Red Post Collection : "Let's Talk About the Design of Team Builder", Lich Bane Changes, Trinket Changes on PBE, and more!

Posted on at 12:14 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features Lyte discussing the design of Team Builder now that the two day live beta tests are starting up, CertainlyT offering up more context on the tentative Lich Bane changes, Xypherous with an explanation of the PBE Trinket changes, Ququroon with a comment that VU Heimerdinger's hastened run animation is only for Homeguard, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

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Let's Talk about the Design of Team Builder

[ Note : As of posting, the Team Builder live test has started on RU and EUNE! ]

With Team Builder's live, two-day beta test kicking off this week, Lyte has jumped on the forums to discuss team builder and open up the floor for any questions summoners may have about the new queue system.
"Hey everyone, 
Lyte here, and I'm excited to say that we're rolling out a 48-hour Team Builder live beta. For specifics like the timing of the live beta, head here. Team Builder is a new queue where you can queue up for a specific champion, position and role. After letting the system know what you want to play, you can build your own balanced team or join an existing one where everyone's bought in on where they're going and what they're playing. 
Great teamwork doesn't start when the minions spawn or at the first big teamfight. It starts in Champion Select. Champion Select sets the tone of the game and greatly impacts whether you feel like you're going to have a fun match. We've been doing a lot of research on Champion Select, and identified 2 key areas we'd like to improve with Team Builder: 
  • Time pressure is bad for communication. In the ideal Champion Select, everyone gets their preferred role and feels like they're on the same page for the match; however, if multiple players are looking to play the same role or lane, it's extremely difficult to come to an agreement when the clock is ticking. 
  • We weren't taking into account player intention. Everyone enjoys League differently. Some players play to win every single game; other players want to try out new creative strats, or practice that new champion they just got. We needed a system that could match like-minded players together so that if you wanted to try a crazy new strat, you could find 4 other players who wanted to do the same thing.
Team Builder is our take on a new Champion Select--it's intended to bring players together that complement each other's expectations and intentions the moment they enter the lobby. The system removes time pressure, giving teams the flexibility to figure out what they want to do and find the best teammates for the job. During the Live beta, we'll also be collecting matchmaking data on every champion, position and role combination so that we can roll out a smarter matchmaking system that can dynamically account for your experience with a given role, position or champion. First time playing Ahri? Learning Marksman for the first time? Team Builder's matchmaking will take all these factors into account to make sure you have a great experience. 
Our goal for Team Builder is to bring players together and build better teams. Team Builder empowers players to have more control over their experiences, so that you can play League of Legends the way you (and your friends!) want. 
We're super excited to play Team Builder with you, and look forward to your feedback in this 48-hour live beta. The team will be available in this thread to answer any questions you might have about Team Builder, and if you find any bugs in the live beta please let us know!
Now, who wants to compete against my Double Jungle comp? 
Lyte"
He continued, mentioning several of the Rioters who helped bring the new system to life:
"Make sure to thank the following Rioters for their help in getting Team Builder this far! It’s been my honor to work with these Rioters on this project.

btab, ceciliaicy, davin, DoctahWayne, Drevarius, Fr3nchT0ast, Goggalor, MissMechaZero, RiotBahamut, RiotBlackrook, RiotComplex, RiotExLibris, RiotId, RiotJayway, RiotLobster, RiotLulu, RiotMartlet, RiotNeuroCat, RiotNoyz, RiotSeb, RiotTantram, RiotWorldPeace, Ryedan, scezumin, statuskwoh, stochasticmx, VonBurgermeister, Yegg and Yupster."

When asked if Team builder will ever be ported over and applied to ranked/draft modes, Lyte commented:
"The current version of Team Builder focuses on champion select, and not on drafting or counterpicking. Given that those are critical to the strategy of competitive game modes, we aren't sure how Team Builder will work in Ranked modes just yet but it's something we're thinking about."

When asked if Team Builder is "seperate from ranked q", he replied:
"Yes, Team Builder will be its own queue. Depending on what we learn from the system, we may adapt some of the lessons to the other queues."
He continued, explaining it is similar to Normal Blind Pick:
"This is right, the rules are similar to Normal Blind Pick, so opposing teams can have the same champion but you cannot have duplicate champions on the same team."

