Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: September 26th, An Update on In-Game Performance, and more!

Posted on at 4:11 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for September 26th, the reveal of the Worlds 2018 song, RISE, a thread on in game performance issues from Riot Koalifier, and more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


Quick Gameplay Thoughts: September 26 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for September 26th, including Preseason notes, the future of Nexus Blitz, and more:
"Hi folks, 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler 
Preseason release notes 
In response to some questions that have been cropping up about the upcoming preseason:
  • The preseason patch will be 8.23 this year
  • Our goal is to have all the gameplay changes in 8.23 if possible, rather than spreading them out like we did with midseason (that was a test to see if it would be less disruptive if we did things gradually, conclusion was definitely not)
  • 8.24 will be the last regular patch of the year. We'll likely do an 8.24b though, similar to 7.24b last year, that's just a bunch of gameplay changes as preseason followup and general balance, address things that would otherwise be known issues over the holiday break.
  • Preseason changes will be on the PBE for longer than a normal patch cycle (probably 4 weeks instead of 2, for at least some of the changes)
  • There'll be some non gameplay stuff also happening during the preseason (e.g. ranked changes). Those are on a different timing, so won't necessarily be in patch 8.23. 
Future of Nexus Blitz 
We're most of the way through assessing how Nexus Blitz went at this point. Should have a dev blog with a whole bunch of details in it covering things like what we learned, major trends from feedback gathered, how we're thinking about addressing some issues that arose and some thoughts around if/when we'll have a revised Nexus Blitz available. 
Couple of possible 8.20 changes
  • Pyke - We'll be looking at Pyke in 8.20, specifically reducing his effectiveness with tank builds. They're outperforming AD builds by a pretty decent margin, and Pyke keeps his strengths generally while muting his weaknesses a lot when building tank. Not sure yet what exact direction we'll be going, shifting damage from base to ratios is one option, though does also increase how snowbally he is.
  • Hail of Blades/Jhin - We'll also be looking to do some work on Jhin and/or HoB, given just how much mobility it offers him. Potentially involves reducing the amount of move speed he gets from the attack speed conversion and then buffing some other part of his kit so that non HoB builds aren't penalized. Also possible we do some work on HoB in preseason instead, potentially with a temporary change to Jhin until then."

On LeBlancMeddler commented:
"Nothing currently planned, no. Post preseason we'll have to re-evaluate balance on all champs though, see how things like the separation of Rune stats from Styles has or hasn't impacted them. Expecting some champs at least to gain meaningful power off that (though wouldn't expect LB to be one of those cases)."

Meddler commented on possible preseason item changes:
"Starting items - Very unlikely. Might revisit that space someday, not a current focus though. 
Niche items - If we've got time leftover after landing the bigger changes in preseason we'll be looking at some of the excessively niche items. Can't make any guarantees as to how many, what directions, whether anything will ship, but hoping we might have changes that hit the mark for one or two."

As for the Urgot execute indicator, Meddler noted:
"Ran into some late issues getting it into 8.19. Should be in 8.20."

