Red Post Collection: Azir Discussion, Ascension to PBE Soon, Punishing extreme Intentional Feeders, Ranked Restrictions, Soraka Rework not in 4.16, and more!

Posted on at 11:09 AM by Moobeat
Following yesterday's round of news surrounding Azir, patch 4.15, and the PBE, this afternoon's red post collection is massive!  Topics include a sizable discussion on Azir, L4T3NCY with information on the upcoming featured gameplay mode Ascension, IronStylus commenting on Renekton's model and texture updates that are currently on the PBE, Socrates and Lyte sharing new player behavior systems regarding ranked restrictions and aggressively handling intentional feeders, Vesh commenting Soraka's rework will NOT be in 4.16, and more!
Continue reading for more information!



Azir Discussion

With the surprise reveal of our next champion followed by his PBE debut yesterday, several Rioters have taken to the forums to talk about Azir, The Emperor of the Sands!

As mentioned in the reveal, ZenonTheStoic is the gameplay designer for Azir, also known for his work on Lucian and Xerath, and popped on reddit to comment on his latest design:
"For some reason they let me make another champ. WHEN WILL RIOT LEARN."

When asked if Azir has anything to do with the old sandmage concept discussed years ago, ZenonTheStoic commented:
"This guy went through a whole bunch of kits before we happened on one that worked."
Meddler also commented that Gnar was delayed a bit, which lead to the low downtime between Gnar and Azir's release:
"Yeah, Gnar ended up getting delayed a little bit as we caught a few things late in development and improved them. Combine that with our patch schedule for the rest of the year which is fairly locked down now and you end up with a couple of champs in closer proximity than usual."
He also commented that earlier iterations of Azir were indeed referred to as Seth internally:
"Yes, previous versions of Azir were referred to internally as Seth and had more of a focus on sand magic. We shifted to more of a command/emperor focus however after realizing that was the theme/story we really wanted to capture with Azir."
In response to comments that "Nashor's tooth is gonna be OP on this guy", ZenonTheStoic agreed but warned:
"His soldiers don't proc on hits, but yes--Nashor's is still pretty core."
When asked how they came up with the idea to let Azir construct his own towers, Meddler shared:
"Combination of thematics (tie in to Azir's backstory, not sure if that's out yet so I'm being vague on the details) and a new gameplay space we wanted to explore more (moments of power at specific map locations)."
ZenonTheStoic also noted that Azir's passive can be used on any turret as many times as you want as long as it is on cooldown
"Correct. You can raise the same turret as many times as you like"
He continued, commenting on the relative strength of Azir's passive's towers:
"They're like towers, only somewhat more dangerous. They get blown up super easy if Azir dies or leaves the vicinity."

As for how Azir's passive will function on "tower less" maps such as Crystal Scar, ZenonTheStoic explained:
"We currently have no good solution for this on the Crystal Scar. You'll get Will of the Emperor but not Disc of the Sun. This is something I'd like to look at soon as we get the time for it."
As for why the team decided to give Azir a passive he can activate, Meddler commented:
"Enemy inhibitor and nexus tower ruins can't be targeted.

This is effectively an additional ability, we felt it was a good choice though since we'd like to offer more situational abilities like this that have a high strategic impact if used well, without having to make such tools always applicable or leaving a champion without a sufficient set of tools during regular play."
He continued, mentioning how the towers scale:
"Like other towers its stats go up with game time. Intent is to also have its damage scale slightly with Azir's AP, though I can't recall if we've got that in for the build that'll hit PBE soon or not."
He continued, sharing it also gains the same powers as other towers:
"It will! It also gets the other tower effects too (more Armor/MR when no enemy minions around etc)."
and
"Same target picking logic as regular towers and yes, physical damage."
Meddler also commented that they will work with Ohmwrecker:
"They'll be able to by the time he gets released, we haven't hooked that functionality up to Ohmwrecker yet though."

