Red Post Collection: Third Party Add-ons, Buffs for Top Lane J4 and Malphite, Soraka rework discussion, and more!

Posted on at 2:24 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features Sargonas and Ghostcrawler discussing Riot's stance on third party add-ons, Meddler expanding on the 4.6 patch notes' comment on upcoming top lane buffs for J4 and Malphite, Vesh on the direction of the future Soraka rework, and Lyte with a status report on the Tribunal and his interest in some Chat Restriction experiments.
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News:

Legality of Third Party Programs

Today has been a big day for discussion on both reddit and the forums concerning the the legality of Third Party add-ons ( such as Curse Voice )  and the stance that Riot has taken.

To kick things off, here's Riot Sargonas with an update and general idea of where Riot's stance is headed:
"Hey all! Given the resurgence of the topic (and this thread) I wanted to pop in and give you all an update. As I mentioned a few weeks back, Curse Voice and other related 3rd party mods are something we are actively looking into, given the rise in popularity. We are moving forward with how we want to shape our policies around this and I just wanted to give you all a bit of an update on the direction we are headed. 
The original wording was loosely phrased so that we had room to adjust to the best interests of the community on a case by case basis. It's clear however that our choice of wording made our intentions confusing. Generally speaking, the intent was that we reserved the right to take action against any programs we deem harmful to the community at any time, but that we did not have to explicitly keep a meticulous "bad list" or "good list" of apps. Instead, things would live in a neutral area until we had a need to make a call one way or another on a case by case basis. Unfortunately, this has caused confusion for a lot of you lately into thinking that unless we explicitly green light something, it is a bannable offense. That was never our intent. 
Moving forward, we are crafting a clearer policy around 3rd party addons. It is not quite ready for prime-time roll out yet, but will be in the very near future. To give you some insight on the direction we are headed though (and to solicit your feedback) this is the direction we are heading. (Please note, this is a general idea of where we are headed, and NOT a verbatim example of the new policy.) 
"Programs that give you information you have already earned (such as visible timers) are ok. Programs that give you information you have not earned (such as enemy timers/timers in the fog of war), ones that make decisions for you, or take actions for you, are NOT ok." 
If you have any feedback on this, my team and I would love to hear it!"

On Curse Voice specifically, he noted:
"Curse Voice is free, but in a limited access beta as they slowly roll it out to everyone. My understanding is that in the future it will be out of beta and free for everyone to use. Note however that while this thread is about Curse Voice, our updated stance and my update is focused on addressing all 3rd party mods, not just this one."
He also noted that Curse Voice does not use the Riot API:
"Indeed! We have an API setup to allow community developers to write all kinds of awesome web applications! You can check out the details over at for more info.

(Also it's worth noting since I've seen it mentioned in this thread a few times mistakenly, Curse Voice is not using this API.)"

Ghostcrawler also weighed in on 3rd party addons, sharing the game design team's perspective:
"Part of this discussion hinges on whether presenting information such as jungle timers is fair or not, so I wanted to provide the perspective of the game design team. 
Some of you probably saw that we presented a list of our core design values for League at the design panel at PAX-East (which was really fun, BTW). This is a project we have been working on for some time, and we have plans to present these values to a wider audience (meaning all of you guys) on our website pretty soon. Our hope is that if you understand our philosophy, our patch notes will make more sense. Even if you disagree with a particular change, you'll hopefully understand our goals and can structure your feedback in a way to help us meet those goals. Now, I don't want to preempt that presentation, because it's almost certainly going to generate a lot of interesting discussion. However, one of those values is very relevant to this thread so I do want to touch on it briefly. 
Specifically, we want you to focus on fighting your opponents, not the game. We want the skill component to be whether you make the right decision given appropriate earned information, not about remembering the information.

Jungle timers fall into the category information that we don't feel the need to obscure, provided you earned that information by witnessing say a dragon or baron kill. We agree with the posts in this thread arguing that deciding when to go in for that next kill or counter-kill or whatever is the real test of skill. Remembering to set a timer, less so. As such, adding jungle timers in some form is something we're exploring. To echo Sargonas, it doesn't bother us if a third party application provides that functionality, so long as it is only displaying information that your team fairly earned, and to a lesser extent as long as it doesn't overwhelm you with a lot of extraneous information of limited value just because it can."
Ghostcrawler continued, responding to a few questions:
1) Why are you not doing the timers in the game yourself then? Is it a manpower issue as there are many programmers like myself that would be more than willing to be hired or just to help. 
As I said, we are exploring the idea. We're trying it out internally, but it's premature to promise or announce it as a feature because something could always go wrong, and we don't have an ETA in any case. My prediction is that you'll see official jungle timers at some point. What they look like, what information they need to provide and so on is the kind of thing we'll want to iterate on, and we'd like to get a lot of feedback from you all. If players seem to universally hate the concept of timers, we'd absolutely reconsider them as well... in which case we wouldn't want third parties to support them either (though admittedly there is no real way to kill an external timer). 
We're always looking for good engineers, but it's also not simply an issue of number of dudes. Any time someone is working on one project, it means they aren't working on another one that could potentially be of even more value to you guys.

