Red Post Collection: eCommerce Q&A recap, SR Update discussion, PBE Gangplank R Feedback, and more!

Posted on at 1:11 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features a Q&A with the eCommerce team, RiotForScience discussing the Summoner's Rift update,  Riot GMang responding to feedback on the PBE Gangplank changes, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

eCommerce Q&A

Earlier today several members of the eCommerce team jumped on the forums to answer questions regarding the in-game store, pricing, bundles, and more!

To start off, here's Udyr with an introduction:
"Welcome to the Riot eCommerce Q&A, hosted by Hippalus, Udyr, WizardCrab, BuboBubo, newscott, Wingfield, SaberPrivateer, and DontHassleThaHoff
We are the team at Riot responsible for: 
• The store
• Pricing
• Weekly sales
• Free to Play rotation
• Gifting
• Mystery skins
• Flexible bundles
• Summoner icon rewards
• Double IP weekends 
We can also weigh in on other topics such as world playoffs, who’s the best jungler, or why crabs are cooler than mechs, but those are personal opinions only!"

Since the Q&A is quite lengthy, I've done my best to group the answers together based on similar themes!

RP Purchase Rewards

When asked about the recent comments on lifetime RP rewards and why "people who don't buy anything's opinion is taken into consideration", Hippalus commented:
"<<why are people who don't buy anything's opinion taken into consideration>> 
Because Riot's mission, which is the reason most Rioters are excited to work here, is to be the most player focused game company in the world. That philosophy means that we value all players equally, even if they don't spend money. Our content development team puts a ton of effort into making sure players get great value when they support us by buying RP. The lifetime rewards idea was supposed to be a small additional token of our appreciation, but unfortunately, it has performed poorly in surveys and is currently in the icebox."
He continued:
"To be clear, the question I was answering there was "why are people who don't buy anything's opinion taken into consideration?". 
If you're asking why we are not giving a small token of appreciation to big spenders, it's because when we surveyed big spenders, they scored the idea very poorly, in part because many thought a summoner icon was too small of a reward. 
We've switched our effort to rewards that all players can earn such as the Shurima Ascension rewards."
Hippalus continued, commenting on the players surveyed:
"We surveyed both groups 1) random players, and 2) spenders. The lifetime reward plans we came up with didn't score very well with either group. 
I can assure you that the people that put a ton of effort into coming up with the plans (mainly me and Don'tHassleDaHoff) were more disappointed than anyone."
Don'tHassleDaHoff also chimed in:
"Kakashi Hatake - we surveyed many types of players and looked at the data for each section. We didn't make the decision blindly. As Hippalus mentioned, everything performed relatively poorly. As players that were surveyed had unrealistic expectations or weren't happy with what we were offering. 
The initial goal here was to make something that players that spent money felt good about receiving, and since none of the options that we presented (and we presented many different options) made the players feel good, we made the call to refocus our efforts onto things that delighted our players. 
Hippalus talked about this previously on reddit:"

Sale and Free to Play Rotation

WizardCrab also scuttled in to comment on how free to play champion rotations and sales are decided:
"For free champions, we like to have a mix of roles, difficulties, and prices in each rotation. Sometimes I also like to put in champions with interesting interactions, whether that means there's a 'hook' rotation with Thresh, Nautilus, and Blitz or some lore interaction like Diana and Leona. I also really like to put Rengar and Kha'Zix free together :D 
For sales, the biggest factor for determining what goes on sale has been how long it has been since it was last on sale, although we're now evaluating this to see if there are other methods that can bring more value for both us and players. There is also a rotation of the price tiers of content on sale that can be seen here:"
When asked why Quinn shows up on the rotation frequently and Yorick never does, Udyr explained:
"Quinn is on regularly because she is an AD carry and those get a lot of coverage on the rotation. 
Yorick doesnt show up because frankly it's not very fun to play against him right now and he has some inherent problems in his design."

As for the advance monthly sale listings, Hippalus commented:
"As for the sale schedules, some players missed the surprise of finding out the sales twice a week, so we're still evaluating whether to bring back the schedules."

Double IP Weekends

Udyr also commented on the team's thoughts about Double IP weekends, saying:
"Double IP weekends are great when used every so often. Generally we need to make sure that they don't conflict with server capacity or other events, which can be challenging given how much is going on in LoL. We plan on giving a week or two of notice before the next one and we plan to have a couple in the next year."
He continued:
"We usually do Friday, Saturday, Sunday because that is the time that people are able to play the most and take advantage of the promotion."

