This afternoon's red post collection features Lyte with an overview of the recent Team Builder updates and the new role based summoner icons, the patch rundown for 4.13, a heads-up that a set of eight Korean eSports summoner icons is now available, and Fearless with a few comments on the Sona rework now that it is on live.
Building a better Team Builder
[ Note: The Team builder updates are being rolled out to servers individually, if it isn't up on your server yet it should be soon ( tm ) . At the time of posting, seems like it's up on NA / EUNE /RU]
"With significant improvements coming to the Team Builder experience, we’re re-inviting you to give the new queue a try. We’ve listened to the feedback throughout the live beta test and launch, and we continue to tinker with ways to improve Team Builder. Some of the changes we’ve implemented relate to matchmaking, others combat long queue times. In at least one case, we’re making it easier to find friends to play a Team Builder match.
- “Demand Board” -- A new feature showing which roles are in highest demand, allowing players to “fill” if they want
- “Enhanced Play Again” -- Captains can choose from a “Recently Played” list filled with players they can one-click invite to the next game
- “Smarter Matchmaking” -- The system that recognizes your familiarity with each role, position and champion, adjusting your MMR based on your experience. Smarter Matchmaking’s improved the way the system finds appropriate opponents, using this new, more accurate gauge of skill
To make sure you’re getting into game fast enough to feel these changes, we also overhauled the rules for adding solo players to teams. We’ve seen improved queue times across the board, and if you want to read more, check out my deep dive into all of the changes in this update.
With new reasons to start using Team Builder, we’ve designed a series of new summoner icon rewards for playing the queue. Because Team Builder’s champion select accounts for role, the new rewards are earned by playing your way. After you play five games as one role, tracked in-client, you’ll unlock the icon of that role instantly. And yes, if you’re more of a generalist (or a completionist), you can unlock all six icons.
So join us in the revamped Team Builder, and show off your favorite role with your new icons!"
Lyte elaborated on these new features over on the forums, saying:
It's been a few months since Team Builder's Beta launch, and I'd love to spend some time with you to talk about the system. There's a lot to cover, so the TL;DR for those of you who want to get back on the Rift: We've added a slew of new features to Team Builder that improved queue times, match quality and building a team itself. There's also something I think is pretty awesome that I won't spoil up here. You'll have to read until the end for that one.
When we launched the Team Builder Beta, we knew that there'd be a few hiccups; however, we were also at a point where we'd been in development for a while and were eager for player feedback so you could build Team Builder with us.
Let's back up a bit to an earlier part of the story: When we were designing the system, we decided on a goal of "six minutes or less." From when a player hits "Play" and decides to start or join a team in Team Builder, we wanted them to be at the loading screen in six minutes or less. We chose this goal because when we analyzed Normal Blind Pick and Ranked Queues, queue times were only a few minutes or less depending on the server, but it took at least another minute and a half to play through the Champion Select or Drafting phases. So in Normal Blind Pick or Ranked, it already took three to five minutes to get to the loading screen and we assumed a few extra minutes wouldn't feel too slow. We were wrong.
Fast forward to the initial weeks of Team Builder Beta: there were a few issues with queue times and match quality. First, matchmaking in Team Builder wasn't taking into account Summoner Levels, so we had quite a few matches where Level 20-29s were thrown into matches with Level 30s. Second, although the average (and median) queue times were five and six minutes, players that were high or low MMR had pretty severe issues trying to start or find a team in Team Builder. Sometimes, it would take these players upwards of 20+ minutes just to find a match. Some players might think high MMR is Challenger, but in fact, even Gold-level players were having difficulties with the system. These experiences were unacceptable by our standards, and we quickly realized in the data that the problem was the matchmaking system.
But we were also facing some pretty heavy psychological challenges, and I want to walk through what those were. Throughout the Team Builder Beta, we sent out surveys to try to quantify a player's experiences with the system. One question repeatedly came up for us: why did players rate the Team Builder experience as "slow," even when the overall time to get into a game was only one or two minutes slower than Blind Pick?
This cognitive bias is due to something we call passive waiting versus active waiting. In Blind Pick, players can often instalock and then AFK to browse a website, go to the bathroom or grab a drink. We call this passive waiting. However, in Team Builder, players have to actively wait in the lobby while the team is being formed so that they can accept or decline a player and chat with teammates. Because you are actively attending to Team Builder during the team building period, six minutes in Team Builder seems much longer than six minutes in the Blind Pick flow.
