Red Post Collection: Team Builder Launching to Live Soon, [4.5] Changes to Lee Sin Changes, Pwyff on community communication, and much more!

Posted on at 6:47 PM by Moobeat
[ Update # 3: Team Builder should be up and going on NA, EU, TR, BR, OCE, LAS, and LAN! Enjoy! ]

Tonight's red post collection is a HUGE!

First up is a a heads up that Team Builder will be launching to live servers soon and we can get ready with the snazzy new promotional site and a Team Builder launch video! Also in this collection, you'll find Statikk with context on Lee Sin's tentative 4.5 changes ( as seen in today's PBE update! ), Pwyff on communication between the devs and the community, Riot Rhojin with a statement regarding players intentionally tanking games to be placed in low MMR and tiers, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News:

Team Builder launching to live soon!

Good news everyone! The Team Build is on it's way back to live and will be returning for good - heck, it's already available on OCE!

On Twitter, Lyte commented
Tweet 1: Is it time to bring Team Builder back up in #LeagueOfLegends? I think so. OCE, you're up first.
Tweet 2: Team Builder is coming back to #leagueoflegends | Watch a video and learn more about it:

When asked about launching on other other servers, he commented:
Tweet 1: OCE was first, we're working on TR and RU. We'll see how things go, and do a few more servers tomorrow.
Tweet 2: "We're going to do them one at a time. We want to turn them on during off-peak, to make sure minimal impact to the play experience.
Tweet 3: "For NA? We're doing RU/TR next, so NA probably won't be until tomorrow."

Be sure to check out the new Team Builder's brand new promo site for more information, including a run down of how the new queue works,  how Team Builder promos better team play right from the get go, and much more!
< Click here to visit the Team Builder Promo Site >
There is also an awesome video to celebrate Team Builder's impending launch:

Here's a run down of the Team Builder's promo page FAQ:

1) Is Team Builder Replacing Other Queues?
No, it’ll exist alongside normal blind and normal draft pick for unranked Summoner’s Rift matchmaking. It’s a complete re-design of champion select, and we’re trying out a lot of new ideas. If a feature works extremely well in Team Builder, we may look into applying some or all of the features to other queues and game modes in the future.

2) Why is Team Builder not available for ranked?
Because Team Builder is a brand new way to handle champion select, we started with basic elements such as choosing the champion, position and role you intend to play in a given match. We know that the ban and pick order mechanics of the draft process are critical to the competitive nature of ranked mode, and we’re not quite sure yet how these would fit into Team Builder.

3) Will I have to wait longer in queue if I select an unpopular champion/role?
A majority of players will have reasonable wait times regardless of their champion, position or role; but it is likely roles in high demand will have shorter queue times. There’s actually a really close balance of players who prefer and love each role as their first pick, but we’re going to keep a close eye on queue times for every role just in case. Although some champion/role combinations may have longer queue times, you’ll be in position for a great experience because you’ll join a team that is genuinely excited to play alongside your creative idea.

4) How do estimated wait times work?
When we first go live, estimated wait times will be very inaccurate and fluctuate. As the system collects data and we see how players are using champions, roles and positions, the estimated wait times will become more accurate.

5) What is the difference between queueing as solo player versus as a captain?
When you want more control over your team composition to try out a new team strategy, that’s when you want to lock in as a Captain and build your own team. For players looking to battle as a particular champion in a particular role or position, queuing as a solo player gets you onto a team into a match with your preferred spec in no time.

6) Can captains set up teams however they want, or will Team Builder enforce a specific meta?
You and your friends can play Team Builder however you like. Whether you’re looking to double jungle, split push or fill the standard roles, Team Builder encourages players to experiment with different compositions. It might take longer for you to find four players who want to rampage down a “middle lane only” strategy, but when you do, you know you’re going to be in for a great time with four players with the same plan in mind to try and win as fast as possible.
7) Are there penalties for solo players who decline or leave a group they've been placed into?
Yes. Solo players that are AFK often or reject more than a reasonable number of groups may face increasing cool-downs before they can join another group, or lose their privileges to use Team Builder altogether.

