Red Post Collection: QGT: July 5, /Dev Blogs, & More

Posted on at 7:19 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for July 5th, /Dev blogs on Ranked TFT and Life of a Patch, Ask Riot, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: July 5 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for July 5th, including thoughts on disabling practice tool, TFT, 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 
Why we turn practice tool off sometimes 
As you might have noticed we've had practice tool turned off for some periods of time on some servers recently. We do that in periods of really high player count because it allows us to get more players into games. The amount of server time a game takes is composed of two things. The first is a cost for the game itself existing, which covers things like processing time for minion AI/movement, tracking the states of things like buildings, reporting information post game to match history etc. The second is an additional processing cost per player that's in the game. What that effectively means is that players in practice tool games take up more server capacity than players in other game modes. Turning practice tool off, while frustrating for those who want to use it, can therefore allow more people to play at once. 
Example with numbers (made up, but they get the idea across):
  • Flat cost of a game - 5 units
  • Additional cost per player - 1 unit
  • Total cost for a practice tool game = 6 units (for 1 player)
  • Total cost for an SR game = 15 units (1.5 units per player)
  • Trade off for 15 units is therefore allowing 2.5 people to play in practice tool or 10 people to play on SR  
TFT and integration with other systems 
Now that we've got TFT available for wider play one of our next focuses is looking at where and how it should or shouldn't interact with other game systems. Making it so event passes let you earn tokens in TFT now too is an example of the sort of integration we're talking about there. Other systems we're talking about include things like Honor (does it make sense in a FFA with minimal chat to turn Honor on?) and Leveling (current leveling system isn't well suited to TFT play given rewards and things it unlocks, but adaptations could be made). We're particularly interested in addressing situations where players want to spend their time playing a mixture of regular LoL and TFT but the way we've currently got things set up makes that feel a bit awkward or punishing. 
Soft Champion Counters in 9.14 
We're currently testing some balance changes to a range of champs that give them a bit more of an edge against specific types of enemy champ or make them a bit more vulnerable to specific enemies. Goal there is to add a bit of extra weakness to champions who could do with another way to deal with them without going so far as to make it so a game is overly decided in champ select. Expectation is that blind picking certain champs should become a bit riskier, especially in organized play where teams are more likely to counterpick. 
Changes we're currently experimenting with under that philosophy:
  • Ahri charm stops dashes in progress (anti mobility niche)
  • Akali's W is a standard invisibility (gives her more vulnerability to enemies with reveals on their kits)
  • Blitzcrank R and Renekton W destroy shields on the target before dealing damage (anti powerful shield or shield stacking niche)
  • Cassiopeia and Poppy have their anti mobility effects buffed, with no minimum cast range on Cass W and Poppy W grounding+slowing enemies it stops mid dash
  • Kat R and Kled Q have a stronger form of Grievous Wounds at 60% reduction (anti sustain niche)
  • Leona W has flat damage reduction (makes her a stronger pick into DoT champs and others with effects that deal a small amount of damage many times like Kai'Sa Q) 
No guarantees those exact changes go through yet of course, still investigating. Hope is careful use of tools like this help us balance some champs, both those with said tools and those they're stronger against, better for both regular play and pro at the same time."

When asked about how the Malphite changes were faring Meddler commented:
"We think they're in a pretty good spot overall so are putting them in 9.14. Can discuss how they land once that's out. 
As an aside 9.13 to 9.14's a 3 week gap instead of the usual 2 weeks to make some other scheduling line up."

When asked about how Qiyana was doing since her release, Meddler noted:
"We think she's a lot stronger than her current statistics suggest. Last I checked bug fixes were all we had in progress. We'll reassess power again as 9.14 gets close, see if anything's needed there or not. 
Are there particular quality of life changes you feel are needed?"

