Red Post Collection: Context on Elise PBE Changes, Plans for Lee Sin, Vel'Koz's Balance & Texture Updates, Team Builder discussion, and more!

Posted on at 12:52 AM by Moobeat
Note: There is server maint planned for EUW the morning of March 6th., check out this thread for more info ]

This morning's red post collection features Riot Jag elaborating on the recent Elise PBE changes, a few comments on the balance team's future plans for Lee Sin, Riot Repertoir chatting about Vel'Koz, a heads up that Vel'Koz has received some texture updates on the PBE, Lyte with additional Team Builder discussion now that we are moving into the two day live beta test, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

Context on Elise [ PBE ] Changes and future plans for Lee Sin

After today's PBE update, Riot Jag popped on the forums to discuss the tentative Elise changes currently being tested:
"Elise's greatest two strengths are: 
1) An extremely powerful level 3 ganking kit. She has solid early game damage, good CC, a ranged AA to apply red buff, and Rappel offers a lot of creativity in which paths she uses to gank from. Very few junglers get a package this complete until level 6.
2) Very strong objective control due to the large cap on her bonus damage done to monsters, as well as spiderling tanking. 
The changes we're testing that you see on PBE are oriented around making these two aspects less overpowering. Alternative changes like tweaking her sustain or spiderling jungle tanking would not sufficiently alter the frustrating play pattern in her ganks. Those alternatives would also only affect her objective control in a limited range of situations (e.g. soloing dragon). 
I do think that ultimately Elise might be a healthier champion if her spiderlings were not targetable; however, there is an expectation of how pets behave - they take damage and can be killed as a way of countering them. The champions with pets are also accustomed to them being able to take a few hits for them. Elise's spiders in particular also have a significant impact on her survivability as they block skill shots. To make only Elise's spiders an exception the how pets function is a pretty significant change that would require a significant amount of analysis. It's something I'd like to look into the future but to 
be honest I suspect we have other issues with greater priority to focus on right now.
On another note, I think some of the Lee Sin comparisons here are fair. I'm compelled to point out that we have a Lee Sin rework in progress to address some of the concerns with his early game dominance, which shifts power into his mid and late game to keep him more relevant as games go on in length."

Regarding that last bit about Lee Sin, Meddler elaborated:
"What we're currently looking at is much more power curve adjustments than a rework. Changes we've been testing internally are focused on things like ratios, damage amounts, scaling by level etc, not changing the fundamentals of how his skills work."
Riot Jag also chimed back in, reiterating:
"Honestly it's more of a retune than a full rework. Mostly numbers and ratios tuning."

How's Vel'Koz turning out?

When asked how Vel'koz was coming along now that he's been released on live, Riot Repertoir dropped off a few comments:
"Thanks for the thoughts on Vel'Koz! We want him to settle in for a patch or two before we jump to make any changes. 4.4 probably won't have any gameplay changes for Vel'Koz outside of maybe a couple of bug fixes, but we should have enough information to make any changes we feel are necessary for 4.5. 
Nothing's set in stone at the moment, but I am also am on the side of thinking we could tune down his early-mid game a bit and help him out late game :)"
When asked why Vel'Koz was released with such low mana costs, he replied:
We knowingly gave Vel'Koz some pretty low mana costs on his release, and here's a few reasons:
  • His abilities are all skill-shot based with less reliability than point-and-click spells
  • Triggering his passive requires casting at least 2 spells (W+Q/E) but often 3
  • His Q makes for an interesting/unique laning experience for him and his opponent, so we wanted to make sure that spell in particular was not too costly to use or rank up.
Also, a Vel'Koz that isn't casting spells and is just maxing W to try to wave clear isn't all that interactive with the enemy. A Vel'Koz that has the freedom to cast a lot of spells regularly puts himself in danger early, making him a good target to gank. And he is pretty regularly jungler food, it seems.
As for his ult, Riot Repertoir commented:
"Yep. If Vel'Koz's ultimate turns out to be too weak currently, we'd rather just make it more powerful in a properly used case than reduce the number of ways enemies can play around/against it."

