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Should New Champs Be Disabled in Ranked?

Champion mastery requirements for ranked, VO updates, the Darkin, and more.

By Ghostcrawler, Riot Socrates, Reav3 & Ant In Oz

Welcome to Ask Riot!

This week, let’s talk Lux’s new VO, loading screen borders, the Darkin, and first time Galios in ranked.

When you release a new champ/rework, why don’t you disable the champ in ranked for one week? Why don’t you need a certain number of normal games before you play a champ in ranked?

Releasing a new champion or a major champion update is a big deal for us and for players, especially at the slower release cadence we use these days. After the teasing and the hype and the spotlights, we want players to be able to try the champion out right away. For players whose primary way to engage in League is through ranked (and that’s a lot of players) a week can feel like a long time, especially since the champion will have been on the PBE before that.

However, we sympathize with the basic problem you’re hinting at, of someone going into ranked with a champion they have never played before, and having your team possibly pay the price. While we think the new Practice Mode will help some with this problem, we also have discussed requiring you to play with the champion – even if it’s as little as one game – before you take him or her into ranked. No concrete plans at the moment, but it’s something we’ll keep on our radar.

Design Director, League of Legends

In the loading screen, why can you only see the champion masteries and borders for your teammates and not enemies?

tl;dr We limit the information exposed across teams prior to a match because it can influence match outcomes and make games less fun.

Information exposed to players before a game begins anchors their perception about how the match will play out and can change how they play. The most obvious example of this is with ranked status. Playing against someone who has a higher skill from the previous season, even if you’re currently equal in skill, can be intimidating in a way that influences the end result of a lane. Given that, we default to not exposing skill information across teams.

In the case of champion mastery, while we don’t think the effect would be as pronounced as with ranked borders, it would likely have a similar negative impact in some games. For example, knowing it’s your first game on a champ and facing up against a mastery 7 Yasuo isn’t a great experience. When we weigh the negative impact of surfacing this every match-up against the pretty minimal benefits that come from the opposing team knowing exactly how big your emote is, it doesn’t seem worth the trade.

There is some gray area around this. Some of you might be thinking: dropping the emote in game when you go to lane seems like it could anchor players in a similar way, so why allow that? We debated this when we first launched emotes and even created an emergency switch we could flip to make it only appear for your team if things got out of hand. Ultimately the decision to leave it cross team came down to two things. 1. For the most part, people don’t drop their emote right when they get to lane. Usually by the time an emote gets dropped much of the game has already unfolded, so any impact to match outcome is minimal in aggregate. 2. Some of the most interesting and memorable moments across teams are highlighted emote drops. Preserving those moments felt important.

Along these same lines, we know many players scout one another via third party sites to determine opponents rank before games. This is a natural result of ranked game stats being public information and some players looking for any way to get a competitive edge. In spite of this, we wouldn’t change the pregame to give this information more visibility. Though some players want this information, we don’t believe forcing more players to absorb it would ultimately make the game more fun.

Riot Socrates
Lead Game Designer

Love the Lux voice over update (and I don’t even play Lux). Can we expect to get more of these in the future and if so how often?

Glad you liked the Lux VO!

We currently don’t have dedicated resources to updating old champions’ VOs. Lux was an opportunity we took because the voice actor was coming in to record lines for Elementalist Lux, and since we were planning on doing a big Demacia event for Galio’s release, it felt appropriate to update her VO along with it. In the future we may do some VO updates here and there, if it makes sense and there’s a good opportunity. It isn’t a trivial amount of work, so we have to be careful about what we commit to, but we actually have another coming up in the not too distant future!

Lead Producer of Champion Updates

With all the updates to Runeterra, can we expect more about the darkin?

Oh, we’ve definitely not forgotten about the Darkin  ; )

Worldbuilding Lead, Foundations

Have a question? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, then ask away.

We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).

We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about.

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Movie? Voice? Item Sets?