Red Post Collection: Let's Talk Grievous Wounds, Tentative WW Passive, Riot-Player Communications, and more!

Posted on at 2:54 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features ZenonTheStoic with discussions on both Grievous Wounds and the future Warwick rework, Heintzer chatting about Riot-Player communications, and more!
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Let's Talk Grievous Wounds

Building off a talks concerning healing reduction and drain tanks like Warwick, ZenonTheStoic has posted up a discussion thread for summoner's to share their thoughts on Grievous Wounds - the passive effects that reduce healing and regeneration.
"There are two wonderful threads out there where the inimitable FeralPony talks itemization, and in the older one of the two he quickly touches on Grievous Wounds (GW) and calls me out by name. As well he should! I am working on Warwick's relaunch and part of that is "how do we deal with GW on a tank that derives his tankiness from self-heal?" As you may expect, I have some thoughts. 
I posted a long and ranty post on that old thread and then realized that no one was going to look at a week old thread, so instead I'm reposting my original answer as the first post in this thread. 
My argument is this: I don't think our game needs GW. The things GW "fixes" can be fixed on their own. I may be wrong--hell, I expect I'm wrong since that's where disagreeing with FeralPony usually gets me, but let's have a conversation! I'll repost my rant and then open the floor for all of you: how do you feel about GW? How do you feel about the ITEMS that currently provide GW? (And let's not forget the skills, such as there are--Tristana E, Varus W, Fizz W, Miss Fortune W and Katarina R) Is it okay that I can counterpick your Volibear/Swain with a Tristana?"
As promised, he continued with his "long and ranty" repost:
"Yup, that thought indeed came out of the Warwick discussion. Basically, IMO there's roughly three use cases in which people might theoretically be considering grievous wounds (and I'm not sold that 3) is actually a thing) 
1) High burst sustain self-heal champions. This is the likes of Mundo, Swain, Warwick, Volibear etc. There is usually a single, expensive (i.e. non-spammable) event where you want to apply GW: Mundo/Swain using ult, Warwick jumping in with ult and trying to spam Qs after (something he can't do constantly as Q is STUPID expensive on live), Volibear's passive proccing etc. I believe the reason people want GW in these situations is because the effects themselves may either be overtuned or feel like there's no counterplay once the champion gets ahead. Introducing a special item to "fix" this feels like a design crutch to me. It's taking away those champions' high moments. 
2) Strong in-combat sustain healing. I don't know if this really is a thing anymore, but imagine having a support soraka, a top-lane nidalee and a mid kayle on the enemy team, and something like a jungle Xin who jumps into your team and starts being a man. In those cases it feels like you require GW to counter the enemy's setup, because the usual counterplay to Xin jumping into your team (burst him down) isn't available. Again, I don't think GW is the answer here. The problem is that there are strong offensive champions who get a big heal for free by itemizing in the most aggressive way possible (Nid, Kayle). As for support healing, whenever we push our supports away from in-combat healing, we make out-of-combat sustain ("top up" healing in between interactions) the stronger choice, and I think we generally find that to be the less healthy pattern (hence Soraka's armor buff on her heal, Taric's big CD chunk on basic attacks, Nami's bounce heal/hurt spell--all of these mechanics are meant to push the optimal use case of the spell to in combat rather than out of combat. I don't think they work, but the intention is there.) 
IMO, if the enemy wants to build a team that enables a strong deep diver to live much longer than normally, they should be paying for it in some other way. If there is a legit setup with such tradeoffs that manages to get to the point where Xin can dive and wreak havoc, cool! Your entire enemy team coordinated to do a cool thing, they should get rewarded for it. I don't think it's fair to offset coordination through the pick phase, the laning phase and inside teamfights by simply buying one item and saying "hah! You're screwed now!" 
3) End game ADC lifesteal sustain. So a lot of designers throw this one around as the reason for GW, but call me doubtful. End game ADCs, no matter what reddit and the forums say, are still absolutely insane in our game. There is no role that scales anywhere near as massively as dudes who right click you. They have access to more multiplicative stats than any other role (AD, AS, crit chance, crit dmg, procs, armor penetration) combined with the single most powerful innate tool in our game (range) and some of the sweetest deals in terms of itemization. The theory here is that if they mix in lifesteal in their build (which they can do easily enough; both BT and BotRK are great items even WITHOUT the LS on them) they can feel unkillable and as such, GW should give you a window to try and solo kill an ADC in the late game. I cannot argue with this intellectually; it makes perfect sense. 
The problem is: I've never in my 1000+ games of League actually seen anyone use GW in such a way. I've never seen it on a stream, never seen it in a competitive game, I've not seen it in Silver II ranked, I've not seen it in normals--I'd love to be proven wrong here, but I don't think it's a thing! 
So to back off and reassess the problem space at hand: sustain is a thing in our game, and in many cases it's totally fine to have. However, there's a handful of cases where sustain can feel so overwhelming that players want a "NOPE" button to turn off the enemy's sustain. That NOPE button should be GW."

