Showdown & Magma Chamber Info

Posted on at 5:46 PM by Moobeat
For those of you who have been wondering about the Magma Chamber project with S4 right around the corner, Riot has published that they will not be continuing development on the Magma Chamber Map.
Here's a small snip from the article:
"Ultimately, we concluded that Magma Chamber simply isn’t the right place for us to further develop a great 1v1/2v2 experience and the mode itself isn’t sustainable as a permanent feature. So, after many discussions and a lot of fact checking, we’re halting development of the Magma Chamber map you saw at last year's All-Star Game. That doesn't mean that a lot of you (and us) didn’t have fun dueling it out on Howling Abyss and we really want to bring back 1v1/2v2 in the future."
Continue reading for the full announcement & Brackhar's statistics behind Showdown's popularity.

Here's the full announcement:
"In December, we debuted our second Featured Game Mode, Showdown. We wanted to share some results from the mode's first run, and give an update on the...less icy map we showed off at the2013 All-Star Game and said we’d launch before the next season. 
The idea for a 1v1/2v2 map originated from a Thunderdome project and ended up evolving into what you saw at the 2013 All-Star Game. At the time, the Featured Game Modes project was just kicking off and the team decided to take a deeper dive into a 1v1/2v2 game mode. They discovered a few things:
  • Pros (and internal play testers) actually preferred the longer lanes, health packs and brush of Howling Abyss
  • Magma Chamber ran alright on the nigh-supercomputers pros were playing on, but it was far from optimized and had a slew of unforeseen performance issues

There were also a few questions that needed answers:
  • Would 1v1/2v2 be a popular and replayable mode for players?
  • What's the correct map layout? Should players be able to choose a lane on Summoner’s Rift? Should there be health pickups? Brush?
  • What's the optimal rule set for a 1v1 or 2v2 matchup?

So we had to make a decision - we wanted to try out a game mode like this, but creating a mode-specific map represented a significant commitment when we weren't sure the game mode was going to be something players wanted. Since players seemed really interested in a 1v1/2v2 experience, we chose to try the game mode out on Howling Abyss - an art-complete and optimized map - to gather player feedback and data. 
Showdown was a relatively short-lived experience for most players. Tons of players tried Showdown out when it was first released, but, after only a week, players worldwide spent less than 1% of all in game time on Showdown. Generally, we heard good feedback about the 1v1/2v2 gameplay on Howling Abyss as compared to Magma Chamber. Players also had ideas about continued improvement of the 1v1/2v2 experience such as being able to do specific top, mid or bot lane matchups on SR. 
Ultimately, we concluded that Magma Chamber simply isn’t the right place for us to further develop a great 1v1/2v2 experience and the mode itself isn’t sustainable as a permanent feature. So, after many discussions and a lot of fact checking, we’re halting development of the Magma Chamber map you saw at last year's All-Star Game. That doesn't mean that a lot of you (and us) didn’t have fun dueling it out on Howling Abyss and we really want to bring back 1v1/2v2 in the future. 
(If you’re interested in the complete breakdown of our Featured Game Modes data as well as some information on the future of Showdown, check out Brackhar’s post.) 
We know we changed our minds after making a commitment and we’re sorry. We hate doing it. The biggest promise we make, and the one that makes us believe this is the right decision, is that we aspire to be the most player-focused game company in the world. We’re always trying to make decisions that we think are in the best interest of players and in this case, we think that the best path forward is to perfect 1v1/2v2 as a Featured Game Mode. We’re excited about future possibilities and there are already more projects in the works we think you guys will love."