So we had a matchmaking quality issue and a psychological problem to solve, what did we do?
Well, we're still working on the active waiting versus passive waiting issue, but we're happy to say that for many players, queue times in Team Builder are now as fast as Blind Pick, and in some cases faster, because of two changes. First we implemented a feature that shows what roles are in demand by teams, allowing solo players to "fill" when they want. Then we created a completely new, custom matchmaking criteria for Team Builder that dramatically improved the queue times for high and low MMR players. Averages are now three and four minutes, and even players above 1800 MMR have queue times in Team Builder around five minutes.
Along with the queue time matchmaking improvements, we fixed the Team Builder matchmaker to accurately account for Summoner Level and we've tweaked a number of dials to improve match quality--meaning more balanced teams and appropriate challenges for both sides.
We've been experimenting with other features in Team Builder for a while now, and we've added one of them that we think will help make Team Builder even better. With "Suggested Players," you'll see a box in your Team Builder lobby filled with players we believe you'll have a positive experience with. A one-click invite adds them to your team before you start searching for solo players. We'll expand this feature over time, and could possibly go into detail on the algorithms in the future if there's enough interest.
In light of the massive changes to the Team Builder experience, we'd like to re-invite you to give Team Builder a try, and give us your latest feedback. Are you still interested in a Team Builder take on Ranked Modes (perhaps, without selecting a Champion)? What about a Team Builder Co-op Mode to make it easier to bring friends into League? What's Team Builder still missing that would make it better than the Blind Pick experience?
To celebrate the current milestone, we've added six exclusive Summoner Icons (one for each role!) that you can unlock by playing each specific role in Team Builder. You can find out more about this promotion here.
Join us in Team Builder, and show off your favorite role with your new icons!
In response to summoner noting they received their shiny new role icon after only one game, Riot Tantram noted:
"It retroactively counts the number of games you have played in team builder for each role."[EDIT] Riot Tantram also noted the updates ARE NOT YET LIVE ON EUW:
"I understand the confusion, but the changes are not yet live on EUW."
Patch Rundown - 4.13Riot's Patch Rundown is back to cover a few of the big changes included in patch 4.13!
"We’re back with the second episode of Patch Rundown!
Patch 4.13’s one of the last updates before Worlds, so we have tweaks aplenty for a number of champions! This rundown, MsPudding’s joined by Statikk and Fearless alongside Team Dignitas’ very own Scarra to discuss Sona’s update along with changes to aggro junglers and assassins.
As before, we’re looking for feedback to help us improve future videos, so add in your comments below!"
Prepare for the World Finals with Korean pro icons
Here's Riot Paradox with more info on the Korean eSports summoner icons that are now available for 250 RP each:
"The Korean pro scene has begun the second half of the 2014 Season and remains the premier circuit for world-class LoL. To celebrate this stronghold of competitive League, we’re bringing back permanent summoner icons with the team logos for 250 RP each.
(Unfortunately, MKZ opted out of making their icon available for sale)
- Bigfile Miracle
- CJ Entus (Blaze, Frost)
- IM (#1, #2)
- Jin Air (Falcons, Stealth)
- KT (Bullets, Arrows)
- Najin (White Shield, Black Sword)
- Samsung (Blue, White)
- SKT T1 (K, S)
As before, you’re not just showing off your team allegiance with these icons – 20% of each purchase goes straight to the team, while we use the other 80% to directly support esports through prizing, streaming, events and more!
Rep your favorite Korean pro team as the championships approaches!"
Here's the set of 8 icons, many of which where available earlier this year:
[ Continued ] Sona Rework Discussion
With Sona's champion update ( including visual changes and a gameplay rework ) now out on live, Fearless popped into the forums to remind everyone they are actively watching for feedback:
"We're actively watching Sona feedback right now. Obviously it is very early for Sona's update, but you aren't ignored. Just wanted to let you know we are actively watching for feedback."
When asked why both the 4.13 patch notes and the dedicated champion update page for Sona lack specific details on her new ability numbers and ratios, Fearless noted:
"We left numbers off the rework page due to trying to make the page more readable. My fear was that the very long list of changes (given to many elements being added and subtracted) would cause people to tune out. I pushed for that, and I totally own up to that being the wrong call."As for the suggestion of just making another page users can opt to click into for number details, he noted:
"This is one of the ideas we've been discussing for future update articles. We'll like try something very much like this."