As for how long Azir's passive's towers last, Meddler explained:
"Currently one minute if not taking damage from any other source (their health gradually decays over time)." 
He also noted that all players will be able to see if Azir can summon a tower:
"There is, it's a glowing visual effect on tower ruins, visible to all players."
[ You can see the left soldier is starting to disappear as sand swirls around him ]
When asked why there is no indicator counting down when Azir's soldiers disappear, ZenonTheStoic explained:
"Hi, we played around with this during development a lot. At one point we had a circle indicator around them that ticked down. What we found was that in high intensity situations that timer became invisible effectively and in low intensity situations it was unnecessary. We went for the "about to die" indicator only. Maybe we need to make it a little more visible?"
ZenonTheStoic also noted that blinding Azir currently has no effect on the soldiers, saying:
"Soldiers are untargetable. Blinding Azir currently has no effect on soldier attacks--maybe it should?"
As for how these soldiers interact with enemy towers, Meddler explained:
"We're still playing around with exactly how Azir interacts with enemy towers and will be trying out a couple more things before his release, some of which you may see on the PBE. Having him be able to threaten towers is something we'd like, being a strong split pusher without sufficient counterplay or role elsewhere on the other hand isn't. One version of what that might look like we've been talking about is a kit where his soldiers can't attack towers directly for example but can instead be sacrificed to deal a burst of damage to a tower, giving him some anti power potential but in exchange for temporarily reduced capability to push, team fight, maneuver."
As for what happens when Malphite uses his Unstoppable Force to try to go through Azir's Emperor's Divide (R), ZenonTheStoic commented:
"Malphite goes straight through Emperor's Divide. He IS unstoppable."
gypsylord also jumped in to comment on how Azir's R interacts with abilities, saying:
"The general rule on Azir's R is: "I stop units that try to physically move through me." 
This means it will cancel most dashes. There are a few exceptions: 
  • Dashes that are classified as "unstoppable" will go through (Vi, Hec, Noct, J4, and Malph R's).
  • Champions that can go untargetable while moving can get through (Vlad pool and Fizz pole).
  • Teleports can get through because they blink over the wall(Ez E and Kass R)."

When asked about the comparisons between Phantom Lancer, a champion in DOTA 2, and Azir, ZenonTheStoic commented:
"I did actually dust off my copy of Dota 2 and get in a few games on Phantom Lancer after people made the comparison. I think I learned a whole bunch about minions (what does and doesn't work in LoL), but Azir does feel very different. Phantom Lancer feels almost RTS-like in that you split your forces and sometimes do different things whereas for Azir the soldiers feel like they're part of your body."

When asked about Azir's ability to attack towers from a very safe range using his W soldiers, ZenonTheStoic shared:
"Yo! Intention is for Azir to be unable to attack towers with soldiers--we went back and forth on this a bunch of times. Tonight I'll be hooking up a version where you can summon a soldier onto a tower to sacrifice the soldier for a chunk of damage. This would only work from W range (400)."
You can check out more on Azir by heading over to our 8/26 PBE post or you can read up on ZenonTheStoic's PBE feedback thread for a preview on Azir changes they plan to test soon!

ZenonTheStoic also shared an important tip on how to play Azir:
"Important information toward the bottom. "

New Featured Game Mode: Ascension

With all the build up over the last few cycles, the time has finally come for details on ASCENSION!

