with the new means out with the old. With the arrival of Reckoning we must say goodbye to the Chosen mechanic from Fates. But don’t despair! With its departure comes the reckon-struction of a new set mechanic: Shadow Items.
Reckoning Mechanic: Shadow Items
The Black Mist has poured across the Convergence, corrupting everything it touches—including items! Shadow Items are the new set mechanic for Reckoning. Corrupted by the magic of the Black Mist, they’re more powerful than their original counterparts—but with a twist— and often, a price.
Shadow Components can appear in every carousel after the first one, as well as in the Armory—a pop-up shop where you choose from a selection of item components, similar to how you buy champions. It’s important to note that the Armory will also play a major role in Hyper Roll, and is likely to stick around. From a mix of Armory and carousel options, players should expect to get two to four Shadow Components in any given game depending on their choices.
The power of the Mist is all-consuming, so just one Shadow Component is enough to corrupt an entire completed item, even when combined with a regular component. And before you ask, no: two Shadow Components do not create an uncorrupted complete item. Once an item is corrupted, there’s no going back. That said, you’ll almost never get a Shadow Item that you didn’t opt into—the ‘almost’ depending on your luck in carousels. The Shadow Item mechanic is meant to increase the impact of strategic player choices. Only want one Shadow Item? You can do that. But I’d consider fully embracing the darkness, because in it lies power.
So, what do they do!?
When used correctly, Shadow Items are MUCH more powerful than base items, but if used carelessly, they can cause your team more harm, than good. Here are some sneak peaks
With great power, but risky drawbacks, Shadow Items can be mixed and matched with various team compositions to make for powerful win conditions. Can you imagine Draven throwing axes faster and faster while dealing damage to himself, but also healing back with a Bloodthirster? That’s a scary build, but it gets even scarier when we talk about the team comp you can run it in. Which is right after this disclaimer. We’re going to dive into a lot of gameplay content here, but as always, this stuff is subject to change if the devs find areas of improvement, and they’re always looking for those areas. I’ll also add that there’s a whole lot more in Reckoning, so let this article serve as an appetizer for your first couple of games.
This composition is a big 9 with power spikes at (3), (6), and (9) Forgotten units. Each Forgotten champion gets bonus Ability Power and Attack Damage, and each Shadow Item worn by a Forgotten champion increases these bonuses.
In this composition, we’ll be running the entire Forgotten roster by level 9:
Vayne: Tier 1 Ranger
Warwick: Tier 1 Brawler
Hecarim: Tier 2 Cavalier
Thresh: Tier 2 Knight
Viktor: Tier 2 Spellweaver
Katarina: Tier 3 Assassin
Draven: Tier 4 Legionnaire
Ryze: Tier 4 Abomination Mystic
Viego: Tier 5 Skirmisher Assassin
Forgotten compositions scale well into the late game with Shadow Items, but can drag through the mid game. If you’re struggling early, roll to get your 1 and 2-cost units to two stars and slam some Shadow Items to stabilize. Once you get to the late game, you have plenty of carry options that you should prioritize depending on your items. Have a lot of swords and bows? Draven’s your DRAVEN. Tears galore? Keep your eyes on Ryze, as his spell, Flux Prison, becomes empowered after its initial cast allowing the single target stun and damage to spread to enemies in a large area. Have protective items, or just a lot of Rods? Viego will take those to turn enemy champions against each other.
Hellions gain Attack Speed that scales at (3), (5), and (7) Hellion units. Whenever a Hellion unit dies, an imperfect Doppelhellion of the same unit will leap from a Hellion portal and join the fight.
