Red Post Collection: Soraka rework scheduled this year, 3rd Party Skin Site Warning, Chat Restrictions, and more!

Posted on at 3:25 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features Morello briefly discussing the future Soraka rework scheduled for later this year, Scruffy noting Urgot hasn't been forgotten, C3 Sound weighing in on the idea of Karthus Ult's VO lines being global, SquidmoX with a warning on 3rd party skin selling sites, Udyr confirming no advance June sale schedule, and Lyte discussing the recent wave of chat restrictions.
Continue reading for more information!

Soraka's future Rework

Morello hoped on the forums to chat about the 4.8 changes to Soraka's & her future rework.

He started off by explaining why her silence needed changes.
"Because this was something we really realized when working on Kassadin of how problematic it tends to be. There's more here, LeBlanc, Talon, etc, but we're trying to address them AS they become problems so we don't have these "wait, wtf, why are you nerfing Talon?" issues. 
Since we learn as we work on stuff, we tend to evolve our understanding of root causes on these issues over time - especially as player skill improves, and exposes things that were more manageable before. 
As for the damage changes, I'll have to ask Statikk - I only was really involved in the conversation around E. That might be to lower burst and increase total damage, but I do get that it risks TankRaka being insane."
He continued, mentioning Soraka's rework ( which has been mentioned in the past ) is tentatively scheduled for later this year:
"Valid feedback - I think the rework needs to solve "how does Soraka become healthy", which is prioritized for this year unless all Hell breaks loose. These nerfs should be targeted at unfightable mid-lane, and hitting the things that make her particularly oppressive there. 
One approach on these "busted" characters is the Kass/Grags approach we like. Nerf in the short term while we get the rework out as soon as it makes sense. Since we're actively working on a shipping plan for Soraka, this would be part of that."
In another thread directly asking about a rework for Soraka, Morello continued:
"Couldn't agree more. It's prioritized to be done this year as part of the gameplay reworks we're doing. 
We really bolstered this team up in the last few months - to the point they're the same size and scope of the Champions team. This is because there's so many like Soraka that need love - and that takes a concerted effort between art, design, engineering, sound and QA. Soraka is one of the most overdue champions to us because of both healing's identity in League and how long she's been in the game. 
100% with you here, and acting on it as we speak. It won't be out before the next few patches, but it's in the plan for releases this year."
In response to comments that "everything needs to change" about Soraka, Morello replied:
"In this, we agree :)"
He continued, talking a bit about keeping her focused on healing:
"We'd like to try to make healing work - this is extraordinarily difficult to make rich or interesting to anyone but Soraka. My stance on this is still really unhopeful, but we're exploring that first. 
I know of non-caster models in which healing can work, but feel that violates Soraka too."
Later he commented on an "infuse healer", a model where the healer transfers HP to another target instead of only a heal.
""Infuse healer" is one of my favorite models (in GW1, this was the most interesting healer strategically). It creates windows and big moments while still feeling very "healer.""
He continued:
"I'd be talking about as a rework as an infuse healer. It'd require a new kit to support (and likely a way to recover health with risk)."

As for ill feedback that Riot wants Soraka to "slowly die", Morello noted:
"It's kind of hilarious to see what the "intent" argument is. There is a thing to call us out on here, and it's that we've been chicken-shits (me included) about doing this rework because we know it's not going to be "here's a Soraka buff!" We've remedied that :)"

Urgot needs love too.

When asked about Urgot's exclusion from the "Champion Update... Update" post earlier this week, Riot Scruffy commented:
"Just because Urgot isn't currently in progress doesn't mean we've forgotten about him. It's really the hardest thing having so many champs that need love, but we would rather do them one at a time and focus on quality rather than rush them all out too fast.

We will definitely get to him in time, keep reminding us."

Regarding a global ult dialog for Karthus VU

When asked about getting Karthus' ultimate's VO lines to be heard globally when he ults, C3 sound commented:
"Global dialog is something we don't do very often, outside of say, Nocturn's Ult. If he had a one word Iconic line like DARKNESS, then it may be different. However, he has many lines for the ult, and most are much longer than just 1 word. One thing to consider is that by allowing global VO, it would be subjecting other players to hear someone else's full length VO lines whether they wanted to hear them or not. We definitely hear the feedback, and will give it a round of deliberation! Thanks for the feedback everyone!"