As for when the next double IP weekend will be, Udyr noted:
"There will be another one before the end of the year"

Runes and Rune Pages

Udyr also confirmed there will be another rune page sale before the end of the year
"There will be one before the end of the year"

As for the situation with tier 1 and tier 2 runes being very expensive, BuboBubo commented:
"We are looking into improving the new player experience around runes, specifically making T1 and T2 more accessible and less of a purchase you look back on with regret. The target sentiment would be something like T1 runes, which are generally considered a good value for the cost. Can't promise a timeline though."


When asked if there is an ultimate skin in development, Udyr replied:
"There is a new Ultimate skin in the works, but I don't want to give any hints about the release date or who it is going to be so that people don't get disappointed if it gets pushed back."
WizardCrab also commented:
"No updates. But it IS for a champion and it WILL be released."

As for the return of Harrowing and Snowdown skins from earlier years, Udyr noted:
"Yes, the previous Harrowing and Snowdown skins will come back. 
We will have new skins related to whatever events we happen to run ;)"
When asked about Championship Riven returning to the store, Hippalus noted:
"Yes I think Championship Riven will come back someday. Most limited edition skins took four years to come back after release, and it's been two years for Riven so far."

WizardCrab also replied to a summoner asking why Black Alistar , a skin originally given away for people who preordered the Digital Collector's edition of LoL years ago, can't be put into the shop:
"So Black Alistar is in a group of skins that has never been sold in the store at any point, and it's a really difficult thing to go back and add now. We have absolutely no plans to do this at the moment. I know that kind of sucks since very few people own it, but that's our policy right now. If you're interested in types of skins, you can find them categorized here:"

Ward Skins

Udyr also commented on the issue of only being able to swap ward skins in the store, saying:
"We definitely want to solve this problem. No timeline but solutions are actively being discussed."

When asked about ward skins being able to be gifted, Udyr commented:
"There are some other problems related to Ward Skins that we would rather solve first before spending the time to make them giftable, i.e. being able to select them in a better way. 
It's definitely on our long term radar though."


Udyr also commented on the recent lack of monthly champion and skin bundles, saying:
"We vary the bundle themes and have recently put out several bundles related to eSports and Sugar Rush. You'll see some more of the previous bundles themes throughout the end of the year."
New Scott also noted that they are working on the tech to be able to gift bundles:
"Howdy, the short story is: yes. The longer story is: we need to rework the underlying tech behind bundles to make them easier to manage so we can do other interesting and fun things with bundles for you guys. It is something we are going to start working on in the near future; and that work might result in being able to gift your friends awesome bundles."

Mystery Skins / Mystery Gifting

When asked if legendary skins are as easy as other skins to get via mystery gifting, Udyr explained:
"It's an equal chance for each skin depending on the skins you haven't purchased. 
I.e. if you have 9 regular skins and one Legendary that you haven't purchased, then the chance of getting the Legendary is 1 in 10"

As for a timer to show when you can purchase your next mystery skin or send your next gift, New Scott commented:
"that is not a bad idea... I am literally writing this on a sticky note and putting it on my wall."

Store UI

When asked about a better way to preview new content in the store rather than just images, Saberprivateer replied:
"Providing more information about items before purchase is something we need to improve. Consider Ward Skins: All we have are static images in the store which doesn't convey some of the cool placement, idle, and destruction animations. We made a cool mecha ward skin but you can't see any information about that in the store! We're working on that problem right now."

When asked if the store UI will be improved and made easier to navigate, Saberprivateer noted:
"This is a pretty big problem and probably the most frequent feedback for the store. The communication between the client and the store (they aren't quite the same thing!) is something the Unlock team has been working on to improve. In fact, we're hoping to roll out some features that use this tech in the near future. 
From a design perspective, we'd like to push as many purchases as possible to be "in context". An example of this is the ability to purchase a champ from your profile. While we <3 the store on the Unlock team we want to make it so you can spend more time to focus on the game."

When asked about the addition of a wishlist to the store or being able purchase items outside of the in-client store, Saberprivateer answered:
"Wishlist - tl;dr we haven't made any development progress towards a wishlist. However, we are starting to reserve space for it in new store designs. There is a lot of clean-up that needs to happen in the store first before we'll get to a wishlist. It is on our radar though! 
Shopping outside the client - We HAVE made progress on this front. In fact, redeeming Shurima icons in the promotion website was a good test of the infrastructure necessary for external purchases. Purchasing anywhere requires many components to come together: a secure account log-in, service availability, a robust catalog service, and more. We are moving in that direction and you'll start to see more applications of it in the future."

Physical Merchandise

In response to a summoner asking if there has been any progress on Riot's physical merchandise store, Hippalus teased:
"Patience young Lulu Waena, your time is almost at hand..."
WizardCrab also commented on a physical store where players can buy hoodies or cool hats, saying:
"We will. No timeline we can tell you though unfortunately. And I can't guarantee those specific items."