Vel'Koz Texture  Updates on PBE

Speaking of Vel'Koz, he has received some texture updates in a recent PBE update - his armor is now much more crisp and the area around his eyes has changed!

Here's Riot Aether with more info:
"Hey guys, the Vel'Koz team checked in some tweaks to his textures and would love to get your feedback!

Thank you for your contribution."
Here's a comparison between the new and the old Vel'Koz texture:
Check out the 3/3 PBE Update Coverage for a better look!

Dominion Exclusive Changes for Talon and Thresh

ManWolfAxeBoss shared a few tentative, Dominion exclusive ( only appearing in the Dominion game mode ) balance changes the team is currently trying out.
- Noxian Diplomacy
Base damage per rank reduced to 30/55/80/105/130 from 30/60/90/120/150
- Shadow Assault
CD increased to 85/75/65 from 75/65/55 
- Now gains 4 stacks of Damnation per soul instead of just 1."

[ Continued ] Team Builder Discussion

As mentioned in yesterday's red post collection, the Team Builder Two-day live beta is up and roaring over on the EUNE and RU servers!

Here's Lyte with more info:
"Just to update everyone, we've started Team Builder Live Beta in EUNE and RU. After 48 hours and assuming testing goes well, we'll be starting up EUW and then TR.

After that, is NA and BR. Stay tuned for more updates!"
Lyte has also been busy on reddit answering all sorts of questions about Team Builder, the live beta, and more! I've picked out a few of the juicier questions and answers to share!

( Note: I've set these up in a Q&A Style  and organized them based on topics for easier reading - you may not be reading in chronological order )

[Q] "do they have an actual schedule for na? its nice that they have a picture but any day# or time?"
[A]" This is one of the first times we're doing a staggered live beta like this for an extremely large and complex feature. Because of this, we may have to pause the entire live beta if we find a critical bug or issue that needs to be fixed, or if we get some player feedback that we need to act on right away. 
Given the above, we decided to release a visual timeline that just shows the order the servers are slotted in but did not release any specific hard dates. We didn't release hard dates because we may have to change them on a daily basis, which would be extremely confusing to players who saw the timeline one day and missed some changes we might have made after. One thing we'll definitely do is keep updating players on our progress. Every server will get about 48 hours of live beta, and we'll be launching live betas one server at a time until we go through the entire list. Right now, both EUNE and RU have their Live Betas running--if you're on those servers, go check it out and let me know what you think!"
[Q] "Why only 2 days though? Wouldn't longer uptime = more data collected?"
[A] "2 days was a reasonable timeframe for us to get just enough data per server, but also stagger through all the servers in a reasonable timeframe. 
League is a pretty global game these days, and even if we did 3 days per live beta that would have increased the overall live beta time many fold for the team."

[Q] "I also think a statement on why you didn't simply do "queuing for a role" because I've been trying to answer that (perhaps poorly?) over and over again in this thread."
[A] "Once the NA Live Beta starts, players will be able to jump in and see that the feature is pretty easy to use; however, we're considering whether we need to do some "How To" videos or whether the passionate community will jump in and support Team Builder with their own videos.

I'm happy to answer any questions about how the feature works before the NA Live Beta starts though.

Regarding "queuing for a role" only versus choosing champion, position and role, one of the key philosophies of Team Builder is to take into account player expectations. In our research, champion, position and role were all important to a player's expectation of how a match will play out, so we wanted to make sure that we captured all 3 elements in the feature.

Consider this anecdote: As a Captain, a teammate is suggested to you who has chosen "Top" role. Is that enough information for you to make a great decision that will greatly impact your game experience? Or, as a Captain, was it way more informative to see "Top-Tank-Garen?" In almost all of our tests, players preferred to see the 2nd option and adding it really improved the player experience."
[Q] "I mentioned that I wanted to learn to play a different role, but it could take hours before I even got to play it, depending on my pick position and my teammates. If you only have an hour or two to play, it could be days before you actually practice the thing you want to learn."
[A]"One of the main goals of Team Builder is to match like-minded players together, and take into account a player's intentions.