In this composition we’ll be running all six Hellion units:
Ziggs: Tier 1 Spellweaver
Kled: Tier 1 Cavalier
Poppy: Tier 1 Knight
Kennen: Tier 2 Skirmisher
Lulu: Tier 3 Mystic
Teemo: Tier 5* Cruel Invoker
This comp comes straight from the fiery depths of Bandle City. It’s a reroll comp, so you’ll want to prioritize getting items on your three-star carries, who’ll likely be Ziggs and Kled. With only six Hellion units to choose from, you’re going to have to pick up a Hellion Emblem to hit the Attack Speed bonus at (7). Hellion Emblem can be made with Spatula and Recurve Bow, but one of these items has to be a Shadow Item—otherwise you’ll get a Legionnaire Emblem. Give your Hellion Emblem to a strong unit that shares traits with the rest of your devilish Yordles. Adding another Spellweaver or Cavalier will amp up your reroll carries even more.
Nightbringers (2/4/6/8) gain a decaying shield equal to a percent of their maximum Health the first time they drop below 50%. When this shield is applied, that Nightbringer gains bonus damage.
To hit the final tier of this trait, we’ll run the entirety of the Nightbringer roster below:
Vladimir: Tier 1 Renewer
Sejuani: Tier 2 Cavalier
Lee Sin: Tier 3 Skirmisher
Morgana: Tier 3 Coven Mystic
Yasuo: Tier 3 Legionnaire
Aphelios: Tier 4 Ranger
Diana: Tier 4 Dragonslayer Assassin
Darius: Tier 5 God-King
Splashing Coven (more on this later) can help you transition into Nightbringer, since these two origins have a lot of trait overlap. Once you hit late game, you can slam Attack Damage items onto your Aphelios and watch as he annihilates enemies with Dark Vigil, his aggressively scaling, multi-target burst spell. At this point you’ll also have plenty of disruption for the enemy backline, as Diana uses her assassin trait to jump to the backline and cast Moonfall, a disorienting AoE crowd control. Finally, you can grab yourself the Nightbringer God-King, Darius, who deals bonus damage to rival traits. Darius’ rival traits are Redeemed, Ironclad, Verdant, Draconic, and Dawnbringer.
After night comes dawn. The first time Dawnbringers (2/4/6/8) drop below 60% health, they’re rapidly healed a percent of their maximum Health. When this heal occurs, all allied Dawnbringers gain bonus damage.
Here are the early-rising Dawnbringer units:
Gragas: Tier 1 Brawler
Kha’Zix: Tier 1 Assassin
Soraka: Tier 2 Renewer
Nidalee: Tier 3 Skirmisher
Riven: Tier 3 Legionnaire
Karma: Tier 4 Invoker
Garen: Tier 5 God-King
Dawnbringer comps transition well into the mid game when paired with champions of shared traits. Ivern’s a definite add to this comp, as he’ll activate both Renewer and Invoker synergies, empowering Soraka and one of this comp’s carries, Karma. Keep your eyes out for a Rod and a Spatula to create the Dawnbringer Emblem, which will allow you to hit this trait’s final tier. Other items to look out for are Dodge Chance items to equip your Nidalee, who transforms into a cougar, leaps behind her target, gains dodge chance, and strikes with bonus magic damage after each successful dodge. Dawnbringer’s God-King, Garen, is wild. This 5-cost drops a gigantic sword from the sky, smashing into the ground with an AoE that deals a large percent of enemy max health in damage and shreds their Magic Resist AND shields Garen for that damage. Garen’s rival traits are Forgotten, Nightbringer, Coven, Hellion, Dragonslayer, Abomination, Revenant
Okay, let’s take a break from some of the big traits and talk about one of the most powerful 5-cost units in TFT history.
Kayle: Redeemed Verdant Legionnaire
Kayle is back, again—and with a vengeance. Kayle now ascends every couple of seconds to gain bonuses. As she levels up, she scales faster, but also harder, better, and stronger.
The first time she ascends, her attacks will deal bonus true damage. Upon her second ascension, her attacks explode in an AoE around the target. Reaching her third ascension, she’ll gain immunity for 1 second after every 7th attack. Protect her long enough to reach the final ascension and she’ll become the most powerful unit TFT has ever seen, raining swords around her target and dealing huge amounts of damage.