what about map awareness information, allied cooldowns information , damage vs enemies resistances and health information, etc. are you planning on adding this too? and how you determine objectively which is fair game and which is not?
I don't think you can make an objective determination. We're talking about really subjective concepts. The game already provides a lot of information. We're just considering whether it needs to provide a little more. Is it possible to cross the line where players are provided so much information that your decisions are no-brainers? Absolutely, and that's not what we're going for. When we put the core values out, we'd love to get some additional feedback about what crosses the line in your opinion."

Plans for Top Lane - J4, Malphite, Rumble

Building off this quote from the 4.6 patch notes:
" In this vein we have changes in store for Jarvan IV, Malphite, Rumble and more, but Rumble is the only one shipping because he’s the only one done. Stay tuned, as this will be an ongoing project. "

Meddler talked a bit more about what the team is looking to do to buff up Jarvan IV's lane performance!
"We're looking at buffing J4's lane performance specifically, rather than just buffing him across the board in all roles/parts of the game. What we're currently testing to try and accomplish that is a change to his passive where it's 10% at all ranks, instead of 6/8/10% by level, but has a longer CD at low levels. In sustained fights (full on team fights, while clearing jungle camps) it puts out basically the same amount of damage, in quick trades in lane however it's more powerful."

He continued, mentioning Golden Aegis' mana cost is also under consideration:
"We've been considering a mana cost reduction to Golden Aegis as well, though not sure off the top of the head how that change has been testing. Definitely under examination though, agree it can be sometimes be pretty punishing pushing that button when it's not ranked."

As for Malphite, he shared a few ideas they are throwing around:
"Malphite's still got some issues as a design certainly, give his ability to spam a click to hit spell on you in lane and/or burst, CC really hard as a tanky melee mage. What we're looking at here as a result is whether there are other areas of his kit it's appropriate to buff instead, give him a bit more power in healthy areas (passive CD late game's one of the things we've discussed for example, given him a bit more poke resistance in sieges)."

When asked if these top lane buffs for J4, Malphite, and Rumble will lead to buffs for some of top lane's strongest picks, he noted:
"Right now we're looking at buffing a few top laners that are underperforming (in addition to J4 and Rumble Malphite's also under consideration). I'm sure at some point in the future there will be cases where nerfs are the appropriate choice again too of course though."
When pressed for specifics on champions other than the ones mentioned, he replied:
"No fixed plans yet. We're keeping an eye on a number of top laners that are strong at the moment. Depending on the champion in question and how they continue to perform/how other top laners do might be appropriate to nerf them next patch, 3 patches from now, next year or never."

Vesh on Soraka Rework

As mentioned a few days ago by Morello, Vesh is currently working on a rework for Soraka.

Vesh kicked off today's discussion by replying to a summoner's lengthy analysis ( check it out here ) on Soraka:
"This is a really really well done analysis. Like seriously. It's true that a dedicated heal spell cannot really be interactive. However, maybe there is some cool space to make a heal that is somehow enemy-interactive. Nami's does this to some degree, and I tend to think it's one of the better designed heals in our game. 
I actually think your older idea for her passive had a better direction. Damage reduction feels really shitty for everyone involved and is incredibly powerful for how unappreciated it is. 
In general we want to create interactive gameplay patterns. It's acceptable for a single spell to have little to no interaction provided it is a part of an interactive pattern. Currently Soraka's W is not this. 
I'm working on a couple of different pattern directions currently and have tried a few others that have failed. 
Your goals for starcall being important to the overall pattern are good, but also remember that starcall by itself has low overall gameplay/counterplay. There might be something cool we can add to the rest of the pattern that makes a simple heal an integral part of interacting with enemies. Gonna test some stuff today and if any of it shapes up to be promising I'll share some of the results!"

When asked if "being passive really that bad?", Vesh commented:
"In general having a character that is most successful by being "passive" doesn't promote any real gameplay. Interesting multiplayer gameplay is the result of meaningful interactions between players."