Everyone enjoys League differently--sometimes we just want to mess around with a crazy one-lane comp, but sometimes we want to practice a new champ or play hardcore and try to win every game. 
Team Builder tries to address all of these, but we're looking forward to your feedback to see if we succeeded."

[Q]"This is the one thing I don't like, I choose my champs based on my teammates"
[A]"Right now in Team Builder, you can queue as a Captain, and build your team however you like. The system will suggest players to you, and you can see their Champion, Position and Role. If you don't like a particular champion, just decline, and the system will find another player for you. As a Captain, you should never end up with a derpy team comp unless that's what you are trying to go for :) 
To illustrate an example, if you want a specific comp based around Yasuo, you can choose Yasuo, invite a few friends if you like, then ask the system to start finding complimentary champions to fit your comp. 
As a Solo Player, you can just hit the "Find Another Group" button if you end up in a group that you don't like the comp of. So even as a Solo, you shouldn't be worried about being in a team comp you aren't confident in. 
With a system as complex as Team Builder, we have to be careful not to offer too many choices--then it becomes overly complex and a burden to use. More choices isn't necessarily better, and we're more focused on providing players with just enough meaningful choices to have control over their experiences and have a great time in League. 
When we first designed Team Builder, we wanted to focus on the core aspects of Champion Select. We initially thought that "role" was the most important aspect of Champion Select, and that's what players valued the most, but our research showed that we were wrong. 
In fact, players valued "role" just as much as "champion" and "position," and quite a few players valued position over role. Given this, and one of the key goals of Team Builder to take into account all player expectations and intentions, it was critical that we allowed players to have some amount of control over all 3 parameters, and not just your role. 
We'll keep reviewing our decisions in time, and if we're wrong again, we're happy to pivot and make some design changes to the system :) But for now, I think many players are having a great time in the current version of Team Builder."

[Q] "What about players who chose non-conventional champions for a role? For example, a player picks support, but wants to play it as something that isn't seen as a support, like Vlad or Irelia? Will the Champion select part of the role picking only give you what riot has labeled as "x-role"? I just got a feeling a lot of ADC's are going to feel the wrath of an ally Teemo support haha."
[A]"Right now, you can definitely queue up as Teemo-Support. It might take you a bit longer to find a team, but when you do, you know you have a team that's ready to do some Teemo-Support action. If you don't like Teemo-Support, simply ask for another player (as a Captain), or find another group (as a Solo). 
We haven't put any restrictions in place for any of the Champion, Position and Role combinations, so be creative! We really want to make it easy for players to try different strategies and metas, and we're looking forward to see what becomes popular in Team Builder."
[Q] "Can you pick multiple champs or multiple roles? Let's say I wanted to either Mid or Top, does it let me choose those roles and the champs within those lanes, or is it just one role, champ and go?"
[A]" Right now, you can only choose 1 champion and 1 role. 
When we designed Team Builder, it was a brand new take on the Champion Select and we wanted to start with the core principles of choosing just one role, position and champion. I've talked in the past about why multi-champion selection might damage the player experience, but allowing multiple-roles is something we're keeping an eye on."

[Q]"I'd love to see an option to maybe choose 2 or 3 champions. So maybe you want to queue Top-Tank-Garen,Darius,Jax. Sometimes I'm in the mood to play one of a few champions and don't really care which one. If the team captain tells me they'd like me to use a specific one then I can lock into that one from the list."
[A] "Letting players choose multiple champions is actually a tricky theoretical issue in Team Builder. Let me try to explain:

Let's say you only have 3 champions in League of Legends, and they are clearly different in power. Champion 1 is S-Tier, Champion 2 is A-Tier, and Champion 3 is B-Tier.