Here's L4T3NCY with more on our next featured gameplay mode:
"The sands of Shurima sweep across the Crystal Scar… bringing with them our next Featured Game Mode: Ascension 
This time we’re bending the rules quite a bit for one of our most competitive game modes yet, so bear with us as we get into it! 
-- Ascension is a 5v5 brawling skirmish played on the Crystal Scar.
-- The sands have restricted movement on the Crystal Scar to just the center of the map. You’ll need to use the new ‘Golden Transcendence’ trinket to teleport to a battle platform and enter the fray.
-- Victory is points based. The first team to earn 200 points wins!
-- Points can be earned by killing enemy players (1 point), capturing Relics of Shurima (3 points) or killing an Ascended (5 points).
-- At the sandstorm’s center in the middle of the map is an Ancient Ascendant, Xerath. Defeating him grants Ascension to whomever strikes the killing blow. Ascension gives you awe-inspiring power and double points for every kill you get! This power comes at a price though... all healing effects on the Ascended are dramatically reduced, so burn fast and burn bright! 
Known issues: 
Some announcement VO sounds are missing. We’ll have these in shortly. o^_^o
Air-client background and loading screen art is still WIP. 
We’ll be making Ascension available soon™ on PBE, and as always, we want to hear your feedback or if you guys find any bugs. Let us know which champions feel strong, what strategies work best for you and of course.. who is the strongest Ascended!?"
He continued, expanding on a few specifics:
"Xerath will respawn a short time after the Ascended player has been killed. The buff doesn't transfer between players (although we did try that once in early prototypes). 
No there's no recall. Shopping is done while you're dead or at fountain (ARAM style). Once you teleport into battle on the platform of your choosing, it's a fight to the death! :D"
L4T3NCY continued, clarifying this is a featured gameplay mode and not some sort of Dominion replacement:
"We're not out to replace Dominion here, this is our next featured game mode!"
he also confirmed that Smite, Revive, and Garrison are disabled on the new mode:
"Smite, Revive & Garrison are disabled."

Renekton Model and Texture Update

[ Current version of Renekton on left and Updated PBE Texture/Model on Right ]

IronStylus flew into reddit to drop off a few comments on the updates to Renekton's model and textures that are currently testing on the PBE
"Actually this technically is something like.. an MTU.. Model and Texture Update. We basically made a new "skin" which fit on his old rig, which is fairly "healthy", and redesigned him to fit a little better thematically into where we wanted him to live. 
We're trying to deliver a few things here and there faster, since some of our older assets aren't necessarily that shabby from a technical art standpoint. Renekton was a great opportunity for this! 
Glad you guys like him :D"
When asked if the updates are only for his Galactic, Outback, and Bloodfury skins, IronStylus explained:
"Yes. His newer skins were in good shape, we did just tiny texture tweaks on the newer stuff, but older skins had new geometry created for them."

You can check out previews for each of Renekton's updated skins in our 8/26 PBE Coverage.

[PBE] Ranked Restrictions

Socrates has posted up information on a new player behavior restriction, one that prevents toxic players from playing ranked at all, that is currently being tested on the PBE.
"For a while now, the Competitive and Player Behavior teams have been working together to develop ways to improve the quality of the ranked play experience, and we’re now ready to test a new feature on PBE. This experiment involves a feature called Ranked Restrictions. Negative players will have their in-game chat restricted, and also be temporarily prevented from joining ranked queues entirely. 
In this test, restricted players will be unable to play ranked until they've completed a certain number of games in Normal Draft queue. As with Chat Restrictions, after finishing the predetermined number of games, we’ll perform a final evaluation to make sure they've actually improved their in-game behavior. (This is to prevent negative players from merely transferring their negative behavior to another queue, AFKing for 5 games, and then jumping right back into ranked). 
Since this is a test, we’re looking for volunteers to be Chat and Ranked restricted on PBE. If you have current PBE access and would like to participate, please email lyte@riotgames.com to join in. 
As always, thanks for helping us with the PBE, and GLHF! 
-Riot Socrates"