In response to feedback that mashing Soraka's Q while trying to use other abilities isn't exactly engaging, he commented:
"One thing I would like to maintain is the overall mechanical simplicity of the character. If I can find cool mastery points that doesn't make her targeting paradigms more complex then I would prefer those type of solutions. Not sure if this will be possible, but I think starcall can maintain its auto-target provided that it creates followup gameplay that does have interaction."

When asked about giving Soraka's heal a dual use like her E, Vesh replied:
"We could do this, but if the goal is to preserve Soraka as our true "healer" champion then this won't work because we'd have to take away power from the heals to accomplish this in a satisfactory way."

As for Vesh's thoughts on Soraka's current ultimate Wish, he replied:
"Wish is a great spell. Wouldn't change it unless it was getting some new interaction, but in general it's already awesome."

Vesh also spit balled a few ideas based on the summoner's suggestion for Soraka's passive:
"His previous iteration had her passive giving her increased regen to allies as Soraka casted. Regen auras aren't really appreciable either, but the idea of selfish team power over negating enemy power was sound. 
Another approach is just to allow Soraka herself to scale up by saying something like "every spell that hits a champion grants Soraka X bonus AP for Y seconds, this buff stacks up to Z times." 
Then both her heals and damage become more threatening in a way the Soraka player can personally appreciate. This is more of a tank pattern, but I could see a world in which Soraka has a passive similar to this."
He continued:
"In both cases, the real question to ask is "where can we get gameplay out of heals?" Both a sustained healer and a burst healer fill different functions, but what we really need is a way to give heals gameplay. Soraka's current W does this to some degree because it grants massive amounts of armor which is only useful in combat but also causes the enemy to re-evaluate their targeting decisions. Unfortunately, for the armor to be powerful enough to matter, we had to take away raw healing power. I believe that players who want to play the healer character probably want big heals. The problem I'm solving now is how to give them the big heal moments in a way that causes interaction with the enemy."

The Tribunal and Chat Restriction Experiments

Lyte ventured on to reddit to answer a few questions about the Tribunal and see if players are interested in experiments to hand out more Chat Restrictions.
"This is actually the main problem. Tribunal in its current form is having some technical issues, and we're assessing what we're going to do with it long-term.

Specifically, we've learned a lot about how a system like the Tribunal works and what the disadvantages were (i.e = we've openly acknowledged speed as one of Tribunal's weaknesses, and how it's lacking feedback for players who report). We've also learned a lot about how we would create a better system to promote teamwork and reduce negativity in Ranked Mode but it'd be pretty difficult to do with the current Tribunal system.

For the short-term, we may close Tribunal temporarily and try some experiments where we aggressively hit players in Ranked Modes with severe Chat Restrictions using some of the more advanced detection models we've been building in the last few months.

But, we're still debating the right steps to take. I'm curious to know if players are interested in us pursuing the aggressive Chat Restriction experiments--even if they are automatically given to players that are flagged by some of our newer detection systems."
Lyte continued, commenting on chat restrictions vs bans:
"This is a good point, but one thing to consider is that Chat Restrictions are a "lighter" punishment than bans. A 10% false positive rate in Chat Restrictions might be OK, if the player is only getting 3 games of Chat Restrictions; however, a 10% false positive rate in bans might be completely unacceptable. 
We have to determine what the right accuracy thresholds are, but I think we can be a bit more aggressive with Chat Restrictions than with bans."

He continued, fielding a question if being banned from ranked queues was on the table:
"Banning from Ranked only is a possible approach, but a bit more extreme than starting with some Chat Restrictions. 
If Chat Restrictions in some automated form does not greatly improve the Ranked experience, we could always try bans from Ranked Queues specifically, and figure out some way for players to "earn" back their Ranked privileges."

When asked to elaborate on his "even if they are automatically given to players that are flagged" comment, he noted:
"Nothing is set in stone yet, there's actually a lot of different approaches we could take. 
For example, in Team Builder we use sophisticated language models to determine the quality of communication--was it positive or negative and how much in either direction? Theoretically, we could use the same models to assess a player's use of language and if it's too negative, automatically apply a Chat Restriction. 
We could also support the above with accurate reports from players to "confirm" the language model's verdicts... lots of possibilities. The question is whether players would be open and supportive of the experiments."

Lyte also replied to a summoner who commented on the parrallels between chat restrictions and sportsmanship:
"Totally agree, the long-term goal is to make being sportsmanlike the path of least resistance--if we make being good the right thing to do and the easiest thing to do, players tend to be good."

When asked if there were any chance for summoners to receive notifications when someone they've reported has been punished, Lyte replied:
"This is definitely an 'obvious' thing we should do, we were just focused on Team Builder for awhile so never got around to it."

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