/Dev: Ranked Teamfight Tactics

Here's the most recent /Dev blog on Teamfight Tactics, covering Ranked TFT - "How does it work? What are the rewards? How long until I get Challenger?"
"Hi everyone, Ed “SapMagic” Altorfer, Jon “IAmWalrus” Moormann, and Ran “Riot Stimhack” Cao here from the TFT team here to talk to you about Ranked and progression systems in Teamfight Tactics. TFT has a ton of depth, and we want to make sure you feel like the time you invest mastering its nuances is worthwhile. This is why our first and foremost goal of the Ranked and progression systems in TFT is to reward you for playing. 
We’ve always known that we wanted TFT to have a Ranked mode, although we didn’t want it to be quite as demanding as Summoner’s Rift. TFT is a much more social game with more random variation, so it wouldn’t make sense to have its ranked system be exactly the same. Ranked in TFT should be something you feel like you can play with your friends of varying skill levels while still receiving the recognition you deserve if you’re extremely skilled. 
Let’s break down how this will work. 
Ranked 
Our current plan is to kick off the first Ranked season for TFT during patch 9.14. We want to make sure everything is in a good, stable spot before we start up Ranked, but we’re also excited to get you all out there grinding LP as soon as possible. 
Ranked TFT will look very similar to Ranked on Summoner’s Rift. You’ll still have the same tiers and divisions, and at the end of every game you’ll gain or lose LP based on how well you did. We want your rank in TFT to feel as satisfying as your rank on Summoner’s Rift, even if details like how much LP you earn might be a bit different. Being Diamond in TFT should be similar to being Diamond in LoL, and only the best players should be able to reach Challenger. 
There are a handful of big differences though:
  • You’ll gain a lot more LP when you finish a TFT game in first place, since you’re basically beating seven other players in that game. You’ll typically gain some LP if you finish 4th or higher, and lose some LP if you finish 5th or lower, but spots in the middle will have fairly small changes for most games.
  • There are no promotion series in TFT. As soon as you hit 100 LP, you’ll promote and carry over any extra LP with you. Since there isn’t a single winner or loser in TFT, promotion series don’t translate very well.
  • Since there are no promotion series, there’s less protection and it’s easier to demote. You’ll still only demote if you lose while at 0 LP.
  • Your rank will feel like it moves a bit faster in TFT. Removing promo series and decreasing demotion protection means that your rank can jump more rapidly, and you’ll gain (and lose) more LP per game when things go really well (or poorly).
  • Premade Ranked restrictions are a bit different for TFT. You can queue with up to five friends if you’re all Gold or lower. If anyone is Platinum or above, you’ll only be able to queue up as three. Check out the image below for the complete breakdown of who can queue with whom.
Ranked Rewards 
We will be giving out some sweet ranked rewards for TFT, but…we haven’t finalized them yet. We’ll probably reward them based on your end-of-season rank, and they’ll most likely be different from the Summoner’s Rift ranked rewards. Nothing is final for now, so please stay tuned for more info! 
TFT Beta Pass 
We want you to feel like you’re making progress toward something meaningful with every game of TFT, which is why we’re testing out a new system we call the TFT Beta Pass. With the pass, you can earn rewards by completing various weekly challenges. This is a new system for us, and there’s a lot about the pass that may change in the future. We may even decide to do something completely different based on your experiences and feedback. 
Teamfight Tactics is very different from traditional modes like Summoner’s Rift, and we aren’t currently planning on giving out XP or Blue Essence for TFT games. We want to be thoughtful about whether and how we integrate TFT with systems like leveling and Blue Essence, and we want our solution to serve both players who play traditional modes and TFT as well as those who main one mode or the other. We may consider XP and Blue Essence rewards in the future, once the mode has had some time to settle in. 
Seasons 
We believe TFT is at its most fun when you’re discovering, theory crafting, and adapting. To support that, we’re going to be a lot more open to making bigger changes between seasons than we are for Summoner’s Rift. We’ll be experimenting with new batches of champions, new items, and system changes to give each season its own unique flavor and make sure you always feel challenged. 
Right now, we’re planning to start a new season of TFT every few months, maybe even alongside our traditional Ranked splits, which means there could be three to four seasons of TFT each year. As with everything else, this could change, particularly if we feel like that’s too much time—or too little—time between major content drops. Between seasons, you’ll be demoted by several divisions since we expect new seasons to meaningfully shake up the meta. 
We’re excited to get all this out to you and hear what you think about progression, Ranked, and every other aspect of Teamfight Tactics. On behalf of the team, thanks for working with us to make this mode awesome. Hit us in the comments or on social media (SapMagic, IAmWalrus), and until next time, we’ll see you in the arena!"

