Red Post Collection: Pre-Worlds Early Game Updates, Dynamic Queue Matchmaking Update, Kled bench, and more!

Posted on at 11:54 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection includes context on upcoming pre-Worlds early game changes for turret and cannon minion changes, another Dynamic Queue matchmaking update, a look at the Kled bench that has popped up at the Riot HQ, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Pre-Worlds Early Game Updates for Turrets & Cannon Minons

[NOTE: Most of these are now on the PBE as of the 7/20 PBE update!]

With the 2016 World Championship quickly approaching, Scarizard has jumped on the boards to s
share context on upcoming turret and cannon minion changes headed out way soon:
"Hey folks, 
As we get closer to Worlds, we’re looking to make some key changes to the state of pro play. One particular area of focus is the unopposed laneswap meta of the previous patches. 
Laneswapping, while difficult to do successfully, is starting to feel pretty formulaic with few strategic tradeoffs. As it’s become more prevalent and teams do it more efficiently, it’s led to passive turret trading and less direct early conflict. When laneswapping becomes a default opener, it creates a non-interactive early game with. We’ll be making some changes in the upcoming patch to address this. 
At a high level: we’re adding factors that heighten the risk of laneswaps. Our goal is not to eliminate laneswapping but to make it a strategic choice with actual tradeoffs. 
For reference, here are the changes: 
First, incentivize attacking and defending turrets. The first turret taken now grants a ‘First Blood’ reward, but turrets are now better at defending their allied champions. 
  • New: "Turret First Blood" gold: +275 local, +25 global (400 total gold across the team)
  • New: Turret AI has been updated, and are better at defending allied champions (coming in 6.16) 
Second, target a lane that’s ideal for fast push strategies. Bot lane’s outer turret defenses are no longer identical to the other lanes, and cannon minion spawns now rotate between lanes. 
Fortification (temporary damage reduction buff on turrets) changed 
  • Duration: 7 minutes -> 5 minutes
  • Damage reduction: 35% -> 50%
  • Fortification removed from bot lane turrets (we’re investigating a more nuanced approach to this)
  • Outer turret HP: 3300 -> 3500 
Cannon minions now spawn differently 
  • Each team gets one cannon minion per wave, rotating lanes.
  • Specifically, Bot gets a cannon minion in lane at wave 3, Mid at wave 4, and Top at wave 5. This then repeats.
  • Post-20 minutes, Mid has a cannon in wave 40 then both Bot and Top get one in wave 41. This then repeats.
  • Post-35 minutes, all lanes have cannons in each wave. 
We know the timing’s not great and ideally this would have landed sooner to give teams time before playoffs to adjust. With that said, we think it’s important for the state of the game and something worth implementing now versus waiting until the offseason. We also want teams to qualify for Worlds in the same general meta that they’ll be playing in this October, meaning now’s our only chance to make these changes. While we’re be iterating over the patches to come, these are the last major changes coming to the game before Worlds."
Judging by the PBE, it looks as those these changes will be headed out in patch 6.15, with the exception of the turret AI which is planned for 6.16. 

Following the initial post, Meddler stuck around the comment section to answer player questions and share a bit more information:

When asked about how these changes will play out for normal players rather than professional play, Meddler commented:
So basically 99.9% of the players have to deal with these changes because LCS?
At this point I have to ask, why not just have a separate rule set (and maybe even balances) for LCS play?
We believe these changes will also be neutral to good for regular games (pro play's driving the timing on them). 
We think tower first blood especially's a good addition. It means that a turning early success in lane into an early tower's more rewarding. The enemy laner will still often take your tower moderately soon after, instead of that equalizing things though there's still some persistent reward for that initial success. It also adds an extra dimension to the risk/reward trade off - how much more are you willing to risk to get a tower down ASAP? What if the enemy jungler's missing? What if their top lane's about to race you for first tower kill? 
The cannon minion and fortification changes by contrast aren't things we think will have a significant impact on regular play, given the average times towers go down outside of pro play."
Meddler continued:
As a counterpoint, what if you've got a teammate who is feeding? Doesn't this put extra pressure on a team who might be getting tilted by the fact their toplaner just gave up first, second, and third blood and now is going to give up the first tower? What about the jungler? Generally you aren't supposed to help lanes falling behind and some have limited impact pre-6. This forces you to make a bad decision either way. 
While this might be an interesting gameplay decision, I think it also highlight's LOL's fundamental flaw when it is viewed as a sport.
It does mean the potential impact of a single lane is higher, yes. That's got the potential to be a positive or a negative. Worst case scenario for you as a player is that another lane feeds a lot of kills and tower first destruction gold that you can't respond to. It also opens up the possibility though for you to deny a successful enemy in another lane the tower gold by taking a tower yourself first, giving a way for you to indirectly interact with another lane where you couldn't previously. 
There is some risk of snowball increasing off this change as well of course. If so that should be individual snowball (X champ is really strong, how do we deal with or take advantage of that) more than team snowball (they're all just stronger) given most of the reward is local gold. Gives both clearer play/counterplay and allows a bit more potential for solo carrying."
As for details on the tower AI changes, Meddler explained:
Are there any more details on what direction the Turret A.I. changes will be heading in? Seems sorta vague?
Couple of things planned:
  1. Make towers acknowledge calls for help if the ally being hit's outside their range, but the enemy hitting them is under the tower. At present it's unintuitive and really punishing that if you're zoned really far back from your tower enemy champions can stand under it and hit you without risk.
  2. Give towers some concept of champion aggression memory. Basically towers won't go back to shooting minions until there aren't any enemy champions in their range who've recently damaged one of their team's champions. Main impact of that is expected to be on champions that dive at low levels using untargetablity effects (Elise, Fizz etc). The ability to swap agro onto another champion's still there and still powerful, trying to defend a tower in those circumstances shouldn't be as lopsided though (risk just isn't there for the attacker at present). As with lane swaps we don't want to remove early tower diving, we don't think the risk being taken/price being paid's high enough though, leading to a situation where you just don't bother trying to defend at all (tower still goes down, you just go down with it)."
Meddler continued:
Do you know how this will effect global ults? like if i fire jinx rocket from bot lane in the enemy turret range and hit their top laner will the tower aggro me?
I believe there's a range check in there as well to avoid things like that triggering (it should still be a relatively local call for help). I'll check with the engineer making these changes though, make sure we're not missing that case."

