Red Post Collection: On Challenger Tier Concerns and Lessons Learned, OfA feedback, and more!

Posted on at 12:45 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features Riot Socrates with a big conversation on Challenger tier concerns and come of the lessons Riot has learned from this season, a chunk of feedback on One for All on Howling Abyss, mention of a Nocturne bug to be fixed soon, a quip about the recent Face of the Mountain PBE change, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

First up is a round of links to the other posts from earlier today!

On Challenger Tier Concerns and Lessons Learned

Here's Riot Socrates with a follow up on the recent Challenger issues and a heads up on some changes coming up soon.
"Hey all, 
As many of you noticed, players at the highest levels of ranked competitive play hit some problems with Challenger tier at the end of the season. While we've had a number of discussions about Challenger tier, it's clear that we - and the systems running Challenger tier - weren't as clear as anyone would've liked. We'll be fixing it based on your feedback, but first we want to explain our original thinking behind the system and where we think it broke down:


Immunity is the chief culprit of some of the issues involving Challenger tier. The intent with immunity was to create a window where a player could reach Challenger but not feel immediately pressured to stay afloat. This was intended to give players enough time to build up a pool of LP so that the newest players weren't always the ones being kicked by up-and-coming Diamond I players. Winning a series of five promotional games against the best players in the region, and then being told you also need to immediately start climbing the ladder in order to not be the first player kicked is a bit much. A complete lack of immunity would also give an unfair advantage to incumbent Challenger tier players. 
During the regular season, Challenger immunity worked and most players even appreciated it for the breathing room it provided post-promotion. Unfortunately, the end of season deadline threw a wrench into things. It opened up the opportunity for players to game the system by hitting Challenger at the right time and relying on immunity to rest easy for the last few days. The first feat - hitting Challenger - is deserved by each and every player who accomplished it, but the second - using immunity to remain competitively stagnant during a period of intense competition isn't the behavior we want to allow at the highest competitive tier.


Clamping in Diamond I can become ridiculous with LP gains of one or even zero per win. Behind the scenes, the player is always getting slightly closer to entering their Challenger promos but the opacity makes the experience unfulfilling and even discouraging. The reason it behaves in this way is that there are only 50 spots in Challenger. Those spots must accurately maintain the top 50 players. So if a player is almost as good at the top 50 players, but not quite there yet, a safety valve must exist to keep them from taking a challenger spot. The choice here was between clarity at the top of Diamond 1 and Challenger's accurate depiction of the very top of the game. We chose accuracy for Challenger, but ultimately believe one without the other is flawed and will be working to change this in the coming season.

Perceived Unfairness of Challenger

Promotions from Diamond I to Challenger trigger when a player hits a higher MMR rating than the lowest ranked,non-immune Challenger player. Once the lowest ranked Challenger is passed, the next Diamond I player to hit a promo series would need to pass the second-lowest ranked, non-immune Challenger player. During the end of the season, when competition is fierce, the floor constantly rises because of the cut-off date. We want to emphasize is that players that reached Challenger deserved it, because they surpassed their opponents, but the clarity of the system failed. Nobody knew when they were safe in Challenger, what had happened when they were kicked from Challenger, or how close they were to re-qualifying for Challenger. To us, this is a major shortcoming. The system being perceived as accurate is just as important as the system actually being accurate, and it's something we'll be improving on.

Fixing it

First, the core tenet of Challenger is that it should represent the absolute pinnacle of competitive play in every ranked queue. The system broke down at the end of the season, so we're going to do this philosophy justice by also cross-checking MMR values. The 50 players/teams with the highest MMR in each ranked queue (regardless of League position) will be granted Challenger rewards. This is in addition to those who already have their rewards for ending the season in Challenger. This should end up dishing out rewards to about 10-20 additional players / teams. 
Second, we're going to take a long, hard look at immunity in Challenger tier. Clearly immunity is an issue when a deadline is introduced, but we still want some kind of grace period for players that reach Challenger. We're hitting the drawing board on this now. 
Third, we're going to look at the core transparency of Challenger tier and player progression to and through it. At the highest level of play, competition comes down to the wire and the current system is incapable of reflecting players' positions relative to their opponents. We have some ideas on this but they're still in development. 
Expect more thorough and transparent updates on these efforts down the line. In the meantime, expect some additional quality of life changes coming to Leagues, including the introduction of tier demotions, reductions in LP clamping outside of Diamond I, and a few other upgrades.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

We're actively investigating cases of deliberate abuse like win trading in low-population queues, team selling and deliberate game throwing to sabotage other's promo efforts. We'll act only in cases of irrefutable evidence, but you can bet that players (including high-visibility ones) who abused the system will see the shoe drop."