Detecting and banning extreme Intentional Feeders

Lyte has also returned to the forums with his own player behavior announcement regarding an aggressive approach to detecting and punishing players who feed intentionally:
"Hey everyone, 
As some of you may have heard, the Tribunal is a system that addresses many types of player behaviors but is currently in extended maintenance while we upgrade a lot of the core functionality. You can read more about it here:  http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/new...ading-tribunal 
In the meantime, we've launched several test systems that have begun aggressively reducing negative player behaviors in League of Legends including a system with the ability to instantly escalate high severity behaviors such as excessive verbal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and worse to a 14-day or permanent ban. After several weeks of testing in North America, we are now ready to start these tests on the European servers. We'll continue to monitor the results of these tests as we prepare to roll them out in other regions. 
The reason I'm here today though, is because while these systems are effective at reducing negative verbal behaviors in League, we've been working on ways to address negative gameplay behaviors in League. 
Starting 8/26/2014 in North America, we’ll be rolling out a test system capable of immediately escalating extreme intentional feeders straight to a 14-day or permanent ban. Like our other punishment systems, we’ll start with conservative tests to minimize false positives, and then expand the system to be more aggressive. As with our other experiments, depending on the results, we’ll roll out similar tests to the other servers."
Lyte continued on reddit, explaining:
"Our #1 concern is separating intentional feeders from players just having a bad game. We have access to billions of games worth of data, and can easily see for every player, every champion, every role, what the variations in the data are. 
For example, what are the average game stats (gold per minute, actions per minute, kills/deaths/assists per minute, etc) for you in a game when you play Ashe? What are the average game stats for an Ashe of your skill level? What is the worst game you've had so far on Ashe? By analyzing huge datasets like this, we can begin to figure out what is a bad game (even if it's a once in a lifetime bad game) versus someone intentionally out to ruin a game."
When asked why has been the hold up with a system like this, Lyte explained:
"We've been working on several systems in parallel and depending on the various design and tech challenges, some features are easier to do than others.

For intentional feeders, many players tend to confuse intentional feeding with just playing a poor game, so there's a lot of nuance to figuring out when an offense is actually intentional feeding and deserving of a punishment."
He continued:
"One of the reasons this test took awhile to prepare was because we were looking at dozens of variables to determine what would be a good identifier of an intentional feeder versus a player just having a bad game. 
Because we're starting conservatively, we'll be aiming the tests at higher severity cases of intentional feeding first and then reviewing if there were any false positives. Once we're confident in this initial test, we'll expand the tests to include more nuanced forms of intentional feeding. 
So, for the first test, because we're being more conservative with the net, super confident in its accuracy."
He also confirmed that the system is has several checks and balances to avoid false positives:
"Neither system relies just on reports. There are multiple checks in systems to minimize false positives, which is why there are very few players that get punishments when they do not deserve it."
When asked how the system will tell the difference between players feeding intentionally and players simply having a bad game, Riot NeuroCat explained:
"We're taking into account a large number of different variables, which should properly distinguish between the two. Minimizing false positives is really important for a system like this, where the line between poor play and intentional feeding can be blurry."
Lyte also commented on this, explaining they are able to clearly differentiate intentional feeding from poor play:
"We'd rarely (if ever) ban a player for having one poor game--we may ban a player if it's super, extremely obvious they were intentional feeding in one game. We have a huge dataset at our disposal and can clearly see what's typical for a game, and what's one, two, three standard deviations for a game. We can also determine how you normally play in one game with a brand new champion first how you play in another game with a brand new champion to determine how much of an outlier one of the matches were."
He continued:
"We're happy to dive into details when some initial tests are complete, but players have nothing to "fear." We've seen billions of games of data of what a bad, outrageously bad, and crazy once in a lifetime bad game looks like, and are willing to give players huge benefit of the doubt in a system like this.

If you are banned by these types of systems, it'll be very clear why."

Music at Riot - Who and How

Praeco also swung by the forums to answer a summoner's question regarding who creates all the music in the game, how they compose, and how they got into the business:
"Hello sir! 
We actually have 4 composers (Chemicalseb, Scherzophrenia, marignak and myself) at Riot. We write most of the stuff ourselves, but in rare instances work with other composers very closely to collaborate and come up with something cool. 
We all have been musicians and gamers for a long time and joined through various ways. I previously worked on different teams((Player Support, Live Services), but had worked as a composer before and transitioned after quite some time. Chemicalseb, Scherzophrenia and marignak worked with us as contractors(outsourcers) for quite some time, but were also local and we eventually brought them on. The personal relationship makes a huge difference, because working on something as "ambiguous" as music can be hard to articulate creatively to other people. Working with people that truly care about the project is really key, I think. 
Hope this helps a little bit :) 
Christian"

Soraka Rework Not in 4.16

Vesh also returned to the forums to share that while Soraka's rework will not be in 4.16, he will be providing more information on it soon:
"She won't be 4.16

I will be revealing a bunch of what's been going on though and what you can expect. Just need to get everything in order."

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