Red Post Collection: Skarner Rework Changes, Who is in the Harrowing Icons, Support Viability next season, PBE changes & content creators, and more!

Posted on at 7:39 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features an update to the Preseason vision discussion, upcoming tweaks to Skarner's rework ( when he returns to the PBE ), clarification on who the characters are in the upcoming Harrowing summoner icons, more on Dominion's perceived popularity, a discussion on support viability in the next season, more on Heimerdinger's rework, a few notes on what the upcoming PBE changes mean for content creators, Meddler on Soraka's starcall range, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Preseason Vision Discussion

Just a heads up that I've updated the "An Introduction to our vision changes in preseason" post with tons of additional red posts and discussion instead of smooshing them into a new red post collection. Check it out for the latest info on the upcoming changes to wards, the new trinket system, and more.

Updates to Skarner Rework

Even though Skarner's rework was temporarily pulled off the PBE, RiotScruffy has posted up some tentative changes to it that we should see when it returns.
"Hey all, for the next pass when he comes back up on the PBE I will be increasing the shield values on W slightly. I completely understand the worry that the removal of heal will hurt his viability in top lane. The goal here is definitely not to remove the option for Skarner to go top lane. Thus after seeing the feedback and doing some more number crunching, we are increasing the shield numbers to help compensate for the loss in sustain. 
Live Shield: 70/115/160/205/250 (0.6 AP) 18s cooldown
PBE Shield: 80/135/190/245/300 (0.8 AP) 14s cooldown


Harrowing Icons Clarification

Following up on his previous postBluefire has an update on the names of the characters in the upcoming Harrowing '13 icons
"@Lore Q's: Hey all, we made some mistakes on the names so I've gone ahead and updated them. The dude is the howling abyss shopkeeper (now named Iceborn Keeper). The gal is the TT ghost (not Sena, and thus not Lucian's wife, a completely different character)."
 For reference, here's nother look at the "Spirit of the Altar" and "Iceborn Keeper" icons. You can check out the rest of them in Bluefire's original post or in our PBE coverage.

More on Dominion's popularity

Continuing on yesterday's discussion of Dominion and it's perceived popularity within the community, ManWolfAxeBoss commented:
"This is what I was getting at with meaningful secondary objectives. The secondary objectives of Dominion are much less concrete than those of SR, which I believe makes it less accessible. A game's phase is typically defined by its objectives so it's easy to understand how a casual Dominion player could consider the mode "flattened." Now, is a flattened game mode "flawed?" It depends on who you ask. 
I hate football. I think it's boring to play and watch. I like ultimate frisbee. They're both fairly similar and, in my opinion, ultimate has all the same things going for it that makes football popular. Why isn't it? Is it the disc? Is it because one has the NFL backing it? Is it culture? Maybe it's all of them. Back to the chicken and egg. Either way, resentment is unproductive. 
MOBA's aren't better than fighting games because fighting games are "flattened." I think we're all mature enough to understand that. I think we're also mature enough to know that we're not discussing the worth of the mode. We're just examining why it may not be as popular as some people think it could be.

I still stand by my belief that ultimately, players decide what is popular."
He continued:
"Yes, and there's plenty of counter examples too. Why isn't everyone playing swtor? What happened to Pepsi clear? And so forth.
We could go back and forth forever. But like I said in an earlier post, there is plenty that could be done for all of our alternate maps. Again, I know that's a super lame, nebulous answer that no one wants to hear."

Preseason Support Viability

Meddler stepped in to address concerns that the support role - which currently boils down to being a vision machine - is at risk of being diminished or less defined with by the preseason vision changes.
"Can understand your concern, given how effective supports can be via the vision game at present. We've got some other changes coming however that should really help open up options for supports that we'll be talking about soon. Short version is substantially improved income for duo lane supports, allowing them to make more of an impact via non consumable items. That's combined with some supports changing a bit so that their utility scales up with items, giving you the option of choosing between builds with higher utility, tankiness, activatables etc. Details to follow in the near future, if you've still got concerns about supports in some divisions struggling to make an appropriate impact let's chat then - disempowering supports is really not our goal here :).

On the vision side I'd agree a number of players will probably still opt not to buy wards regularly. All classes will have access to the new vision trinkets however, offering some vision contribution from every member on the team. Trinkets are free, and go in a slot that can't hold anything else, so there's no incentive to not use them (in contrast to the competition between wards and other items for gold)."
 He continued:
"We do expect to see some supports (the ranged ones in particular) building a moderate amount of AP as a result of the upcoming changes and that's something we'll be working on their kits a bit to make a viable option (e.g. Do I want to go tanky support, grab a bunch of activatables, grab items to improve my utility etc)."

He continued, touching on how cunrrently ending the game with boots and sightstone leaves much to be desired:
"Yeah, we're very much aiming to let supports be part of the item game (item choices, power progression through items etc). Ending the game with boots 1 and a sightstone because you spent all your gold on wards denies a lot of cool potential options for the support player and their team. We're confident that will benefit the game, since this is a big change there'll also be a bit of disruption/experimentation of course as players test out their options, we tweak the exact balance details on various champs etc."

