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Poro King Again?

Rotating game mode frequency, smurfs, and balancing Ryze.

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

This week it’s smurfs, rotating game modes, and tweaking Ryze.


Why do Legend of the Poro King and Ascension appear so frequently compared to other Rotating Game Modes?


We still aim to build new modes and release them as often as we can to you guys (we just released Blood Moon and Dark Star modes this year). Unfortunately, we can’t build a whole Dark Star mode every month though. In between, rather than have nothing at all on the weekends, we bring back some reliable favourites (EG: Ascension & Poro King), so there’s still something fun to play when you want a break from the regular game. We feel like this is better than the alternative of nothing at all to play in between each new big mode. For those of you who remember, we actually used to run game modes that way pre-RGM, and it felt pretty quiet for the long stretch between each mode (~3 months at a time). This way, there’s still some fun stuff around on the weekends to play with, even if it is something that’s been seen before.

We’ve also been steadily building new client compatibility for the more successful older RGM modes (One For All, Hexakill), but #gamedev means it’s slow going sometimes. We’re doing this in parallel with building our new modes (EG: Blood Moon & Dark Star). The good news is, we now have the Doom Bots of Doom stood up in new client! Newer modes are also dev-freebies with being built in the new client from scratch, so they are much easier to bring back (Blood Moon just went live and Dark Star is coming up again soon).

Lead Designer, Rotating Game Modes

How does Riot feel about smurfs? Should smurfing be allowed in a competitive game like League?


We’ve talked about this before (a bit), but at the end of the day, my opinion is that smurfs do more harm than good. The promise of a competitive game is that matchmaking will provide you with a match that you have a fair chance to win, but when the players on either team may not actually be at the skill level they claim to be, then that promise sort of goes out the window.

The reason we haven’t taken a more aggressive stance against smurfing (aside from it just being a challenging thing to completely discourage) is that we think there are some pretty good reasons for why players choose to smurf. The three big ones are:

  1. I want to play with a friend of a different skill level. League places a lot of restrictions on how I can do this, so it’s easier just to make a new account.
  2. I want to try out a new champion or role without the risk that I will tank my ELO.
  3. I’m stuck at the steep curve of climbing through ranks or champion mastery or whatever, and I miss that time when progression came really quickly.

If we can come up with good solutions for those problems (and we have some ideas that we are exploring), then we’d feel better about making it harder to start a new account solely for the purpose of disguising your actual skill level.

Head of Creative Development, League of Legends

What makes Ryze so hard to balance properly?


Ryze has been a hard champion to balance due to things about his kit that make him perform much better in some circumstances than in others.

Key factors:

  • Ryze’s ult rewards team coordination heavily. He performs much better for organized teams than randomly match made ones as a result.
  • Ryze gains more power from low latency server connections than most champs.
  • Ryze has a long, steep mastery curve. That means that there’s a much bigger than average difference between a new and an experienced player on Ryze than would be the case for most champions.

When those factors all come together in particular is when he’s strongest, and therefore what we have to at least somewhat balance around. If we’re balancing for Ryze when he’s played by an organized team, on a good connection, by someone who’s played 100+ games on him however he’s going to really struggle when played in a random team, with average latency, by someone who’s only played a dozen games or so. All champions have some degree of that discrepancy of course, but in Ryze’s case it’s much more exaggerated than almost any other champion.

Game Design Director

Do you have any plans to nerf Faker? He has no counter-play and feels awful to lane against.


Nice try, Crown.

Managing Editor

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