Xelnath also weighed in on the discussion, adding his thoughts to the pot:
"Since we're making this a public discussion, let's get to it.
  • I agree that the super power abilities are reduced slightly by the existence of grievous wounds.
  • I agree that it is pretty much only the existence of ignite's heal debuff that keeps Mundo in check
  • I agree its possible to reduce the effectiveness of those abilites
However, it is the worst-case stacking of these abilities that is the most frustration game experience in league. It's "rough" when an enemy champion gets a clutch level-up, giving them the 50 hp they need to survive a close fight. Warwicks, Mundos and Swains are frustrating to fight when they are ahead. It's frustrating, tiring and throws off your sense of judgment. 
Note I did NOT include endgame ADCs in this list 
While those fatty, tanky champs are highly frustrating, ADCs remain fragile. Effectively bursting one down is extremely do-able when they are caught out of position, nuked by mages, etc. 
Thus, the nature of ADCs - finish me off completely, or I top off - but remain incredibly fragile is an appropriate archetype to have such sustain/healing levels. 
Aatrox - a recent drain tank-type is incredibly fragile to make up for this mistake, along with sacrificing his passive to have a "1-minutes every X minutes" to cope with that fragility. 
Drain Tanks are frustrating and due to the lack of interplay - Healing CANNOT be prevented, it mandates the existence of the ignite healing reduction and the existence of an item that negates it pre-emptively, though the existing item sucks. [ Executioner's Calling ]

tl;dr - The game would be healthier without drain tanks. Heals should be powerful, gated and rare, extending a fight by a flat duration - not an infinite one."

Kicking off  a few comments on Tristana's E's healing reduction, ZenonTheStoic also dove into a discussion on how he plans to add gating to Warwick as a drain tank in his future rework:
"That's a very interesting point you raise about Tristana there. I think we're looking at the problem from the wrong side again. The problem here isn't so much that Tristana has no poke (and I'd argue that passive procs from E can somewhat fill that role, but that's a different conversation), but it's that everyone in bot lane goes hard into LS and as such no poke really sticks unless you can keep applying it over and over. 
To say "here is a skill that stops you from healing up after an engagement" is dangerous, because that skill necessarily needs to be long duration (and Tristana is already at the longer end of what I feel we can do). We do hate on sustain heal a lot, but I'm somewhat in Xypherous's camp of "heal is a viable fantasy we should find a way to support". If there was a healthy heal champ, it wouldn't be pickable against a Tristana with an E that effectively functions like that, and one of the design pillars of League of Legends is that no game is ever decided in champion select (what you do with your champ, even in a disadvantageous lane matchup, should always matter). 
So here's how I'm going about adding gating to WW as a drain tank:
1) De-coupling of offensive and defensive branches. If you invest into more healing, you do less damage. If you buy offensive items, you heal less. Current WW can theoretically build a chunk of AP and get both offensive and defensive advantages. If my WW opts into lifesteal, that means he opts OUT OF damage. It's true tank itemization. 
2) Add gameplay to the drain. Most drain tanks run into the problem that they're very "stat checky" -- do I have more of the stat I need to succeed than you or not? This is where triple BT Master Yi or massive spell vamp Akali come in. Aside from locking away offensive itemization from drainy WW, I also moved more than half of his drain budget into the stack gameplay. TLDR is WW needs to build stacks by attacking things to access his full healing power. These stacks fall off quickly if you kite him / CC him at all. 
3) I curb excessive in-lane sustain (immovable object type of problem) by halving healing against minions. 
Do you think those approaches would go some way to alleviating your concerns?"

Tentative Warwick Rework Passive

Speaking of Warwick, ZenonTheStoic also gave a small preview of the tentative passive he's cooked up for his future Warwick rework.