BuboBubo also commented on the more IP only purchases question, saying:
"It's definitely something we want to do but its been challenging to find ideas that don't create risks at the same time. 
For cosmetic content, the general plan is to have them be purchasable with RP and use that to fund development of features, upgrades and content that make the game better for all players (both spenders and non-spenders). This lets us have gameplay content available without having to spend and lets us stand by the core principle of not being able to spend money to get an advantage over other players (excluding skin-timidation). That's not to say we can't/won't do it (eg: summoner icons, name change) but that we tend to be cautious. 
Another idea could be to have more gameplay content available for IP, but then players who are newer or aren't able to play as often wouldn't be able to access this content readily and that would make them less happy. 
Yet another idea was to allow gifting of content that is already available for IP. While we really really like gifting, this would increase the incentive to bot and hack accounts, which would likely do more harm than good. 
But as the number of players who have excess IP continues to grow, it is something we would love to solve. If you have any ideas or cool things you have seen in other games, please shoot them our way!"
BuboBubo continued, referencing HUD skins as a piece of cosmetic content
"HUD skins does come up often as a suggestion for a new content type. Maybe I am misunderstanding but I think it would fall generally fall into the cosmetic category."

When asked about the player survey asking about a potential recolor option for champions and skins, Udyr noted
"We are still investigating. 
Blucian is OP though."

As for the idea of selling level 30 accounts for the purpose of smurfing, Saberprivateer noted:
"We have talked about the idea of level 30 accounts. There are significant gameplay implications in addition to other design considerations. I'm curious what the community thinks about the idea."

Hippalus also tackled a set of questions ranging from RP for summoner icons to the return of Championship Riven years down the road:
  • What was the thought process behind charging RP only for some of the avatars awhile back?
Assuming you mean summoner icons, we plan to continue to make some available for RP, some able to be earned, and various hybrids.
  • Has there been any thought of putting in more IP purchases?
Yes we frequently talk about ways to give more value to players that havelots of IP. We'll get there someday...
  • Any defined plan for championship Riven?
Most limited edition skins came back into the store 4 years after release and therefore one possible scenario is to bring her back during the 2016 playoffs as part of a 5 skin Championship bundle with Thresh, Shyvana, etc.
  • Are there any plans to revisit refunds on VU/reworked champions, provided the difference is considered enough to define it as a different champion entirely? For example, if someone played AP Sion and the playstyle is being removed completely from the game
No, we considered refunds and we also considered repricing Sion to reflect that he is effectively a new champion. We decided that neither made sense. 
Thanks for the questions!"

When asked about the recent problems with Azir's release and him being disabled very quickly after being mae available, WizardCrab explained:
"He was disabled for less than 24 hours and when he came back he was still at 7800 IP for the remainder of his launch week. It sucks that those players that played the premium lost a day of their extra time but after discussing it we felt that the bug shouldn't mean that all of the players waiting for the price drop should also wait an extra day. I know it wasn't a perfect decision but we felt it was best for the player base as a whole."

As for why the eCommerce team is based on NA and not the rest of the world, BuboBubo commented:
"There are regional eCommerce teams as well which own things like local payment methods, promotions, local policies and much more. Since we are all on different time zones and somewhat spread out, this turned out to be a central Q&A. 
We do look at data from each of the regions. There are many local differences that we wouldn't find or understand if we didn't look at regional data and get context from the teams who relate to these players at a more personal level."

When asked how much the eCommerce team interacts with the other departments at Riot, New Scott replied:
"Riot is very flat, but there is an order. We are broken into several organizational groupings. Meaning we have many many teams working independently on projects that are important to our over all Riot goals, but also for your organizational goal as well. Events tend to be a time when many teams will rally together to create a much larger experience and any one team can provide. 
I have been here for >2.5 years now and this style of self originating and bottom up designs mean that the people that are passionate about making awesome happen are the ones doing the work and talking to the other Rioters that they need help to finish. So this means plans and ideas are more socialized rather than dictated to other teams that have required involvement. This makes me feel more involved in the random other projects I get asked to work on because I am invested in them and their project rather than it just being a checkbox list of items to do before the day is over like I have had in the past."

Summoner's Rift Update discussion

RiotForScience hoped on the forums earlier today to answer a few questions regarding the Summoner's Rift Update that has been testing on the PBE since late June.

When asked if poros will ever show up on Summoner's Rift, RiotForScience explained:
"I have been resistant to the idea of putting poros in SR. Poros are successful in Howling Abyss due to the contrast. Without poros Howling Abyss is a very bleak and dismal area. Poros stand out due to their perfect justaposition within this context. Their presence in SR would be much more forced. If anything we push creatures to be more aggressive in SR to balance the more whimsical nature of SR."

