Red Post Collection: eCommerce AMA round 2, Discussion on Xerath/Heimer/Tryndamere PBE changes, and MORE!

Posted on at 2:32 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection features a reminded to check out the updated Sultan Gangplank and Team Builder threads, Xelnath explaining the recent Xerath changes on the PBE,  20thCenturyFox discussing more on the Heimer rework, a discussion on why Crit is still in the game but dodge is not, a note on an upcoming change to Garen's in-game VO, Riot Chun commenting on the PBE change to Tryndamre's E, Meddler discussing some upcoming plans for the fighter role, and the continuation of the eCommerce AMA!
Continue reading for more discussion than you can shake a stick at!

Updates on Sultan Gangplank and Team Builder

First up, here are two of the other  recent news stories that have been updated with additional red posts and discussion - be sure to give 'em another look!

Xerath PBE Discussion 

As you may have noticed, Xerath received some pretty big changes to his rework in today's PBE update - the most notable change being his passive changing from bonus MPEN to a % AP bonus.

Here's Xelnath with the lowdown:
"Hey guys,

Simmer down a bit, I appreciate the amount of passion going on here, but that's not justification to start attacking each other.

To explain our logic on the passive:
  • There were concerns the super high spell pen lead to poor counter itemization
  • We wanted to try an alternative growth path that encouraged escalating power towards the late game (in this case boosting item purchases)
After trying it out, we actually felt like it snowballed him harder, making an already win-or-lose champion win-or-lose even harder. In fact, 15% bonus AP is really just a fancy way of saying his AP Ratios are higher than normal, that squishes squishies too hard.

We've totally acknowledged that being 100-0'd by his ultimate is not fun. So we're going back to the 20% Spell Penetration passive, but this time with linear scaling, instead of geometric scaling. However, this time, it will only apply to his basic spells.

This way, if a Xerath gets out of control and snowballs into AP, you can buy MR to prevent yourself from being obliterated at a range you can't respond, but Xerath retains his ability to poke down tanks over time. (Assuming mana enough to pull it off) 
This kind of iteration can be confusing in a vacuum. I'm sorry I haven't been able to communicate more with you directly, but I'm in pretty bad shape at the moment. While Zenon is heroically taking on the effort of finishing up Xerath, implementing new ult visuals with Bitsplosion and generally being awesome, my time is split between communicating about Xerath, handling some season 4 changes that we'll be announcing soon and also doing some heavy work to adjust support itemization with Xypherous.

I understand your frustration with the lack of communication, but hope you understand.

That said, here's some stuff we're going to try out: 
We're going to try making Xerath's E path a little more clear before it fires, make the stun scale up to 2 seconds at max distance.

This is pretty experimental, but expect to see it in Xerath V4 or V5."
He continued:
"Yep. This is correct. After much review, we felt that locus as a core spell added a dramatic amount of clunkiness to the kit that requires massive amounts of over-budget AP ratios, 40% spell penetration and a nearly unstoppable stun on an 8 second cooldown to compensate for. 
The amount of power Xerath required to keep that one ability was absurd. He's utterly broken to the core. Yes, the uniqueness brought value. No, it did not justify that much power. It was only a matter of time before Xerath was given the Poppy treatment.

Instead, we are trying to figure out the healthiest, richest and most engaging parts of Xerath to keep, while keeping the important parts of his kit that were fun - e.g. a pass through base nuke. Then preserving mechanics that players recognize on Xerath, e.g. % Spell Penetration, where possible.

I just had an amazing game tonight were I survived a Varus/Blitzcrank 2v1 lane in midlane today. Yes, skillful use of Locus lead to me dodging some cool hooks. However, that wasn't what won the game. It was that one time I landed a full combo on the entire enemy team... then the one after that... then the one after that... ultimately resulting me dealing 4x more damage than any other member of my team.

Broken AP ratios and spell penetration have been on Xerath for years. Locus has been around for years. People will never warm up to abilities that just feel that bad. I hope instead that I've expressed the feeling and vision of what Xerath SHOULD be to fill the long-range siege role we want to explore with him in league of legends.

Based on the other replies in this thread - I really feel like we have."

