Red Post Collection: Team Builder is Live, Statikk on Kassadin Rework, Xelnath Grab Bag, and more!

Posted on at 11:49 AM by Moobeat

In addition to a reminder Team Builder is now live on most servers, this afternoon's red post collection features Statikk discussing his thoughts on the Kassadin rework now that it's out on live, Xelnath with a grab bag of rework and champion discussion, Solcrushed with an update on the PBE Gragas rework, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Team Builder is live!

Over night, the Team Builder was enabled on most servers! It's now up on NA, EUW, EUNE, LAN, LAS, TR, OCE, BR and it's HERE TO STAY!

As mentioned in the last post: Be sure to check out the new Team Builder's brand new promo site for more information, including a run down of how the new queue works,  how Team Builder promotes better team play right from the get go, and much more!
< Click here to visit the Team Builder Promo Site >

Here's Lyte with more :
"Hey everyone, 
Going over the data from the recent Live Beta, the vast majority of players had a lot of fun and provided invaluable feedback. In light of this, we’re going to turn Team Builder back on (and keep it on!) and just continue working on additions to the system through patches. 
In this version of Team Builder, we’ve added the following:
  • You can now change summoner spells in a Team Builder Lobby
  • Changing summoner spells will not unready your team
  • Some buttons now have new sound effects!
  • There’s now a “Match Found” ceremony so that players know they are entering a match
We’ve also heard your feedback regarding matchmaking in Team Builder, and have done the following:
  • Team Builder will use a separate, Team Builder-specific MMR (but, we’ll use Normal MMR values to start off the queue)
  • A fix has been made to matchmaking to weight Summoner Levels more heavily
  • Captains that select “Any Role” will now find potential teammates more quickly
  • A bundle of optimizations to improve match quality overall
Based on your feedback, we’re working on some features for Team Builder that I’ll be happy to discuss in the future; but for now, see you in Team Builder and have fun!"

Kassadin Rework: Post Release Thoughts

Now that the Kassadin rework is out on live, Statikk riftwalked onto the forums to share why there wasn't much communication as it brewed on the PBE and how it's turning out post-release.
"Hey guys, 
Definitely apologize for our poor communication on the recent Kassadin changes. We actually had to really buckle down and focus to get him out in the last patch and we were really committed to changing him given the state he was in previous to the patch. It was really unfortunate that I also spent the majority of last week attending GDC which also made this worse. 
Anyway, let's get to talking about Kassadin and our perspective on where we're at.
Overall, we're actually very happy with the direction we've established with Kassadin. Enemies now have a lot more room to respond to him (now that they're not silenced) and he still has a unique feel to his kit (Mana Mobility Void Mage). 
Currently, we agree that he may be a bit undertuned, but we're still a little wary that the optimal way to play / build him hasn't been completely figured out yet so we want to give it a little bit more time to sit on the Live servers. Kassadin is honestly a very volatile champion when it comes to fine-tuning him. We have to make sure that he makes meaningful tradeoffs between (burst) damage and tankiness which can be tricky with champions who synergize / rely heavily on Mana itemization.

On a side note, I don't necessarily agree with statements that say Kassadin brings nothing to the table outside of mobility and damage because frankly, Force Pulse is an extremely powerful (and fairly repeatable) AoE slow that he brings to the table. 
In terms of balance, current thoughts lead me to believe his laning phase can be bolstered a bit (especially against champions who he should be good against) and that he takes a bit too long to ramp into his power spike. He may also not be being rewarded enough for closing the distance and actually getting into melee with his Nether Blade, but this is all a bit speculative at the moment. We definitely won't be doing anything in the next upcoming patch, but hopefully we'll have enough data and feedback to assess him for the patch after. 
Want to really give shout outs to the Kassadin players that have stuck with him through the change. Hopefully the rework has managed to keep his uniqueness and we will definitely be following up to ensure we are delivering on the best Kassadin experience possible. Really appreciate the support from you guys even when we have to do crazy / tough changes like this. 
He continued:
"I agree the insane mobility is what players playing against him are worried about, at the same time it's largely the reason why players that play him do so. We have to constantly weigh both of these experiences when we make changes to the game.

With the recent changes, we made Kassadin have to give up a lot of things in order to retain his throne as the king of mobility. Hopefully we've put in enough tradeoffs there such that Kassadin (when balanced appropriately) won't just dominate every game he's in."