Meddler gave his lengthy thoughts on Viktor:
"So, just to set context, I'm not sure how much we should or shouldn't be buffing Viktor at present. I also haven't played that much Viktor myself, so while I'm happy to offer some thoughts on different approaches they'll be coming more from a place of theory than experience. 
AA range - I suspect that would add power more to Viktor's laning phase than teamfights looking at how changes to AA ranges have affected other champs in the past. If difficulty proccing Q is the issue to solve I'd just add a tiny bit of extra range to the Q empowered attack instead (or add a bit more if it's already got some and I'm unaware). That avoids adding extra power to his CSing and base AA harass in lane if that's not desirable. 
Q and W haste/slow - For arguments like these I'd start with an assessment of what Viktor's strengths and weaknesses should be, then look at how the current state of those abilities does or doesn't match those targets. Without doing that too high a risk of just pushing in power without consideration of what the desired outcome beyond 'stronger' is. 
W damage amp - Highly skeptical of this one. Team damage amps tend to be extremely strong, particularly if they're AOE and/or immediately applied. Satisfaction for them is generally pretty low though, relative to their power. I'm not aware of player desire or kit needs that would push Viktor towards being more ally dependent, so I can see thematic argument for this approach but not much else. 
E delay and R speed - This is a case where I'd need to play against Viktor in his current state more to speak with any confidence. Rylai's is certainly a much more niche item on him than it used to be, so it's possible tuning for needed counterplay has changed. At the same time though Viktor's historically had some really reliable damage output, so I'd be somewhat hesitant to strip counterplay out. Again though, this is one I feel least confident about answering. 
R control during stasis/death - Death I don't think's the right call at all. With rare exceptions (zombie passives) once you've killed an enemy champion they're deliberately unable to actively retaliate against you and I think that's an appropriate rule. If we were making Viktor today could see some argument for having his ult vanish on death instead, probably wouldn't make that change though given it's been this way a long time. From memory functions it that way in large part because Tibbers continued to exist post Annie's death and Viktor R's prototype started with a copy of Annie R. Reactivation during stasis is an ongoing topic for us internally. Zoe was a test case for whether we should potentially be making reactivation abilities useable while stasis'd or CC'd. Debate on whether that's been a good thing that we should apply to other reactivateable abilities or something we should strip off Zoe continues though."

On ZoeMeddler commented:
"Changes we've been testing haven't been hitting the mark as hoped yet. Currently discussing whether to keep trying those or potentially swap to a different approach and/or smaller scale changes. Confidence in them was never strong enough that we wanted to talk details publicly, changes that did come out were basically a leak due to some internal miscommunication about what was in the next patch and what was being worked on experimentally for a possible future release." 

On KarmaMeddler replied:
"I'll get some notes on some of the stuff we've tried on Karma in an upcoming post (probably next week). TLDR is we started by testing some gamepaly things Karma used to have to see if it made sense to bring them back (e.g. W clothesline play). Ran into some issues with that, so looking at other options."

An Update on In-Game Performance 

Riot Koalifier posted to the boards on in-game performance issues and what they are doing to try to get them fixed:
"Hey everyone! For the past several patches some of you have been reporting some in-game performance issues, and we're working to address them. We want to take a moment to review the situation and explain our approach. 
There are actually several problems we've been dealing with, and we'll cover each individually:
Average FPS decreases
Increase in FPS hitching and frame drops
Complete game freezes 
Average FPS decreases 
Average FPS is just that—the overall average number of frames rendered on your screen per second across an entire game. While important, this measurement isn't actually the most critical since as long as your FPS is stable, you're getting information at a consistent (though perhaps suboptimal) rate. 
Another important note when discussing FPS: the number you see in game might be higher than what your monitor actually provides. Most monitors are 144Hz or 60Hz, which indicates the highest number of frames that monitor can render per second. If you, for example, are getting 170 FPS on a 144Hz monitor, 26 of those frames don't actually exist. 
PBE: Average FPS by system specs. Higher is better. 
Average FPS significantly improved in 8.13, but most of that improvement has been slowly lost in the patches following. This happens because there's no single "FPS tool" to maintain—every time we add or adjust something in-game, it can impact performance. These days, new and updated content (skins, champs) tends to include various features (visuals, ability functionality, etc) with higher performance demands than older content. Making cooler stuff stretches the limits of what the game can do before FPS begins dropping. We've been working on a feature to meaningfully improve FPS, but have run into some challenges—more on that in a bit. 
Frame rates as of Sept 18.

