Red Post Collection: Ghostcrawler on Tristana, Sona Rework follow up, FanExpo Art Demo reminder, Chat Room Height

Posted on at 2:19 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features Fearless with a follow up on Sona's recent rework, Devarius looking for feedback on the Chat Room Height, Ghostcrawler discussing his thoughts on Tristana, IronStylus with an important reminder on FanExpo's live art demos, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Sona Rework Follow Up

In a thread discussing Sona's current state, Fearless hopped back on the forums to drop off a few notes about how Sona's recent rework is fairing now that she's been on live for a bit.
"Hey all, just wanted to hop in here and say that I have read this post and have been thinking about what next steps Sona needs or can support. Initial thoughts are that while Sona is slightly less successful, she's still very much on the winning side, so justification for straight buffs is pretty weak. 
Usability changes are still something I'm very much interested in attempting, but finding ones that don't increase her power dramatically may take some extra time. I can't commit to anything, but I did want to let everyone know that we've still been talking about Sona, and we do want to make sure she's satisfying, even if she's not in need of straight buffs."
When asked if her heal will recieve any other changes akin to Soraka's upcoming rework, Fearless cleared things up by saying:
"Soraka is an exception in this case: we want to give her healing that is so much stronger than any healer we have ever tried in League before that the health cost becomes a necessary tradeoff. 
Healing like Sona's or Nami's is within a more 'standard healing' amount that wouldn't need a health cost to stay balanceable."

Chat Room Height

Drevarius, Social Systems Designer, posted up a forum thread asking for summoner's feedback on the current height of Chat Rooms:
"Hey everyone,

As many of you noticed, when we recently updated the client we modified the sizes of the chat windows. This ended up being a fairly big change for the custom chat rooms.

I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into the feedback on this change since it is something we are currently reviewing. To give you a bit more context;

- The previous chat rooms supported ~30 lines of text
- The current chat rooms support ~10 lines of text

While it is something that we've (chat users at least) all gotten used to, the original size was a bit arbitrary. It was generously large, but it also consumed a lot of client space when open.

I'd like to hear what you guys think about this. Is the reduced footprint and improved manageability worth the lines lost? Or would you prefer a larger window that you may have to minimize more frequently to access other parts of the client? (Let's assume for this discussion that we are not looking at a resizeable window - even a resizeable window needs an initial setting)

I welcome gut reactions, but I would also find it very useful if anyone wants to describe their specific post-patch experiences.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!"
He continued:
"Thanks for the feedback so far everyone, and extra thanks for those who went into the extra detail I asked for (Herpti, Daen, Abbey Street, CommandShockwave, Coldmanj, and others).

We'll be using all of this to help inform our decisions as we evaluate the current sizes. Thanks again!"

General Discussion with Ghostcrawler 

Ghostcrawler scuttled into a few forum discussions today, sparking a discussion on current balance patterns and the current ADC meta:
ADC meta is going to stay like that as long as GhostCrawler stays.
Is this because of the discussion a few weeks ago when I said melee need love? :)

If we look at the NA finals (which certainly aren't the only measure of balance but they're fresh on my mind) we saw Corki, Jinx, Lucian, Kog and a whole lot of Trist. I may have forgotten one. Of those, Trist (and maybe Kog) are the ones we worry about being too dominant. We think it's safe to say that the ADC itemization tweaks from a few patches ago, while noble in their goal, ended up removing some of the weaknesses that Tristana had. I'm not sure what steps the live team will take to make sure Trist has some kind of weakness again, but when we last discussed it, we all agreed it was a problem. Interestingly, we see her used less in Korea so it will be fun to see how this all shakes out in worlds.

Again, LCS picks aren't the only measure of champ power that we use, but we know they do heavily influence picks in normal ranked play.

Apologies for the derail, since the original topic wasn't ADCs at all, but I wanted to share our thoughts on the issue. If you have feedback on the Cas or Soraka updates, we'll make sure the respective designers see it."

Ghostcrawler continued, again responding to criticism on his past design choices with other companies and offering a better perspective on how design works:
Its Ghostcrawler. What did you expect, a rework that makes any sense?? Let me point you to the many 'reworks' we had in WoW... Oh ya, they all went just like this as well. 
I don't do champ updates and I don't tell that team what to do, other than offer some higher level design direction. What I am interested in is the long term health of the game. So questions like "How do we position melee so they have a chance against ranged champions without just pumping up their passive stats?" is something I am involved in. So is making sure you guys have some insight into why we make the changes we do. More on that below.

