Red Post Collection: Patch Rundown 4.16, Azir Q&A Soon, Lyte on Dominion, Socrates on Ranked, and more!

Posted on at 2:02 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features the Patch Rundown for 4.16, a heads-up on the upcoming Azir Q&A, Lyte chiming in on the ongoing Dominion discussion, Socrates discussing ranked and promo series experiences, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Patch Rundown - 4.16

With 4.16 headed to live, we have another installment of the Patch Rundown!
"The Patch Rundown’s back! 
We’re focusing Patch 4.16’s rundown discussion on mages and mage identity! While Azir’s busy summoning soldiers and getting his empire back up and running, Cassiopeia’s shed her skin and transformed into a late game hypercarry role in 4.16. Join MsPudding as she discusses the patch alongside designers Riot Scruffy, ZenonTheStoic and Riot Scarizard! 
As before, we’re looking for feedback to help us improve future videos, so add in your comments below!"

Azir Q&A coming on 9/10

Hold on to your feathers because the team behind our Azir is headed to the boards to talk about our latest champion on Wednesday, September 10th!
"The team behind Azir is stepping into the sunlight to host a Q&A session at 11AM PST on 9/10. If you’ve any questions about what went into resurrecting the Emperor of the Sands, these are the folks to chat with.

Learn more about Azir here:

[Continued] Dominion discussion

Following up on yesterday's dominion discussion, Lyte jumped into the thread to talk about Dominon and share some data relative to the effect ranked queues have on the other maps.

"Hey everyone,

I normally don't post about topics outside of player behavior or game systems design, but I'm at home currently and heard a lot of discussions about this thread at the office. There's so much genuine love and concern for Dominion here that I spent the last hour pulling every data point I could to hopefully better show players what the problems are.


One concern I'm frequently seeing is that Dominion would have much better growth if Riot supported it more. I traced back to the following dates (which may be off here and there, my apologies): 
1) 2012 | Twisted Treeline Visual Update
2) June, 2013 | Map-specific changes to Twisted Treeline and Dominion were announced
3) October, 2013 | Map-specific changes to a bunch of Champions were made for Twisted Treeline and Dominion
4) April, 2014 | Twisted Treeline received a few balance changes, specifically with altars

We could debate whether visual updates, map-specific balance changes to champions and map balance changes is considered support for a map, but the data is pretty clear: there was no meaningful sustained growth in Twisted Treeline or Dominion as a result of these updates.


A second concern I'm frequently seeing is that if Dominion Ranked was opened, players will come. Although we haven't tested it with Dominion specifically, we did open Twisted Treeline Ranked. The data is pretty clear here too: when we opened Twisted Treeline Ranked we haven't seen sustained growth for Twisted Treeline as a map.


If we look at Howling Abyss, the story is very different. For example, before Riot ever supported the map, it was simply a custom game mode. Players had "gentlemen's agreements" to play by the rules, and just ran it in a Custom Game. As a game mode, it grew steadily in popularity, and updating the map into Howling Abyss kept that growth going.


Unfortunately, I don't have many answers because I haven't dedicated enough time to thinking about this space, and probably just have more questions. I even looked at things like Champion Diversity (in Twisted Treeline and Dominion) and Champion Bans (in Twisted Treeline Ranked) and there aren't that many differences. It's not like these maps are significantly more imbalanced than Summoner's Rift when you specifically look at these two metrics (champion picks and bans) and in fact Champion Ban diversity is a bit better in Twisted Treeline Ranked.

I can't tell you today why updates improved the growth of some queues, but not others. However, I think it's pretty clear that "opening Dominion Ranked" and "support for Dominion" may not grow the playerbase like players expect. There's obviously a passionate playerbase for these maps, but I think the solutions being proposed aren't going to solve the problem.

So, the question we should really try to answer is: For those who aren't playing Dominion, why not? For players who don't play League and want to get into League for the first time, what map do they prefer, and why? I think it's important that we start asking players who don't already love Dominion these types of questions because if we don't, we're simply being biased in what we think will attract new players.

Maybe finding answers to these questions will help us understand what we should actually do about these maps."
Lyte continued:
"A lot of players have mentioned that "indication of improvement" and Ranked as a measurement of skill might be key drivers of player growth, but I haven't found that to be a compelling argument for a few reasons. 
One, when we look at Normal Summoner's Rift versus Ranked Summoner's Rift, we can see that most players prefer to play Normal Summoner's Rift (and that the queue has done really well over the course of time). It may surprise some, but Ranked is not the the mode the majority of players play! Although I agree that some players would play Dominion more if there was progression and a measurement of skill in something like Ranked, to say that it would drive general player growth is a stretch because most players prefer not being faced with high-intensity, high-stakes games every time they play League. 
In fact, depending on how you slice the data, it's possible that removing MMR in Dominion/Normal Summoner's Rift actually increased the engagement of these modes because you're removing the constant "stakes" in each match. 
Regarding Twisted Treeline Ranked, in retrospect, it's hard to say whether it was the right choice. As a games studio, I think it's OK sometimes to admit mistakes, and try to learn from them. Game design and game development is really hard, and it's pretty difficult to predict exactly how players will receive a new feature, system or queue. In the old days, it seemed obvious that we should open a Ranked version of Twisted Treeline, but did it actually damage the overall growth of Twisted? Did players get frustrated with the queue times and lopsided matches, and quit Twisted altogether? These are key questions that help us learn from the choices we make."