Warning about third party skin selling sites

SquidmoX popped into a reddit thread about 3rd party sites that sell skins to remind summoners on the danger of being scammed:
"Hi everyone - just wanted to chime in here. 
I work in Player Support and we see these skin sites all the time. I urge everyone here 
to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL before interacting with any of these sites.
Very often they are scammer sites and have acquired their skin codes through illegitimate means. We see cases all the time where players give sites like this their money and then never see the skin, or worse, provide their account to the scammers and lose it forever. 
Use common sense, and think twice before giving your personal information to someone you don't know. :D"
He continued:
"Selling skins is a violation of our terms of use, so I wouldn't recommend it. 
With regards to bringing the old skins out of the vault, this happens periodically. For example, with the recent launch of the SKT skins, we brought back the TPA skins from Season 2. Ditto for Harrowing, we brought out the older skins to join Haunted Zyra. 
We want these skins to feel exclusive and limited, that's why they may only be available for a limited time. They celebrate a specific point and time in League's history. Snowstorm Sivir or Lunar Goddess Diana wouldn't feel as special if you could purchase them year round. Sure we may make more money by making them more available, but we aren't about what makes the most money. We're about what creates the best experience for the players."
When summoners in the thread pointed out obtaining the rare Championship skins as a motive for using such sites, he commented:
"The Championship skins were used to celebrate the World Finals for each season. Given how limited they were, I doubt they will come back. 
But you have to think of it this way, if you attended Worlds last year and received your Thresh skin, how would you feel if at a later date it was just available for purchase? I do realize that this begs the question, what about those who couldn't attend Worlds. I can't promise anything, but Riot is aware of this problem and thinking about how we can create skins and content that don't alienate players."

No June Advance Sale Schedule

As you may recall, the eCommerce team tested out releasing an advanced schedule for the weekly sales during the month of May.

When asked about a similar schedule for June, Udyr commented they won't be doing one for June but will be looking over the results from May.
[ Tweet 1 ] "we need to look at the results from May. June will return to the previous sale announcements"

[ Tweet 2 ] "that being said, if results from May don't show any problems, we'll hopefully switch styles"

Lyte on Chat Restrictions

As noted in the "Updating the Tribunal" announcement, the new system that hands out restricted chat punishments has been hard at work and Lyte jumped into a forum discussion about it:
"The team's been monitoring the forums pretty heavily seeing if some of the early restricted chat experiments may have had some false positives; in your case, it was very easy to pull up chat logs in the past where you called players "noobs," repeatedly told players to report someone, and using language like "wtf are you doing."

In the games, sometimes you retaliate and act toxic towards other players who are also toxic, but just because someone else is like that doesn't make it OK for you to be. In fact, in many of these types of games, both you and that player ended up with restricted chat games because you're creating a terrible experience for the (up to) 8 other players in the game. 
EDIT ::: Note that there's some confusion about the above and what is considered negative. The player in question had numerous (hundreds) of examples of spamming negative language and being extremely negative in games. We try as much as possible not to simply copy-paste the worst examples of a player to not create a witch-hunt mentality. 
Players obviously are not handed a penalty just for saying the above 3 lines."

When asked how constant this sort of behavior has to be to get a chat punishment, Lyte noted:
"There were other examples that I just didn't feel like displaying. Calling someone noob or spamming report or throwing "wtf u doing" everywhere might not deserve a ban, but that's why the player received a few games of restricted chat and can still enjoy the game. If a person was throwing death threats out, the penalty would be different."

In a different thread, he shared  similar examples and more insight into phrases that are problematic:
"It's a great question, and one that I think needs more context. As others have mentioned, there's a difference between "wtf" once in a game, and: 
"wtf what are you doing" 
"wtf this yasuo noob" 
"report him pls" 
"****, do you even know how to play" 
"what the fuk, uninstall" 
Secondly, those examples were just a very small (1%) of the things that were flagged. As much as possible and especially in recent months, we've tried not to copy-paste a player's chat logs or their worst offenses because it creates a witch-hunt mentality. So, when I responded to the player with some general trends, they were an average chat log--players don't need to see copy-pastes of the player's entire list of offenses. 
To the original point, what do we expect out of players? Well, 95% of players were not affected by Tribunal bans, and about 95% were not affected by chat restriction experiments so far--clearly, most players are perfectly fine in matches and have no problem staying within bounds. 
We're not out to get offensive language, and we don't expect players to tip-toe around or offensive language. Many players say "****, missed that skill shot!" or "****, close fight, we almost had that!" and no one gets punished for such language.

Everyone that got hit by restricted chat bans recently clearly crossed the line. Whether it was the repeated nature of the language or the severity of the language, something triggered the system way beyond the norm of what your typical "teen" game should have.
He continued, explaining how things work behind the scenes:
"We'll look into revealing some context and information around some of the experiments in the future. We're trying a lot of different things while Tribunal is being upgraded, and "automated" was probably the wrong word to use. 
By "automated," we simply meant that it is possible for a penalty to be handed out more quickly after a negative action. Sometimes in the Tribunal a negative action would happen and it'd be a month before the player received a notification or feedback about it.

To give you brief glimpse into what one experiment is testing, first, we have to understand that the Reporting system is different than the Tribunal system. The Reporting system's sole job is to calculate a player's report accuracy, and a lot of fancy math has gone into the system to make sure that a report is only taken into account when it is accurate. So, if a player is a consistently negative player themselves, their reports might be worth less because the system may consider them a bad judge of others' behaviors. If a player troll reports and gets their 3 friends to troll report, the system will completely toss the reports out. All of the experiments that use reports benefit from the above system to make sure that players aren't able to just abuse someone with random reports.

