Red Post Collection: Exploring Player Behavior Design Values, "Ao Shin someday, won't be soon", no PBE patch until Monday, Rek'Sai discussion, and much more!

Posted on at 5:45 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes Lyte with a dev blog on Exploring Player Behavior Design Values,  more discussion on our upcoming champion Rek'Sai,  Meddler commenting that Ao'Shin is "someday, won't be soon", no PBE updates until Monday, and more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


Exploring Player Behavior Design Values

First up we have Lyte with a new developer blog on Player Behavior!
"TLDR: There is no silver bullet that solves negative behavior in online games. Players are a diverse bunch, and each player has different motivations and responds differently to different consequences. We design diverse systems using three core philosophies based on reform, punishment, and reward.

In the early days of the internet, players might use racist or homophobic language and nothing would happen; as a result, deviant behaviors not only emerge, but become the norm. In these cases, a non-action such as silence is reinforcement of the behavior, so the behaviors grow in frequency and severity.

But the League community has shown that change is possible. When structure is introduced, players rally behind it and online societies are maturing in some of the bigger online games like League. For example, we know the community rejects homophobic, racist, and sexist language--we’re seeing this type of language in less than 3% of games globally and when it does appear, it’s immediately reported by players and acted upon. We’ve seen time and time again that the majority of players in League will stand up against verbal abuse, and that it doesn’t belong in our community. The problem is, some players have now been gamers for decades where these excessively negative behaviors were considered “OK,” so now we’re playing catch up and need to change our standards and expectations. In this series of dev blogs, we’ll dive deep into our approach to this problem and how we’ve worked with the community to create the tools to enact change and give a voice to the majority of players who reject negative behavior.

One of the first things we did was take a step back from some of the traditional assumptions around online gaming and human behavior. For example, there is no silver bullet to the problem. It isn’t just about banning negative players (punishment) and it isn’t just about rewarding positive players (positive reinforcement). There’s a diverse group of players online (and in real life) and each group of players have different motivations and respond differently to different consequences. We need a diverse spectrum of systems to address the overall player behavior problem in online communities.

As a result of everything we’ve learned, we design our systems, features and programs along three axes: Reform, Punishment, and Reward.  

Reform

Reform is critical because less than 1% of players are so persistently negative that they trigger a permanent or 14-day ban, ranked restriction or even a single chat restriction. For about 95% of players, they’ll never see these harsh penalties and don’t drift close to negative behavior except on the rare bad day. But we still need to have systems aggressively try to reform or remove the persistently negative players because they could impact an abnormally large number of games. In our next blog post, we’ll focus on reform systems and why sometimes all players need is a harsh penalty that triggers introspection and shows them some behaviors are never okay in League.

Punishment

For some types of players and some types of behaviors, punishments are the best method of enacting change. Some of our punishment features include chat restrictions and ranked restrictions, and the new Leaverbuster which forces players into a low priority queue if they routinely AFK or leave games. In addition, the system gives players frequent and immediate feedback about their negative behaviors every time they try to get back onto the Rift. In the punishment-related blog, we’ll dive into the design rationale for some of these punishment systems, and why we believe ideas like Prisoner’s Island (where you match negative players with negative players) are poor design, and what we’ve done to improve on these concepts. 

Reward

Finally, let’s talk about rewards. It’s not enough in a community to simply reform or punish negative behaviors; in a society where expectations and norms are no longer the standards we want for ourselves, we need to re-educate players on what it means to be sportsmanlike. To do this, we need to spotlight positive behaviors and celebrate positive behaviors more often. The obvious answer is always “just give a skin or RP!” However, if the goal is to actually encourage positive behaviors, research suggests that always using what we call “extrinsic” (tangible) rewards isn’t the best approach. We’ll take a deeper look in a later post at reward systems and how we’d like to spotlight positive behavior over the course of 2015, and why it’ll always be valuable for players to be good.

Our designs around rewards need to be diverse and include extrinsic and intrinsic options (different types of rewards for different people). For example, our current thinking is that, over the course of a year, we’ll introduce light rewards every few months such as the recent IP boost for positive play. One or two times a year, you might earn a more substantial reward such as the Santa Baron summoner icon. In the end, our goal is spotlighting positivity and how awesome the community actually is, not bribing or buying out negatively behaved players.