In our research, Captains in Team Builder are very happy to play with any of the 3 champions because the most important thing they care about is sportsmanlike teammates who want to have fun. But, if you force the Captain to choose between 3 champions when 1 is clearly more powerful or perceived to be more powerful, you might actually hurt the diversity of champion play over time and make Captains feel bad for not choosing the most powerful champion--even when they were OK playing with all of them! 
By allowing just players to choose 1 champion, we skip a lot of the above issues and players just have more fun playing with a cool, diverse line-up of champions in their games."
[Q] "Does it now support premades? Last thing I heard is that you can only solo queue."
[A]"In Team Builder you can queue as a Captain and invite some friends to build your own team--this is a great way to do a creative comp like a Double Jungle comp or Kill-Lane bot.

However, you can also join Team Builder as a solo and shop around until you find a team that suits your playstyle. 
Team Builder really is all about empowering the players with more control over their experiences, to make sure you have a great time playing League."

[Q] "In your opinion, what are the possible issues with creating a simpler role queue for ranked? Or do you anticipate no issues, and simply want to wait out the results for normals to make sure?"
[A] "We're focused on the core Team Builder right now, which is our take on a new Champion Select. 
I think doing a Team Builder-like setup for Ranked is a solvable problem, but let's focus on one feature at a time!"

[ Q ] ( What's up with match making? I'm seeing weird results )
[ A ] "In Team Builder, we’re testing a lot of the new dynamic matchmaking features. We’re trying our best to ensure an awesome matchmaking experience throughout the beta, but there may be a few games that are mismatches or unbalanced—this definitely won’t be an issue when Team Builder launches but it’s important we collect this type of data during a live beta."
[Q] "sorry i don't see team builder working the idea is go but the execution isn't. I can see people wait for hour to get a games.I know there are people how are willing to play any role just to get into a game but with the team builder system they won't know. If Riot made it so we knew how many people were in queue and what roles were taken so we know what role we should queue up for, so if player A wants to play a game now he can just play supp. The biggest problem with team builder is that it isn't for ranked most people who have this problem with roles r people who play ranked not normal's team builder doesn't work for ranked it ignores the pick and ban phase. But it is a work in progress and has time to grow at least I hope."
[A]"Right now, most players are building a team and getting into a match, or joining an existing team and getting into a match in just a few minutes. 
There's always going to be a few players that have 10+ minutes of wait time, but that's because no system is perfect and there will always be outliers--maybe the players were too high skilled, or they were trying to play at an off-peak hour, etc. 
We are definitely interested in possibly showing the current demand for the various roles, but from the Live Beta data and PBE data so far, most players seem to be getting into games fairly quickly. 
We're also keeping an eye on the lessons we learn from Team Builder and how some of it may adapt to Ranked--for now, we're strictly focused on the core Champion Select experience which is a similar ruleset to the Normal Blind Pick rules only."

[Q]"It would be cool if the group leader could give his game a short textual description, so he could write things like "standard meta" "Lyte's incredible dual jungle room" or whatever."
[A]"Having a small "status" message that Captains can show Solo players, or Solo players can show prospective teams is something we're considering. 
Maybe it'll be for the most sportsmanlike players in Team Builder only.."

and here's a bonus question regarding the Honor system:

[Q] "A bit unrelated but are you gonna take a look at the honor system or are u satisfied with it ? (I have to say i never see anyone with a ribbon outside of coop vs AI.)"
[A]"We're not satisfied with the Honor Initiative, but decided last year that it was important the team switched over to focus on Team Builder. 
Our original plans for Honor went beyond what you see today, and we want to re-visit it one day."

Audio Topics: New Engine, Special Interactions, and VO Updates

Over on the new audio feedback forum, several Rioters have been answering audio related questions!