Viktor's Hex Core

With Viktor's gameplay update headed to the PBE soon ( it's actually there already, just disabled ), Meddler popped into a thread to note why Viktor's hex core is remaining an item and not becoming a trinket.
"Item. The new version comes with a substantial stat value so it's well out of scope for a trinket."

New Cassiopeia ability icons on backburner

When asked if Cassiopeia was going to get new ability icons to go along with her gameplay update, Riot Stashu commented:
"Totally agree here, but sadly they are on the backburner for now (they are there, though)."

Socrates on Ranked and Promo Series Experiences

In a thread where a summoner voiced his frustrations with both the ranked League and Promo series experience, Riot Socrates stepped in to comment on a few of the complaints and offer context on how the system works as well as a few things to expect in the future:
"Thanks for the feedback. A few of the reasons you called out for removing promos are issues that should be addressed across all ranked games and not just in promos. For example, whether you're in promos or not, having somebody rage or AFK on your team isn't a great experience. Also, lagging out in the middle of a ranked game whether you're in promos or not totally sucks.

We've been working with the player behavior team to create a more robust system to address behavior related issues in ranked. For example, we're testing a feature on PBE called Ranked Restrictions that blocks players with a consistently negative behavior from playing ranked games. We will have more details to share on this in the coming weeks. 
I'm not able to speak to lag issues in a super educated way, but I do know there is a team at work to address those issues. When we see connection issues, we enable compensation mode which forgives lost promos and lost LP, but still counts wins. This isn't a perfect solution, but it does help shield players from a situation outside of their control. 
One of the reasons you called out I disagree with. That is making ranked a more smooth experience. There is a bit more to series than just making the matches feel important and exciting. Division promotions reinforce the value of achieving competitive milestones. If we removed promotional series it would be easier to climb. In ranked easier doesn't mean it's strictly better though. Ranked play is about accepting the challenge of being measured by your skill. This is really what separates it from normals. Every change to make the system easier undermines what the accomplishments mean. What separates you from the players in lower tiers is not only the LP gains, but the series you fought through where you proved yourself and came out on top.

If you consider the example you gave where a player is at the top of Bronze V and wins consistently, then fails to win his promos repeatedly, should he really qualify for Bronze IV? Probably not. If he's going 1-1 assuming equal gains and losses he's at 100 LP still. If he's going 1-2 he's lower than 100 LP, which is why LP can be lower after failing a series (especially in the case of going 0-2). There are a also number of safeties in place to ensure if you're more than qualified to move on to the next tier you can either skip two tiers after completing your promos, or skip them entirely. If you're in promos and not skipping it's because the system isn't confident enough in your skill to move you to the next tier yet. 
In response to very aggressive statements that solo queue shouldn't exist, Socrates reminded:
"Ranked solo isn't for everybody, this is why it's an opt in experience. Some players want to know how they measure up to the competition as an individual. It exists to serve this purpose. I challenge your assumption that solo queue position doesn't reflect skill because it's a team game though. Players consistently climb or fall to an accurate position on the ladder even after resets or when playing on alts. "

When asked about a sort of reward system for players who opt to not play ranked, Socrates asked:
"This is a topic I would be interested to get some feedback on. How many of you feel like it would be valuable to have an alternative end game progression system to ranked for casuals?"

Master Tier Live on NA

Now that Master Tier is live on NA, Riot Socrates also had a few words for Diamond players who might be noticing weird LP gains:
"Hey all, with the launch of Master Tier Diamond players may notice some changes to their LP gains and losses. Here's what is going on in these cases: 
* The top 200 challenger spots were protected by a concept called 'clamping' before Master Tier was introduced. This ensured the top 200 dudes on the server had both the highest LP and MMR. This greatly slowed gains and losses, making small gains appear normal. Removing clamping means gains (both up and down) are more fluid now. Since in some cases clamping was actually protecting players from falling down too quickly, these players will see some larger losses and smaller gains until they're back where the system expects them to be. 
* In other tiers (bronze - plat) league standing is a very accurate mapping of player skill, but there is a buffer to slow players LP losses temporarily if they start to go on a losing trend. Since clamping was removed, but challenger and master must contain the very best players, the loss shielding is thinner in diamond than other tiers. In other words, gains and losses can feel more swingy.

Gains should become more stable over time. We'll be monitoring how LP changes stabilize over the next few days and evaluating if we need to make adjustments or not based on the results."

Pulsefire Ezreal less "clunky"

Riot Whist tweeted out that, while it is unlisted in 4.16, he did a bit of work to make Pulsefire Ezreal feel less clunky:
"So something unlisted in 4.16 is Pulse Fire Ezreal should feel 100x less clunky. Working to get it edited into the notes."
He continued:
"Give him a shot once the patch is out. I worked on his AA's and Q to make them feel much more responsive."

Urgot Q Line Indicator Removed

Speaking of things not mentioned in the patch notes, Meddler also confirmed that Urgot's line indicator was also removed as it was an unintentional addition last patch:
"That is fixed in 4.16, though not included in the patch notes."

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