As for the bottom right corner of the Summoner's Rift update and if it will be spiced up a bit, RiotForScience replied:
"A lot of the exciting stuff that we planned for the bottom right corner has been postponed in order to accomplish higher priority visual effects goals. We will get that corner feeling great though. We originally had a very similar drop in that corner to the one we see in the upper left corner. We felt that having the same solution on both sides of the map felt really artificial. We chose to implement something that (eventualy) will feel more sublime than epic, I am glad that we have a different tone on the map in that spot."

When asked about the river flowing from the top of the map to the bottom, RiotforScience commented:
"To me the concept of "River" like the concept of "Jungle" is more of an legacy term referring to a gameplay division on the map, and not a specific type of geography. We went through several early iterations where the river would flow from the upper left to the lower right corner, but found that any flow of water through the mid-lane cost us quite a bit in clarity. I think that what we implemented is an elegant solution to the problem, but not what you think of when you hear the word "River"."
RiotForScience also commented on why the individual jungle camps need to mirror their counterparts on each side of the map:
"there is a need to preserve some ammount of visual parity between the creatures so that junglers will know that they will behave the same way. I think we are willing to consider minor variations in their form between the top-side camps and the bot side camps."
He continued, answering a set of questions:
1. What happened to the Nexus Wizards?
2. Why is there no soup by the blue buffs?
3. Can we get both purple and red minions (normal mode: purple / colour blind mode: red)? What if you designed the colour blind mode to change the colour of minions, buildings and so on instead of just HP bars / map colours.

1) We tried to create a more consistent set of themes that defined the personality of the 2 sides. The intention behind this was to improve orientation around the map and create a stronger narrative context to the map. Nexus wizards did not really accomplish those goals.

2)We determined that having large lowing props in the play space was a problem for gameplay clarity. Also, golems dont eat soup.

3) We are looking into ideas similar to this. It is too early to dig into it."

Noxian Aesthetics

When asked if about the general aesthetics of Noxian as many of the older Noxian champions don't look same as Darius and Sion, Riot Whren commented:
"Hi guys, I'm one of the art persons you've summoned! I help out a lot on setting Noxian design language, in addition to the many other great writers and artists who pitch in as well. In short, Sharjo hit the nail on the head -- a lot of our older champions had no cohesive design aesthetic and that's why they're all over the place. With that said, even though reds and blacks are a big (BIG) part of the current Noxus design, that's not to say it's the end all be-all of all Noxian colors. We tried to introduce some of the new Noxian shape language and materials in the architecture, or what you can see of it, in the Reborn teaser art. For example, you can sort of make out some of the wall design in the background of Day 2, and the Sion memorial statue is crafted in a Noxian aesthetic. Even the runic magic on Day 4."

[PBE] Ganplank R Feedback 

In the PBE feedback thread for the upcoming changes to Gangplank's ult, Riot GMang commented on his way of processing feedback and reminding that "While all feedback is valuable from a data standpoint, not all feedback is good for discussion."

"Asking for feedback is different than chatting a lot in big discussions. The latter takes as lot of time that I frankly don't have in my day. :( I do read all the comments, including ones on other forums like Twitter and Reddit. The comments here are certainly valuable, as are other forums, PBE games, internal playtests, etc. This kind of thread may not leave every contributor immediately addressed, but there's still lots of value to them. Are there things here we should monitor and prepare for? Are there niche tastes we could've missed? Are there cases here that we didn't thoroughly test in playtest? Do we have fundamental directional risks that call for returning to the drawing board? Are there polish points we can address before shipping? 
This really isn't some fluke change. This has been in playtesting on-and-off for many months. We haven't coasted on these numbers the whole time, and the change was not taken lightly. Our first changes mimicked a lot of the comments here, in fact, including worries about damage (started with damage buffs due to paper math, but we found it overkill in practice). 
While all feedback is valuable from a data standpoint, not all feedback is good for discussion. For example, "nerf pretty much how you look at it" is just false: it's better for wave clear (reliably kills the whole area with no miss chance), and if enemies aren't standing in the middle a lot (team fights usually have more non-centered targets than centered targets), you'll deal more damage on average--and that's not even to discuss the value of reliability. 
But ultimately, my goal isn't to debate: it's to hear what you think. People here are worried about damage being weak, and this thread tells me just how important it is to them. I've been worried about that for months, so I share much of that concern and this thread raises that concern. I'm prepared to buff it if that's the right conclusion--part of the value of this change is that it's a spell we're more willing to buff, after all (hence the cooldown re-tuning). It also lets me know about VFX and SFX concerns, for example, which I can bring to our artists and see what option to take. 
I hope that gives some context. Apologies if this observational approach isn't your style--I'm more of a listener than a talker. :S"

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