Red Post Collection: 4.7 Forecast ( Game Systems ), Continued LL Team Builder Experiment and Skarner discussion, and more!

Posted on at 12:00 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection primarily features ricklessabandon with a 4.7 forecast for Game System changes, including plans for Dragon, Towers, and trinkets. You'll also find Lyte with follow up discussion on the low level Team Builder experiment, Morello on Skarner, and more!

Continue reading for more information!

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4.7 Forecast ( Game Systems )

Following up on the 4.7 Patch Forecast, ricklessabandon is here with a game systems oriented 4.7 forecast - covering upcoming changes to Trinkets, Towers, and Dragon.
"I want to chat a bit about some changes I'm working on as part of the Game Systems team. These changes are being made specifically with competitive play in mind, so we wanted to talk about them separately instead of combining them with the 4.7 forecast posted by the Live Gameplay team. As clarification for the curious, the Game Systems team doesn't work exclusively on competitive changes—we just want to highlight the instances in which we do competitive work. If this dual-post format works out, we may continue doing this in the future. Getting onto the changes themselves, the three areas detailed below will be what I'm focusing on in the 4.7 patch. 
1) Trinkets 
We've lowered the 'game start' timer of trinkets down to 30 seconds. 
When we first introduced trinkets in the 2014 season, we gave them a 'start of game' cooldown that prevented them from being used within the first 90 seconds of the game. Since we couldn't be certain of how trinkets would be used/swapped in competitive play coming from a world that had never seen trinkets, we selected 90 seconds as a conservative timing to guard against potential/unseen abuse cases. Since their introduction, we've concluded that the initial trinket cooldowns need to go one of three directions:
  • Push the trinket timing further to effectively remove them from competitive openings.
  • Pull the trinket timing back and fully embrace their use in competitive openings.
  • Be content with the 90-second timing and fairly predictable trinket use case in competitive openings.
In the 4.4 patch we pushed the initial trinket timing to 120 seconds under the assumption that a healthier variety of strategic openings could exist without trinkets as a factor. What we've learned since then is that the costs associated with many openings, such as traditional 2v2 or 2v1 lanes, is relatively too high in comparison to the common "3v1" or "4v0" openings we often see today (this is influenced by the need for early vision to safely setup a non-4v0 opening, the early power sacrifice to acquire that vision when purchasing wards over gold items or combat stats, and the disadvantage incurred in lane by opting into those setups). At this point we believe that pulling the trinket timing back and allowing teams to incorporate trinkets into their openings will reduce the cost discrepancy between openings in areas where they were a bit too harsh. 
2) Towers 
We've added Fortification to the bottom tower, lowered its duration to 7 minutes (from 8), and increased its damage reduction to 30 (from 20). 
While we still feel that Summoner's Rift should have some asymmetry to it (specifically, differences between its top and bottom halves), we'd like to shift the focus of that asymmetry back into neutral objectives (such as Dragon) and subtle terrain differences (such as brush) and away from early-game fragility of the bottom tower, especially given the late-game importance of bottom lane's inhibitor as an objective. 
The damage reduction is being increased as followup to the transition away from higher armor values on towers. Currently strategies that allocate 3-4 member of their team toward pushing down a tower within the first few minutes of the game (typically on the second or third minion wave) are effectively 'triple dipping' on advantages since they're more able to hard zone the enemy (resulting in 100% of potential minion damage being applied to the tower), expedite the tower's fall by applying significant amounts of champion damage to it, and increase the minimum allocation of champions needed to respond for their enemies (for team comps that don't meet specific requirements). While these advantages aren't intrinsically problematic (at least in isolation), we'd like to reduce the overall strength of this tactic to some degree given its costs relative to other tactics. 
3) Dragon 
We've increased the base Gold value of Dragon to 145g per player (from 125g). [Total value now 750g (from 650g).] 

As mentioned in the context of the tower changes, we're planning to reinforce the Dragon's role as a contested resource in the earlier phases of the game by increasing its base Gold reward to be a little more attractive for the team. This will mean that Dragon will be worth more at all phases of the game. As with our other changes, we'll be keeping a close eye on this change, and will make adjustments in the future as necessary."

[ Continued ] Low Level Team Builder Experiment

Lyte popped back on the forums to chat more about the low level Team Builder experiment that kicked off yesterday.

In response to claims that new players are upset because they can't jungle or participate in blind pick now that the experiment is underway, Lyte noted:
"To be fair, most new players don't know what a Jungler is (and don't try to look for one), and they certainly don't know that Blind Pick was previously the main option or an alternative option.

We're reviewing the data every 24 hours, and will make decisions every day on whether this experiment is a net positive or net negative."

Lyte also replied to a summoner's specific report on fairly low queue times for his smurf account, saying:
"Thank you for the insight into your experiences Proximus D. 
The average low level player is having very similar experiences to yours, but we're starting to see patterns in the data and why some players might be having a harder time getting into a game. There's some specific incidences when veteran players invite low level players into their Team Builder groups (and how the matchmaker handles their premade group) and some incidences with our smurf detection systems doing some wonky things.