8) Are there penalties for Captains who abuse their powers and kick a lot of players?
Yes. Captains who abuse their powers and kick an extreme number of players may find that they are locked out of Team Builder for a period of time, or that it takes longer for them to fill their team because they have cool-downs before the system begins looking for potential teammates.
9) How are the matchmaking adjustments in Team Builder different from other queues?
Because Team Builder knows what champion you are going to play and where you are going to play that champion, it will eventually be the first matchmaking system to take into account your experience with your current champion, position or role. 
Whether you’re interested in playing as Jungler for the first time, or you’re excited to try out that new champion you just picked up, Team Builder will balance the matches accordingly so that you have time to settle in and master your new specialization. 
While this feature will not be available at launch, you’ll know when we enable it by way of a visual icon indicating that it’s turned on.
10) Can you select multiple preferred roles?
Initially, you won’t be able to select multiple roles in Team Builder.
11) Can Team Builder teams be matches against non-Team Builder teams?
No, because it’s a separate queue, Team Builder teams will only be matched against other Team Builder teams.

[4.5 ] The Changes to the Lee Sin Changes

While they aren't nearly as extravagant as the last iteration, here's Statikk with more info on the tentative Lee Sin W changes the team is hoping to ship in 4.5.
"Hey guys, 
Statikk here - after reading your feedback on our Lee Sin changes (and after tons of internal discussions), we’ve decided to hold off moving forward with the majority of the changes for now. We still believe in the core philosophy behind the changes, but let’s talk about what we’re sticking with and why. 
First, we’re no longer doing the changes that were directed towards shifting some of Lee’s early game power and moving that power towards late game in the upcoming patch. To be clear, our analysis of the situation remains the same: champions who have overly dominant early game power seem to be actively reducing champion diversity, especially at the competitive level. We’d like to continue to collect more data and feedback though to re-check 1) if this is true and 2) if there are other potential alternatives to help solve champion diversity. 
Second, we’ll still be addressing Safeguard when used on wards and minions. Currently, Lee Sin makes very little tradeoffs in these situations and, with enough mechanical skill, Safeguard essentially becomes a free-target dash. In order to maintain the big playmaking ability of Safeguard while also ensuring there are different optimal use cases, we’re planning on the following changes (and these changes only): 
• Increased base cooldown
• Cooldown is now reduced by 50% if cast on an allied champion (including himself) - this is lower than the current Cooldown on Live
• No longer grants a shield if he dashes to a non-champion unit
• Shield duration slightly reduced 
Iron Will 
• Duration slightly reduced 
Essentially, we’re buffing Safeguard when used on allied champions but nerfing it when used otherwise (the duration changes are necessary to keep the total uptime of these spells in-line). This means that Lee Sin should feel extremely mobile and rewarded for his teamwork with allied champions, but still have the ability to initiate or escape on his own when he really needs to. 
I’ve heard a lot of general concern on power curves and champion diversity and how we may be over-homogenizing the game, so I'd like to clarify our perspective here. We like champions with unique power curves, they provide awesome experiences and give LoL more strategic options. Our concerns lie in power curves that are so extreme that they effectively shut out the viability and diversity of large subset of other champions in the game. We’re working on getting these thoughts in front of you faster and earlier so we can have real conversations and less surprises about the changes we want to make. 
Once again, we may ultimately ending up going forward with the rest of the Lee Sin changes in a future patch if it is appropriate or we might not. We're perfectly okay with being wrong, especially here where we feel we have to make changes to an already amazing champion. Hopefully you guys better understand where we are coming from here, and as always thanks for all your guys' input."
Statikk also confirmed Lee Sin will get the CD reduction if he self casts W:
"It's including self. Error with tooltip."

When asked about his thoughts on RiotNome's previous comments about Lee Sin, Statikk commented:
"From a raw design perspective, I'd agree with Nome that these changes would remove power from Lee Sin in a way that reduces enemy frustration and doesn't reduce the satisfaction of playing him. Always a great win when we can do that. 
The main reason we aren't doing something like this right now is that his overall power level is not something we are concerned about. We're more concerned about WHEN he is powerful and how that affects the viability of other champions in his role. 
I don't disagree that this would be an optimization to balancing Lee Sin, but it's not currently part of our goal set."