[ Please remember this is a discussion on content still in internal development ]
"Not like Fiora's at all. Here's the exact passive (and remember this can change still; especially the numbers) 
Deals 2% of target maximum health as magic damage with each basic attack while healing for 5 (+XX) (half vs minions). 
Each attack builds one stack of Eternal Thirst, which increases the healing from this effect by 11%. 
Maximum stacks: 10 Damage capped against monsters to: YY 
XX currently scales with level from 0.9% bonus health to 1.4% bonus health. Those numbers do look very low, but remember you have tools to multiproc the passive, you have the Eternal Thirst stacks that improve healing, and finally the Q itself has a multiplicative heal amp on it."

URF and impermanent Game Modes

ZenonTheStoic also popped into a reddit thread to share a few thoughts on why featured gameplay modes like URF are much better in short bursts than as permanent queues.
Just finished playing my last U.R.F game and as much as it hurts to say, I'm glad it's going to be removed. 
The first 1-2 days I played the mode were an absolute blast and the most fun I've had in Leagues in probably a couple years; people were trying stuff out and I sensed that other people were having as much fun as I was. 
In my last game, All champions picked are champions that are already proven really strong in the mode and managed to pass the ban phase, there is no diversity. People were using strategies as if this was a normal/ranked game and they absolutely had to win. And here I am trying champions for the first time and making funny plays only to get punished for it by people who seem to take this mode too seriously. 
I realize this might be an unpopular opinion but I feel I had to make a post about it.
This is what we call degenerate gameplay. A mode we clearly cannot and will not balance for will degenerate into stale, "clearly the best" strategies very quickly. One of the many reasons we don't want to keep our fun modes around permanently. I think it's much better to rotate them out and in with new modifiers. ARURF? Why not! ALL FOR URF? Sure, that might be fun! 
The important thing is to keep it fresh and fun. Summoner's Rift is meant to be the balanced, super deep, super complex game mode--everything else should be quick and fun, and part of that is keeping it impermanent."

Realities of Riot-Player Communication

In a thread suggesting a "Read by Riot" feature for Rioters to mark threads they've read but not responded to, Heintzer commented on the realities of Riot-Player communications:
"Some great ideas here - we've discussed a "read by a Rioter" feature internally before. 
There might be some drawbacks, though - simply acknowledging that we read something might not always a great experience for players. I worry it might feel almost dismissive, depending on the context. Acknowledging a bug report on the PBE forums? Definitely a good idea. But if a player has put a lot of effort into a really deep proposal or critique, I'm not sure simply knowing a Rioter acknowledged it is necessarily any better than receiving no response at all. It might feel like, "okay, Riot, but what do you think? What are you gonna do about it?" 
I've also thought about letting Rioters opt out from the red tracker, or finding some way to convey that their post is "unofficial." Unfortunately this is pretty hard to convey, and the reality is, if you've got a Riot logo next to your name, you're representing the company. Putting "opinions here don't represent Riot Games" in your Twitter bio doesn't really mean shit, really. ;) 
Once you're at the scale and complexity of a community like League (and a company like Riot), the forums (and any social media channel, really) can become a pretty scary place. The crowd is very smart, and they WILL tear you apart if your message isn't airtight. You can't possibly consider every player perspective out there, and you certainly can't respond to every single message. It's a tough proposition for a game developer - do I spend my time working on my craft, or do I take time out to give a lot of really careful thought to a player-facing message? 
There's no "easy" fix or silver bullet here. The real solution involves a bunch of things, like...
  • Training: if everyone's empowered to be a company spokesperson, well, they've gotta become trained spokespeople. That sounds scary and draconian, but we're not talking about polishing game designers to be White House press correspondents - just helping them learn some rules of the road.
  • PR help: dev teams need to have folks at their disposal who are absolutely experts at communication - folks who sit with them and understand the nuance of what they're working on, and can help to make sure we don't stick our feet in our mouths, while still making sure we're out there talking to players a ton. That's guys like Pwyff, who sits with the game design team 90% of the time (BTW, while he does talk to the community a lot himself, you should see the amount of work he does behind the scenes to help those guys out!) BTW, we're hiring more Pwyffs:
  • International communications: Here's a rub you might not be thinking about: lots of League players don't speak English, and don't play on NA. How do we make sure they feel they're heard? This is a super complex problem and requires a ton of other solutions I won't even get into. :)
Anyway, thanks for sharing - sorry for the wall of text!"

[ Bonus ] Atlantean Syndra back on the PBE!

While there wasn't a red post to announce it, I'd like to point out that Atlantean Syndra is back on the PBE after being pulled late in the last PBE cycle!

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