Before we sign off, we wanted to thank you again for showing us what the community wants to see in itself by using the reports and honoring your positive teammates. We've only introduced the philosophy behind our Player Behavior designs in this blog, and we'll be going into greater detail about specific implementations in future posts.

We'll continue to iterate and refine, creating new systems with our three design pillars in mind, and we'll see you on the battlefield.

-The Player Behavior Team

If you still want to know more about how science can help us understand player behavior online, learn more from Lyte's talk at GDC in 2013: http://gdcvault.com/play/1017940/The-Science-Behind-Shaping-Player."

[Continued] Rek'Sai discussion

Following her PBE debut and all the discussion from last night, Meddler dug in to the forums for more Rek'Sai talk!
When asked how her tunnels interact with the fog of war for Rek'Sai's enemies, Meddler noted:
"Intent is that the tunnels are visible through fog of war once you've seen them once. Goal there is to make it possible to hide tunnels for future use while also ensuring enemies are able to track tunnel locations once they've discovered them."
As for differentiating the mini map icons for Rek'Sai's tunnels, Meddler noted they plan to by launch:
"Team specific mini map colors for tunnels will be in by the time she launches, we're just sorting out a few code issues with that at the moment. 
As far as the tunnels themselves go there are team indicators on them (color of mist emerging from them). I get the impression from your post those are too hard to read at the moment though?"
Meddler also commented on players learning to adapt to Rek'Sai's tunnels:
"Yeah, that's something we'll need to monitor as people get better at her, particularly given we don't have much in the way of similar skills in LoL to use as reference points and internal testing can only do so much. On the flip side people will also get better at placing tunnels, hiding them especially, as they play her, so there should be some counteracting effects there."
In response to a players parallel between the pink wards and Rek'Sai's tunnel placement, Meddler agreed:
"Quote
This. I still recall the time when I hated the pink ward changes to being visible at all times, but then I started noticing how they could essentially act as permanent wards if placed in the right spots and I've loved them ever since.
Great example, and yeah, we'd be very happy to see tunnel placement follow the same sort of trajectory pink ward placement has."

In a seperate thread requesting a dev blog on how the audio team cooked up Rek'Sai's voiceover and effects, Riot Eno commented:
"Great to know that there's some interest around this! 
We do have aDevBlog post planned for this very thing - stay tuned! =)"

When asked about several background questions on Rek'Sai and what exactly she is, Meddler replied:
"Not my area of expertise, so do recommend asking these questions in the Q&A about her (which is likely to be either next week or the week after at a guess). Couple of things I can help with though:
  • Rek'sai is her specific name, her species are called the Xer'Sai
  • Rek'sai's the largest, most distinctive, most dangerous of the Xer'Sai - there are other creatures out there like her, but they're not in her league"
Check out these links for more information on Rek'Sai!

Lore & Story discussion

In a thread regarding confusion surrounding the lore changes that where announced a while back in the "Exploring Runeterra" dev blog, Jaredan stepped in to recap some of the changes, the team's new direction, and what they have been working on since:
"Hiya Giggle, I hope I can add at least a little clarity: 
The Institute of War is no longer in the story world. Champions who are inextricably tied into the IoW as a core part of their motivation will be receiving changes. Champions who have some mention of the IoW will be receiving relatively minor edits. Summoners are not what they were as their prime interaction with the story was through the IoW. That does not mean that the concept of Summoners will never be seen again within the story world, they just won't be taking the same role as previously. So nope, Summoners are not deleted from Runeterra. 
I can understand the confusion. We want to reveal things through the course of Runeterra's story rather than through mainly biographical content or by outlining plot points that would undercut stories when they are released. Also, frankly, there are things we just want to explore more and hone until we think they meet our increasingly stringent measure of quality. In other words, we're making a lot of changes to level up our storytelling and to get more stories to you. 
Since September, we've released story content pertaining to the Shurima event, Azir and Xerath, The Harrowing, Kalista and Rek'Sai. We've learned lessons from all of them and we're attempting to deliver stories with more regularity and consistency through the end of the year and 2015. We have a couple of technical challenges, and we're working to ensure an increasingly high quality bar, which means sometimes we just look at a story and decide we need to work on it more before it can go to players. 
We've got a lot to do, and I know the "we're working on it" posts can be infuriating as I'm not able to provide all of the details that are requested for an array of reasons. 
FInally, Jax is cool anytime, anywhere."
Jaredan continued in response to concerns on the lack of updated stories on the profile pages and general worry of players not seeing the results of all these "we're working on it" type posts:
"We still haven't got the tech issue sorted. Kalista came out on the boards because we couldn't get her story out in the way we wanted, but putting those stories out on the boards just isn't ideal so we don't want to do it for all of them. We put the stories out because it's what we desperately want to do. We're not being forced to do it against our will, which would be odd.

