[Updated] Red Post Collection: Team Builder live on NA, All-Star Event AMA Roundup, and more!

Posted on at 6:39 PM by Moobeat
[Updated] Added in more posts about Team Builder and Quinn. Enjoy.

This evening's red post collection features more on Team Builder now that the two-day live beta has started on NA, Riot Scruffy mentioning 4.4 will contain additional changes to Skarner's E, ricklessabandon with an update on his QoL changes for Quinn's Harrier, a roundup for today's All-Star Event AMA, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News:

Team Builder up on NA

As you may have already noticed, the Team Builder two-day live beta was enabled on NA earlier today!
Lyte and several other Rioters have also returned to the forums and reddit to answer more of your team builder questions!

[ Note: I'll be adding more posts in here as the team is still commenting and answering more questions ]

Lyte kicked off the discussion by saying:
"Quick update: 
Team Builder just went live in NA. Because the queues just turned on and the server just came back online, there still aren't many players logged into NA or on Team Builder yet. Queue times will definitely be longer than usual for the first few hours as players log in to play. 
We're also seeing that a large number of players are queuing up as Captains, but not trying to build teams yet--they are just clicking around and exploring the feature, accepting a few players/declining a few players and then quitting the lobby. We've seen this at the start of every beta, so this will likely die down in a few hours.

Team members will be available from 3:00 - 5:00 PM PST today (Monday, 3/10/2014) to answer any questions you have about Team Builder, so ask away!"

When asked about the long queue times when Team Builder was turned on this morning, Lyte commented:
"We turned on Team Builder pretty recently, and the NA server was brought back online recently as well. A lot of players are still logging into the game, and it'll still take some time yet before players are all playing games. 
We're also seeing a lot of players joining as a Captain to test out Team Builder and click all the buttons and explore all the features--not enough Captains are trying to actually build a team and play a game yet. This happens every time we start a Team Builder Live Beta, so we expect this to die down in a few hours. 
In the other betas, it took players only a few minutes to build teams or find teams on average. A small number of players had to wait ~10 min or more, but those were the outliers."
Riot Blackrook also chimed in, noting the popularity of the different roles:
"When we looked at role preferences, we saw that the number of players who preferred each role were relatively close. Currently Jungle, Support, and Marksman are all the most in-demand roles. We're looking into ways to inform players what roles are currently in demand; we've done some discussions about 'fill roles' in general but haven't made any decisions about it."
davin also commented on the queue times being longer than normal during the first day:
"For the Live Betas that we've run elsewhere for this feature so far, we've noticed that this does happen, but for different reasons. Early on, a lot of captains are just trying out the feature, figuring out how it works, having people join, and then leaving before starting games. However, we've also seen that this behavior goes away after the first day and queue times then hit our target averages.

Growing pains!"

Riot Blackrook also commented on the decision to have players select their champion prior to finding a group:
"We decided to place champion selection prior to finding a group for a few reasons:
  1. TB is designed to give Captains an idea of what a Solo expects to play before accepting them into their group. If you want to try out jungle Teemo, you should get into a group knowing your Team is on board with this.
  2. when we tried out designs allowing you to switch your champion after entering a group, we found that this is actually harmful to champion diversity as players queueing as less commonly played champs were accepted into a group, only to be asked to play a different champion.
  3. during the live beta we're collecting data to fuel some really cool ideas we have for matchmaking in Team Builder. For example, by knowing what champion you are going to play before you queue, the system can take into account experience on that champion in matchmaking. Say you have 1000 games worth of experience playing Ashe. If you try out Malphite for the first time we could take that into account so you don't get matched against players based on a skill ranking weighted toward Ashe. We can also do the same for your role and position. If you play lots of support Annie, that doesn't mean you have same skill level playing her in the mid lane."
Lyte continued:
"We did a lot of early prototype testing where we did test various ways to allow champion changing. For example, a team vote on a champion change, a captain "approval" of a champion change, or even just freely being able to change champions. During the testing, we found a couple downsides that really made us re-think the features and put them on the backburner for now.

For example, the features really hurt champion diversity. Instead of players waiting longer in queue and getting to play a champion in an unorthodox role, they'd often be accepted into teams and then asked to change their champion--after going through the experience a few times, you can imagine how many players just gave up trying to play these creative roles over time. Right now, we're seeing Bottom-LeBlanc-Support and Talon-Jungles and other neat specs being quite accepted in Team Builder, and we might not have seen that develop if we went with champion changes in the lobby."