Teemo: Cruel Hellion Invoker
*Shudders* Teemo’s back too, and you’re going to have to sacrifice more than gold to recruit him. Teemo’s going to cost 6 Little Legend health from the shop, but can be sold for the normal 5 gold.
Once you’ve recruited the Cruelest champion, he’ll happily scatter Infernal Souls around the enemy with the highest attack speed. When an enemy nears an Infernal Soul, or after 3 seconds, the souls explode, reducing enemy attack speed and dealing magic damage over 3 seconds.
One more thing about Teemo. Never underestimate the power of his hunger in a one on one battle.
Speaking of hunger, let’s continue our spoilers with a splash of ‘splash’ traits. These are minor traits with two to four units that you can add to a variety of comps to play flexibility.
Cavaliers are charging into battle with the innate ability to dash quickly towards the unit they target. As you stack this trait, your brave Cavaliers will gain increased damage reduction (2/3/4) that is doubled for 4 seconds at the start of combat and after their charges.
Here are the champions leading the charge with this trait:
Kled: Tier 1 Hellion
Hecarim: Tier 2 Forgotten
Sejuani: Tier 2 Nightbringer
Rell: Tier 4 Ironclad Redeemed
Mentioned earlier as a possible splash and early game supplement for the Nightbringer composition, the Coven trait is an all-or-nothing commitment. You’ll need all three Coven champions to activate this synergy, which elects the Champion nearest the center of your Coven units to become the Coven Leader, gaining 50% bonus Health. Additionally, each time a Coven unit casts their ability, a fraction of the mana cost is bestowed upon the Coven Leader.
Here’s who can elect your Coven Leader:
Lissandra: Tier 1 Renewer
Leblanc: Tier 2 Assassin
Morgana: Tier 3 Nightbringer Mystic
Physical damage got you down? Throw in Ironclad and you’ll be Ironglad you did it! Ironclad’s our new (2/3) piece trait that you can add to most compositions to counter an AD-heavy lobby. It works like Mystic (which is also returning) by providing all allies bonus Armor.
Here’s the list of champs that you can tech into your comp for bonus Armor:
Nautilus: Tier 2 Knight
Rell: Tier 4 Redeemed Cavalier
Jax: Tier 4 Skirmisher
Revved up and ready to die (twice), Revenants revive after their first death each combat. Once they come back, they take and deal increased damage. The more Revenants you add to this (2/3) trait will increase the amount of health they resurrect with.
And here are the champs who will live, die, and repeat:
Nocturne: Tier 3 Assassin
Ivern: Tier 4 Invoker Renewer
Volibear: Tier 5 Brawler
That’s all there is for now! With Reckoning hitting PBE tomorrow, we’re excited to see what compositions and combinations you come up with. The set goes live with patch 11.9, and it’s got a lot more to it than what’s mentioned above. Until next time!”
Ask Riot: Let’s Talk Clarity
Check out this week’s Ask Riot – “Hiding skins in game, Lancer Blitzcrank’s walk animation, Storm Dragon Lee Sin, and more.”
“Welcome to Ask Riot
This week we’re answering your questions about gameplay clarity.
Also, please send us all your questions! Each one you submit progresses your Buried Sun Disc one round.
Hi I just read your “Clarity in League” post and was wondering if you’ve considered adding an option to not show skins in game which one could toggle on/off as they please?
Real talk here – cosmetics are how we pay our bills and fund ongoing development on League. Skins are a huge part of that, and many players like skins because they’re displayed to others. Introducing uncertainty as to whether anyone sees a skin you love and purchased risks significantly undercutting our ability to run as a business.
It sounds kind of cold to put it like that, but really we want to keep League running for the long haul so you can keep playing and we can keep working on the game we all love. Our belief is that the “free-to-play model supported by power-neutral cosmetics” is quite player friendly overall, and we’ll keep working to level up gameplay clarity across the board so League can stick around for years (decades?) to come.
