Red Post Collection: Teams at Riot & What they are working on, Worlds Pick'Em, PROJECT reminder, & more!

Posted on at 9:30 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes Meddler with a look at several teams at Riot and what they are currently working on, round ups from FeralPony and Lyte, a reminder on  FIRST Strike ending soon & second week PROJECT skin sales, a heads up on the WORLDS PICK'EM & rewards, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Core Gameplay: A quick look at a few teams at Riot and some of the stuff they're working on

First up we have Meddler with a rundown of a few teams at Riot and what they are working on:
"Hi folks, 
Following on from a couple of longer posts on Juggernauts recently I thought I'd try some longer posts on some other subjects as well. First of those is below, which is a quick look at a part of Riot called Core Gameplay, for anyone interested in a mixture of how some of Riot works and what that part's working on. Core Gameplay's focus is on the components of LoL that drive choices within the game itself (champions, items, minions, map layout etc). Core Gameplay's composed of four teams that deliver different sorts of projects, plus a playtesting team that provides advice and expertise. 
There's quite a bit of overlap between the work the teams below tackle (all of them were contributors to the recent Death Recap fixes for example). Each team is primarily focused on a specific type of work though and is staffed with people who have expertise in that area. 
The Live Gameplay Team (also referred to as the balance team)
  • Live Gameplay's focus is on regular changes, usually quicker and smaller than those from other teams. Balance changes are the most common thing the team works on, though they're also involved in other work (e.g. long term game health. provision of expertise on high level play to other teams, some new content creation). Also worth calling out that while Live Gameplay does more balance work than the other teams they're not solely responsible for the balance of the game. 
  • Recent examples of Live Gameplay's work include heaps of champion balance changes, the addition and tuning of Zeke's Herald, mastery tweaking. 
  • Live Gameplay's just finished working on patch 5.18. Because 5.18 is the patch the World Champs will be played on changes in it focused on balance changes for high level play, generally on a pretty small scale. Now that that patch is out of the way Live Gameplay's shifting focus to work on a mixture of some stuff for the preseason patch late this year and balance changes for 5.19 (including possible MF buffs and a bug fix on Shen's E where it's not reducing damage from taunted enemies). 
The Systems Team
  • Systems focuses on long term work, looking particularly at the parts of LoL that aren't champions (items, runes, the jungle, minions, summoner spells, gold income etc). That work tends to get released in large amounts every so often (e.g. preseason, or big patches like 5.16), rather than being present in every patch. 
  • Recent examples of Systems work includes the AP item adjustments, new Juggernaut items (Dead Man's Plate, Titanic Hydra, Sterak's Gage), items for the Bilgewater event (in conjunction with the Events team). 
  • Systems has been primarily working on preseason work for a bit now, and will continue to do so for quite a while (post preseason launch they'll swap over to preseason followup, with balance adjustments as needed and possibly some additional content afterwards if there are things that don't make the preseason itself). A lot of the team's work has been on items recently (marksmen items especially). They've also been exploring some other stuff that preseason's the best time to do (e.g. can we speed up game start a bit by having minions/the jungle spawn earlier, while speeding up the homeguard effect out of base to keep invade timings the same?). 
The Champion Team
  • The new champion team primarily makes new champions as you'd expect, while also doing a bit of other work as well (initial balance follow up on new releases, overhauls of champion systems like death recap etc). 
  • Recent examples of Champion work include Tahm Kench, Tahm Kench's teaser and the balance changes to him in the first couple of patches after his release (in discussion with the Live Gameplay team of course). 
  • At present we've got half a dozen champions in development (which is pretty standard). Those range from the nearly finished that are getting final work done before they hit PBE ('They are coming') to really early idea brainstorming (we've just kicked off work on a new champ for sometime next year, with so far just desired class, plus some possible tonal and thematic notes, identified). Champion team's also working on some improvements to what we call 'zombie mode', which is the state dead, but still acting, champions get put into (e.g. Karthus passive or Yorick ult). That work, whenever it ships, won't be very noticeable in the average game, but should fix a number of bugs and make it easier for us to create additional characters that use zombie mode if desired. 
The Champion Update Team
  • Champion Update works on existing characters in the game that need more work than just balance adjustments. That work ranges from full overhauls like Sion, to visual only updates like Karthus, to smaller projects like Ashe or Maokai's changes a while back. 
  • Recent examples of Champion Update's work include the Gangplank update, the Juggernaut changes and Fiora's update. 
  • Champion update's got a few different things going on at the moment. One part of the team's just finished some balance follow up work on the juggernauts from the 5.16 patch (teams own balance on content they create for a couple of patches post launch on average, before the Live Gameplay team takes over). Those folks will be pretty focused on some work for the preseason period now. Another part of the team by contrast's working on bigger, longer term reworks (Poppy, and some exploration into which other full scale relaunch might follow her). Finally Champ Up's also looking into doing a sizing pass on a number of champions, which would involve shrinking champions that are inappropriately large (e.g. Tristana) and increasing the size of champions that are inappropriately small (e.g. Malphite)."
When asked if Taric will be the next largre scope update after Poppy, Meddler noted:
"Taric's a strong possibility for the relaunch spot after Poppy. That's dependent on us hitting on the right way to redo Taric though, his visual appearance in particular. If that's not coming together we'll swap to a different champ for that spot."