Xelnath Grab Bag

As we've grown accustomed to, Xelnath spent a good chunk of last night jumping around the forums answering all sorts of summoner questions and sharing his opinion on various champions:

To kick things off, he chatted a bit about the Lee Sin changes and reworks in general:
"Oh wow, what a polite post! Let's discuss. 
Reworks are important because often these characters have issues that drown out other character, force severe power reductions or have weak trade-offs for the power they have.

Gragas had all of the tankyness of a bruiser combined with the AP burst sniping mechanics that trump all but Veigar. That's a bad trade-off, so the champion needs to be adjusted. Nerfs alone leave champions in unclear states. So that's not a great place for them to be. We're better off when we clearly recognize the vision for that character and reinforce it. 
Lee Sin changes are targetted at letting other champions play in the jungle too. Lee Sin's dominance is pretty much destroying tank jungles wholesale (when was the last time you saw Nautilius? I assure you, he's still quite strong). However, the ward hopping antics are frankly wildly warping his power level - worsened when we released trinkets.

So our first pass of changes, targets the ward hopping directly and makes sure Lee Sin loses something when he uses his shield aggressively without an ally around.

So again - these reworks are the best way of re-identifying the fantasy of the character. Different designers have executed on reworks in different ways and while I obviously have my opinion about the best way of handling them, Reworks are harder than building a champion from scratch - there's so much baggage there.

Ghostcrawler has been interviewing candidates and helping with organizational stuff - and I hear he's been fantastic at it. However, Morello is closer to day-to-day nerfs than Ghosty-kun is.

Love that you were so polite about this, happy to reply to thoughtful, considerate posts like this."

As for his thoughts on Singed, he commented:
"Singed is great and strong. 
He rewards building mana on him with tankyness. Unparalleled survivability skills.

Great champion, unique feel, don't chase."

Xelnath also shared his opinion on Zilean, saying:
"Yeah, Zilean's pretty outdated now. The question is - should he be a support or a mage?

I'm not sure myself. I think his theme has some amazing ideas in it tho though which haven't been pushed to the limits tho."

As for Janna, he commented:
"Janna remains one of the highest win rate champs in the game. Her identity is cool. Fragile, protective.

Not sure why she's not popular. Suspect meta related? HurricaneJanna keeps telling me Janna is overnerfed... but data is pointing at the opposite."

When asked for this thoughts on the highly debated Skarner rework, Xelnath commented:
"I dunno who the 2000ish people playing him yesterday were, but they had just shy of a 51% win rate overall. 
Skarner's problem is multifold:
* His permaslow tank style wasn't a great one
* Most players picked him only for this aspect of his character
* Players who were hooked on that unfair power won't like it being fixed
* What Skarner's role is now hasn't been made clear 
It seems like Skarner should be a kidnapper - rush into the enemy, snag someone, forcing his allies to lock the target into place, or the enemy team to rush in to save the champion.

This is what his play pattern should encourage - snag someone with E, run into range with "W", Grab with "R", run back to team before shield breaks, Q to deal damage while allies hold enemy in place.

In some ways, that function was self-sustained due to the impossible-to-save-yourself permaslow he had before. Now he requires allies to lock the enemy down. This is a much better in terms of coop play - it makes sense. However, its a big shift from the memories players had before.

It's also kind of a reverse bruiser pattern - "I don't run into you and **** someone up, I run them into me and my team". So that means he's probably a bruiser now, who are the least clearly defined class."
When asked how he came to this conclusion, he replied:
"I should clarify. Most players who are complaining heavily about Skarner seem to keep pointing to this nature as the OP factor that drove them to this character.

That's not a great thing for Skarner. Skarner's unique factor is his kidnapping - that feels like it should be the appeal of his kit. "
He continued:
"Also, idk why, but Skarner's win rate in Brazil is dramatically higher than any other region right now.

Maybe you should ask them what they're building?"

[ Update ] He also added in:
"Good points. 
The win rates indicate he's winning games at about the level he should be for the mechanics + tuning he has now.

His old tuning as a permaslow tank being a frustrating mistake on our part is fair, but just because people liked a bad thing doesn't mean you should go back to serving it.

If you wanted Skarner to gain more power, it would need to come in the form of trade-offs. Where do you think he deserves to be weaker to gain power elsewhere?

P.S. Not making promises here, but I do want to see where you think he should suffer to gain an advantage elsewhere."

When asked for his opinion on Quinn, Talon, and Viktor, he replied:
"Well, I wasn't going to answer, but now I will. 
Quinn - she seems to be fulfilling her niche, it just isn't popular (toplane marksman / duelist finisher AD) 
Talon - this man is god tier still. When I see a talon in my games, I know we're probably going to lose.