As for what to do if you run into problems with your champion choice, Lyte suggests:
"The easiest way to try a creative champion-role or team composition is to queue as a Captain and propose your own team comp. However, if you want to, you can still queue up as a Solo player with something like Urgot-Mid. It might take a bit longer to get a team to accept you, but when a team does you can have confidence that the team has OK'd your spec already and is happy to play with your Urgot-Mid."

As for how Team Builder matchmaking works, Riot Blackrook commented:
"Team Builder matchmaking IS separate from Normal Blind Pick. 
Team Builder matchmaking DOES NOT restart everyone at the same ranking, but it is ALSO NOT exactly the same as your Normal ranking. (No idea where you got the number 1200) 
It's sort of a soft reset or "seed" from your Normal ranking."
davin also chimed in, mentioning the role specific matchmaking:
"In the future, we'll also be testing MMR adjustments for roles and champions, to make it easier to try out new things. For example, I don't play Marksman champs a lot, so I'd get an adjusted rating to make up for how bad I am at it ;) It's not live yet, but we hope to get to test it after the Live Beta (Live Beta is helping us get data for this)."

When asked to have an option to better distinguish between support and tank ( for someone like Leona ) , Lyte commented:
"This is something we're keeping an eye on. Players may learn to use "Support Role" for champions like Leona when they want to play her as a Support, even if they want to build Tanky. However, if this issue persists, we have a few ideas for how we might solve it through changing Team Builder's design."

When asked why Brazil doesn't have Team Builder yet despite it being paired with NA, Riot Blackrook commented the team didn't want to take down Brazil for maintenance ( as they did with NA ) during peak play hours:
"Brazil is in a different time zone. We try not to have server downtime in the middle of the afternoon when lots of people are playing."

As for concerns about Team Builder and draft modes, Riot Tantram commented:
"Let me just stop your misconception of Team Builder right now. We have no intention of copy-pasting Team Builder in it's current state over the other queue types. We are not going to remove the ability to counter pick champions. We aren't going to just turn off ranked and replace it with Team Builder as-is. Team Builder is in beta right now. It currently only works as a blind pick mode."
Lyte also noted:
"Team Builder was specifically designed as a new take on the core Champion Select experience. The system does not account for drafting and counterpicking, which we agree is integral to the competitive League of Legends experience.

If we were to build a Team Builder queue for Ranked Modes, it'd probably look completely different and we'd just incorporate the lessons that worked from Normal Team Builder. We'd also design the system from the ground up with drafting and counterpicking in mind."

When asked why you can't access champion abilities or bios from the team builder menu, Lyte commented:
"We were torn about this, and weren't sure if we needed to fully implement it before doing a Live Beta. We ultimately decided that it was worth doing a Live Beta first without finishing this feature, but if it's a highly demanded feature we might swing back and do some work on it."

As for how the beta and Team Builder is shaping up, Riot Blackrook commented:
"Hey all, 
We're pretty amazed and humbled by the response we've gotten from the Team Builder Beta so far. (Seriously, like 3 front page threads every day it's been on! You guys are awesome!) 
Currently and throughout the Live Beta rollout most of the engineers who made Team Builder are either on-call or actively monitoring the system. The team as a whole is pretty tired, fueled only by the excitement your feedback brings us. (Oh, and also coffee.) 
We want Team Builder to be ready for shipping as soon as possible and it won't be too long now. Thank you all for your amazing response, it has truly brought a new level of motivation to our team."

Lyte also commented about the possible data can be easily extracted from team builder:
"Isn't that one of the more interesting theories that we can test in Team Builder? 
How does Kill-Lane Bot do vs Standard Meta? How about a custom split-push strategy where you do 3-Top, 1 Mid, 1 Bot? In Team Builder, we can have legendary match-ups and really see which strategies rise to the top :D

Think about the matrix of data that we can get from Team Builder... every comp against every comp and their win%s... it makes me smile just thinking about it."

[ Continued ] Skarner Rework Follow Through

Riot Scruffy returned to the "Skarner Rework Follow Through "thread to share that Skarner will be getting a few more buffs to his E in the next patch, following his recent rework in patch 4.2.
"We've got some more changes to the E coming in the next patch. We will continue to make both usability and power updates every patch if he is still having problems, so don't worry Skarner is not being ignored. 
Stay positive and keep playing the scorpion, I will be too.