As for the model changes mentioned in the champion update section, Ququroon added:
"Skins too. As a whole, the character should be sized appropriately to the base, with a few exceptions. Things like... Monarch Kog'Maw will always be larger than his base, due to the wings. Probably could stand to make it a little smaller. 
But yeah, we're looking into the problem children. My favorite to poke at is Marquis Vladimir- he's so tiny! For something like DJ Sona, the idea is that the entire champion is appropriately sized, not just the human model. We can't do appropriate sizing (it just doesn't work as a game), so we're aiming for relative. Yordles will be larger in our game than they would in reality, Sona will be smaller (due to her etwahl), Malphite will be drastically smaller, etc."

Blocks, Dodge, and Blinds Consistency 

When asked about the occasionally inconsistent Pantheon passive and what it blocks, Meddler noted the team plans to do a pass at block, dodge, and blinds to make them more consistent.
"Yeah, Pantheon's block's somewhat inconsistent with regards to what effects attached to basic attacks it does and doesn't stop. Dodge (Jax) and Blinds have the same issue, the result of a lot of one off calls being made during the development of individual champions as to what should and shouldn't pierce those effects. That's something we planning on standardizing, get a consistent set of rules going (e.g. constant on hit effects like red buff/Teemo poison shouldn't pierce, splash effects like Kayle E/Jinx rockets should miss the primary targets but splash to other nearby enemies etc). Timeline on that's not certain, at a rough guess preseason or around then's most likely though.

Champion Mastery stuff in the works

In a reddit thread inquiring about additional levels being added to the champion mastery system, Riot Zale noted:
Hey guys, I'm one of the programmers who worked on Champion Mastery. My team is working on some stuff for Champion Mastery that you guys are going to like... and the champion mastery levels you gain now are going to give you a headstart! 
...and I don't mean 'working on' as in planning, I mean 'working on' as in writing the code :D"