Secondly, we have a system that's been analyzing millions of chat logs, and become quite good at detecting whether a conversation in a game is negative or positive. I presented some of this work at the previous Game Developer's Conference. It's an interesting system because the more chat logs you feed the system, the more accurate it becomes at determining whether a player communicates more positively or negatively than the average player in League of Legends.

As you can imagine, by combining reports, Player Support reviews, the chat log analysis and in-game metrics in different forms, we can do some pretty interesting (and accurate) experiments. In addition, when it comes to the player experience, we're always quite conservative with penalties. Let's say (for today's example) that a player can have a score between 1 and 100, where 100 is super awesome and 1 is super not awesome. Even though we might all agree that players 25 and below deserve a penalty, we've set all our experiments to be very conservative initially and penalize players 5 and below (as an example) so that we can slowly gauge the accuracy of the systems before we expand the thresholds.

Anyways, happy to figure out with the team which experiments would be cool to talk to players about in the future but for now, we're hoping that players are seeing an improved in-game experience."

When asked if restricted chat could be changed to allow players to chat but not spam, he commented:
"This is certainly a possibility, and something we've discussed; however, we have a lot of initial experiments in mind that we want to test out first and see what works best. If we end up needing a way for negative players to communicate with their team that isn't sufficient with the current chat restriction design, we can figure out a better solution.

I think many players forget that this isn't a full mute. A lot of studies went into restricted chat design to determine what is the right amount of chat 'resources' to give a player, and if players used their chat resources only for team play, they actually can manage pretty well. The current design forces negative players to consider whether they value teamplay (and winning!) more than being verbally abusive.. and we find that most players opt to use their chat resources for positive communication and end up winning more games than they did before."

When asked how accurate the restricted chat punishments have been so far, Lyte noted:
"Happy to discuss the accuracy because after reviewing a large sampling of the initial chat restrictions, the accuracy is greater than 99.9%--meaning, we didn't need to overturn or remove any chat restrictions."
He continued, replying to criticism over the metric of 99.9%:
"Happy to go into detail about the numerous sampling methods that are used to determine the accuracy of a system. We often use methods that are far more stringent than scientists use in academia because every action we take impacts a player's experience. 
For the early experiments (even way back when Tribunal first started), we reviewed and used multi-party reviews for 100% of cases. We even had numerous test-runs where multiple people had to review cases independently, then debate the cases where there were disagreements. 
Why assume that we 'only reviewed a few cases?'"
 He continued, again addressing his 99.% quote:
"There's a lot of reasons why something might be close to 100% accurate. I didn't say 100% because it's impossible for a system to have no errors unless we hand-checked every single case. 
However, let's say that the system only hands out penalties to 100 people at a time, and 99 of those cases are reviewed by at least 1 Player Support staff each time. In that case, if there are no false positives, we can say that the system was almost 100% accurate... or 99.9% accurate. 
Or, let's say that we're using a language analysis model that is highly sophisticated and analyzes millions of chat logs and determines the worst 1% of players that exhibited the most verbal abuse. If we then handed out chat game restrictions to the worst half (so the worst 0.5%) of the players, we can safely say that we probably did not have many false positives.

There's many, many ways you can have a system that's close to 100% accuracy. It all depends on the methodology and the context."
When asked why Riot chose to limit chat instead of temporarily banning players, Lyte explained:
"I think you're suggesting that if we were confident with our systems, we'd just ban players instead? 
We actually use restricted chat bans because they are more effective than game bans. We find that game bans nudge a lot of players to create smurf accounts and simply shift their negative behaviors to low levels and overall, that's a worst experience for the community. 
During restricted chat design testing, we tested several variants to ensure that the typical player had enough chat resources to communicate effectively with their team. The current setup (with smart pings) is decent for team communication for most players, although we acknowledge that junglers have a bit more difficulty in the current setup.

What's interesting to note is that many restricted chat players are actually winning more games than they were before being in restricted chat; so, I'm not as convinced as you are that the mode is hurting the rest of the team as much as you might believe."
He continued, answering a few questions:
Hey Lyte, I have a few questions.
1. are we able to see if we're on restricted chat?
2. is there a way to see where I stand as a player on the bar of toxicity? I generally try to keep it cool, but I have had my moments of retaliation or string of poor ranked games.
3. do you monitor champ select chat, and is there a correlation between communication in champ select and performance in game?
1) Yes, you'll get an in-game notification and see a progress update after each game. 
2) No, unfortunately progress like this makes it very easy for players to "skirt the line," and be negative until the point they are close to the line then drop their act until they are further from the line.

3) Yes, Champion Select chat is monitored and there's definitely a correlation between level of communication in Champ Select and in-game performance of a team."
When asked about the timeline for the new Tribunal updates to be in place, Lyte commented:
"New Tribunal is a ways out, we're working on some experiments (like the ones mentioned here) in the mean time to test several ideas that may end up being incorporated into the new system." 

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