Greg Street
Latest answers

I noticed that base turrets on the PBE don't fire lazorz anymore. Could we get some context on that?

We added lazorz in a world where those turrets were also tankier and had some other distinctions that have gradually eroded over time (because they weren't fun or didn't make that much of a difference). We figured out that the lazers themselves were causing a performance hit at least on some machines, so we evaluated whether they were really worth preserving. We weren't convinced they were making a huge difference, so the lasers went away. Do you miss them?

Can you pretty please give me an explanation on what snake band are

It's a ban system that involves multiple ban stages. The thought is that if you just introduce new bans (at least for pro) then teams can really shut down favorite picks such as denying all of the S tier ADCs from the opposing team, or make comps that are very champ dependent (like defend the Kog) inaccessible. With two ban phases, you can maybe notice the other team's strategy and try to counter it. "Oh, they picked Cait and banned Ez and Jhin? We better grab Sivir."

The high level goal is to introduce a bit more strategy to the pick-ban phase, while hopefully also promoting champ diversity a bit more. (If Cait, Jhin, Ez and Sivir were all of the table, then someone may start looking at Lucian, Ashe, etc.)

We're not sure snake ban is important for non-pro ranked, though we are investigating more bans.

Would you want to work with your old friends and team from Blizzard at any game studio again

In a heartbeat.

Kaplan used to joke that we should all abandon our various teams at Blizzard and all go make a game together.

(Please don't interpret that as any plans of mine to leave Riot. I love it here.)

Idk if most Rioters realize, but whoever thought of the new LeBlanc passive and rework in general is an amazingly smart designer. Idk who it is but every other Riot designer should pay close attention to him and learn from him.

Well, I told him, so now his head may swell.

Unless this is actually him, in which case, disregard. :)

Man... can you get zenon to remove that auto blocker on his twitter? he posts design stuff but tweeting at him gets you automatically blocked if you have no followers. -_-

I assume he got harangued by a bunch of folks (and I am guessing on social issues, not strictly gameplay ones) who kept making new accounts when he blocked the old ones.

"None of our plants are sexual in nature." Zyra begs to differ. /kappa

Hyrum Graff

Well played.

Why does the jungle get reworked every year?

Because we can't get it right. :)

That's not just a sarcastic answer. The point I'm trying to make is that we try to resist change for the sake of change. We try to make change where the game needs improvement, usually in the form of adding more depth to solved systems. If we could get the jungle to what felt like a good place, we wouldn't just keep changing it for the sake of it.

We do some amount of change with the intent of adding freshness - champions are the best example of this. But we try to be very deliberate of how and how much freshness we add like this, and not just tinker around with things because some designer is bored.

Why is Jeff Kaplan's beard so thick? Please answer.

Too much crunch?

Crunch beards used to be a thing. I could never grow a satisfying one, I assume due to too much Cherokee blood.

You were taking the wrong way as a company in many different ways for a while, but you're now showing improvement and I am truly happy for that.

Thanks for the vote of encouragement. But it is largely from player feedback that we know when we're on the right or wrong track with things, so we want to give credit where credit is due.

How much variation is there in the way players customize their controls?

For League? Not a ton. Flash on D or F is a constant debate. (I use D because it's closer.) Smart cast or not is another big one, though I think a lot of players make the choice per champ. I think pinky on Q or ring finger on Q is another personal preference. I don't believe a ton of players do radical remapping.

As a player, do you get mega hype for preseason stuff like the rest of the fan base?

Mostly, I get hyped when I see player reactions.

As a player though one of the challenges is that you play stuff internally, then are disappointed when you play live and the changes aren't out yet, then embarrassed when I forget the changes aren't live and do something dumb.

Is it pronounced REK Sai or Rek SAI? I can't figure out where the emphasis goes

We say REK sai.

Why are you interested in reworking Pantheon?

He's a 300 guy who jumps on you.

Why are you interested in reworking Galio?

Because he's got a cool theme but lame gameplay.


None of our plants are sexual in nature.

How often were you playing games yourself before you started getting into designing them? Also what games were you into playing a lot?

I have been playing games since the Atari 2600 days. I think we even owned a Pong. I played text based games and lame vector-graphics games on 2 color PCs. I learned Basic on a TI-994A. I had an NES in college that the whole house played on and an SNES and PS in grad school. I played (and still play) D&D since 7th grade. I've played a lot of board games as well, though I'm not a fan of CCGs.