Showdown Statistical Breakdown

Brackhar moved to back up the statistic mentioned in the article with his own post:
"Hey Everyone! 
With Snowdown now a few weeks behind us, I wanted to talk with you guys about how the mode was received, some of the feedback that was given and what our future plans are for the experience. This post uses One For All as a comparison point, so you'll get to see some neat data there as well. So without further ado, let's dive in! 
First, let's start by discussing the feedback we received from the Micro Feedback Tool (MFT). The MFT is a tool where we pose a simple statement to players like "The game of Showdown I just played was fun," and ask them to rate their agreement on a scale from 1 to 5. We use the MFT for almost every feature we release, and it's a great way for us to hear player's first impressions. 
For any featured game mode we create, there are three main questions we ask via the MFT: Was the game fun, did it feel different from other game modes, and would you like to play it again. We then collect data at three different times during the event: once when the event starts, once midway through, and once at the end. This helps us understand how player sentiment changes as exposure to the game mode increases, and it can be very useful in separating out novelty appeal. 

Generally speaking, we view a response above 4.0 as representing strong agreement in the community, and as you can see above, both 1v1 and 2v2 scored very well on all metrics. Additionally, each question remained stable throughout the different time periods on all questions, meaning, the people who continued to play Showdown enjoyed the mode and left with a favorable opinion. 2v2 generally scored slightly better on each of these questions which we expected given the increased amount of combat interaction. This leads us to believe that Showdown is a candidate for returning sometime in the future. 
Next, let's take a look at some play data and see how it compared to One For All.
This is the first time we've shown data like this, so let me give some context. One of the more common metrics we use to measure a game mode's appeal is the number of minutes a player spends playing each particular mode. By looking at the percent of time they spend in any particular experience, we can judge how it holds up against other game modes. Additionally, "minutes played" allows us to compare game modes with drastically different game lengths without biasing in one direction or another. One For All fares very well by this metric, averaging almost 23.4% of all playtime across all regions. Showdown also fared well, though it only accounted for about 2.3% of all play during the time period. 
Because much of the appeal of these game modes comes from the novelty aspect, we also do a breakdown of playtime across the lifetime of a mode to see how it falls off. The below graph shows the average play time of both One For All and Showdown as a product of time.
As you can see, both One For All and Showdown had a high spike in playtime when they were first turned on, with One For All accounting for 37% and Showdown 8% on their respective first days. As time passed the amount of time both modes were played decreased. One For All lost 75% of its playtime and Showdown lost 90% by the end. This drop-off for both modes is a pretty good indicator that these modes are likely better suited as short-term events rather than permanent game modes. If the modes were left on permanently, the queue times for each would be pretty atrocious after a few more weeks. 
All of the above is in line with how we generally expect featured game modes to perform, and this type of data helps us determine what to pursue next. Both modes successfully delivered on being fun, memorable experiences, and my team wants to thank all of you who played and gave your feedback. We really appreciate your support. 
Speaking of feedback, a number of you wrote to us and gave your ideas on how we could improve Showdown in the future. I'd like to let you guys in on some of the early ideas we're discussing. 
  • The amount of time spent in champion select was too long for how long the games were.
  •  After playing a number of games after release, this is a point we definitely agree with. One idea we're discussing right now is potentially making each match a best of 3 or best of 5 competition instead of a one-off, which should help while also opening up some interesting counter play opportunities. There are a number of variants we could use also, from letting you bring in multiple champions that you cycle between to not resetting gold and xp so late game champions/builds could potentially shine more. All are open to discussion.
  • Players wanted an experience more like top/mid/bot on SR.
  • We're pretty happy with the hybrid experience we created by doing Showdown on Howling Abyss, but we also understand the desire to have a matchup that is more true to the lanes of Summoner's Rift. One thing we're discussing is potentially having Showdown return on SR with different queues for top, mid or bot lane matchups. That way people who really do want to see who is the best mid-laner can, and no one will be able to use the excuse that they lost because of the health packs or brush differences.
  • It'd be great to have a ladder showing progress.
  • This is definitely a cool idea and one we want to pursue. Our team doesn't have any web developers on it so we'd have to negotiate with some of the other teams here at Riot, but there's value here for sure!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to sharing more data with you in the future! 

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