Lyte also commented on why the Team Builder Live test posts don't include exact times or dates and instead use the image above:
"Haha, to be fair, this is an extremely complicated Live Beta and we've never done anything like this before. We basically wanted to make sure that the team was on standby for each live beta and we could hop on and fix any issues that might pop-up while also ensuring that we had Rioters available to answer any questions players might have. 
Because of the nature of the beast, we may have to pause the entire schedule if we need to fix a critical bug, or if we find out we need to take the system down for maintenance. Instead of posting hard dates that we may have to shift constantly on a daily basis, instead we posted a visual timeline that we'll update as we go, and we just want to make sure every server gets the best 48 hours possible (and we get the most data we can out of the tests too).

Right now, no servers are live yet. We're aiming for EUNE and RU first, and when their live betas finish and assuming no issues, we'll start EUW and TR."

Riot Blackrook also jumped in, responding to someone noting they "primarily fill" in team comps:
"In my opinion Team Builder still has insane potential to improve your experience. Even if you don't care what role you play, the other people on your team might. Team Builder ensures that everyone else on you team is happy with the composition of the team which should mean a better experience for you in more games.

i.e. No more losing games because some one "only plays mid/top""

Miss Mecha Zero also commented on the notion of people queuing for team builder as one position then going to another and the freedom of your role selection options:
"Since you're building consensus with your team from the beginning, everyone should be on board with what they're playing and where before the captain enters you into matchmaking. We will be monitoring player selections and behavior throughout the live beta tests.

You can select any champion you want for any available role or position - although we suggest the most commonly played role, you are free to decide where and how you'd like to queue. "
She continued, explaining you can also choose to jump out of a queue if you aren't satisfied with your team's composition:
"^This is closer to what the feature's behavior is - you will be brought into a lobby and can decide to stay or click "Find Another Group" if you'd prefer another composition. I don't want to comment too heavily on specific feature behavior, though, because I want you all to get to try out the feature with fresh eyes :)"

More Context on Lich Bane Changes

CertainlyT popped into a front page reddit post to share more context on the Lich Bane nerfs that are currently being tested out on the PBE.
"This is close to correct. First, here is the present plan for Lichbane (obviously this could change): We are altering the item's proc from 50 (+0.75 AP) to 0.75 Base AD (+0.5 AP) 
Why are we are nerfing Lichbane? 1) We've always favored the Sheen line of items as sustained damage tools. They are designed to be used by casters who basic attack and basic attackers who cast and to be optimized by getting in a solid rhythm surrounding the 2 second internal cooldown. In the case of Lichbane, we've observed just the opposite: the item is being used mainly on champions that can secure a kill off one proc, meaning the gameplay of delaying a spell or trying to elongate combat to allow a second or third proc is not present. Without this, we aren't comfortable letting players access something so powerful without a high cooldown (such as that seen on DFG). 2) We've looked back at our balance changes over the past year or so and realized that we were continually having to nerf the damage output of Lichbane users due to their burst (TF/Fizz/Kayle/etc). These nerfs just deepened their dependence on the item. Eventually one of our QA analysts, RiotRepertoir (a Kayle main himself), got fed up with this pattern and set to work re-balancing Lichbane with the understanding that we would have to go back and add power into the kits of champion's we've toned down due to the item. The changes on the PBE reflect a first pass in that direction. We've intentionally left some non-core Lichbane users like Akali and Ziggs out of the present round of changes because we are not positive what she looks like with the new Lichbane. 
Where does this leave you all, the community of players, many of whom are Lichbane lovers? Well, we would like your feedback on both the changes to the item and to the champions we've identified as big losers due to the changes. If you have an account, feel free to hop on the PBE and play a few games with the item. If you don't, you are also welcome to stop by the PBE forums and offer feedback on Repertoir's direction for the item and the set of core Lichbane using champions as well."

Trinket Changes on PBE

As you may have noticed, Trinkets have been changed on the PBE to being disabled for the first 120 seconds up from the first 90 seconds.

Here's Xypherous with a few comments on this change:
"Change is intentional.

We interviewed several of the european and korean teams in the competitive level - and general consensus among them was that a 2 minute trinket timer would enhance early game strategy and lead to a better invasion phase. Granted, that's their best guess and well as ours - so there's definitely the possibility that we're just flat out wrong.

However, since this isn't something that's easy to test in most environments, we'll just have to see how the pros handle the change and whether or not the behavior is intuitive."