Viktor.... I feel that Viktor is a random hodge-podge of abilities that don't click well together. Kind of the Shaco of midlane. For that reason, I don't know what he's supposed to be good at or weak at.

He probably needs some love, but I know current Viktor players are pretty attached to him, because of his hard-to-use control mechanisms. I don't feel that's a great philosophy for bundling power into a character (it just delays how long it takes for ppl to enjoy it, rather than making it a different experience)

So he's not presently on anyone's short-term radar, though we've talked about him a few times."

Xelnath also replied to someone asking if ultimate cooldowns are standardized - i.e the team strives to keep them all near one consistent cooldown time.
"No, ult cooldowns are tweaked to be appropriate for the power level of that ability. 
If ult cooldowns are equal, allow me to simulate the game. 
[Lul of boredome] 
[Lul of boredom]

It's really a good thing that Ultimate cooldowns are very different - it means there's a lot more variance to create opportunities and "catches" when an enemy is off guard or without a powerful ult."

As for revive passives and guardian angels, he mused:
"+1 life passives aren't the greatest ones ever. After we did a couple in short-succession, I think we realized that. 
Zac's does its job - distract you to attack the bloblets or let him tank. The minigame is kind of fun. 
Aatrox needs his mechanically to function as a drain melee.

GA - is a necessary tool in a game where burst assassins exist. Without it, glass cannon builds mid and mid-late game couldn't exist. There would always be a point where glass cannon gets wrecked by an assassin, no matter how far behind you kept him.

That said, I think burst assassins are frustrating and annoying when they can overlap all of their burst damage in one blast. (Talon, Akali, Lux, Nidalee) Healthier assassins deal their damage over time, e.g. Kha'zix, Xerath, etc - and succeed more on getting the target alone. 
These are just my opinions though. I'd be way too frustrated in a game without GA as a option when winning."

Update on PBE Gragas Rework

Riot Solcrushed rolled back into the "[Hopefully 4.5] Gragas Rework Feedback Thread" to drop off a a few comments on feedback and what he's been up to:
"Sorry for being unable to respond in more detail to you guys, there are some great points made in here. 
I'm currently focusing on making his skins work and making sure his new animations and particles (yes, particles) are awesome.

Also doing cleanup on W and E to make them less clunky. For example, Gragas will now auto acquire targets after using E differently depending on whether he has W buff. Try it out and tell me how you guys like it."

PBE Feedback

In response to a big chunk of player feedback, Riot Riscx chatted a bit about the PBE, issues for testers outside of NA, and  and more.
"Hey there, 
I just wanted to say your opinions are definitely being heard. 
About the ping, I know how it sucks to play with 200 ping but I dont think a resolution on that one is likely in the near future, unfortunately. We dont have any plans that I am aware of to move the PBE out of NA. 
I think, per post ratio, the PBE forums are the most active 'red' forums overall (this is a guess though, I could be wrong). Virtually every team at Riot comes to PBE forums when their item is being tested here, as you can see via all those sticky threads above. I work on the Release QA team, and I think a decent number of QA folks from the teams lurk on these forums at any given time. I can tell you that every single bug report thread is read and investigated, even if the response rate is not 100%. 
We are always looking for ways to make the PBE more effective for players, both PBE players and live players - ultimately, how early the content arrives to the PBE is up to the teams for their content, so I cant give you a more affirmative answer on this one. 
I also think certain content benefits more from extra-early exposure, and some doesnt. For instance login screens - I dont believe they benefit from going to PBE a month or more in advance. 
Overall though, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback, and for taking the time to participate in the PBE process :)"

Context on Vel'Koz Textures and Quinn

fafafafrani, an art producer, commented on a thread sharing why Vel'Koz got updates to his textures right after release and  if there is any new on possible updates for Quinn:
"Hey there,So I got an update. 
Basically, to clarify why Vel'koz got his TU so quickly, if was because the right texture didn't go out when he was released, because they missed it, so they only gave him a TU because he didn't have the correct version. 
Also, as I stated previously, texture updates are done by the relaunch team and they have a list of priorities that they are following, and Quinn's textures aren't at the top of the list. 
However, a lot of times, a texture artist will take it on as a side project and work on it, so there is already someone who is going to be taking Quinn's textures on as a side project, I just don't know when they'll be done (since it depends on their bandwidth) 
But, yes, please know that someone is on it and we hope to update her texture very soon(tm)
I really appreciate everyone taking the time to explain the concern over her look and we want to fix it I promise! 


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