Red Post Collection: The Design Values of LoL, One for All: Mirror Mode 5/29-6/8, TTL Discussion and more!

Posted on at 4:20 AM by Moobeat
[ A new PENTAKILL Song is up! Deathfire Grasp! ]

This morning's red post collection features a new dev blog on The Design Values of League of Legends, Scarizard discussing the Twisted Treeline and the recent jungle changes, Praeco with more on the PENTAKILL album, a reminder that One for All: Mirror Mode is now available until June 8th, and more! 
Continue reading for more information!

Dev Blog: The Design Values of League of Legends

Morello's up and at 'em in our latest developer blog where he talks about the core design values of League of Legends - Mastery, Meaningful Choices,  Counterplay, Teamplay,  Clarity, and Evolution.
"It's long been our belief that to make a long-lasting game, we can't set our sights on a single target. Being able to constantly work on League of Legends means we'll never stop evolving and (hopefully) improving the landscape of the game. Hand in hand with that philosophy is also our desire to improve how we communicate – to have a real, meaningful dialogue with all of you guys so we can stay connected to the community while also holding ourselves accountable for the changes we make.

On that note, communication is what this dev blog is about – if League if going to continue to evolve, then why shouldn't the way we talk about the game? Specifically, how can we continue to have real, meaningful conversations?

This got us thinking that we should really sit down to establish a foundation for our talks: our values. At the center of every discussion, shared values – or knowing where we differ – arenecessary for the conversation to have meaning. Also, and more importantly, we can have conversations about where we're successful and where we need more work. With these values out in the open, our hope is that if you don’t agree with a change, you at least understand where we’re coming from.

Ultimately, if our goal is to make a competitive, hardcore game that'll last for decades (and it is!), then these are the values that will get us there."
Ryan "Morello" Scott
League of Legends is about the pursuit of mastery and challenge. A player can grow in skill, teamwork, decision making and adaptability, but being the best means learning all paths, not just picking one. We'll always find new ways to reward and support a player’s developing mastery of the game.
"Whether a player aspires to be a motivating in-game leader, a mechanically gifted marksman, or a trendsetting strategist who shapes the landscape; they’re pursuing mastery. Skilled players can carry the game on a few core aspects, but masters understand and work on all of them. Whether a player's starting their 10th or 1000th game, there should always be new and exciting challenges to pursue."
Meaningful Choices 
A meaningful choice requires tradeoffs. If it's a no-brainer, it's not interesting. If nobody understands the consequences of their decision, it's not engaging. If there's a better choice rather than a differentchoice, players become followers rather than pioneers. We support new strategies by ensuring that tradeoffs exist for the game as a whole. 
"Instead of offering a best path forward, we want to offer different paths forward that have real tradeoffs. Players should see changes that reflect this philosophy when we introduce strategic tradeoffs for emergent strategies, not because they're new and unique, but usually because they're dominating the scene."
Rich and exciting fights need to be two-sided, not one-sided. In order to dominate your opponent, you need to consistently outplay them, not just pull off that one perfect kill. League isn’t won at champion select and no phase of the game should be decided before a team steps up to fight. We strive to ensure a player's decisions, actions, and reactions matter.
"While counterplay is a type of meaningful choice, it’s so important to League of Legends as a competitive multiplayer game that we consider it a pillar of our design values. A fight loses its excitement if the first punch wins – it's what you can do after that adds depth and complexity. We try to prevent hard counters and abilities with no room for reaction, as no game should be over without a real show of skill."
No victory is won alone. Players need to rely on teammates to augment their strengths and cover their weaknesses. Supports can't make plays without a team to follow up, and marksmen can't dish out the damage without protection.
"Rather than designing champions who do everything, we create distinct roles to enhance teamplay. Marksmen deal tons of damage, but they'll likely deal tons more with a tank up front and a support by their side. Teamplay is also an avenue for self-expression. Whether a player wants an assassin that waits for the perfect engage or a tank that fights when he pleases, we want to present a wide selection of champions that can deliver on a variety of distinct roles."
Players should fight their opponents, not the game. We strive to present information in a clear and precise way so that League can be about dominating opponents with skill and teamwork – not through bookkeeping hidden information.
"Clarity means we want distinct, transparent mechanics in everything we design. When the outcome of a game hinges on a player’s ability to quickly assess the situation, information needs to be clear and accessible. This doesn't mean we tell players the best play to make, but we should make sure they have the right info to make calls as best they can."
A constantly evolving game is a healthy game. We will continually update League of Legends with new champions and mechanics. As long as we work through the lens of our design values, we believe we can create a more satisfying and compelling experience.
"Players and designers are both a part of the League of Legends experience and evolution doesn't come through inaction. Our commitment to evolution means we can keep League healthy and dynamic over a number of years. Mistakes will be made along the way, but with player feedback and consistent iteration, we can create a constantly improving, ever-evolving game."