Increase in FPS Hitching and frame drops 
FPS hitches are short, sudden drops in FPS, with frame drops being the worst cases (FPS dropping down to zero). Hitches are more impactful than low average FPS because, for a moment, the game gives you far less information than you're used to, throwing off your decision-making. Hitches are also generally triggered by something happening in the game, like casting an ability—the times where you most need the game to be telling you what's happening. 
PBE: Hitches per game system. Lower is better.
Per the graph above, FPS hitching started getting worse in 8.15. We encountered significant issues while testing 8.16, but were able to address the worst of them before shipping. New issues then emerged in the second half of 8.17 which we couldn't fully resolve before shipping. Fortunately, we made significant progress in 8.18, with only two systems (one gameplay event handling; the other rendering-related) still elevated above pre-8.15 levels. 
Complete game freezes 
Complete game freezes occur when your game locks up completely, and the only solution is to ALT+F4 and restart the client. This is by far the worst of the issues we're discussing today, but fortunately the one that's been contained. During patch 8.16, we tested a feature meant to dramatically improve FPS for systems with multi-core processors (the one we alluded to earlier). While we saw the FPS gains we were looking for, they unfortunately came with a massive increase in the frequency of game freezes, so we disabled the feature. It was accidentally re-enabled when patch 8.17 shipped, causing another increase in game freezes until we turned it back off again. As of now, game freezes are back under control. 
Our Next Steps 
We’re continuing testing to try to isolate why some systems were freezing with the multi-core FPS fix. Once that’s ready, we’ll be able to ship a boost to FPS for many players. Otherwise, we’re monitoring FPS and hitching levels in order to ensure that performance issues don’t return. We’re also working toward improving our ability, internally, to attribute performance degradations properly to the game feature they are coming from (VFX, champions, items, etc.) so that we can fix issues faster going forward."

RISE (ft. The Glitch Mob, Mako, and The Word Alive) | Worlds 2018

This year's Worlds theme is now available on the League of Legends youtube channel:

"Reaching the peak takes more than skill. Only those with the ambition to RISE above all others will know its height. 
For more information on the 2018 League of Legends World Championship visit http://www.lolesports.com. 
“RISE”
Featured artists: The Glitch Mob, Mako, and The Word Alive
Written by: Riot Music Team and Alex Seaver of Mako
Additional writing by: Justin Tranter
Produced by: Riot Music Team, Alex Seaver of Mako, and The Glitch Mob
Additional production by: HEALTH
Mixed by: Miles Walker at Silent Sound Studios
Assisted by: Ryan Jumper
Mastered by: Riot Music Team
Vocals performed by: Mako and The Word Alive
Vocal production by: Riot Music Team and Alex Seaver of Mako 
https://theglitchmob.com/
https://www.wearemako.com/
https://wearethewordalive.com/"

Quick Hits

  • Riot Maple Nectar noted a Fiora hotfix going out soon:
"Sooo...as it turns out there was a bug that went out in 8.18 which we were unaware of when making our Fiora changes which was pointed out yesterday. As a result we're shipping this hotfix to account for the intended magnitude."
  • Riot SapMagic has been tweeting sneak peeks for Ranked emblems, here's what he's posted so far:
[1] Hey summoners! We've made progress on the new rank emblems since we filmed our /dev diary so we're giving you a sneak peek. First up, Iron Tier! Let us know what you think. We'll share more throughout the week.
[2] All right—we're back with another sneak peek of the new rank emblems. Today we're sharing Bronze, which sits right above Iron and below Silver. Let us know what you think and we'll continue sharing as the week goes on!
[3] For our third sneak peek of the new rank emblems, it's time to climb. Check out Silver, above Bronze and below Gold. Let us know what you think in the comments and be on the lookout for our next reveal!
"We’re super excited today to start the conversation about something we’ve been working on for the better part of this year: Esports Watch Rewards. Over the past months we made a lot of improvements to the watch.lolesports.com experience including a Global Schedule, Global VoDs, and Global Live Stats. Our next big step is to integrate watching esports with playing League of Legends - and reward passionate fans."

Reminders

To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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