More on Heimerdinger's Rework

20thCenturyFox returned again to chat about Heimer's rework, which is currently in testing on the PBE.

He kicked off by pointing out that Heimer got a slight movement speed buff with the rework:
"He actually does get +10 movement speed with this rework. I'd said otherwise earlier, but I've been playing with this version so long I lost track of it xD"
On turrets retaining vision when shut down:
"Yeah, I've been thinking about buffing their sight radius when shut down. Not all the way up to their full vision, but something like shaco box / teemo shroom type vision."
On ideas for a new passive:
"We've played with some new passive ideas in the thread, but we haven't found one that's avoided some nasty downside or another. The closest contenders were: First, a sort of spellvampy thing that procs on dealing magic damage with turrets/w/etc, but it doesn't do much when Heimer gets zoned out. Second, a % current health variant on his passive, which is the same thing but more interesting but has the potential to get weird with tanks and feels bad when you're behind. I had high hopes to find something good, and we still might, but I don't feel that it's something I'd hold Dinger back for. 
At the end of the day, the current passive's problem is how it feels--it can only be appreciated cerebrally, instead of on a gut level. I'm more ok with that on Heimer than I would be on most champions. What's more, the aura has its supporters--some support Dingers but also people who deliberately make use of its pushing power mid. It looks weak so it's an easy target, but it does more good for Heimerdinger than might appear at first blush.

At certain point, there's always small problems to chase when polishing a project, but if you have no cutoff point it'll never release. I'd like a version of the passive that feels better but does most of the same stuff, but at the end of the day I'm not willing to accept a complexity/playability penalty for a feel boost."
Since there is a bug currently dorking them up, he also shared what the intended resistances for Heimer's turrets:
"Armor: 10/10/10/10/10/10/13/13/15/15/17/20/23/25/30/35/40 
MR: 25/25/25/25/25/25/25/25/28/28/30/30/32/35/38/40/42/45"

When asked if support Heimerdinger was something 20thCenturyFox was comfortable with, he commented:
"Heimer seems strongest for a mid magey role, but I'm interested in supporting support Heimer, for lack of a better word ^^ 
We played a while with the idea of Heimer moving turrets. In doing so, we found the main goal was to let him have some wiggle room for turrets that ended up in poor spots. Making turrets only 20 mana and giving him faster kits lategame ended up hitting the same goals a "move a turret" feature. It basically ended up being a solution looking for a problem.

And Liandris works on turret beams. I should really add a FAQ to the first post hehe xD"
As for no more cooldown reduction on Heimer's ult, he noted:
"Tl;dr on cooldown reduction: If Heimer's cooldowns need to go lower, they should just go lower. Giving him innate CDR just says "you cannot build 40%" in exchange for making sure the CDR kicks in at level 6/11/16. Since he now has reasonable power spikes at those levels due to the ult having damage numbers, there isn't any goal left that's solved by having innate cooldown reduction."

Why was dodge removed for RNG reasons but Crit was allowed to stay?

In a flash from the past, Zileas popped into a forum thread to explain why Critical strike chance was allowed to stay in the game but Riot removed dodge ( an old stat granting % chance to completely avoid auto attacks ) from the game.
"Game design is a pragmatic problem solving. Decisions are often not in absolutes, and have to be made according to the situation. 
While we do generally want to keep artificial RNG low (as opposed to 'hidden information emergent "rng"' -- I turned a corner, and didn't know there were 3 guys there), we opted to keep crit but remove dodge for a few reasons: 
1) Dodge is 'negative' RNG rather than 'positive' RNG. We found that players notice dodge a lot less as the beneficiary than as the person who 'missed'. So, it tends to be on net not very fun. 
2) The more RNG elements you add together, the more maximum RNG outcomes you get. By removing just one of the RNGs, you don't halve the 'worst case' RNG outcomes, you actually more than halve them (A scenario where you are dodging attacks on you AND criting opponents). 
3) Players were excited about building for crit, and weren't excited by building for dodge.. because criting is exciting and cool. 
4) We wanted some build types to scale a bit harder (not a LOT harder) than others, and the existence of crit ensures that marksmen can scale a little bit better on DPS than does defense or AP damage. (NOTE -- a LITTLE bit)

Note that we also moved our crit system to pseudorandom that makes it less spikey (low chance of double crits), and reduces the impact on game objectives.