/Dev: Life of a Patch 

Check out this /Dev blog on the Life of a Patch effort, documenting what went into Patch 9.13 - "What goes into a League of Legends patch?"
"Last month, the Summoner’s Rift team—aka the bigger group that contains the “balance team”—tweeted in live-time as we worked on the balance changes for patch 9.13. Today we’re recapping some of those Tweets and pulling everything together to show what all goes into a patch. 
Before we talk about why we nerfed your favorite champion, we’re going to start with the really exciting stuff… planning. 
Plan All the Things… Well, Mostly 
We kick off each patch with a “Sprint Planning” meeting, where the gameplay designers decide which medium-sized things they want to tackle this patch cycle. This includes things like item changes (such as Guinsoo’s Rageblade), champion quality-of-life updates (such as Blitzcrank’s ult passive), and supporting upcoming or newly released champions. We also plan for larger future gameplay changes, such as the 2020 preseason. We don’t plan the simple, numerical buffs/nerfs here because we work on those things at the end of each patch cycle.
When choosing which medium-sized things to work on, we usually ask (in this order)…
  1. Is there anything the game really needs right now that can’t be fixed with a simple change and that will need a fair amount of playtesting to validate?
  2. Is there any carry-over work we want to continue?
  3. Is there anything the game needs that we can finish in 6-8 weeks? 
These decisions are made using a pretty wide view of League’s gameplay, taking into account data from all skill levels and pro play globally and the team’s shared understanding of the current state of League. 
After asking these questions for 9.13, we chose to focus on: Swain, Rod of Ages, solo lane Pyke, Udyr, Illaoi, Mordekaiser (potential hotfixes), and preseason changes. 
Choosing the Direction 
Now it’s time to figure out how we want to meet the goals for each of these things. This sounds simple, but it usually takes the most time. As we gather feedback from players, data analysts, quality analysts, and other designers, the change lists are constantly updated. 
One way we can quickly get input from the rest of the team is by going to “Lightning Talks,” which we hold every other day. In this meeting, designers share their proposed changes with the room, and the rest of the team shares their thoughts, ideas, and concerns with the approach. Since it’s easy for a room of designers to talk in-depth about every change, we set a four-minute timer for each topic. After four minutes, we quickly vote on whether we should keep discussing it or move on. 
In addition to these meetings, the entire Summoner’s Rift team (including data analysts, engineers, and managers) runs and participates in playtests twice a day. This helps them get an idea of how the changes actually feel in the game. There’s also an entire team of high-Elo quality analysts who run their own playtests each day and provide designers with additional feedback on whether the changes meet their intended goals. Playtests can also be the time for some friendly and totally professional BM. 
If you’re curious, here’s what some of the balance changes for 9.13 looked like from the beginning of Sprint Planning to the end of the patch cycle.

A New Challenger! 
The Summoner’s Rift team sometimes partners with the Champions team on larger champion changes—stuff that’s more in-depth than a typical buff or nerf, but much smaller than an update (Aatrox’s changes in patch 9.9 are a good example). This might happen if a champion’s problems aren’t really solvable with numerical or quality-of-life changes. In these cases, there are often many viable ways to address the issues, and it’s impossible to know which one’s best until we explore them. This is why these types of changes usually take more than a few weeks. 
In patch 9.13, RiotRepertoir started putting some long-term thought into Akali. 
Check out this Tweet for the full email, this one for Riot Blaustoise’s feedback, or this one for the current change list 
In the rare case that the team is able to lock-in a direction quickly, changes like this won’t make it into the next patch. There are League players all over the world that speak dozens of languages, so any changes that require us to update the in-game tooltip would likely be bumped, that way local teams have time to translate. 
The Illaoi changes are already live, but if you’re curious, you can find the full list here
Please Buff My Champion 
Towards the very end of a patch cycle, we start on the sometimes-contentious part of balance work: champion buffs and nerfs. Deciding simple buffs and nerfs at the end of a patch cycle means we get to gather as much data as possible from the previous patch, which will have been live for about five days. 
Once every two weeks, the team gets together in a “State of the Game” meeting, where we pull the data from the live patch and see which champions are on the chopping block (or buffing block?). The team determines which champions to change using their recently-defined data thresholds that take all of the guesswork out of who to buff and nerf—this ensures we’re being objective about a champion’s power level across all skill levels, and it prevents any champions from sliding under the radar. 
Here’s a reminder of what those thresholds look like:
Here’s what the data showed for patch 9.12: 
Based on this, the champions and items up for buffs and nerfs for 9.13 were…