Meddler also commented on the concern about pro players having enough time before worlds to adjust to these changes,  explaining:
Pros just need to make sure to have sufficient time to learn how this system works. It's so sketchy this is happening before worlds without any real time for competitive showings.
Yeah, that was a really big concern on our minds when talking about these changes. Our conclusion was that two and half months till Worlds was sufficient time for Worlds itself, particularly given the enormous number of games that will be played in August especially on 6.15. 
This timing does however give teams pretty limited time to adapt before Playoffs, which is a significant downside. We felt it was really important that Playoffs/Qualifiers and Worlds all had a very similar set of conditions though, so needed to make these changes now if we wanted to do them before the pre-season. Doing so post 6.15 results in the sort of frustrations we saw from the Juggernaut changes last year (significant impact, but almost no competitive play on them seen pre Worlds). We concluded we did need to make these adjustments given how non interactive the early game often becomes in top tier play, completely agree there's a significant cost to doing so at this time though. Ideally we'd have made these changes a patch or two back once the dust had settled on mid-season."

As for how this change plans to switch up lane swaps by removing the fortification buff on the bottom towers, Meddler elaborated:
Because you can't turret trade bot and top anymore, as bot lane would push much faster
That's the general thinking yeah. You can still trade towers, and there may be situations where avoiding even lanes is worth it (really late game focused team with weak laners, champion picks that get pretty countered early, a strong enemy player you're trying to shut down etc). Price for doing so will be a lot higher though, so intention is that lane swapping isn't something you'll want to think of as a default choice."

Meddler  continued, commenting on ways represent these different turret mechanics in-game:
If this system persists through the preseason with no plans to change, will there be any art assets to compliment (either SR or turret models)? I know it's a lot to add on, but after the SR update I know the art team spent a lot of time making things pretty and matching gameplay
If these changes do what we hope then yes, we'd want to look into the best way to visually represent them. Clearly different towers for different lanes, clear shielding effects or something like that to make it feel like a more intuitive, natural mechanic. 
In the short term we'll also be getting a 'you hit a shield' visual effect in on towers protected by fortification to get some of that going sooner. That's very much a partial solution though of course."
 [Here's a short gif of the "you hit a shield" visual effect from the 7/20 PBE!]

As for an estimation on which patch will be used for what as far as competitive play, Meddler noted:
"Current plan is that Qualifiers/Playoffs will be played on 6.15, maybe a little on 6.16 depending on the region. Worlds will then be played on 6.18. 
Changes in 6.16-6.18 are intended to be broad but small, so a number of small adjustments to individual champions/items to bring more of them into viability/trim down the excessively dominant a bit. Hope there is that as per last year we see a lot of variety in Worlds, early games especially, as a result, without introducing anything in those last 3 patches that changes things at a bigger level (like these 6.15 changes do)."

As for timing of a new champion,  Meddler commented:
What about the New champion? wasn't there one planned to be announced soon?
A new champion in patch 6.18 wouldn't be an option for Worlds. A new champion in 6.16 or 6.17 might be, would depend on how solid their initial balance was in part." 
As for when we might see the long awaited Yorick champion update, Meddler noted:
"Somewhere in the 6.19-6.21 range approximately. If it were in 6.18 he'd almost certainly be disabled for Worlds."