When asked how the new audio engine is coming along, BelligerentSwan commented:
Hey exec3,

We are indeed still working on it. There are many reasons we've decided to make the switch to a new audio engine, but I don't want to go into all of them just yet. I can say though, that one of the bigger reasons was to ensure we can continue to grow as League of Legends grows. I'm amazed by all of the awesome ideas both the community and my fellow Rioters have come up with the past few years, and continue to come up with everyday. This makes it a challenge for us to predict all the cool things League of Legends might see further down the line. What we can do though is create a strong adaptable foundation that will allow us to grow with these ideas and expand our possibilities as they come up. The new audio engine is a large part of that foundation. As we get closer to rolling it out there will be more information about the switch. For now we are focused on getting it ready and addressing a bunch of the awesome feedback we received from our first PBE test.

We hope to do another PBE test in the near future, and would love for anyone interested to join us and help test it out. Keep an eye out on the PBE Forums for any announcements. 
C3Sound also commented on the subject of adding more character iterations ( special taunts, VO lines, etc )
I guess it just feels like we could have so many more cool character interactions in the game, and so many other MOBAs seem to have both them and a good system for retroactively implementing them, that having a way to make them happen in League more often than the VU/champion update schedule would go a very, very long way.
Tortferngatre - you are onto some really good stuff here.

Ok, so lemme break it down a bit more. So the lore updates and the audio engine isnt the issue. But you touched on a really good idea that has been floating around here lately.

Lore updates come with the movement to update a champion. Lore by itself doesn't drive the motivation to relaunch a champion. The decision is very much riddled with variables. And just because we relaunched an unpopular champion, doesn't mean there weren't other reasons behind the decision. Just to give one example: Say there is just one ugly look'n dude running around the game. Like, seriously hideous. The art impact of upping that champs quality and getting that old version out of the game helps the overall quality of our game more than a character who doesn't necessarily need it as badly. The audio engine is also not an issue either, as it just determines how we implement the audio, not what we implement.

So before I get to your good idea, lemme present another issue with these character interactions. Your idea of bringing in more character interactions is good, and we do so for every relaunch. But you had mentioned bringing them in for champions dont necessarily need to relaunch, and some of those are with champions that have just been released. So here is one of the harder corners with that idea... We have to bring in every single on of those voice actors just for a few lines. And we are getting quite diverse in our actor list these days. We have limited resources in terms of writers and sound designers, as we all have to keep pounding on current material. So to spawn a side project of amassing a large amount of character interactions with a large number of actors that span the country, record them all, and implement them is not necessarily the smallest/quickest of tasks. And we also do this in more than 13 different languages! Its a cool idea for sure though.

Now, you did touch on something that I find to be a good compromise. And that is coming up with interactions that work for a larger group of champions, not just single champs. Say, faction champs, races, similar weapon wielding champs, gender, paragon, etc. This requires a lot of design side work, but its a really cool idea. I like it. I like it a lot. We have done it in the past, for example Weather Forecast Janna says "It's raining cats and dogs here" if you have a Nasus and Rengar in a game. The trick is to make them broad and relevant, yet keep them appealing and cool.

Hope that helps!
- C3Sound"
Riot Eno also commented in a thread about Ashe's "new" ( back during the Freljord event ) voiceover, shedding some light on why voiceovers get changed and encouraging summoners to always leave feedback.
"Hey guys! 
Let me try to shed some light on this subject in some broad terms. We find that changes in Champion voiceover usually inspire some very spirited discussion amongst the community. Sometimes the changes are unanimously favored by the community, and sometimes there are some growing pains. 
Sometimes changes to voiceover are made to fit in with new lore, to fit with a new vision for a Champ, or sometimes simply because we need to expand that Champ's voiceover set. Regardless, I can promise you that we listen to you guys and exhaustively weigh the pros and cons of every situation. SRSLY. 
So, with all of that said, as it pertains to Ashe, I can say that there aren't any plans to revert her voiceover to the old version. 
Please, please, please don't stop sharing your thoughts, feelings and concerns about this stuff though. We never want you guys to feel like we aren't listening to feedback like this, it really does help to guide us in the future."

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