[Update] Heimerdinger's Homeguard Movement Animation

Heimerdinger's Homeguard animation, featuring the DINGR rocket.
Over on reddit, Ququroon has confirmed that Heimerdinger's hastened run effect ( normally available over a certain movement speed threshold ) is now exclusively tied to having the Homeguard enchantment on his boots.
"It's just Homeguard. We've manually set a few runs to only work during Homeguard because it 'locks' you out of attack animations."
He continued:
"Several champions have Homeguard specific runs (Yi, Sivir, Garen), but they're generally just longer strides to accommodate the much higher speeds. 
In Heimerdinger's case, we had the idea to do something really drastic that he normally wouldn't be able to do mid-combat. I know that it creates a situation where Homeguard has unique animations, but it does create a unique creative space for animators."

Who worked on the Skarner Rework

In a forum thread asking who all worked on the recent Skarner rework, Xelnath chimed in:
"It's inefficient to have too many people communicating about one champion.

Internally, Volty and I both helped with the breakdown of Skarner. Scruffy did prototyping and refinement, then I forget who did the game health/balancing.

Clearly he came out slightly underpowered, so we've buffed his slow a bit.

On both Rengar and Xerath, you saw a change in communication because ownership transferred during the visible stages of the rework.

Cheers,
Xelnath"

Riot Scruffy continued the conversation, saying:
"Skarner was actually worked on by multiple people. Like Xelnath said, he and Volty helped out a lot with the early mechanics discussions. Later, balance designers were very involved in the number tuning after the mechanics had been figured out.

Generally all reworks or new champions involve multiple designers, engineers, artists, and producers to complete."

When asked if the team is still monitoring Skarner after the buffs to his rework in patch 4.3, Scruffy commented:
"Absolutely, we need to let the 4.3 changes settle and see how much effect they had."

Riot Scruffy also scuttled over to the "Skarner Rework Follow Through" thread to comment:
"Hey all, were still monitoring Skarner and seeing how much effect the 4.3 changes had (looks like a good amount so far). Expect more changes in upcoming patches if he is not powerful enough."

New Audio Feedback Forum

Here's Praeco with an announcement about the launch of the new "Audio Feedback" forum on NA!
"Hello Summoners! 
We would like to welcome you to the Audio Feedback forum. 
This is the place to discuss the audio world of League of Legends. We would love to hear your feedback on everything from sound effects, voice-over lines, music and everything else that strikes you sonically remarkable. 
Fire away!"
 He continued, replying to a comment about the music in Summoner's Rift sounds dated compared to the other maps:
"You may or may not have a point there, I admit."
C3Sound, an associate Sound Designer, jumped in to the thread to answer the question about audio updates and they will ever come independently of VU/Reworks:
"Quote:

Are there any plans to do audio redoes on a case by case basis? I've noticed that most audio changes are just piggybacking off of vu's or vfx changes.(eg. Xerath and Heimerdinger) Do you think we could see updates in audio for champs that are old but aren't high on the list for vu's/reworks? 
Hey Javarino! 
I transitioned over to the Relaunch Team as their sound designer back around the Master Yi rework (Sans a few like Garen and Siver), and I can say that there is definitely a very intricate and carefully crafted system in place now on how we move forward with Reworks, VU's, Relaunches, TU's, etc.

That being said, a lot of work goes into relaunching an older champion. This takes the focus and prioritization of the entire team. Each stage from concept to model, animation, particles, sounds/VO, and everything in between is reviewed and critiqued together. For example, the concept artist is just as invested in the VO/sfx as I am, and vise versa. And while the VO process starts soon after the project kick-off, much of the time the next project has already been started by the time the project is ready for sound effects. So imagine a tall cascading waterfall and you can kind-of get an idea of how it works. 
That was a bit of a long winded answer to say that much of our work and efforts are linked. And for good reason. If I were to re-make old audio for a champion that will be reworked 3 months later, and the timing of the spells, particles/visuals change... this may cause major discrepancies within my 3 month old sound design, and I would have to re-make everything again. It just isn't as efficient to work that way as it is to move as a team. Especially since we want to make sure the quality bar we are raising and the experience we are delivering is the most cohesive and consistent one we can provide.

Javarino, that was an excellent question! It's safe to say that, for now, Relaunch Team audio will usually be piggy-backed on larger scale changes to a character. However, there always could be exceptions to the rule! ;P"

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