Just a question, how do you explain the fact that since you've joined Riot ranged champions have been dominant over melees for the most part of your time being here?
Also since I have been here, Riot has updated SR and announced Worlds in Korea. I also can take close to zero credit for either of those decisions. If I were to secretly or overtly tell the designers that our mission is to make ranged dominant but shhh don't let any players know of our plan, I'm pretty sure I'd be fired. This is a business, not any one developer's private toy box.


Would you at least care to comment on why cassiopeia is being changed from the poison dot queen to just a ryze 2.0?
You'd be better off talking to the designer working on that update. IIRC the direction was to give her more of a late carry feel at the cost of some of her lane bullying potential, but I'm pretty sure nobody here wants to see a hyperscaling, CDR crazy snake Ryze.

I'm pretty sure at this point the respective designers (it's Morello really for Soraka) don't care about the issues the community has with the reworks.
Couple of things. Morello isn't doing that update. He doesn't do those either. He feels like he needs to comment because for so long he told players that we thought a true healer wasn't healthy for League. We are trying it anyway with Soraka, so he wants to provide context for this apparent change of heart.

Second, we understand that champ updates aren't likely to be greeted with universal acclaim. Some players like broken champs because they're broken. Others want to see them fixed, but have a specific direction they'd like to see that is sometimes at odds with the direction we choose. We have been trying to articulate our thinking in patch notes, forecasts and rundowns to make that direction clear. Ultimately we do want players to feel like they have lots of options in who they play, and don't want them to feel that a favorite champion is doomed to stay non-viable in competitive play. That's a compass heading and not the kind of thing we can fix overnight. There are a lot of updates needed.
He continued:
And yet, most of us here has seen what he's done in WoW, which is why were so anti-GC.
What I did on WoW is get out on forums and twitter and talk to players. That is the only reason most players even know my name and not many of the other leads. I plan on still communicating though, hopefully even more so."
Ghostcrawler also shared his current thoughts on ranged champions, fighters, and the ADC itemization changes from earlier this season
Sounds like you just don't want to say the statement that your decision are clearly backing. Are you or are you not in favor of Ranged champions having a stronger influence in the game vs melee champions?
I think ranged champions are too dominant and I'd like to see melee bring more to the table than "I hit hard if I can ever close the gap." I don't think that's a simple matter of just buffing melee stats, because then the seesaw just tips in the opposite way: ranged can never kill a melee until the latter is in their face, at which point the melee dumps out all their CDs and gets a kill. (It also makes melee vs melee duels pretty boring because they are both soaking a lot of damage.)

We want to rework fighters. It's a big project and not the kind of thing you are going to see in a patch or two. I know that's frustrating, but really our only options on large scope changes like this are to talk about them early (in which case it's frustrating that you see no action for a long time) or we don't talk about them (in which case it's frustrating because you don't know if we even acknowledge the problem or are formulating a solution). The option of "just fix everyone next patch" isn't really an option.

I don't know if it was your decision or someone else's but the itemization for ranged ADC is laughable.
It was something the design team as a whole wanted to do. The problem we were trying to fix was having such static, pre-determined build orders for ADCs. In retrospect you can argue that the change caused more overall harm to the game than good, but at the same time, if we're super paranoid about making any change with long-term ramifications, it just means we'll make fewer changes overall. If anything, the ADC itemization changes (in 4.11 IIRC) illustrate how hard it is to touch one part of the game without touching everything else, which further complicates really big projects like a melee rework. We can try to make larger changes in preseason where players tend to be more understanding of disruption, but there are probably inevitably going to be times when we make a change for a good reason, but have to follow it up with a lot of other changes in subsequent patches."

GC's thoughts on Tristana

Ghostcrawler also shared his thoughts on the current state of Tristana now that the recent itemization changes have sunk in, saying:
"Yeah, she needs nerfing. Realistically it is unlikely to happen before worlds. We like for those matches to take place on as stable a build as possible that has been thoroughly tested, so even very good changes can be ultimately risky. We also think it's reasonable for the players to expect that numbers won't go changing wildly right in the middle of worlds. 
To clarify, she needs some sort of weakness. If we just lower her damage or something, players may just switch from her to Kog or someone which just substitutes one dominant ADC for another. Ideally we'd like to give her some trade-offs so that you can choose her for her strengths or avoid her because of her weaknesses."
After a misunderstanding with a fellow summoner, he reiterated:
"I said: To clarify, she needs some sort of weakness. If we just lower her damage or something, players may just switch from her to Kog or someone which just substitutes one dominant ADC for another. Ideally we'd like to give her some trade-offs so that you can choose her for her strengths or avoid her because of her weaknesses. 
You said: Remember when you said the whack a mole strategy was something you were trying to steer away from? Yet you just keep doing it.

