Core Gameplay: A quick look at a few teams at Riot and some of the stuff they're working on

Hi folks, Following on from a couple of longer posts on Juggernauts recently I thought I'd try some longer posts on some other subjects as well. First of those is below, which is a quick look at a part of Riot called Core Gameplay, for anyone interested in a mixture of how some of Riot works and what that part's working on. Core Gameplay's focus is on the components of LoL that drive choices within the game itself (champions, items, minions, map layout etc). Core Gameplay's composed of four teams that deliver different sorts of projects, plus a playtesting team that provides advice and expertise. There's quite a bit of overlap between the work the teams below tackle (all of them were contributors to the recent Death Recap fixes for example). Each team is primarily focused on a specific type of work though and is staffed with people who have expertise in that area. **The Live Gameplay Team (also referred to as the balance team)** * Live Gameplay's focus is on regular changes, usually quicker and smaller than those from other teams. Balance changes are the most common thing the team works on, though they're also involved in other work (e.g. long term game health. provision of expertise on high level play to other teams, some new content creation). Also worth calling out that while Live Gameplay does more balance work than the other teams they're not solely responsible for the balance of the game. * Recent examples of Live Gameplay's work include heaps of champion balance changes, the addition and tuning of Zeke's Herald, mastery tweaking. * Live Gameplay's just finished working on patch 5.18. Because 5.18 is the patch the World Champs will be played on changes in it focused on balance changes for high level play, generally on a pretty small scale. Now that that patch is out of the way Live Gameplay's shifting focus to work on a mixture of some stuff for the preseason patch late this year and balance changes for 5.19 (including possible MF buffs and a bug fix on Shen's E where it's not reducing damage from taunted enemies). . **The Systems Team ** * Systems focuses on long term work, looking particularly at the parts of LoL that aren't champions (items, runes, the jungle, minions, summoner spells, gold income etc). That work tends to get released in large amounts every so often (e.g. preseason, or big patches like 5.16), rather than being present in every patch. * Recent examples of Systems work includes the AP item adjustments, new Juggernaut items (Dead Man's Plate, Titanic Hydra, Sterak's Gage), items for the Bilgewater event (in conjunction with the Events team). * Systems has been primarily working on preseason work for a bit now, and will continue to do so for quite a while (post preseason launch they'll swap over to preseason followup, with balance adjustments as needed and possibly some additional content afterwards if there are things that don't make the preseason itself). A lot of the team's work has been on items recently (marksmen items especially). They've also been exploring some other stuff that preseason's the best time to do (e.g. can we speed up game start a bit by having minions/the jungle spawn earlier, while speeding up the homeguard effect out of base to keep invade timings the same?). **The Champion Team** * The new champion team primarily makes new champions as you'd expect, while also doing a bit of other work as well (initial balance follow up on new releases, overhauls of champion systems like death recap etc). * Recent examples of Champion work include Tahm Kench, Tahm Kench's teaser and the balance changes to him in the first couple of patches after his release (in discussion with the Live Gameplay team of course). * At present we've got half a dozen champions in development (which is pretty standard). Those range from the nearly finished that are getting final work done before they hit PBE ('They are coming') to really early idea brainstorming (we've just kicked off work on a new champ for sometime next year, with so far just desired class, plus some possible tonal and thematic notes, identified). Champion team's also working on some improvements to what we call 'zombie mode', which is the state dead, but still acting, champions get put into (e.g. Karthus passive or Yorick ult). That work, whenever it ships, won't be very noticeable in the average game, but should fix a number of bugs and make it easier for us to create additional characters that use zombie mode if desired. **The Champion Update Team** * Champion Update works on existing characters in the game that need more work than just balance adjustments. That work ranges from full overhauls like Sion, to visual only updates like Karthus, to smaller projects like Ashe or Maokai's changes a while back. * Recent examples of Champion Update's work include the Gangplank update, the Juggernaut changes and Fiora's update. * Champion update's got a few different things going on at the moment. One part of the team's just finished some balance follow up work on the juggernauts from the 5.16 patch (teams own balance on content they create for a couple of patches post launch on average, before the Live Gameplay team takes over). Those folks will be pretty focused on some work for the preseason period now. Another part of the team by contrast's working on bigger, longer term reworks (Poppy, and some exploration into which other full scale relaunch might follow her). Finally Champ Up's also looking into doing a sizing pass on a number of champions, which would involve shrinking champions that are inappropriately large (e.g. Tristana) and increasing the size of champions that are inappropriately small (e.g. Malphite).
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