Statikk also briefly discussed the precedent that damage dealing is the most viable way to compete in the jungle:
"Yeah, I agree we may have pushed too far towards making dealing damage such an important way to compete in the jungle. Too much of a reaction from the tank jungler meta in seasons past. 
This seems to point out that Spirit Stone may just be a flawed item, at least in isolation as the only real jungler item. It basically only favors champions that can deal tons of damage since they get the most mileage out of the sustain. 
I will say it's important that any changes we do don't just bring back the days of tanks chain-ganking and camping lanes repeatedly for the first 10 minutes of the game. There needs to be a balance here, and personally I feel that we need to tackle this from 2 angles: 
1) How do tank junglers compete with damage junglers in early game clears?
2) What unique things can each tank jungler bring into a team composition later in the game? 
I can talk to Solcrushed about this or maybe get him to come chat about our plans for the jungle as he's been the primary driver of it."

Pwyff on Community Communication

Building off the feedback on the latest iteration of Lee Sin changes, Pwyff also shared a few comments on what the team has taken away from this experience and how they plan to communicate more effectively:
"We learned some fun things with the Lee Sin changes - most notably being that we need to get better at building the philosophical foundation before we make drastic changes to contentious champions. Otherwise the changes themselves surprise the heck out of y'all. 
It's interesting to see the tone of the discussion now (which may turn SUPER ANGRY over time, who knows) in comparison to when we initially thought about these changes. 
Biggest lesson is our whole "CONSTRUCT THE ARGUMENT FOR THE CHANGE THEN THROW EVERYTHING OUT" approach makes it seem like we're monologuing (never monologue!), when that wasn't our intent. Generally speaking we've been taking a more systemic "solve the solution, don't create design debt by just tapping X champion, because while it might solve it short term, that's double the price you pay if/when they come roaring back (hello Irelia)," but that creates player debt in terms of communication. Toss in the fact that we want to expand to communicate with players more globally (holy shit there's a lot of you to talk to), and it gets real hard to scale while also making it visible. 
So from our end, we're going to be spending some more time communicating philosophy and trying to establish these baseline viewpoints before moving too quickly. In return, we'll probably ask for patience and a real willingness to have a discussion. I've already noticed there are some who come rumbling into the argument yelling about tangential things (and usually haven't read the actual discussion), but that really makes it hard to filter good feedback. 
Also when we extend more discussion pieces, visibility helps! Maybe not during the discussion because that blows it up, but perhaps as a roundup after. Maybe we should do that. Maybe. 
Incidentally if anyone wants to work at Riot and help with this kind of cool stuff, please apply and work with me ([1] ). Please.I'msolonely."

[ Note: From here on out, Pwyff's is rattling off answers to some VERY big questions. Instead of the full question text, I've narrowed them down as best I can. Check source links for full questions ]

Pwyff continued, elaborating on why strong champions need to be brought down instead of buffing the rest of the pack:
"In a round of discussions from a few days back, one GD poster succinctly talked about power creep and design philosophies across multiple MOBAs that I won't really go into. What I'll mention here is a super distilled version: buffing what we perceive to be "weaker" champions does lead to power creep as you try to bring everyone up to parity instead of looking at the real outliers. 
I'll reiterate: anytime a champion denies a suite of champions by being picked, they are being an outlier. Late game champions generally fare better under this mindset because getting to late game requires a number of cool choices in the first place (so they can't quite disallow a pick). If we buff up the denied champions to fight back, the tradeoffs get very weird. 
I'll stand by our analysis on this point anyway. Competitive currently highly values early game strength because that gives them a greater degree of control as to the mid and late game. Choosing for late game typically requires more nuanced control in the early and mid, but there are some strong outliers (Elise was a good example) who simply don't allow for even that level of nuanced control. 
There is a lot of analysis going into this with systems and champion balance, but I can't help but disagree when it's stated so simply to buff the underpowered."