The stories for the Champions you outline are at various stages of completion. Some are done, some are in final revision stages (mostly heading into tech edits), some are being rewritten. All of them have had initial treatments that have either moved forward or haven't yet met targets for quality.

After we've released stories for Shuriman and Shadow Isles Champs, we'll be looking at stories for Champions not tied to any specific faction, particularly for Champions who are currently inextricably tied to the IoW. Other Champs who have contradiction issues will be given attention also.

If you've been paying close attention to recent events, you'll have a good idea of where we'll be going next in regard to the next larger story in Runeterra—which we're also currently working on.

We want you to share your ideas on what you would like to see from Champions who will fall into the areas I've outlined, and we'd love to read and join in discussion wherever possible, but I have to be honest: if the main thrust of the ideas are tied to the IoW then it's very difficult for me, or other members of Narrative, to engage with them. We've outlined where we are headed and we're committed to developing Runeterra as a story world in the way we've laid out.

Also, we are not going to be giving you early breakdowns of stories before we tell them as that would defeat much of the purpose of the stories themselves.

You and I in isolation, as well as members of the Story and Art community and Narrative, have disagreed on some of the changes made this year, and I'm sure we will have differences of opinion on some of the stories we tell in the years ahead. I'm trying to be as open as I can be, while being responsible to the work being done.

Until we are releasing stories at the pace and quality that the community is looking for, and that we are working towards, we will have recurring discussions on the issue that can become more annoying because it's hard to give you different answers to ones that have already been provided. The stories will be the answers, the details and the points to discuss, and until we have a large enough number of them it's difficult not to feel like a broken record. That's completely our responsibility and one I take very personally. We have started on that journey, but we have a long way to go.

I know you've heard this before, but it's honestly where Narrative as a team is currently, and it's all I'm able to divulge right now. We're evolving our team, our processes, our means of delivering stories in different media all in order to get more, better stories to you.

Whenever I'm able to give concrete answers, I will, but I hope the frustrations of a lack of specificity will diminish mainly due to compelling stories."

He continued:
"We haven't done the minor edits yet, I'm speaking of a quick pass to remove mentions of IoW, not anything that would change a character's motivation in any way."

When asked if his last note meant that Jax was receiving a rewrite ( as his story ties heavily into the concept of the Institute of War ), Jaredan replied:
"Indeed!"

When asked if Noxus are still considered "the bad guys", Jaredan replied:
"Noxus are not straight-up bad guys, particularly from their point of view. At times they can absolutely be in the wrong and be the villains in a certain situation, but that should not and will not be a blanket application of them as perpetual antagonists, just as much as Demacia will certainly not always be "the good guy.""

To wrap things up, Jaredan reiterated that eventually the expand lore and stories will be included on the website for ease of access rather than solely on the boards:

"We cannot wait to get the stories onto the website. The boards are definitely not the ideal place to put those stories, we just decided to put the Azir, Xerath and Kalista out initially that way to give some additional story content around the event and Champion releases, as well as just get those rather important stories to players however we could for now.

When our tech solve is in place, all of those stories, and ongoing ones, will go up on the website. The plan is then to sort out the in-client page so it is less sparse and includes a link to the Champion's web page."

Champion Sizes and Gameplay

When asked if a champion's actual size in game has any effect on them outside of increasing their hit box, Meddler replied:
"It does not, with one or two specific exceptions (e.g. Cho's E as mentioned below, which is called out explicilty on the E's tooltip). Size modifies how easy you are to hit with various abilities, whether line skillshot, ground targeted or whatever and can make it harder for enemies to target your allies instead of you, it doesn't inherently change your stats or abilities though."
As for how auto attack range factors into growth in champion size, he noted:
"Auto attack range is calculated from the edge of your hitbox, it's also calcuated to the edge of the enemy hitbox however. From the perspective of how far you can hit from the center of your model your auto attack range does increase as your model gets larger, the range you can be hit at also increases however so your effective range doesn't change (e.g. a Lulu ulted target can attack targets slightly further away, but can also be hit by enemies slightly further away as well)."