So, I feel like this is a good balance between the various considerations. In total, our artifical RNG is very, very low."

"God Awful Caveman sound" being removed from Garen's E

Turns out the very long and gutteral  yell Garen belts out as one of his E lines is being removed!

Here's Riot Eno on the subject:
As long as they remove that god awful caveman sound he makes when he E's idgaf 
Can confirm...'dis gettin' axed.

R.I.P. Caveman Garen 2013-2013"

Why can Ziggs cast while Airborne but other's cant

When asked why it was ok for Ziggs to be able to cast in mid air while Kha'Zix's ability to do the same was taken away, Meddler commented:
"The issue with Khazix was how it compressed his damage into a really small window. In Ziggs' case that problem doesn't apply - 99%+ of the time using Satchel Charge to land directly on an enemy to burst point blank isn't even remotely a good play, particularly since it involves sacrificing a damaging spell. Ziggs' casts while airborne instead tend to be getting in a parting shot while disengaging or trying for a kill shot while chasing neither of which has, so far at least, proven to be problematic, especially given Ziggs' damage output has a fair degree of unreliability. "
He continued:
"Regarding Ziggs' casts while airborne not sure what else I can say. The original design intent was that he could, it's been that way since launch (and still is) and we've currently got no plans to change that'

Tryndamere's PBE Changes to Spinning Slash

Riot Chun had a few words to say about the tentative changes to Tryndamere's E that are currently on the PBE.
"Sorry for not making myself clear in my previous post, I’m unaware of when we push to PBE and thought you could see the most recent changes. For context, Spinning Slash’s CD should be reduced by 1 second upon critting Monsters/Minions. 
In my opinion, Jungle Tryndamere also benefits greatly from split-pushing as well – Tryndamere in general is a champion that is far better as a split-pushing duelist than as someone who participates in teamfights, so past a certain point in the game (mid-late, when grouping becomes more common) even Jungling Tryndameres will default to it as their primary contribution to a team. My point is that while Jungle Tryndamere is certainly to be affected by this set of changes (as both Jungle/Laning Trynd share this trait), we actually feel that he’ll won’t be as hindered in the early stages of the game but rather later on when they begin to do very similar things.

I’m interested in hearing more on how this affects your satisfaction as a Tryndamere player (regardless of playstyle), but we have to be clear in our goals to nerf Tryndamere’s raw ability to overpower through splitpushing."

What's being done for Fighters

Meddler hopped into a post to explain a little about what's going on internally with fighters and some initiatives that are being planed for Pre S4:
"We're currently working on a bunch of stuff that's planned for release during the Pre-Season of Season 4. That includes a number of adjustments to fighters, things to improve the overall state of support and jungle play plus some other stuff we're still finalizing. Not all of that will be released at once and the fighter stuff won't be part of the first pre-season patch. We'll talk details closer to the time, right now we're really focusing on getting the core of the changes sorted out.

One thing I can mention at the moment though is that we're looking to create more distinctive niches for fighters. Right now a number of our fighters are somewhat interchangeable in terms of the gameplay experience they offer and what they bring to a team. As a result if you're after a figher picking whoever's got the best chance of winning the laning phase is a common choice, which can result in a small pool of regular picks. Other roles, such as supports for example, have much more defined niches (pick Leona for an early kill lane/strong dive initiations, Janna for a really defensive peel role, Blitzcrank for a opportunistic pick comp, Zyra for an AOE/anti melee pick etc). That's not to say support balance is perfect, or that defining clear niches for fighters will be a simple, immediate solution to fighter issues. It is however a direction we believe can do a lot to help create a situation where a sizable number of fighters are seen as attractive picks at the same time."

He continued:
"Some stuff worked out, bunch more in progress. Details to follow once things are a bit closer to ready, lot of iteration and discussion still underway right now."

Meddler bundled it all up as:
"Yeah, same approach, try and identify specialize some champions a bit if there's not a clear answer to the question 'why bring this champ besides their damage?'."

He also hit replied about a few specific champions.