Pwyff also chatted about the communities weighing in heavily on changes, "design by committee", and trusting  designers to approach the problems at hand:
"I'm going to preface this discussion by saying: I don't disagree, but you paint a very narrow picture so I gotta expand it. 
You stated it yourself: design by committee is a dangerous path to tread. I'm not trying to straw man your arguments, but if we have people who, for a job, spend their time analyzing the game and understanding it on the most fundamental levels, then it follows we should trust them to make decisions that make a healthier game. 
Just to highlight some of the pitfalls, all players (pros in particular) have a vested interest in the game insofar as their enjoyment or professional play is at stake. Trinkets were a good example where some teams who value early aggression gave some feedback, while other teams who value safe starts gave other feedback. Designers aren't completely safe from this, but if their job is to create a healthy, ongoing game, they're trusted to take the least biased viewpoint. Still, that doesn't mean good feedback doesn't arise and our job is to filter it. 
So the other problem we also run into is that the feedback we receive is typically only in English and is limited to a subset of our community. We do create a global game with millions of players worldwide. In Korea, for example, the meta is so narrow and established, it's crazy. In competitive play for a while, Jinx wasn't a priority pick because the Korean scene didn't value her, while the NA scene was completely enamored (and complaining about) Jinx's power. These are also things we need to take into consideration as viewpoints. 
The problem at the end of the day is that creating ongoing discussions with "hey do you like these changes" opens it up for change which sometimes works but more often times only benefits the most vocal crowd. 
If we hire the right designers who are intelligently approaching these problems, our job isn't to crowdsource the decisions - it's to discuss the philosophies (and see if those philosophies exist in the playerbase!) and move forward with what we perceive to be the best way to achieve those philosophies. If we go beyond that (here's our change, tell us what else you want), it extends our work pipeline by 50x. If we go before that, it becomes monologueing. 
But honestly speaking? I think we're repeating the same point. I just fall more on the side of trusting our team, whereas you trust in the power of the vocal majority. I don't disagree with either approach but I hope you understand."

When asked about the lack of dev/player communication with the recent Kassadin rework, Pwyff explained:
"Quickly before I get to Kass: there have been arguments that X wasn't powerful in S3 or S2, so nerfing them now is stupid, and I disagree completely with that logic. Champions, balance, player skill, item changes, system changes, rune changes, new champions, meta changes, playstyle changes, these all modify the strength of champions in nuanced ways that aren't readily apparent to both designers and players until they become a raging problem. No champion can be designed perfectly balanced forever because they're a part of the ecosystem. 
If you didn't intend to make that argument, sorry! I just hear it a lot. 
I'm going to burn myself here by saying that the Kass rework wasn't an issue because nobody thought it was an issue. But if a change is contentious but nobody's contentioning, does that mean you don't need to communicate? 
Did that make sense? 
I get your point completely, but I think we approached Kassadin similar to the way we approached Lee Sin: we saw a big problem and we acted to solve it in the most healthy way possible while retaining the core thematics of the champion. 
Where we got the shit kicked out of us with Lee Sin was that nobody saw the problem because it was hidden by flashy skill shots (which aren't skillshots if you have a free gap closer and an aoe slow) and a high skill ceiling. 
With Kassadin, we were free to work because it was absolutely agreed that this guy was a monster who was supposed to have significant lane tradeoffs to inhibit his power curve, but was totally not. 
I'd argue (and let's have this discussion a month out after all the opinions form and we see how he goes) that this Kassadin is far healthier and more fun (we really wanted to retain that teleporting antimage theme), and we were allowed to arrive at this because nobody was standing on the sidelines going "BUT I LOVED HIS SILENCE AND I LOVED THIS AND THIS." 
That's straw manning, but you get my point. 
I think one thing I'd say here is that because Lee Sin has so many tools that you can see when players say "HEY I LOVED ___ ABOUT LEE" where ___ is like... 50 things, that's complicated. 
But yes, Kassadin we were allowed to not communicate as much. Does that make him better or worse because his rework was demanded (whereas Lee's was not) I don't know. Honestly. We're in a brand new territory here in terms of communications. 
In the future though, we're opting for more communications. So there's that."