Heimerdinger Rework Discussion

20thCenturyFaux returned with a few more comments on Heimerdingers current PBE rework, this time, this time noting that he doesn't believe he'll be changing Heimer's passive.
"I'm actually becoming convinced that trying to tweak the current passive isn't a good direction. None of the ideas that are trying to be "this passive but better" can beat it at its reliability, simplicity etc. The simple version is probably perfect for when people have so much new stuff to learn, too. There's always more tweaking that can be done, and if a good opportunity/ art resources/etc lands in my lap I'll go for it, but this feels like spending a ton of time worrying about the hood ornament on my crazy giant robot steam turret."
 He continued, commenting that Heimer's base HP regen was removed so it could be combined into the passive.
"We basically took his base stat health regen and dumped it all into the passive :3"
He also noted adding a new sound that plays when Heimer's turrets hit champions:
"Ok, got the champ-specific hit sound on the turrets in, not just stealing Katarina's audio anymore--that is, the special Heimerdinger-only sound that plays when a turret hits a champion. It's no longer global due to other reasons, but it has significantly longer "range" than other audio so it's essentially the same. The main difference is that the sound itself is now a unique Heimery sound instead of just the sound Kat's R makes when it hits a guy.

Please let me know what you think! Is it annoying? Helpful? Does it still work for ward-turreting? Seriously is it annoying? Feedback pls! xD"
 Although, he then mentioned that:
"Yeah sorry, it won't get to PBE till next build"

 The upcoming PBE Changes for Content Creators

Responding to a content creator by the name of "Pawnce", RiotSeb shared more on how the upcoming PBE changes are being handled with regard to community content creators.
"Hey Pawnce, 
We've been discussing every day the best ways to handle both "small" and "large" accounts. For perspective, we've actually identified your account as a "larger" account. There are plenty of ways we could tackle this, but for the immediate future, we will start by passively supporting the accounts we've identified so far (that is, we just won't deactivate them during the sweep) rather than reaching out and working directly with contributors about what type of accounts they may need. We'll increase support over time, but our current priority is to make sure to not damage current value. 
In the future, there will be a more established process in place that will especially help newer contributors. We can't guarantee everyone looking to get started as a YouTuber will get free permanent access to the PBE just by asking for it, but we will be announcing our plans as to how we'll support these types of players. 
For other contributors watching this thread: we've been identifying and flagging PBE accounts for preservation this past week (including international accounts for non-NA communities) though we have been quiet about it so far. There will be a system in place in the future for newer contributors to reach out to us to help get started, and also an evaluation framework for how well the partnership is working.

The PBE is about partnerships, both for players to help us make the game better, and for Riot to work with leaders in the community. My goal is for both types of partnerships to increase in quality over time, and while I can't announce details at this moment, we're definitely working on it!"
He continued:
"For context, I totally get where you guys are coming from. Before working at Riot, I used to work for Rooster Teeth (on Red vs. Blue, a Halo-based show) and prior to that, I ran YouTube / channels (Twitch wasn't around yet!) specifically for fighting games to help pay my rent when I lived in New York. Created content from videogames is really near and dear to my heart :)

But to set expectations, it's likely that we're going to miss some people in the first go-around. We'll be working hard to make sure things work out, but it might take some time."

He also explained that everyone will need to create another "new" style account:
"Even if you have an existing "old" style PBE account, you should still create another "new" style account if you've been approved. We announced that we'll be deactivating the "old" accounts (though obviously we haven't yet).

I know it can be inconvenient (especially if you're going to buy everything in the store again) but once you have your "new" account, it will be used even for future test cycles-- you won't have to do this every time. The main reason we want everyone to have the "new" account is that behind the scenes, the new account creation process provides us a lot of additional helpful data for testing."

Soraka's Starcall Range

Meddler also commented on the range of Soraka's Starcall and why it seems to just miss opponents on occasion:
"Checked this out and yes, Starcall can miss a target if the enemy moves out of its range before the cast finishes. There's already some leniency built in (looks for targets with 625 units, casts on them provided they're still within 675 units or less), it is possible for units moving at a decent speed to walk out sometimes however. We'll fix that to remove those simple walk out cases where Starcall fails on a target that's simply walking away. Enemies using Flash or a similar instant/almost instant effect may still be able to avoid the hit with the right timing/positioning, that's a really high price to pay to dodge a single Starcall hit though."
He continued:
"People don't intentionally dodge it, their movement causes it to miss in a way that doesn't offer engaging play to the Soraka player or their target. Boils down to 'Starcall is uncertain circumstances unreliable at max range on a moving target', hence the fix."

When asked why sometimes Soraka can auto attack enemies but not be in range for Starcall despite their ranges listed as similar ranges, he commented:
"Auto attack ranges and spell cast ranges are not calculated quite the same way in LoL which makes things like this a bit murky. Auto attacks are measured from the edges of the attacker/target, while spells measure from the center of each model. The average difference is around 75-100 units from memory, and if you're attacking a particularly large target that may be exaggerated a bit, resulting in a situation like the one you describe where you're close enough to auto attack but not to Starcall."

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