This afternoon's red post collection features posts comparing this season's League system with the MMR/Elo system from last season, a small update/fix to Promo Series Expirations, very brief updates on the previously discussed Rengar and Xerath changes, and a few comments from the Masteries Feedback thread.
Riot Socrates on the League System
Riot Socrates, a systems designer, has popped up on the forums to share his findings on the League system now that we are nearing the end of the first season since it was implemented. He covers the pros and cons of the League system vs the MMR/ELO system, as well as touches on what Riot hopes to fix in season 4.
Wanted to address some of these concerns. Now that we’re well into the season we can share some data with you about how the League System has changed the landscape of ranked since it was released. Month for month ranked participation increased as much as 2x over the same time periods last year while dodge rates dropped to about half. The number of leavers / afks in these games also remained well below most other queues. In other words the number of new ranked players and existing players who participate in ranked games is greater than ever before and the quality of the games improved. Ultimately we think this is the best measure of how successful a game type is but for the sake of looking at this vs. the old system we can look at the pros and cons of each:
In what ways is leagues better?
• All players have immediate achievable goals once they’re in a league and have frequent opportunities to feel competent as they progress.
• All players are divided into smaller leagues typically including some of their friends making progression feel more meaningful.
• Players are punished for queue dodging in a way that makes more sense in terms of progression. Again this reduced dodge rates dramatically.
• Promotional series create spikes in intensity which make the overall experience more fun and rewarding to participate in.
• The system shields players from ladder anxiety once they’ve reached a new tier and has some protections in place to keep them from instantly falling out of a division once promoted.
• Losing while still not a great experience is overall less punishing.
In what ways is leagues worse?
• Currently players can’t drop tiers, which causes some players to get to their target tier for the season and stop trying.
• Because league placement and MMR are not tightly coupled matchmaking appears to do funny things in some cases, leading players to believe they’re being matched unfairly when this is not the case.
• League point gains swing slightly more than MMR gains and in some very fringe cases places can earn 0 LP for games.
In what ways is MMR better?
• MMR gives a very accurate representation of your global position at any given time and it’s easy to see that you’re always being matched up against the correct opponents.
• The system is very fluid and players don’t have as much slack as in leagues to not try as hard once they’ve reached some threshold.
In what ways is MMR worse?
• There is no mechanism in place to properly punish dodging. Specifically if you try to lower a player’s MMR when they dodge, you’re marking them as a worse player, but this isn’t really true. This makes matchmaking much lower quality.
• You are seated into a very massive spectrum of players with no real meaningful sense of position (ie. rank 120,503 is less meaningful than rank 10 in Malzahar’s Captains)
• The system itself sets no obvious achievable goals for players and you never really get the sense that you’ve done something special by being involved.
• Because of the way the distribution grows over the course of the season players are heavily incentivized to participate late in the season but not before that.
• Losing is very punishing and you’re never shielded from a string of losses.
Overall when we weigh these two systems against one another even without the empirical data leagues is clearly a better system for players and the one we’re more in favor of. That said it’s not perfect and there are some areas that we want to improve on.
What do we want to improve?
• Far and away the biggest issue we want to address is the case where players can’t drop out of a tier once they’ve obtained it. It’s very likely that next season we will allow players to drop out of a division if they’re at 0LP and far below the MMR threshold for the tier they are in. This should solve a few issues, namely the trolling that happens once players reach their target tier and the issue where players get very small LP gains after being at 0 for a long period of time.
• The issue where players receive 0 LP in some cases when being at 99LP we’d like to fix by just instituting a minimum LP gain of 1 instead of requiring the player to be above the required MMR to get into the target tier though we’re monitoring the MMR of players in this tier closely to understand the consequences of that decision should we implement it next season.
TL DR: Overall the Leagues System has had a measurable and consistent positive impact, and while it’s not perfect we feel that it’s superior to MMR as a framework for us to work with and improve upon in the future."He continued:
"Reading through these I feel I should reassert we feel it's not a perfect system, but we do feel it's a superior system. The list of things we want to address is by no means an exhaustive one. It's just the issues we feel are most pressing. I do feel that Bronze / Silver is likely too big of a slice of the population and that is definitely something we're looking at as well."Promotion Series Expirations
Riot Socrates also commented on a recent change to promo series expirations:
We made some changes to the way a promotion series can expire over time. Read below for an explanation:
Short summary: Last patch we released a change to the league system to fix a behavior that was extending players promotion series beyond the expected time amount. From the day you enter your series, you now have 28 days to complete that promotion series or it will be automatically ended.
Context: With the latest ranked play update, players now have a 28 day time limit from the day they qualify to complete their tier / division promotion. Previously we had allowed players to extend the series for an indefinite amount of time. Players who fail to complete their promotion series within 28 days will be removed from out of their series, where regular LP decay can be applied.
This change was to address an unintended behavior that was causing some players to have a promotion series that could run almost the full duration of the season. We've applied the update retroactively to all players currently participating within ranked play.
Unfortunately we failed to properly message this change within our official patch notes, and some players may have already been affected by it. This announcement is to provide clarity if you've been automatically failed out of your promotion series and were wondering why. We apologize for the inconvenience as we strive to make ranked play a more consistent and dynamic experience overall."
More comments on Masteries
As I noted yesterday, FeralPony is already gathering up feedback to fuel his S4 masteries changes.
Responding to someone asking for "Gain 1/2 Gold when minion dies near by", he commented:
"Suggestions like this are still helpful for identifying a goal and a need but you're right they are generally out of scope for the mastery system. Masteries are generally only a small amount of gold per point (40ish with a bit more for keystone masteries like 9 and 21 pointers)"As for the suggestion that there be a mastery that allows for an extra inventory slot for consumables / wards, he replied:
"Something like this isn't totally off the table for S4 but I wouldn't want it to be handled in masteries. That's something that if done, everyone should have access to and we'd need the UI to support it.
Thanks for the feedback so far guys this is really helpful :)"Nothing new on Xerath
When questioned about how the previously discussed Xerath changes are turning out, Xelnath noted:
"There hasn't been anything to update. He's in health/balance testing now. There's also been a huge shuffling of release dates around, so I don't even have an eta to share."
Rengar's still brewin'
( Note: This is an on-going discussion on future Rengar changes. Be sure to read up on the previous comments here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Scarizard briefly touched on the Rengar changes again, mentioning that things are still in internal testing:
"Interesting that you bring this up!
Part of the reason for Wav3 and i's radiosilence is that there isn't much to report at present. Other champions are taking testing bandwidth - and while we're definitely getting good iteration on the changes we have, it's not like Lucian, Yi, or other recently 'near-done' testpoints that need multiple balance tests. Generally for things like this it's 'Make change based on hypothesis -> test -> validate -> repeat' Validating what worked/didn't work with a particular iteration is the easy bit (Rengar without %AS on Q felt bad, Rengar with Q-train felt cool), but working on the next iteration to make sure it's still aligned with the changes but making progress can take time.
We're trying some crazy things. Namely, pretty much every human (even those who agree that Rengar stabbing with 0 warning is BS) has been to some degree opposed to the Icon/VO telegraph - and while it's definitely more fair playing against (and not near as detrimental as perceived), there's a lot of validity to the feeling of 'I want to be a hunter lion and this goes against my instinct that i will feel powerful'. It's only one solution out of a lot of them - I hear you guys on this one, and so we're trying alternate approaches to add the appropriate counterplay on the ultimate.
Larger update as soon as we have concrete stuff to show."