I think we are saying the same thing."
He continued:
Not really, i'm saying bring the others up, you're still whacking the standout down.
You get the same outcome whether you add or subtract numbers. You're just deciding if the number 20 or the number 25 is the target and adjusting all the others to reach it. The same risks apply because if you accidentally get Trist at 26 and Ashe at 23, then players still understandable choose Trist over Ashe. In fact, bringing all the others up is actually more risky -- in other words, it's easier to nerf than buff -- because the more numbers you touch, the more the likelihood that you will change something in a way you didn't anticipate. 
A better solution, we believe, is making sure champions have niches -- that they have strengths and weaknesses. To use the same example, rather than asking whether you'd play the champion at power level 20 or power level 25, you're choosing among the number 20, the letter B or the color green. It's easiest to see this in supports where choosing Thresh vs. Braum vs. Nami gives you different strengths for different trade-offs and also causes the rest of your team and the other team to approach things differently. We want to make sure fighters and marksmen (who typically have the least well-defined niches) feel the same way. Does that explanation make sense?"
He continued:
This makes it sound as if the support role is in a good spot. There's a reason that Thresh vs. Braum vs. Nami are played the most over, say, Taric vs. Soraka vs. Sona, for example. In these cases the latter 3 are clearly outclassed by the former 3 despite having different "feels" between each other. 
True, but we did recently update Sona and Soraka is incoming. There have been some pitches for Taric. We've had difficulty nerfing Lulu mid a little without nerfing her support ability, but she doesn't feel that far off either. (And to be clear, she's fine in mid, so long as that doesn't push out other mids or push Lulu out of support.) We see a lot of Leona. Janna can do things nobody else can do, so I bet we're a tiny tweak away from her getting picked.

Caveat: I'm also talking a lot specifically about the NA finals here, because they just happened and I was fortunate enough to watch them live. The sample size is small and those guys, like everyone, have their own personal preferences. They tend to play conservatively (though it's fun to watch when they don't) because the price for failed experimentation is pretty high. I'm not sure it should be a goal that each game in a pro match has a different ADC and support from the previous one. (Which is not to say Nidalee getting banned or Trist getting pick/banned most games is the target either.)"

When asked why there can't be changes for Tristana in the next few patches as worlds ( which is in late November ) will be played on a much earlier patch, Ghostcrawler explained:
Who is making the decision that the value of having the public playerbase and the proffessional playerbase on the same patch for worlds is higher than the value of having a more balanced game on public and keeping a stable game for worlds?
There is some value in players not having to remember two versions of the game (live vs. LCS) because it's confusing, but overall we agree that there isn't much point in holding back good changes from live. My point was that we are unlikely to see changes in worlds themselves. You might see them on live. (We do know that a lot of players do gravitate towards whatever the pros are using, even if the builds are different.)"
He continued, agreeing with player comments that ADCs have become too slippery:
Imo the real problem with ADCs is they've become way too slippery
I agree. They already have the advantage of range. They don't also need excellent movement, survivability and tons of CC. I feel like we often slapped those mechanics on abilities just to give the ability a little oomph, not because the ADCs really needed to be more slippery. Part of the intent is that in a team fight you need to cooperate as a team to keep them alive."
Ghostcrawler continued:
Yeah but the problem is you're always going to assume the most played champion (and each most played champion afterward) doesn't have weaknesses. Vayne used to have no weaknesses, Corki was that champion for a while, Twitch got his VU and all the sudden even though he had the same exact values as he ever did he "had no weaknesses", and god knows Lucian had no weaknesses and apparently didn't until his range was nerfed, then the compensation for his range nerf was nerfed. One day down the road you'll be trying to sell the pitch that Ezreal has no weaknesses too.
Well to be fair, a lot of champions do lack weaknesses. But we're pretty happy with Lucian, Vayne and Kog for example. Even if they start to feel over or underpowered we feel like we have dials we can turn there. If we nerf Trist's damage right now, she probably just goes away as a viable pick. For example, she used to be weaker mid game where she needed a few more items to become really scary. Now she can get like 1-2 and be good to go. She also used to be weaker in lane, but we toned down Lucian's lane bullying. Without explicitly intending to, we removed her downsides.

I don't know what specific changes we would make to her. I leave that up to the live team. I'm just presenting the problem."