We'll be reviewing the data every day and trying to see if we can smooth out the experience for the groups of players having a rough time."

When asked about restricting role selection based on level as low level players rarely jungle, Lyte agreed that is something that's on the table.
"This is definitely something we are considering. Most new players can't successfully jungle because they don't have the right runes or champion experience, and we're just setting up players to fail. We could turn off Jungle as an option, and players who are experienced and know how to jungle at low level can still do it in-game anyways without impacting their team too much.

There's a few edge cases to work out, but it's a possible and potential solution to improve low level Team Builder."

After a summoner pointed out that there is no normal Twisted Treeline draft ( as listed in the announcement ) and why there isn't one, Lyte replied:
"Oops, that was a typo. I'll fix it, thanks for pointing it out.

Draft Modes as a queue are an interesting issue and unfortunately one that I don't want to get into in this thread. The underlying problem of some Champions being stronger on some maps is something the Live Balance team is aware of though."

Kassadin still on the VU List

In a thread asking about the future Kassadin visual update, Riot JxE, a technical artist, commented
"Kassadin is definitely high priority on the VU list "
Although don't get too excited, JxE followed that up with:
"I actually don't know where the team is at with Kass as I'm not part of that team, I'm just parroting what Iron Stylus said about Kass being high on the list :)"

More Maps, More Complications

slacker00 jumped in to correct someone unaware Magma Chamber had been cancelled and share his thoughts on the work goes into something like creating a new map:
"Unfortunately, Magma Chamber development is halted:
Ultimately, we concluded that Magma Chamber simply isn’t the right place for us to further develop a great 1v1/2v2 experience and the mode itself isn’t sustainable as a permanent feature. So, after many discussions and a lot of fact checking, we’re halting development of the Magma Chamber map you saw at last year's All-Star Game.
As ShadowNinetails points out, there's more to creating a map than simply, well, creating a map. Before I joined Riot and while I was new at Riot, I definitely wondered why there weren't more maps. I've come to better understand not just the amount of effort new maps require, but the impact multiple maps can have in splitting the player community.
I'm in no position to promise we'll make new maps or that we'll never make new maps. What I can say is that we're definitely exploring new modes of play via the featured game modes like Showdown and URF mode. These let us, as a whole community, explore what's fun and what works. 
To Fan Creations who started the thread: you may want to check out some of the alternative play-styles that Captain Wednesday brings up. Myself, I tend to play more ARAM these days than anything else. Or, you know, take a break. I personally play a fair number of mobile games (just picked up Wayward Souls and also playing Hearthstone on iPad) and I have a long list of games in my steam library I still mean to get to."

[ Continued ] Skarner Follow Up - New Passive Direction

Continuing on the discussion on a new passive for Skarner, Morello returned to the forums to reply to more summoner questions and feedback on the two choices presented:

In response to a summoner concerned that direction one will push Skarner into being a tank rather than a fighter ( commenting he will turn into the "new Maokai or Sejuani") , Morello commented:
"Good post. A couple things to this; 
1) There's a concept I like to talk about that's "trends vs truths" - that is, that a character might not be strong right this second for contextual reasons (hard-engage fighters are strong right now, but could be strong in other known contexts. I think Amumu or Maokai are these's unlikely we'd buff them to compete, as we'd have to make them good duelists to do that. 
2) I don't think we're looking to full-tank Skarner in Direction 1. We are looking to give him more CC and stickiness, but his time to kill might be a bit slower. This is how you allow someone to interact and respond when running isn't an option. If you can't fight, and you can't run, then there's not a lot the character can add to the game other than "he's overpowered" or "he's weak." The additional time for him to kill allows collapses and team-oriented moves to help, as Skarner isn't going to be great at getting away. 
Remember the CC also has + damage on it, it's just more back-loaded - it turns on a little slower overall in a fight. I think tanky fighters can do good damage, they just can't do it quickly"

As for feedback on the changes and losing Skarner players with the rework, he commented:
"Mostly this - some players like things, and some players hate them. Changes inherently choose what to optimize. 
Toxicity is not the only reason for change - how do we answer the Skarner players who were upset that we removed his identity? It's a tough call."
He continued, replying to a summoner upset there wasn't much communication during the Karma rework:
"Yeah - we've done a lot to manage new ways for us to get our heads wrapped around the monumental work of reworks. I know Karma was rough since we were still trying to get a better strategy :("
In response to someone saying they should do nothing, Morello replied:
"How does that solve? Have you went to ask people who feel that way that? 
I don't get to think of "a" player here, I have to think of what to optimize for - as cold as that might sound. I think new Skarner is well-balanced. I think new Skarner feels really same-y, and agree with players' feedback on that issue. We could make him feel more like "I pick Skarner because I want to X"."

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