No Ultimate skin in production

In a recent reddit thread claiming to have a "leak" of a future Maokai ultimate skin,  Riot Matt Enth stepped in to debunk this rumor by saying no ultimate tier (3250 RP such as DJ Sona) is currently in production:
"Sorry, but I'm here to crush your dreams :( We don't currently have an ultimate skin in production. 
For ultimates, we want something that's exceptionally cool and fun. With Pulsefire Ezreal, we liked the idea of an evolving model and PEARL (it was our first venture into the "ultimate" territory, heh). With Spirit Guard Udyr, we wanted to amp up the evolution to 10 and make it more about choosing how you'd evolve. And with Sona, we loved the shared soundtrack, different forms, and the new overall experience. 
Each one started from a normal or legendary skin, and then grew into something more.
For now though, instead of making 1 or 2 skins a year "super mega awesome" and at that ultimate quality level, we're trying to make all skins a bit more awesome. 
However, that's not to say we won't have ultimate skins in the future - I'm sure we will. A few of us are kicking around an idea for one this week in fact, but that'd be a long way out, and it's just an idea. 
Would love to hear your ideas too _^ Maokai's a cool one, but I worry if we're overusing the model swaps / transformation / evolution in the ultimate space."

FeralPony round up

Next up we have a few more responses from Riot Feral Pony!
[LinkWhat do you think is Miss Fortune's in-game character fantasy and how would you connect her thematic identity to her gameply identity? Ashe is the frost archer that slows everything. Graves is the tough, up-in-your-face shotgun brute. Lucian is the nimble gunkata templar. 
I generally think of a hybrid between the traditional "dual pistols" archetype and the pirate "blunderbuss" style. Gameplay-wise this translates to Trickshots (Doubleup) and the sheer overwhelming volume and excessive ammo usage often associated with the more modern view of pirates (Make it Rain and Bullet Time). 
I don't think she plays up the two shot fantasy much though, which is a good thing since we also have Lucian who fills that role pretty well. If I were to change anything about her gameplay to better match her thematics I would switch up W, might even try something silly like an AS reduction for massive AA strength (reverse Jayce W)

[LinkHow much do runes and masteries influence the base stats and stat growths a champion gets? 
Not substantially. I'm sure if we pulled the systems out we'd have to do a decent amount of adjustment but it's not generally something we focus on very much when designing a new champion.

[LinkWhy is the balance team always playing whack-o-mole when balancing? 
Balance is always a moving target. Things shift, new content is added, perceptions and metas change over time.

[Link] Hi Brian! I don't know how to ask this without being rude, but... what happened with Mordekaiser's rework? It's not just a power level thing; I mean, how could you play with his "I have more XP than you" mechanic and approve? It seems to be the very definition of "free stats," "no counterplay," etc. 
Counterplay is fundamentally about a champion or concept as a package, not an individual element. Yes getting more XP in a duo lane means you'll level faster and Yes levels give players stats. Does this mean Morde has no counterplay? 
Absolutely not. Morde has craptons of counterplay. He's short range, zero CC, and essentially no mobility. Morde's historical problem has actually been he's had too much counterplay so we've had to overload him with raw damage values and stats. We pulled back of those stats and values to give us room to give him unique strengths in other areas. Part of the goal of this rework was to keep a lot of these weaknesses but allow us to give him unique strengths in other areas to help overcome these weaknesses (Dragon for seiging for example). 
The nerfs we're targeting for Morde this patch also highlight some of his weaknesses to make sure we're granting his opponents sufficient counterplay, especially in lane. We're hitting his armor and sustain pretty hard to better allow champions who are able to harass him a better opportunity to win lane.

[LinkHas the team considered a "sacrifice" ability on a champion, like perhaps their ultimate? Examples: a support trades her life to revive a fallen ally, or a tank "kills herself, exploding for X + % of remaining HP as damage". Being dead sucks, sure, but it's in the pursuit of the "team hero" fantasy.‎ 
Generally this type of ability is pretty unsatisfying. The noble hero dying to save an ally can be a really cool moment, but by forcing it onto an ultimate you make it the normal play for a champion and remove a lot of the epicness. If you do this "sacrifice yourself" play 3,4,5 or more times a game it ceases being a cool epic moment and just becomes the default play. 
The payoff on these abilities additionally needs to be so crazy to overcome that satisfaction gap. Add the power req of an ultimate on top of that and you're setting yourself up for a massive design problem. 
There are a ton of other issues you need to resolve such as worrying about using to deny/self execute, limit or reduce trolling opportunities for allies etc. A champion that just blows themselves up all the time is also going to be infuriating to play against, which we'd need to account for. While technically do-able it's not something I'd recommend pursuing.