When asked why Riot didn't just turn off immunity for the last week of the season, Pwyff replied:
"If you create a competitive environment with specific expectations for timelines and "how the system works," but then message a drastic change in the last week to make it more fair, you do end up with a more competitive environment, but it sort of erodes the trust that the system will stay put. 
Making changes to a super competitive system in the middle of the competition is like watching a game of hockey and thinking "THESE GOALIE PADS SHOULD BE SMALLER," and then implementing that into the the Stanley Cup finals because it'll make for a better game.

This also communicates to the difficulty of a system like leagues. It's like... design a system, make it perfect, wind it up, then set it on its course for a year. At no point during the year should you really mess with the system (or risk creating an inconsistent player experience) so you have to make it perfect up front, which is... tough as you can imagine. Considering a million different possibilities and reacting before they happen can be tough. A fair amount of clairvoyancy should become a requirement for those who work on leagues, in my opinion."

Regarding One For All on Howling Abyss Feedback

BuffMePlz dropped off a post discussing feedback about One for All, the communities thoughts on it being for HA vs SR, and more.
"Hey everyone!

Thanks for all of the feedback you guys have given about featured game modes and One For All! The team and I have been going through the posts and have been busy sorting through all of the responses. There’s been a lot of feedback about having both teams play the same champion on Howling Abyss instead of what is currently on PBE, so I wanted to take some time to discuss this point specifically. 
On your advice, we've played through a couple of these 10-man mirror match games on Howling Abyss and we agree that it is a really fun way to engage with League of Legends, and we found it to be a fairly different experience from the current version of One For All. There’s definitely a lot of value here for sure! Unfortunately, if we were to try to change One For All now we’d end up having to delay it for multiple patches, and we don’t feel that’s a good trade. While the main queue will still be on SR for the upcoming patch, don’t forget that you'll still be able to create One for All custom games on Howling Abyss (or any of the other maps) while the mode is enabled. 
With that said, your feedback has definitely been heard! One nice thing about featured game modes is the cyclical nature of releases - we have the opportunity to re-release modes with significant changes to make the experience feel fresh every time. As such, we’re already making plans to support the tenfold Murderbridge variant of One for All as its own featured game mode in the coming year. 
Given that, I hope you guys will continue to experiment with and explore One For All on Summoner's Rift as its own experience. It's a different game mode than the ARAM-style bloodbath for sure, and there exist a lot of great subtleties that are unique to playing this on Summoner's Rift. One common thing we've heard repeatedly is that players have found the meta on SR to be very stable; it's safe to say that any meta that exists on SR will be challenged greatly by pretty much any team composition in One For All. For example, certain champions may be best suited to sending three mid, or others function best by running double junglers. It’s also a great opportunity to try out crazy builds only to find out that they’re actually pretty viable (don’t underestimate the power of AD Annie!). You should always respect your teammates, but I would challenge everyone to be open to work with their teams and embrace new and unusual strategies! 
Please continue to give feedback on these modes as they come out – it’s a valuable part of the iteration process, and we're always doing what we can to deliver awesome experiences to you! This kind of dialog is super helpful, and it's something we really value. =)"

Nocturne Q Bug

Meddler replied to a thread concerning a bug with Nocturne's Q not properly granting it's AD buff despite standing on the trail.
"Hey all.

We've got a fix for this bug in the upcoming Preseason patch. It was indeed a case of the detection area just being too small - an unintended consequence of some fixes so that multiple Nocturnes on the same team worked properly in the upcoming One for All game mode"

Face of the Mountain change

As you may have noticed in the latest PBE update, Face of the Mountain had it's hp reduced by 25 but gained 10% CDR instead of the previously announced change of -100 hp and +10% CDR.

Xelnath commented on this, saying:
"This is probably OP now. If so, we'll probably rip HP out of the 2nd upgrade, then nerf the final."

Designing Visuals for min-spec players

RiotForScience had a few comments on how Riot can improve visual quality of enviroments without hurting players with low/minimum spec computers.
"There are a lot of ways that we can improve visual quality without putting more pressure on our min-spec players, in fact there are a couple ways of improving visual quality while actually improving our performance. In Howling abyss we used a very labor-intense technique of hand-painting details that other games would have relied on engine-lighting to supply. The result of this method is an six-fold reduction in polygons and the ability to use a much more efficient lighting system.

We design for our low-specs first, then if we have time at the end try to add features for better machines. Performance is always a priority for the environment team."

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