Edit: Changes are missile width and speed increases, should make it a bit more consistent."
He continued, responding to criticism on the upcoming Rengar work having much more experimentation than the Skarner rework:
"Most of the changes have been targeted at making E more powerful/consistent because the bulk of the feedback was asking for better CC/stickiness. These changes are meant to directly go in the direction that Skarner players are asking for. 
Rengar is in a more internal development phase and so you will see a lot more things changing around as we try and test options. He also needed more changes in general. We try to not change things if we don't have to on existing characters. This is why you didn't see bigger changes to Skarner's abilities or crazy new things like burrowing etc (that type of stuff can go on new characters).

We absolutely support adding some power (in the ways many players are asking for) for Skarner because he was weak on release, but some things like permaslow and snowball reliance are not coming back."

Quinn Harrier Changes in 4.4

When asked what happened to the PBE Quinn change that put a visible cooldown timer ( no mechanics change, simply a quality of life change  ) on her passive's ability bar icon, ricklessabandon commented that it will be included in patch 4.4:
"oh hey. it's in 4.4 (should be in the patch notes whenever those go up). i've been pretty busy these past few weeks, so i haven't had as much time for side projects like quinn and miss fortune as i'd like. i wanted to hold off on quinn until i could look into other things for her, but after not being able to make time within two patches i decided that shipping this alone is better than holding it forever."
An example of Harrier's cooldown being shown on the buff bar, taken from the PBE.
When asked about his other plans for Quinn, ricklessabandon replied:
"oh, yes i remember seeing that before. i'm not really actively working on quinn (again, due to time) so i haven't been diving into many quinn discussions since it comes at the cost of context switching from whatever my active projects are. so for quinn's case (i.e., i've thought of her but am not actively thinking of her) i'm more inclined to skim through posts and mentally 'bookmark' them for later than i would be to drawing a lot of attention to something i won't be able to get to for a while."

Feedback on Player Behavior Reports

Over on reddit, RiotBoourns replied to a thread requesting some sort of feedback system to let players know when toxic players they've reported received punishment for their ways:
"More seriously, I believe Lyte has talked about this in the past. Letting people know the outcome of the reports they submit is something on our radar. We definitely see value in having better feedback in the reporting system (just like we do with the tribunal). However we believe that Team Builder is the most effective way to reduce toxicity right now and so the team's focus is on that. I don't know what the future will hold though!"
He continued:
"TBH, I have no idea. I am very interested in what that team is doing, but am not actually on it so I can't speak to something like that. 
If I were to channel Lyte I would guess that our thinking is more along the lines of how to reduce toxicity before it starts or give people feedback on infrequent outbursts of toxic behavior rather than increased punishment. From what he's said in the past, we kind of want harsher banning and other punishments to be last resorts. We're much more interested in more nuanced ways to affect behavior if you look at the features that team has done (reform cards, honor system, behavioral alerts, team builder)."
 When asked why it takes so long to see things go from discussion to fruition, Boourns commented:
"This is the core of the biggest challenge we (and many companies) have. We can't do everything, it's just not possible. We have to decide what's most important to focus on. Is this feature more important than fixing a game breaking bug, a bug that makes your experience worse, or improving the new player experience? It's easy to look at an individual feature and say, this is pretty easy, why didn't you do this over feature x? Unfortunately the tradeoffs are much more complicated than that, although I'm not the best person to talk about it. 
One of the downsides of the dialog that we have with the community is that we often talk about ideas that we might not ever do (sometimes we even think we're going to do them at the time, but it turns out to not be viable). Personally I always try to make it clear that when I talk about something it doesn't mean we're ever going to do it unless we're announcing a feature. I think the benefits of talking to you all outweigh the costs. I wish I could show you how much of an impact you all have on us. I know sometimes it can feel like feedback goes into a black hole, but we're listening and trying our best to improve your experience as fast as we can. 
It is not just a matter of hiring more people, that's how you end up with uncontrolled growth and a company that loses it's personality, culture, quality bar, etc. We want to hire as fast as possible, but only the right people forRiot. It's one of our core values if you look at the riotgames.com site. We believe that, over the long term, getting the best people for our team is more important than having more people to do "all the things"."