Meddler, Game Director
How do you determine clarity with chromas?
Chroma clarity is measured by the same gameplay clarity guidelines as any other skin in League. You can read more about our approach here, but in short—as a player or spectator, you should easily and quickly be able to identify a champion, even when it’s using a skin. The same goes for chromas, because those are skins too after all. As such, they go through the same feedback channels and vetting process as skins.
The guiding light and main pillars of a chroma, from a creative perspective, are that it remains in the same theme and universe as the “parent” skin—it should maintain the original thematic while being limited to only a texture change. In most cases, it should feel like this is just another outfit that champ pulled out of their closet on Tuesday, instead of Monday, with the same thematic shape language and design sensibilities.
As skin catalogs grow and chroma catalogs grow with them, clarity does become more of a challenge. There are only so many colors in the color wheel, and we use a lot of the same color theory techniques when designing skins and chromas (complementary, analogous, triadic, tertiary color combinations). Sometimes there is visual overlap between a chroma and a base champion, or another skin, or even overlap between two skins in a champion’s catalogue. However, with the combination of materials, shape language, themes, and proportions of those colors we can use, we should see unique skins designs that are only limited by our imaginations.
MechaHawk, Skins Art Director
Why couldn’t Lancer Blitz have a new walk animation when Space Groove Blitz is piloted by literal cats and has a new walk animation?
Great question! I would say it’s a combination of factors.
First and foremost, from a product standpoint, Space Groove Blitzcrank is a Legendary skin, which typically includes animation changes, while Lancer Blitz is an Epic skin, which typically doesn’t. This is a pretty important factor, but it doesn’t address the fact that we once said Lancer Blitz couldn’t have a floaty animation for clarity reasons… and then we gave Space Groove Blitz a floaty walk. So what changed?
Going back a few years to when Lancer Blitz was created in 2017, League didn’t have as clear of standards for clarity. We knew that certain things broke it, but we hadn’t done as much of a deep dive, so sometimes we’d play it too safe and sometimes we’d go too far. Since then, we’ve solidified our approach, which includes overarching guidelines as well as craft-level considerations for champions and skins.
One of the things we now view as key for champion recognition in 2021 is their silhouette, which is basically their shadow. So when we were working on Space Groove Blitz+Crank, we put a lot of effort into making sure the silhouette was still quickly and easily recognizable at Blitz—if you were to give him the “who’s-this-champ?” test, his large hands read similarly to base, as do his head and shoulder pads. This combined with readable VFX and SFX made us feel confident we could give Space Groove a floaty walk without putting clarity at risk. His updated walk is still pretty jerky to mimic the base, but it’s much more stylized and “dance-y” now.
Going back to Lancer Blitzcrank, we didn’t have these well-defined standards yet and were mostly going off of intuition. But if we apply our new frameworks retroactively, I still think we made the right call (as controversial as it might be). Lancer Blitzcrank’s silhouette is harder to read than Space Groove’s, particularly because he has pointy drills instead of “hands.” This muddies his silhouette when he’s standing in lane, running around, and when his Q is coming at you. He also has really large shoulder pauldrons. In short, we’d already pushed Lancer Blitzcrank to the limit in so many other aspects of gameplay and visual clarity that we had to pull back in other places.
MechaHawk, Skins Art Director
I understand some spells are super loud because it’s important, like Sera casting her ult. But why is PsyOps Pyke’s camouflage sound the loudest thing in the game? It’s incredibly distracting and stressful, far beyond its importance, especially given how much it’s spammed in lane. Mecha Kingdoms Draven catching his axes is another example.