Dynamic Queue matchmaking update 

"A few weeks ago we shared plans to bring back Ranked 5s along with the introduction of ranked emblems and a deeper look at autofill. Now let’s talk about changes to dynamic queue matchmaking to address fairness issues, high tier match quality, and why it’s not easy to earn a solo badge. 
Premade Advantage 
Working together with teammates you trust--from the support who knows when you’re gonna make a risky Flash to the jungler who knows you like to bait enemy top laners into overextending--provides more than just a reassuring voice in chat. 
At launch, almost-full and full premades were winning far too many of their games over smaller premades, and we prioritized accounting for the benefits of teamwork. When we released our roundtable discussion, we still weren’t where we wanted to be but we knew we were on the way. After optimizing the algorithms and sprinkling in some creative tuning, here’s where we’re at now: 
We’re almost there. Overall, we’re happy with the result and we’ll continue to optimize the system, concentrating now on specific adjustments to account for different regions’ peak hours and different size populations to fine-tune the matchmaker at a local level. 
Master Tier Match Quality 
With queue times above Diamond settling in a more reasonable place (right under 15 mins, with many queues popping even before that), we’ve focused on narrowing the skill gap between teams competing around Master tier.
We’ve seen dramatically fewer imbalanced games, and despite lower tiers already having really close pairings, the changes made an impact at every level. 
Solo Ranked Emblems 
Before we get into what we’re doing next, we wanted to circle back to ranked emblems--and specifically the solo badge. We wanted to offer the opportunity for players to really demonstrate they’d earned their placement in pure solo fashion. 
We knew we might disagree on exactly where to draw the line, because for someone who plays 100% of their games alone, even 1 or 2 dynamic games might be pushing their definition of solo. But even ignoring squeaky straw voices, it seems reasonable to say winning 13 out of 25 games without a premade partner doesn’t make a player a solo player. Even winning 20 out of 25 games on their own probably doesn’t qualify either because that’d mean a fifth of the time, that player is queuing with at least one teammate. 
We settled on 90% because we wanted to maintain the integrity of the emblem. When you see it, you know absolutely that player earned a solo achievement. The buffer’s just in case a player accidentally enters a game with a teammate without realizing it, or duos very rarely. 
The emblem is designed to represent a commitment to playing solo, so we couldn’t make it too easy to get, or it doesn’t actually do its job. The whole point is to show off that the player reached their rank by playing alone only. If you can still get a solo badge despite duoing or tri-queuing in 1 out of every 5 games, then having a solo emblem doesn’t mean anything. 
The emblem isn’t permanent. If someone doesn’t want a dynamic emblem, they can change it by winning games solo. We’re still looking into future ways of representing individual skill. The emblems just show whether someone plays alone or if they team up before heading into queue. 
Up Next 
While autofill helped reduce queue times generally, we still see rare edge cases of long queue times at all tiers. Often, it’s a situation where a player doesn’t have a long enough queue time to trigger autofill, but then gets stuck in queue waiting anyway. However rare it is, we want to eliminate the edge cases if we can. We’ll also follow up with another update in the coming weeks."

In the comment section, Cactopus  also shared a graph comparing winrates when queuing as different numbers:
I would be more curious to see a comparison between winrates when it comes to queueing as 1 or 2 compared to queueing 3 and 4.

Here you go fam* 
This is NA only: 
This is all riot regions: 
These are win rates of 1,2,3,4,5 man vs. every other kind of premade, bundled together. 
Keep in mind, solos is a much larger group, hence these not averaging to 50%. 
*I stole this data from Riot Socrates so I could take all his upvotes."
He continued:
What does it mean where it says Type of Match and the choices are mirror, non-mirror, or all?
Non-mirrored is like not the same type of matchup. So this is specifically solos vs. non-solos. 
Mirrored is exclusively games with perfect matchups (5v5s, 1-1-1-1-1 vs 1-1-1-1-1s etc) 
This is including mirrored games, which are actually the vast majority of games:
This is mirrored only. Try not to laugh: "

Kled Bench at Riot HQ

Several Rioters have been tweeting out pictures of the bench in front of Riot's HQ, which is now covered in the same text as the third Kled poster! 

Here are a few of the folks who shared it over on twitter:

KateyKhaos on Twitter.

RiotSh4rin on Twitter.

Riot Exgeniar on twitter.
Riot also shared an image of this on the official snapchat! 


Last up for today's red post collection we have a few reminders on current promotions and events!
  • Ryze's champion update launched with 6.14! \A large bundle including Ryze and all of his legacy & normal skins  are available through July 20th.  Ryze's legacy skins - ZombieTribalProfessor, and Pirate Ryze - are also available individually through August 13th! 
  • In addition to the new Astronaut Teemo plush, all plush are currently 30% off through July 24th!
  • 2016 Worlds Group Stage (San Francisco)  tickets are now on sale! Be on the look out for Quarterfinals (Chicago) tickets to go on sale in late July and Semifinals (New York) and Finals (Los Angeles)  tickets in early August! 

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