Fiora Bugs

Pwyff popped up on reddit to share that the Fiora bug that makes her Flash unusable after killing an enemy with her ult should be fixed in patch 4.4.
"I believe this is fixed in 4.4. Ain't nobody gonna see this because y'alls is too grumpy.


All-Star Event AMA Roundup

As mentioned yesterday, a few members of the eSports team took to reddit to host an AMA on the upcoming 2014 All-Star event in Paris, France!

The following Rioters joined in to answer questions:
  • Riot Magus
  • Riot Nick Allen 
  • Hitstreak 
  • Riot Shantzilla 

As usual, the answer below are organized by topic and may be out of chronological order.

All-Stars Format

[Q] "Why is the format different from last season's All Stars? I really liked voting for an All-Star team and having players represent our region. Thanks a lot!"
"A wide-spread request we've heard is "we want more international competition." This is a tricky thing, because global events are not only logistically difficult, but it's really demanding on the teams that participate. All-Stars gave us the opportunity to explore expanding international competition between the pro leagues in a way that stays true to what All-Stars is about - celebrating the best in League of Legends (fans, pro players and teams). These are teams that have played together, speak the same language, and can really show off their best play each and every day.

That being said, we wanted to expand how players can influence the All-Star experience. That's where the Challenge comes in, which is a bit more lighthearted and takes advantage of the voting structure we built to let players influence the competition. Want to see one of the best mid's in the world play Heimer on the world stage? Want to see your dream international 1v1 happen? This is the sort of thing you'll probably never be able to see normally (and maybe never see again), and that's pretty awesome." - RiotShantzilla

[Q] "If you aren't taking the Allstars from each region to form an Allstar team, why call it Allstars?"
"All-Stars is an event that brings together the best players and teams from the pro leagues around the world. I think the event's name more than stands - even if it's not the format from traditional sports." - RiotMagus

[Q] "Being a Turkish player myself, why isn't there an allstar team for the Wild Cards?"
"Great question! While we love the International Wildcard regions (you'll be seeing a spot for them again at Worlds), we wanted this year's All-Stars to celebrate the pro leagues from around the world and the players that play in them." - RiotNickAllen

[Q] "Can the top team from each region also have players on the all-star team? Would this affect practice if so?"
"We'll be limiting the top team participation to strictly the All-Star Invitational. Like you hit on above, we want to keep that tournament as competitive as possible by having invited teams focus completely on practicing for their Invitational matches." - RiotNickAllen

All-Star Challenge

[Q] "How is the format for the All-Star Challenge going to work?"
"Fans will elect two pro players from each pro league to send to the All-Star Challenge, for a total of 10 pros participating in the event. They will be split into two teams with both teams having a pro from each league. Those teams compete each day in a unique game mode that should be fun to watch.

What gets me excited about the Challenge is that we're cranking up the level that fans will get to participate. In the weeks leading up to All-Stars, fans'll get to influence the various game modes that the two Challenge teams will participate in." - RiotMagus

[Q] "How will lanes be worked out for the All-Star Challenge? If 4 adc's get voted in for allstars, are they going to choose amongst themselves who plays what? I feel that supports will be left out of the overall all-star picture because they lack the "big plays" even though they are playmakers in their own way."
"The players in the Challenge will be able to determine their own positions for each day's event. We didn't want to limit player's votes based on positions for the Challenge, and given how multi-talented the world's top players are, I don't see it being a downside. Personally I'm pumped to see bot lanes with pros playing characters we've never seen them on before! Given that the Invitational will be showcasing the meta at it's top tier, the Challenge is an opportunity for something totally unique!" - RiotShantzilla

[Q] "I feel as though having the all star event in this format is taking most of the fun away from the viewers. The reason all stars was so enjoyable last year was due to the fan involvement and the players being more open to the community in order to get votes, what are you doing to make this event as enjoyable as it was last year for the viewers this year."
"Hey Nightshadow. I totally agree that the reason All-Stars was enjoyable last year was due to the fan involvement. Our goal with Challenge was to push the envelope with fan involvement to go beyond selecting who will be at the event but actually having a say in how the Challenge plays out. You guys will be able to influence things from which champs will be played to who will face off against each other. We think that this increased level of interaction combined with selecting which players go to the Challenge should be a cool experience for fans who loved the voting aspect of last year's All-Star." - RiotMagus