On Nasus:
"Yeah, Nasus is in a better spot already than a number of fighters, offering distinct strengths in each phase of the game (strong push early, carry shutdown mid+, massive Q damage really late). Don't know if the team have any plans for him, might need some tweaks, has a lot of elements of a distinctive gameplay identity already though."

On Irelia:
"Irelia by contrast's going to be tougher given she's got a bunch of standard fighter tools and some mechanics (CC reduction and sustain especially) that can be difficult to make both balanced and satisfying. Approach we're currently investigating with kits like hers is to look at elements already on them that are distinct, though under rewarded, and experimenting to see if we can exaggerate those aspects of their character more, then compensating by removing more generic power elsewhere."

Carrying over this idea set to marksmen, he commented on Miss Fortune:
"And yeah, Miss Fortune's niche is the ADC you pick when you want to try for some degree of AOE team comp strat (see Curse of the Sad BulletTime strats from earlier this season). She's got some other stuff going on as well of course (strong early laner, good against healing champs, decent map movement), though those attributes are secondary and shared to some degree with a number of other ADCs. Also important to note that, when a champion's got a clear niche like that, there'll be times when they're a more common pick and times when they're less common, based off the popular strats and team comps at the time. That's something that's quite healthy for the game (within limits of course, 100% or 0%, to go for the extreme example, would be a major problem)."

eCommerce AMA Round #2 

As mentioned yesterday, the eCommerce team reappeared to answer more questions on eCommerce, skins, the return of limited skins, future initiatives, and more!

The following Rioters participated in this AMA:

( Note: Questions in [ ] are summarized and may not be the exact wording of the question asked )


Q: Can we expect Riot to put in a 3d model viewer for champions and skins? so we can see how it looks before buying as some of the splash art although looks awesome can be misleading?
A: "We are looking into better ways of helping players to understand what their purchases will look like in-game before they buy. We still haven't settled on how we think this will fit best and implementation is very far off, even if/when we do settle on how we think this should be done." - WizardCrab

Q:There are skins for TPA, and talks of SKT skins. What about season 1 Fnatic?
A: "The idea has been shot down here before (including by me earlier in this thread), but I'll bring it up internally again once the SKT skins are done." - Hippalus 
A #2: "We don't have plans for these at the moment."- WizardCrab

Q: Any Rumble skins on the way?
A: "It will happen... someday"  - Hippalus

Limited Edition Skins

Q: will some of those excluded [ limited ] skins maybe be reconsidered for future revival phases?
A:" The short answer is yes. Any limited edition skin that has been sold in our store may come back. Championship Riven is one of those skins. At this moment we don't have any definite plans for bringing them back. If we do bring them back, they will be treated in the same manner as the other limited skins. "- WizardCrab

Q: [ Can we expected Championship Riven to come back? ]
A: "We obviously considered this but because Championship Riven is a more recent skin with a lot of owners, we would upset a greater number of players and benefit fewer by re-releasing her." - Hippalus

Physical Merch

Q: WHY THE HECK CAN I NOT BUY SWAG FROM YOU GUYS ONLINE?! I lost that beautiful Leona vs Diana poster from World Champs at the airport, and would love to re-buy. BUT YOU GUYS WON'T LET ME GIVE YOU MONEY
A: "And allowing you to buy swag online is one of our top priorities for the next year. It will happen." - Hippalus

LCS Icons / Esports content

Q: Are you allowed yet to disclose numbers on the team summoner icon program? How successful has it been in regards to funding the teams AND I know you guys were paying attention to The International 3, and know about the community prize pool funding scheme with the interactive compendium. Has there been any consideration towards adopting a similar mechanism for Riot-directed tournaments?
A: "These questions touch on competitive issues so I can't give too much detail. In short, we were happy with the results of the LCS icons and hope to expand it to other global leagues next season. I think the other MOBAs have done some very innovative things with eSports content but we don't have any plans to copy it." - Hippalus

Q: Have you considered an LCS tie in super bundle? For example, a Cloud9 pack with each player's favorite champion and skin, along with the summoner icon and summoner page banner? Or even an ultimate LCS bundle with all of the above for a team alongside the team's t-shirt/jersey (Physical tie ins! Woo!).
A: "Once we have the physical merch in a better place, this type of bundle could be very cool. As a side note, we explored offering higher tiers of LCS icons that included a profile banner with the pictures of the current team roster, but the reaction from players we tested this with was meh."  - Hippalus