Lyte Ask.FM Roundup

We also have more discussion from Lyte's, including thoughts on tban of youtuber dunkey.
[LinkWhat do you think about vgdunkey's ban? 
It's really unfortunate. Many Rioters love Dunkey's content, and I've unloaded my share of "Not even close babyyyyy" jokes around the office; however, we really can't show favoritism to someone just because they are a pro or a known content creator. This isn't really a debate about whether trashtalking is OK or not OK in games; we've talked a lot in the past about how we're OK with players bantering with their friends but you should be careful when interacting with strangers who may not understand your intentions--especially if you're using hate speech or slurs. We have a zero tolerance policy against hate speech, racism, homophobia, and sexism and that policy stands whether you're a random player, a pro player, or a Youtube celebrity. 
This also really wasn't a case about intentional feeders and whether it's OK to be toxic towards other toxic players--there wasn't even a Malphite in the game that got him banned and either way, retaliation just isn't OK because it makes the experience worse for everyone else in the game. 
We know that players have been asking us to be more aggressive against intentional feeders for awhile, and it has taken us a bit longer than we'd like. We do consider gameplay toxicity just as serious as verbal toxicity, and are launching a new Intentional Feeder Detection system in 5.18 that can ban feeders within 15 minutes of matches. 
We're starting with conservative settings to make sure the system would not ban players for having the rare bad game, even if it was a 0-10 type of bad game but this is a great first step to aggressively tackling intentional feeders. 
At the end of the day, this incident sucks for everyone. We respect that Dunkey hasn't posted his Reform Card, and I'm not going to post it either. Best wishes to him in the future.

[LinkIf you had a 20 min low priority queue, do you still get season rewards after 5.18, or does it not reset? 
We're not excluding rewards from any players who had just Low Priority Queues for the 2015 Season.

[LinkYour recent answer to this post What about the the bans for boosted accounts? It was 14 game ban tho and according to your if i never got banned before and not planning too is there chanches to get the rewards‎ 
Elo Boosted accounts never get rewards, period.

[LinkCan you give us details about Upgraded Chat Restriction 
There will be a design blog next week reviewing the Upgraded Restrictions!

[Link] Why is Toxicity such a High Priority, but things like Sandbox, DDOS, Drop Hacking, Solo Queue Trolling, etc are not being implemented. Why are people allowed to Troll in Champion Select, or AFK in a game without consequences, but telling someone to stop getting caught is considered Toxic? 
We're doing quite a few things to address those other issues actually. 
1) There's a team that works continuously on better protection against DDOS/drophacking. 
2) We (the Player Behavior Team) are working on Team Builder Draft, which is a new champion select experience that solves a lot of the Champ Select problems you see today in Ranked Queues. 
3) We launched the LeaverBuster system earlier this year, which dropped leavers/AFKs by 19-34% (depending on server) in Level 30 games.

[LinkWill the new tribunal be available to summoners soon? And is everyone allowed to participate, or should it be restricted to non-toxic summoners as previously punished players might just try to punish more than they should. 
We don't have an ETA for the new Tribunal voting system yet. However, you have to be Level 25+ and be in neutral or positive account standing to vote in the system. So, players who have a toxic history will not be able to vote on cases.

[LinkWhy do you feel verbal toxicity is such a massive issue to tackle? I feel you should be trying to deal with people trolling ingame and choosing to ruin games rather than people that just type angrily on the internet. Thats just my stance on this matter. Gameplay toxicity is much more impactful.‎ 
We've mentioned this before, but on average, the majority of players rank verbal toxicity as more impactful than gameplay toxicity. However, there definitely are some players that would rank the opposite, that gameplay toxicity is more impactful than verbal toxicity. At Riot, we believe both are important issues to tackle, which is why you're seeing a lot more systems tackle gameplay toxicity recently such as LeaverBuster (which reduces leavers/AFKs in the game) and the new Intentional Feeding detection which will go live in 5.18.