Buffs:
  • Sylas
  • Syndra
  • Ornn
  • Tristana
  • Randuin’s Omen
Nerfs:
  • Sivir
  • Karma
  • Sona
  • Sejuani
  • Essence Reaver
The feel when you meme players about nerfing their champions and your main gets nerfed next patch. 
While the data helps us to be objective in most cases, there are instances where the team uses their collective experience to subjectively change something even if the data doesn’t directly tell them to. In this patch, the prime example was Sona. She’s been highly present in all skill brackets, but not high enough on the other thresholds to warrant a direct nerf. However, the team felt that the playstyle she enabled was not healthy for the game and worth changing outside of the data. 
When it comes to items like Randuin’s and Essence Reaver, we don’t necessarily have as much data to inform our decisions. Most of the time, items are changed based on the experience and observations made by the team. Afterall, a part of the balance team’s job is to make decisions based off the knowledge they have of the game and their awareness of the status of the meta at any given moment. 
In this case, we nerfed Essence Reaver because after a few incremental buffs, and with the new Infinity Edge/Essence Reaver build paired with Lethal Tempo, its performance was slightly higher than we thought sustainable. 
We decided to buff Randuin’s Omen because its effectiveness felt low in a game state where it should feel powerful, namely as a good response to crit itemization. Tanks also aren’t currently a dominant part of the meta, so we felt like there was some room to buff Randuin’s. 
Please Buff My Champion a Lot 
Once we know which champions (and items) to buff and nerf, we have to decide how to do it. 
We tend to approach nerfs by asking, “What problem is this champion exhibiting,” or, “Is their weakness not good enough?” Sejuani is an example of a champion who crossed the threshold for just pro play, which meant we specifically wanted to target a reason why pros were valuing her. Pros were rushing Warmog’s early, so we nerfed her HP growth per level, which should slow down the way pros are using that strategy but be less significant to solo queue power. (In general, pros don’t really respond much to base stat changes, but they will respond to a change to the thing they’re valuing about a champion.) 
For buffs, we tend to ask, “Which audience is this champion most underperforming for?” Generally if a champion is getting a buff, they have a low-to-average performance across the board, but they tend to be struggling more in certain skill brackets. Syndra is a great example of this—she’s usable in pro play, but she’s pretty lacking in solo queue. We know Syndra can be a meta driver, especially at the pro level, so we didn’t go too hard on the buff. We targeted her mana growth per level in an attempt to make her more viable across all skill brackets, especially where players are more likely to run into mana issues. 
When we decide to buff or nerf a champion, we also set a target for how much we want their solo queue win rate to change. (If we nerf something because of pro play, the only goal is to stop them from tipping the threshold.) So for example, with Syndra we aimed for about a .5% to 1% bump, which is another reason we targeted her mana growth stat—it generally has a somewhat small impact on winrate. 
On the flip side, if we wanted to have a bigger impact on a champion’s win rate (>2%), we know that a little early game power goes a long way for solo queue performance. So for example, deducting 3 AD from an ADC may be a pretty meaningful power decrease. Similarly, decreasing the base damage on the early ranks of spells tends to have a bigger impact on their win rate, whereas reducing damage on later ranks or spells that are ranked later has a lighter effect. 
Then What Happens? 
The patch goes live… almost. Next we write the Patch Notes, where we compile all the changes and the context around ‘em in one place, then we send that off to all the regions to translate. We get the patch ready to deploy, take down the servers for a bit, hit the big green go button, and the patch goes live! 
And by that point, we’ve already started the whole thing over again."

Ask Riot: Death Recap

Check out this week's Ask Riot - "Death Recap, plus eras in Runeterra and eating jungle camps."
Today we’re talking death recap, time in Runeterra, and which jungle camp is the tastiest. 
So how about Death Recap? Will it start working as intended? I’ve been playing since S2, and it still doesn’t work correctly.

YES! We’ve been very hard at work re-scripting and re-coding the underlying damage tracking in the game as a part of the Death Recap update coming in the next patch. It’s one of our top priorities with the update to make the information 100% reliable and something you can trust. 
Our other main goal is for players to be able to answer their most pressing questions as quickly and easily as possible: 
“What type of damage killed me?”
“Which champs are the most threatening?”
“Which spell do I really need to watch out for?” 
Lead Gameplay Designer 
Are all the champions in League alive in the same era, or are there different eras?

Runeterra’s history can definitely be divided into quite a few separate eras—the current era is loosely defined as “everything since the Rune Wars,” and even that’s a span of almost a thousand years. There are only a handful of champions who’ve lived that long, and nations like Noxus, Demacia, and Bilgewater simply didn’t exist in their current state before that. 
Another question could be: “Have all champions always been active in the world?” The answer to this is almost certainly not. We know how old some champions are, and we know some have only recently been reawakened from periods of inactivity. 
However, for me, the real question is, “If mortal champions were born, does that mean they will eventually die?” 
And that, dear friends, remains to be seen. 
Lead Narrative Editor 
In your opinion, what is the tastiest jungle monster and how would it have to be prepared to reach peak levels of deliciousness?