Veteran / Lifetime RP Rewards

Q: How long do you have to play league to be consider a "Veteran"
A: "Our current thinking around "Veteran" is around account creation age. So if you've been playing for 1 year, you'd be a 1 year Veteran." - DontHassleDaHoff

Q: [ Why didn't you ask for feedback on the Limited Skins returning before you made the announcement ? ]
A: "As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, we did a limited survey beforehand and got a statistically significant number of responses from limited edition skin owners (1,630) so I don't think surveying more people would have changed the result. I believe that most players, even longtime players, do appreciate having another shot at those skins, or are OK with others having that shot. The problem is that the 19% of limited edition skin owners (assuming that number hasn't changed since the survey) that don't like the plan REALLY don't like the plan, and they have very legitimate reasons for not liking it. The next survey will try to determine what we can do to make it OK for those players" - Hippalus

Incentives for Returning Players

Q:How about a program to contact people who have been away from the game for more than a set duration of time but were members for a different set duration prior(say 1 year prior to the stoppage of playing)? Maybe giving them an incentive to come back and buy a champ would be just what they need to get back into the game.
A: "we've been experimenting with some of these reactivation ideas for the past few months trying to see what moves the needle. What we don't want to do is to give you a reason to stop playing the game (free champ), there is a fine line between encouraging you to come back, and encouraging you to leave. But, we're working on a few ideas, and appreciate your input!" - DontHassleDaHoff

Future Content Ideas

Q: My thoughts are on purchasing little trinkets that go with the character or something extra during taunts. Say with Jayce, a taunt animation could be him lounging on a chair. Further, purchasable mini-stories/videos for a cheap amount (.99-1.99) that way people can get more out of characters. Create a stronger connection between the champion and the player. The question again would be: too low of an roi to consider?
A: "We're willing to do mostly anything if enough players want it. As far as connecting with a champion's lore, we're looking into ways to encourage this that probably won't cost any money."- WizardCrab

General / Other

Q: Do you plan to increase IP gain? It is quite hard for new players to catch up to older players, do you see this as a problem?

A: "We've looked into this but we've generally found that skill/practice is a much bigger limiting factor in catching up with older players. In other words, by the time your game knowledge and mechanical skill is strong enough to play ranked with any success, you'll have enough IP to buy what you need to succeed. 
There are undoubtedly exceptions, especially high ranked players from other MOBAs, but overall we feel the rate of IP gains are about right where they are now."  - Hippalus

Q: With the increasing number of champions do you guys plan to increase the amount of champions on each free week?
A: "No we explored that idea several months ago, but the consensus among players and Rioters was that ten is still the right number." - Hippalus

Q: [ New bundles? ]
A: "Yes we've been looking into different ways to "create your own bundle" or other ideas along these lines. The challenge is to find an approach that justifies the tech investment needed to make it work globally and in conjunction with all of the other store features. There are a couple ideas on the table for 2014." - Hippalus

Q: I'm curious how many players are paying customers.
A: "Yeah that type of info is locked up tight. All I can say is that most players never spend a dime, even players that make it to the top 1% of the rankings, and we're OK with that." - Hippalus

Q: I understand that you do not adhere to the neoclassical price theory of "profit maximization" (it is actually a bogus economic model), but where did the original prices of 520, 975, 1350, 1820, and 3250 RP come into play in the first place? The numbers seems so arbitrary and it seems weird to be able to base prices off of "maximizing player experience." Can you please elaborate on that (if you're allowed to)?
A: "The current eCommerce team inherited the 520, 975 and 1820 structure and we decided to work within it rather than make radical changes. If we were going to make a big change, we'd probably just let players pay directly for content in their local currency. 
"Maximizing player experience" is mostly about making sure that players feel good about their purchases before, during and after they make them. And that if they decide not to purchase at all, that feels OK too. We've all played a lot of games where that isn't the case. 
At the same time, we want to make sure Riot can pay the bills and continue to invest in the quality of the game (and all dem servers!)." - Hippalus

If you missed out on it earlier, click here to check out the eCommerce AMA part #1!

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