[Q] "In the All-star Challenge you say that some aspect of the modes may be altered by the community. Can you give an example of some things that might be subject to alteration?"
"After the Player Vote is completed, we're going to be revealing each game mode (and opening the vote) every Sunday leading up to the event. Personally, I loved the 1v1s last year, so it'd be cool to see that with a fan-voted twist." - RiotShantzilla

Casting / Analyst Desk

[Q] "What language will the casting at the venue be? me and my friends really want to come up from holland to visit but would hate it if we could only listen to the french cast."
"The current plan is to have the venue be French but we're exploring how we can accommodate fans who attend live but don't understand the language." - RiotMagus

[Q] "Who will be the official Casters for the event?"
"We haven't finalized the caster list yet, but you'll have a selection of casters from various languages similar to other major international events we've done in the past." - RiotMagus

[Q] "Will there be an analyst desk again? To be specific; one with pro players and other non-riot analysts?"
"There will be an analyst desk again for the event. We're finalizing who'll be on the desk but the aim will be to make it entertaining and informative." - RiotMagus

[Q] "Would you ever consider the fans voting for people to do the analyst desk?"
"Part of creating a good analyst desk is making sure there's chemistry and balance between the different folks on the desk. For example, if you only have controversial guys on the desk the conversation probably won't flow well. However, if you don't have anyone with an opinion, the content might not be interesting.
It's something I don't want to rule out, but there are a lot of things that go into picking someone to the desk beyond popularity :)" - RiotMagus

Event Prizes

[Q] "what's the reward besides money? no extra spot this time?"
"Correct, no extra spot this time.

Winning is its own reward :)" - RiotMagus

[Q] "Will the winning team earn an extra spot for worlds like last year?"
"Short answer - no, there will not be an extra Worlds spot granted to the region who wins.
Long answer - we've stated earlier this year that we're going to tweak the Worlds' format. One change is that we're going to set the number of invites per region rather than have one spot be open for grabs. This allows us to set the number of invites and ensure that it's a balanced number that makes sense." - RiotMagus

Event Details & Venue

[Q] "How expensive will the tickets be and when are they going on sale?"
"We're currently locking down both the pricing of the tickets and what website they'll be available through. We wanted to ensure a better ticket experience than Worlds last year, so we're taking a little extra time to level that up for All-Stars. As soon as they're locked down, we'll give at minimum a 24 hours advance notice so everyone can get their shot. :)" - RiotShantzilla

[Q] "Why do you take a place with only 6k seats and not a bigger area?"
"We wanted to have a more intimate event where esports fans can be closer to the action. Le Zenith is a great venue for this." - RiotHitstreak

[Q] "I wanted to know what will be the schedule of the all-star event, mainly beginning hours, if it's mainly in the afternoon or the evening?"
"Thursday is set to start at 3pm, and Fri/Sat/Sun at 1pm. We want to try to hit a good start time for each region, but unfortunately due to global time zones, its hard to hit a good time for everyone." - RiotNickAllen

[Q] "This question is to /u/RiotMagus, I would like to know, what is the criteria to select the place and choose the casters for the event? How many viewers do you expect for this year?"
"The criteria to select the place is a combination of...
  •  How long ago did the region host a major international event? In this case, it's been awhile for Europe.
  •  Are the fans awesome? Check and check for Paris - demonstrated through Lille, Tales of the Lane, etc.
  •  Is the city accessible and iconic? Paris is pretty easy to get to via plane, train or automobile and has iconic imagery to add to the event. 
  • Does the city have venues that meet our live & technical requirements? We operate a very complex broadcast that requires stuff like dark fiber, etc. plus we want to ensure that there's a solid venue that can host live attendees comfortably. In this case, Zenith Theater met our needs.
Regarding viewership expectations, I hope a lot of people tune in the watch but in general I don't go into an event with specific expectations in mind.
For casters, it's mostly about their international experience, ability to work with our team, ability to appeal to a broad audience and our gauge on their abilities." - RiotMagus


[Q] "Will the SKT T1 skins be released during the All-Star Weekend?"
"Well, this wasn't the top comment when the AMA was actually going on, but I circled back with the skins team to see how progress was going. They can't commit to a hard-release date, but progress is going well and they'll come out sooner rather than later. :) " - RiotShantzilla

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