I've always played games and I was playing them when I first got into the industry. I was really interested in Ensemble because they had Bruce Shelley, who had worked on Civilization (one of my favorite games of all time) and Sandy Petersen, who worked on Call of Cthulu and Doom.

I will play just about any RPG, 4X strategy game, good platformers, competitive multiplayer game, and most shooters. I don't play sports of racing games. Puzzle games have to be really good to get my interest. The only MMO I've played seriously was WoW.

Some of my favorite game series of all time are Ultima, XCOM, Mass Effect, Civilization, Final Fantasy, Diablo, Assassin's Creed, Team Fortress, Half Life, Zeldas, Doom, Starcraft, Okami, Uncharted, Chrono Trigger, Dark Souls, Baldur's Gate and a bunch I'm forgetting.

What's so special about Irvine to Blizzard devs

Affection for the color beige?

Favorite marine/underwater animal? Mine's orca.

Mantis shrimp.

Where one can find the truth?

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. - Keats

Would you also say its harder to get into Rito these days?

We can afford to be pickier for sure. That said, we still have something like 1000 open positions on our website.

Any more thoughts on worlds champ diversity after the quarterfinal round? IMO has gotten pretty stale at every position and saw someone on reddit say for group stage unique champs were down around 20 from last year.

That's pretty typical. The first week of groups is kind of... the technical term is "clown fiesta" because the different regions are discovering that different teams use different comps in their neck of the woods. Then things start to adjust over time, and favorite picks start to shake out. (Still, was cool to see Fiora this weekend.)

Overall, I do wish diversity for Worlds was higher than it was. I don't think it is really far off. I think we had maybe 40% of the roster played so far. Some of that is for just 1-2 games, which I don't think is what anyone is really talking about when they say diversity. But if we were in say the 60-70% range, I'd be pretty happy. I don't think it has to be 90-100% to meet player and Rioter expectations.

While I'd still rather have a game that was fun to watch than a boring game with high diversity, it would be great to have both.

In terms of why diversity is low, I think it's the usual culprits:

1) We focus balance for plat/diamond, not pro. This means some champs with very low win rates in lower elos (say Elise) get picked a lot by pro, while champs with high win rates at lower elos (say Yi and Blitz) don't.

2) Related, pros place a lot of emphasis on team utility and synergy, while normal players (especially solo players) have to index more on well-rounded champs or those with solo carry potential.

3) Pro schedules being what they are, they don't have a ton of time to try out really unusual strats. That's just inefficient if it turns out not to work. Instead, the focus on a handful of champs, knowing that they can't all be banned.

4) Related, we think increasing ban numbers might cut down on some of the S tier champs being in every game and get more of the A tier champs up there.

5) Some champs still aren't really viable, and we're kind of okay with that for the short term. I'm talking about the Galios and Warwicks of the world. We are slowly updating those. Poppy for example went from a joke pick to someone who is really fun to watch at Worlds.

Do you know why tank assassins have been so rampant this season

Because assassin assassins don't really fit into current team comps, so the only way they can carve off a space for themselves is to behave like fighters.

Hoping to fix some of this with the assassin update we are working on.

Were you ever friends Blizzard devs outside of WoW team like Josh Mosq from Diablo

Oh yeah, I knew almost all of the designers at Blizzard, and there was some amount of movement from title to title. I still see them pretty regularly, but it takes a little more effort to get together.

I have nothing but respect for Josh. He was a great leader for that team, and we even talked a couple of times about what me joining him on D3 might look like.

Is there any chance you could pop on the Q and A Legion stream with ion?

While that would be a lot of fun, I feel like I would be doing it as a stunt, and at the expense of WoW players who want actual questions asked.

I'm happy to talk about my time on WoW, but I want to give those guys their space and not tryi to keep stepping into the camera.

Its almost the end of October already! You on the design stream on the 20th?

I think they are going to cancel it this month. We have a lot of other messaging going around.


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About Greg Street:

Design Director, League of Legends @ Riot Games Before that: Lead Systems Designer, World of Warcraft.
Before that: Lead Designer, Age of Empires.
Before that I was an oceanographer.

Los Angeles, CA