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Hard to Balance Champs

Watching professional League in HD, toughest champions to balance, and Kai’Sa’s diet.

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

Let’s talk what Kai’Sa eats, watching esports in HD, and champions that are difficult to balance.

Q

Have you thought about offering the possibility to watch competitive league of legends with higher res? Like 2k or 4k

A

Thanks for the great question. High-res broadcasts—YES! Absolutely on our road map, but it’s a little complicated and there are a few things to consider. First topic is bitrate versus resolution, and each have important roles in contributing to viewing experience. We live in an exclusively digital world, so the total bits/second is really important because it relates directly to the perceived crispness and detail of the Rift, especially during constant complex motion and champion ability particle effects. We hope you have noticed a marked quality increase in the last year. This is because we are now approved by the major platforms to dramatically increase the bitrate and have installed new equipment that can handle 1080p60 gameplay.

Next is resolution, which is tied to your question. Sure, we’d love to kick it up to 4k but there are a bunch of serious considerations. First is that the game itself is not natively in 4k, so we’d be up-converting from the start. We are investigating higher-res options but they’re not native yet. Second, without sufficient bitrate from YouTube and Twitch, there would be a huge 4k frame but look like a big mess. 4k also requires 4x the bandwidth to send to you at home and a lot more onsite with the number of cameras we have. Finally it also requires an overhaul of our control room switcher and equipment.

So yes, we are excited to see progress on resolution and are in fact testing it behind the scenes as we speak, but we are not ready to adapt it to bigger events like Worlds quite yet. Some of our studios are looking at UHD, so stay tuned because I promise we will get there in not too distant of a future.

Global Head of Esports Content
Q

What are considered the most difficult to balance champions?

A

It really depends. It’s not too difficult to balance a champion for any singular group of players. What makes things difficult is when the needs of one group of players is very different from the needs of another. In LoL, we can usually break this down into three main groups: average skill players, very skilled players, and pro players/teams. Players of average skill tend to optimize around the basics of the game, but they aren’t coordinated and are error-prone. Very skilled players tend to be fully aware of most nuances and optimizations available to them, but still aren’t incredibly coordinated (in other words, high level solo queue). Pros are similarly hitting most of the individual skill optimizations, but, unsurprisingly, also benefit from being highly coordinated between teammates. We want to provide an experience that feels balanced for all three groups, so the champions that become “difficult to balance” are the ones that thrive in one of these groups and not the other(s).

Ryze is a common example of being dependent on team coordination as well as mastery of the champion’s inputs (i.e. hitting his buttons correctly in any given circumstance), so it can be difficult to get him into a state where he feels balanced for pros but still useful to solo queue players of all levels. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the things that would need to be done to make Garen a powerful option in pro (or even high skilled solo queue play) would likely mean he’s disgustingly powerful for most players.

Lead Live Gameplay Designer
Q

What does kai’sa eat while in the void? Does she eat void creatures she kills? Also, what does she drink?

A

Her creature can sustain her through what it kills, but that isn’t really pleasing to her. Luckily, after she first fell down there as a child, there was enough left behind from others in the catacombs—water skins, rotting fruit, etc.—that she could scavenge. But now that she can get out of the Void, she likes eating what she can find around Shurima, like animal protein, fruit and vegetables… but the suit has to feed too or she could become the meal.

Oh, and she never would turn down a peach.

Narrative Writer

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