This is something that happens from time to time in the process of sound designing a skin or champion. Like you said, there are moments we think certain abilities should be louder than others in priority of the sound set. But you, the players, are ultimately the ones that help us determine if we need to adjust certain sounds that could be distracting to gameplay. When these moments are identified, we try our best to discuss these concerns as a discipline to prioritize the issues to make sure the clarity and readability is there, and fix it if needed.
In other words… Thank you for bringing these up! We’ll definitely look into it.
OCRAM818, Sound Design Lead
Can you address Storm Dragon Lee Sin? It feels terrible in terms of clarity.
Ah, Storm Dragon Lee Sin. We talked a bit about this in the recent lol pls video, and while we don’t have much to add, we wanted to recap here.
When Storm Dragon Lee Sin first went to PBE, we heard he was difficult to recognize and very flashy. With this info, we decided to make some changes before he went live, including cutting his ponytail. This was a case of us trying to make a kickass skin but going too hard, so we had to rein things in.
This might be a little spicy, but we’re okay with the clarity level now. That said, we think Lee Sin and his skins across the board are suffering from a larger clarity issue, which is that Lee doesn’t really have a distinct character model silhouette. Most of his character recognition is carried through animation, which becomes particularly tricky when we’re making Legendary skins. At some point we’ll want to take a look at Lee Sin and adjust him across all skins and his base in order to define a clear and distinct silhouette, but we don’t have concrete plans to make changes any time soon.
Bellissimoh, Director of Production
I read the clarity blog, and I was wondering if VO was a part of it? Some champs have VO that’s repetitive and can be distracting.
We have a LOT of VO in our game, and as the game evolves, older voice-over systems are in continuous need of modernization. Whether that is “stop saying ‘throw another rock!’” or “stop calling me Summoner!,” we hear you when you say a champ is missing the Goldilocks sweet spot of enjoyable, aspirational champion fantasies and a clear audio mix that empowers rock-solid gameplay.
To that end, we have a multi-faceted approach to clarity in the voice-over space. In particular, we’re working on some new efforts that you can expect to see more of over the coming months:
Refining our volume standards across our champion roster (both old champs and new) as well as consistency across languages.
Starting a holistic modernization effort to address remastering, dialogue editorial, audio fidelity, and quality improvements, with a focus on clear intelligibility of lines. You can probably think of champions whose VO is hard to understand, and we’re looking to touch on those over time.
Enacting standards around both line length as well as a performance emphasis on tighter, projected, MOBA-ready lines (actors shouldn’t speak too slowly or quietly). Some of our older champions could get pretty long-winded at times, but hopefully our most recent projects feel better. We have put much greater emphasis on context sensitivity: Lines are brief when they need to be brief, and champs can open up and monologue a bit more when there’s a lull in action.
Holding ourselves to a less-is-more approach, such as culling unnecessary or distracting lines and reining in spell casts to be consistent and recognizable. This is most important for ults, which should have immediately recognizable, memorable callouts similar in importance as the champ’s silhouette.
Making strategic decisions around which players need to hear what information. For example, recall lines were moved to self-only and kill lines were moved to self/enemy team only.
Using VGUs, VUs, and VO updates to refresh and modernize champ VO to benefit from much more variety (old champs like Teemo and Jax only have around 10 lines!), add new life and lore, and most importantly, to stop saying Summoner.
We’re always looking to do what we can both to address the behaviors of currently existing champions and new products, so please continue to talk to us about what you like and don’t like. While we can’t address everything overnight (so many champs!), it’s invaluable insight for the team.
Riot Zimberfly, Voice-Over Audio Lead
Have a question? Head here, drop your question in the box, and ask away.”
TFT Social Media Teaser
Check out this month’s Riot Report!
“On this episode of Riot Report, Riv will take you through all the info on the Space Groove event, new skins for LoL & Wild Rift, updated labs for LoR and much more! Plus, a live Q&A all about the Hallowed Seamstress, Gwen, with Designer Stash Chelluck and Producer Ryan Mireles.”
[LEC] LEC Spring 2021 Finals Weekend Tease