In response to a summoner noting an issue between how Riot values balance and how players value experience, Pwyff commented:
At risk of seeming snarky, I'll expand on that yes and why you make such a valuable point: fun is good, but fun is the result of a well-designed, healthy game. That is our belief. We pursue healthy game design with cool counterplay and forms of mastery and skill and fun can come from that. 
Communications do a better job of getting players to accept a change while still having fun (perception), but the foundation (real game health) needs to be there. 
This is a core fundamental difference. Communications (my job!) is to build perception and build trust. The design team needs to build that trust so that they can continue to build game health. 
Lee Sin as a champion wasn't contentious because he was fun. If we let "fun" be a blocker for changing champions, we end up with some very weird landscapes."

Regarding Players Intentionally Losing Games to be Placed/Remain in Bronze

Here's Riot Rhojin , a player behavior specialist, with a statement regarding players intentionally losing games to be placed/ remain in Bronze:
"Hey Summoners,  
The Player Behavior team strives to protect the integrity and ecosystem of competition in League of Legends. We believe that the player experience is paramount. Recently we have discovered that certain players and teams have been intentionally losing placement matches in order to remain in lower ranked divisions. These players exploit the ranked system in order to take advantage of players below their skill level. Because we believe in protecting the spirit of ranked play, we will not allow this selfish behavior to continue. Moving forward anyone caught intentionally ruining matches to lower their MMR or dodging matches to avoid promotions will be disciplined.

We also acknowledge that certain streamers want to provide educational content or “Bronze to Challenger” streams/videos. While we understand streamers want engaging content to provide to their viewers, it should not be at the expense of other players.

Much like MMR Boosting, these offenses ruin the spirit of ranked competition. Therefore we will be issuing the following punishments to anyone caught intentionally losing placement/promotion matches to be placed in or to remain in Bronze.
  • 2 week suspension on the player’s main account.
  • Disqualification of 2014 Season rewards.
  • Permanent locking of any associated smurf accounts used.
For any team caught the following punishments will be issued.
  • The ranked team will be disbanded.
  • Each team member involved will receive a 2 week suspension and will be disqualified from all rewards in the 2014 Season.
Keep in mind that these punishments will never be issued to players who are legitimately placed in their division. We have the ability to identify offenders and these punishments are only reserved for those who intentionally ruin the game for other players.

We will be checking the thread throughout the day in order to answer any questions or concerns you may have about these new principles."
When asked if this means doing poorly can get you in trouble, he reiterated:
"We have noticed certain signs that distinguish a player out to intentionally ruin the game for others and someone who is just preforming poorly in matches. I would also like to mention that this in no way will limit players from choosing unconventional champions. This isn't meant to solidify some sort of meta and we will not punish simply for unconventional picks."
When asked about why this is worth disciplinary action, he commented:
"Players who are in bronze yet should be higher got there by intentionally losing placement matches. There is no reason someone who is obviously more skilled than a bronze player would want to remain ranked in Bronze aside from wanting to troll. Every account we have investigated so far for intentionally dodging matches has been a troll smurf account belonging to a player who's main is well above Bronze."

[Continued] 4.5/4.6 Summoner Spell and Enchantment Changes

Xypherous commented on how his tentative Summoner Spell and Enchantment changes are shaping up on the PBE, saying:
"Hey guys - thanks for all the feedback. 
Based on feedback, while we're happy with most of these changes - we're not going to go ahead with the Flash distance change bonus on Distortion. 
There are various valid concerns here - such as muscle memory and intuitive play-around - so we're opting for a different route here - Distortion will simply give Flash a major movement speed buff for 1 second after Flashing - similar to the Teleport bonus but much shorter duration. 
As for the other changes, most of you seemed generally happy with the overall set (note: I'm not talking about all Summoner Spells, as a lot of you talked about Flash - but the set of changes in this changelog.) 
Sorry I haven't updated in a bit - we've had this change in for a while - locking down things tends to eat up a hard-to-estimate amount of time."

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