On Evelynn's visual update's direction

When asked for his thoughts on where Evelynn will eventually be headed in her future visual update, IronStylus shared:
"My hunch is to go more into the.. um.. well.. sorta hybrid succubus, seductive vampire-like sorta thing. I would make her a literal vampire, but I feel she needs that shadowy, creature of the night feel. I'll say right up front that I'm not a fan of the BDSM look, I also think that's kind of a misnomer because it's hard to simplify a sexual affinity into like.. a single look. Don't get me started on 50 Shades of Grey. puts gun in mouth

All that said, the other full time concept artist on the ChampUP team, Lonewingy (concept artist for Nami & her skins, Azir, and part of the Rek'Sai team also) is focusing on Eve. I leave it to her discretion because shes a better everything than I am.

Again, we're still really early on in development, so there's still no solid direction."

Why is Nautilus' W a DoT?


When asked why Nautilus's W has a dot component rather than dealing flat damage, Meddler explained:
"The intent behind Nautilus' damage on W being split between the initial impact and a follow up DoT is to make getting some attack speed rewarding, but not mandatory (e.g. if Wit's End is in a spot where it's considered a useful item to pick up on some champs it should be worth considering on Nautilus, without being a 'get this or fail' item)."
He continued, commenting on the idea of making his damage be instant rather than a DoT:
"That'd be an option if looking to buff Nautilus certainly. He's one of the junglers the live balance team are currently tracking to see if they're too weak given the jungle changes. Main question to ask would be whether there are better places to put power on him instead if he needs it - which buffs address where he needs power, when, leave build options open where possible, give him a distinct niche as a tank etc"

"Ao Shin someday, won't be soon"

 [Ao Shin concept art originally shown in September 2013]

Meddler also stormed into a thread about the champion concept Ao Shin, which was originally previewed over a year ago as an upcoming champion, to share that he "won't be soon":
"TLDR: Ao Shin someday, won't be soon. 
Slightly longer version: We spent a bunch of time working on Ao Shin but ultimately concluded he wasn't hitting the mark so put him on hold for a while in order to figure some things out. We still think his concept's really cool, as is some of the stuff we were trying with him, so do intend to make him someday. Don't expect to see him anytime soon though, we'd rather be slow, but do a better job of delivering on his potential, than quick. That's a process some other champs have also gone through (Lee Sin, Elise and Azir for example), where it took a few different takes to hit on what we felt was the right one (Lee Sin originally as Blind Monk way back pre launch, Elise originally as Priscilla the Spider Queen, Azir originally as Seth the sand mage), ultimately yielding better champs in the long run we feel."
As for how soon, he noted:
"For purposes of these sort of timelines the start of 2015 counts as 'soon', or even 'very soon'. Ao Shin's genuinely a long way off sorry."

He continued:
"His name's certainly something we'd want to talk about, assess whether 'Ao Shin' is still a good fit for the final version of him we get to. Can't offer you any thoughts on likelihood of that though at the moment, it's not something we've looked at yet."
Meddler continued, discussing a few of the placeholder names he mentioned earlier:
Internal names can be pretty placeholder ish at times and many champs spend a while being referred to as something else before we figure out a final name for them. Sometimes that's a moderately serious name like Seth, sometimes it's something jokey (Vel'koz was 'Professor Eyebeam' for a few months for example).
He continued:
"At one point in development, Rek'Sai was referred to as "Joan T. Burrow-woman." Believe me, no one was more shocked than me when the reveal came out and she wasn't still called that! Up until a very late point, Jinx was called "Seven." (Before Vi fans jump in here, let me state for the record that this name had nothing to do with Vi. ) And as is already known, Jayce was named "Apollo"."

On the topic of internal names and easter eggs, Riot Scruffy also shared:
"The internal splash for Sion rework had him stepping on a teemo. Shame that didn't make it into the final...."


Next PBE patch not until Monday

Over on Twitter, Riot Feithen commented that we will not be seeing another PBE update until Monday.
"PBE's staying on its current patch til Monday."

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