“Ahoooooooooooo! Help! Where am I? It’s cold here. I’ve only ever known warmth.” 
“What are these noises? There are so many! Such clicks and chirps. Where is the squishing, ticking thump that shook my bones?” 
“Who are you? I thought I was alone all this time.” 
“So did I.” 
“My eyes are bleary. I’m used to the dark, but there are so many shapes and colors now.” 
“I can’t see anything. There’s a gooey film in my eyes.” 
“Hold still. I’ll lick them clean.” 
“That tickles! Hahaha, oh my. So this is what you look like. You are so… furry.” 
“Well so are you. Funny we’re just meeting. It feels like I’ve known you forever.” 
“Are you still cold?” 
“Very.” 
“Come closer. I will curl around you to keep you warm and make the squishing, ticking thump noise in your ear so you won’t be scared.” 
“I… I can’t. When I try to lift my paw, it feels so heavy.” 
“How odd. My paw suddenly felt like it was going to float away. Try that again.” 
“Oh my! I think… I think we are connected. I think… your paw is my paw. I think… we are one. We must be some kind of monster!” 
“So it is! How strange! And yet, maybe we are not cursed. Maybe, we are lucky. For we will never have to take a step alone in this life. We will never come face to face with a fear the other won’t be there to face as well and whisper words of strength in the other’s ear when the hour looks most bleak. Where others must walk lonely paths, we will always, always, always have each other. So come lay your head near mine and maybe we shall even dream the same dream tonight. I of you, and you of me.” 
Prep time takes about 20-25 minutes, depending upon how long it takes the newborn murk wolves to fall asleep. (If you do not wait for them to fall asleep, prep time could be much longer as they can be quite time consuming to battle.) Burn your fire down to coals, until embers are glowing and smoking. Swiftly decapitate and toss the soft skulls onto the fire. Cook time: 35 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve! 
Murk wolf is the jungle’s most sought after culinary delicacy. After all, two heads are better than one. 
Editor, R&D

Have a question? Click on the button below, sign into your League account, and ask away."

Miscellaneous

  • Here's Nerp1186 with details on who is playing in the Twitch Rivals TFT tournament! Make sure you check out the full article for a list of all competitors:
"Here we go! On July 17 and 18, 64 invited Twitch streamers from around the world will be competing in the first ever Twitch Rivals: Teamfight Tactics Showdown. Across two days, they’ll be playing for a piece of $125,000 and bragging rights as the first ever Twitch Rivals: Teamfight Tactics winner. 
On day one, all 64 streamers will be competing for a piece of $100,000 and a place in day two. There’ll be a morning (starts at 9 AM PST) and afternoon (1:45 PM PST) bracket, each consisting of 32 players. Each player will play five games total, with a cash reward based on placement and the top eight from each bracket will advance to day two. 
$25,000 is on the line on day two. Players will play four games in a round robin format (same point/prize structure as day one). We’ll then cut to the top 8 players and play one final, winner-take all, match for $5,000 and bragging rights. 
All players will be playing on the NA server, and we’ve got representation from North America, EUW, EUNE, Russia, Oceania, Brazil, Turkey, and LATAM. Make sure to tune in to the tournament on the Twitch Rivals channel or any of the streamers’ channels listed below."
  • FauxSchizzle commented on VO updates after Lee Sin's new VO was added to the PBE:
"It has nothing to do with "not liking" this idea. We LOVE the idea of updating old champs. Usually, we book talent for 4 hour chunks of studio time (guild minimums). While this sounds like a lot of time with an actor in the booth, it actually goes by suuuper fast, with the first hour or so being time for the director (we have a rotating roster of wonderful VO directors), actor, and writer to hone in on the character and find the voice. Then it's three hours (with breaks) to get the right takes on lines. We end with efforts (non verbals) which typically blow out the actor's voice. 
WE can usually record a full 150 line script in 4 hours. So to bring an actor back for a skin, doesn't really afford us much time with said actor to record an additional set of lines for base champ VO. We're looking into ways to make this happen, but then we typically run into bandwidth issues internally for folks to select, process, edit, hook up, and test the new lines IN ADDITION to the skin VO. It's one of my personal passions to redo as many old champ VOs as possible, and we're making some head way. But I would hate to promise you fine folks something that may take a long time to deliver bc we're all stretched very thin. Writers have to write a lot of new content for league. VO designers have to iterate and implement new content. Anything old we're updating is additional work we're doing on top of our normal workload. 
Again, it's one of my personal missions to bring as many old champs up to modern quality bar as possible. It's also super hard to do when some of our talent no longer works in the industry meaning we have to recast. Recasting tends to upset mains and we wind up seeing diminishing returns on the effort. 
TLDR: It's complicated, but it's a dream we do share with you :)"

Reminders

To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • Make sure to check out the LoL Twitch Prime rewards! - "Get up to 3 Legendary Shards, a full Legendary Skin, 7 Skin Shards, and 4 Exclusive Emotes as long as you stay a Twitch Prime member."

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