[LinkHow do you manage the "criticism" of people telling you that the things the Player Behavior does aren´t working?‎ 
We're all human, so perceptions tend to play a big role in our understanding of the world. A lot of people think New York is an extremely dangerous city, but is it? Given the population density of the city, is it actually that much more dangerous than other cities with a similar population density? 
A lot of players will look at a recent game and remember the 1 game with an intentional feeder, or the 1 game with a leaver, or the 1 game with a person that said "cancer" or uninstall. However, they don't remember the 99 other games where nothing happened, and they just played the game. This is known as "negativity bias" in psychology, where your brain strongly remembers negative events far more than positive ones... and when you have negativity bias, it's not surprising that it contributes a lot to your perception of the League community. We can see the overall data across the entire population and see promising reductions in reports, leavers, AFKs, verbal toxicity and hate speech, so we know good change is happening. But, we're still trying to figure out how to improve the perception of player behavior in League.

[LinkYou never answer my questions.. This is my 5th time asking. What about 14 day bans for zoom hacks? 
Players banned for hacks, Elo Boosting or scripting will not be eligible for Ranked Rewards.

[LinkWhat is your stance on the statement "Riot places more emphasis on punishing flamers than punishing feeders/trolls'? 
We've always taken both problems (verbal toxicity and gameplay toxicity) quite seriously. We launched the new Instant Feedback System that addressed verbal toxicity with instant bans after we launched LeaverBuster, which reduced leavers/AFKs dramatically. These two systems targeted different verbal AND gameplay toxicity issues. We've been working on Intentional Feeders in parallel for awhile, but it was a tougher problem to crack because we have to be very, very careful not to ban players who have occasional bad games (or even really awful games). 
In other words, it's not that we think verbal toxicity is much more important than gameplay toxicity. We just managed to finish research and development of other systems first.

[LinkCan you tell us more about Team Builder Draft? Will it just be picking your role, then going into queue like I dream of? :^) 
Team Builder Draft currently asks players to choose 2 positions (such as Fill/Top, or Mid/Jungle), and then you enter a new champion select experience to do your bans/picks.

[Reminder] FIRST STRIKE Borders & Second Week Discount

Just a heads up the permanent and exclusive FIRST STRIKE loading screen decorations  are only available until September 15th at 23:59 PDT!
"Show that you were part of First Strike with exclusive loading screen cards until 9/15. Once First Strike ends, loading screen cards will be gone forever."
Starting on September 17th at 00:01 PDT and lasting through September 24th at 23:59 PDT, PROJECT Fiora, Leona, Lucian, and Zed will all be discounted to 975 RP from their normal 1350 RP price point.

Pool Party Cosplay Gallery

Summer may be on the way out but Riot Yuka's latest cosplay round up is keeping the spirit of summer alive!

Check out the full post for a look at twenty Pool Party themed cosplay shots from around the world!


Last up, don't forget to check out the 2015 World Championship pick'em now that the groups have been decided!

WORLDS PICK'EM is a "two-part challenge in which you predict how well teams will perform at the 2015 World Championship!" As the tournament moves along, which player will earn points to compete with friends and earn rewards.

This year you'll also be able to earn a two summoner icons - one for simply participating and one for earning a certain amount of points by correctly guessing the winners throughout the group and knock out stages.
Those astute (or lucky!) enough to correctly guess EVERY result will receive the long sought afterChampionship Riven skin, a limited skin previously only available back in 2012 - only 10 out of 300,000 participants scored a perfect guess last year.

Check out the 2015 WC Pick'em site to pick your teams or see this page for more information on how to play.

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