[Continued] Soraka Rework Discussion

Following up on his Soraka rework thread from late last week, Vesh returned to the forums to clear up a few concerns.
First up, he shared additional context on her passive's armor/mr conversion:
"Ok so let me explain a bit about the reasoning here.

The goal is to let armor and MR purchases still make Soraka tanky, but in the correct ways. For each point of armor and MR you have, each individual health point becomes a higher effective amount. The ways we don't want Soraka to be tanky are in the short window of burst, because we feel that Soraka needs to be vulnerable if she's allowed to spam low CD heals on her whole team. We -do- want Soraka to be survivable over the long run of the fight however. This means that the health return she gets for landing Q restores similar amount of -effective- HP in the long term because you still have 80% of the mitigation as raw stats and 20% of the value as AP that is effecting the value of the heal. Does that make sense?

Defensive stats still make her scale defensively, but a lot of that defensive power comes from her health regen being stronger, and when she has resists each point of HP is "worth" more, causing the value of the health return to scale in two ways at once. This way we can adjust how much of her long term tankiness needs to be dependent on hitting Qs and how much should just be stats. If we find that the health return isn't offsetting the lack of resists, we can simply increase how much AP she gets per point of resits. It's already in her favor currently (each point of armor/MR is worth 20 gold and AP is worth 21.75 I beleive)."
Vesh also commented on why Soraka's new heal will costs a % of her max hp rather than her current HP:

"This gets asked a lot so let me explain. As you get close to the 50% mark, you create a pretty binary situation where if the enemy doesn't have the tools to burst you, you basically get to sustain your carry infinitely as your costs get lower. Additionally, it creates weird incentives about how much health you ideally want to have to be the most efficient. With the % current model, it's actually way more efficient to keep your health low, but we don't really want to *encourage* people to tank their health down for efficiency. ideally, you want to stay as healthy as possible all of the time."

No Sion Bandaid fixes

In light of the recent Urgot changes to hold him over until he can get a full kit rework in the future, Meddler popped into a thread asking if Sion could get similar changes:
I know Sion is getting a rework (hopefully) but can he receive a few changes before his rework like Urgot? Maybe just simply changing his Q to AD and W to scale off of health would be good, and lowering the cost of his Q and W. 
Fair question, in this case I'd argue what's good for one champ doesn't suit another though. That's because Sion's kit update is a lot closer than Urgot's. Urgot's is sometime next year, and not at the start, at the very earliest. Sion's also in a better spot effectiveness wise than Urgot was. His kit's pretty disjointed, but it's more feasible to be an effective team member as Sion at present than it was on pre 4.15 Urgot.

And no response.
Sorry dude, can't just sit on the forums and spam refresh all day to respond to stuff instantly."
Meddler also reiterated that Sion's rework will include "the works": updated gameplay, visuals, sounds, and more!
Will the rework have a Sion VU as well?
Yes, complete overhaul (updated gameplay, visuals, sound etc)."

FanExpo art demo NOT ACTUAL SKINS

As a friendly reminder, IronStylus swooped onto reddit to reiterate that the Canadian themed champion skins drawn in front of a live audience at last weekend's FanExpo are NOT actual skins and they are NOT in production; they were just for fun!
"I'm going to see if I have some time to bring this to a bit more of a polish, though I have limited time in my schedule, but I'll reiterate:


This was just a fun and silly idea.

I'm saying this primarily because I'm afraid we've painted ourselves into a corner with live skin design. It's something that's super fun but also raises expectations that we sometimes can't realistically fulfill. This is not being said to be a downer, I just want you to have the full context. Hope you guys understand!

That being said, it was extremely fun to attend FanExpo and have the chance to meet you guys! Ohmikegoodness, RiotEarp and I had a blast! As did all the other Rioters involved! Once again, thank you for giving us the opportunity to interact, take your feedback, and join in the fun!"
He continued:
"I agree, but the big thing is that I don't want to assume anything for the Skins team. I don't want to assume I know their priorities or capacity better than they do. If any sort of content is to be done, it'll fall to them. 
Anyways, I just want to make it clear I'm not speaking for them and that players shouldn't expect too much from an exercise that was just for fun :)"

While I hope it has sunk in that these are not actual skins, here is a picture of the art demo from redditor norpser.

Future Store Revamp

Saberprivateer also commented that the team does hope to revamp the in-client store in the future:
"Hey Waffle Burrito, 
Thanks for the question. We ARE working on revamping the store as well. The first target for the Unlock team will be the boost page. This is part of a larger effort where we've been getting feedback from players and diving into the overall design. In parallel with that the team has been working hard on improving the infrastructure. There is a lot we can do to improve the experience in the store!"

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