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Cigar Edition

So Graves can have a cigar, but...wait, what?

By LtRandolph, Jellbug & Discord

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

The cigar is back. Mostly. Oh, and don’t forget: Ask Riot’s one-year anniversary happens soon;  we are posing your questions direct to Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill and Brandon “Ryze” Beck, aka the co-founders of Riot and co-creators of League. If you’ve got a burning question for the guys who started this whole thing, ask away (use their names so we can find your questions in the pile)!

So, Graves can have a cigar, but in some places he still can’t? What determines whether it appears in my region?

Graves’ cigar first appeared in a splash art update in October 2014, and helped show The Outlaw as the gun-toting, rule-breaking, line-ending badass that we all know and love. As explained by RiotSilver here, though, it was quickly removed the next month due to concerns about ratings changes in some countries (things like tobacco use, blood, skulls, etc. can impact a game’s rating depending on the region).

After a long (probably too long) time, we’re finally bringing back his carcinogen-laden accessory to many regions, which poses an interesting technological challenge.

Currently, we have one mechanism for displaying different content in different countries. Specifically, we can check whether the game is being run in China, by looking for a specific file in the LoL install (a .dll file that is used by our publisher in China). If that .dll exists, then we swap out specific particle FX for other versions. This allows bloody things like Vladimir’s trollpool to look red in most of the world, and black in China. We don’t have similar marker files in other countries, so we can’t use this technique anywhere else in the world.

We used to have one other mechanism, where other countries could create custom versions of splash art. Then, we automatically copied those splashes over top of the Riot versions and built the entire game (a very time-consuming process) again, thus making sure that the new splash winds up everywhere we need it to. This is how all the “Chinese version” vs. “NA version” splashes that you see on wiki sites were published.

Recently, some Rioters wanted to speed up our iteration process. If a designer or artist wanted to get their changes into testers’ hands for the evening, they would need to submit their changes very early in the day (typically by 12:30 or 1pm) in order to brave the hours-long gauntlet of being built into all the different versions of the game, and then published to our internal servers. This slowed iteration drastically, which in turn made it much harder to make LoL as awesome as we want it to be.

Thus, (along with other build improvements) we undertook the global splash parity project that JxE talked about here, allowing us to simplify and speed up our build process substantially. But it left us without a good way to swap art for different countries. We don’t want to reintroduce a lengthy build pipeline to handle things, but we need some clean and reliable way to toggle the presence of the cigar.

Therefore we’re packing both versions of Graves’ splash in patch 7.9, and the game will, by default, stick to the version with less nicotine. We’re adding some new data that says which types of content, like “Tobacco” or “Blood”, are allowed in each country. Then we’re adding some new data to each game server that says which region you’re playing in. If your region is tagged as safe for tobacco use, we’ll swap Graves out to use the edgier splash. Outside of the game, we’ll be adding similar technology as appropriate, always careful not to accidentally show restricted content in areas where that may endanger our rating (and thus prevent many players from being able to get on the Rift).

Thanks for fighting for the vision of Graves that resonates with you.

LtRandolph
Engineering Manager, Champion Team

Does Lulu ever eat the cupcakes she polymorphs when she’s hungry?

Lulu wouldn’t dare eat a cupcake that she polymorphed – it wouldn’t taste very much like a delicious cake. Lulu does maintain an array of delicacies on her hat for safekeeping. Indeed, one of her most beloved activities is magically altering the flavors of the candies on her hat and tasting them one by one. Purple is her favorite flavor, naturally, but cloud comes a close second.

Pix, on the other hand, is known to nibble at polymorphed cupcakes from time to time — he loves the frosting. Those who have experienced this describe a strange tingling sensation, and upon returning to their normal form sometimes find that they are missing a fingernail or a shock of hair.

Jellbug
Associate Writer, Worldbuilding

Working at Riot seems to come with a lot of good benefits, but does the pet insurance cover boosted animals?

Our pet insurance covers animals without discrimination based on age, breed, or pre-existing conditions. For example, golden retrievers are still covered even if they really should be low silver retrievers.

Discord
Benefit Specialist

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. 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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The “Sexy” Factor