With our values right here in the open, we can have open conversations about how we approach design in League of Legends. Better still, we can be held accountable when we make changes that aren’t in line. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, but stay tuned for in-depth articles from senior League of Legends game designers on each core value. We’ll be updating this post as they go live!

Morello and Ghostcrawler

When asked about the situations where a timely kill can swing a match up between close and impossible , Morello noted:
"I think the balance between consequences and making this so you can comeback is hard to do, but something we'll always be looking to smooth out. We don't want the game to be "you can always win!<3", but we do need to make it not about a single moment until later in the game. 
These values are really a compass for where we're going, not where we are today - many of our designs fail this rubric."

As for  how these values relate to Feral Flare , Morello commented:
"We agree - we messed up on Feral Flare, and that's why I think it needs a lot more work. The great part about talking about these publicly is that you guys are better armed to talk about where we're making mistakes."
He continued:
"We messed up on Feral Flare - it wasn't necessarily A mistake. Some of this is the "farm until big" play being SO extreme, but much of it is in the raw power. The tradeoffs weren't there. 
It was successful in opening up the jungle to other junglers - but there are also much deeper problems there in how that happens and what the enemy's options are. I DO like that the strategy is different. 
Wanna talk about egg on my face - let's discuss how our direction on the jungle in the last 3 years has had the opposite effect."

Ghostcrawler also chimed in, touching on a few of points of concern with the above points:
"Those are good points, and we do intend to follow up this general feature with dev blogs going into more detail on each value. 
We don't think randomness necessarily violates the clarity value. Randomness is just one of those challenges you need to overcome and can help ensure that players are actually reacting to current situations at that moment. When randomness gets out of control is when it gets to the point of randomly winning or losing, which was the problem we were trying to fix with fear. 
In terms of counterplay, having a single powerful ability or even a combo that is tough to counter isn't necessarily a violation of that value. As the opponent, you can time your own abilities to try and go in when your opponent's cooldown is down for example. It's when you feel like you literally have no options that counterplay is really being violated. 
The specific tactic you suggest of making frequent small changes is a viable one and we have done that on occasion. There is also value to ripping the band-aid off quickly or making larger changes to make sure we're actually moving the needle. It's tactically simpler sometimes to overshoot the target and then correct back than it is to incrementally buff or nerf something that is going to end up taking dozens of increments to reach its target (if that makes sense). 
Most of you got this intuitively, but it is worth restating that these values are aspirational -- they are what we want the game to be. There are plenty of examples where we currently aren't living up to the ideal, and those are things we want to fix over time."
He continued, sharing his thoughts on Rioter vs Player communication:
"It is important to us to have Rioters in the forums talking to you guys, and particularly valuable to have the folks actually working on those specific areas be able to explain the context for a particular design and hear your concerns. There are two big challenges with that approach. 
1) It takes a lot of time. It is time well spent, but it also means the developer in question is not actually implementing changes, participating in playtests, etc. 
2) It can be a brutal experience for the developers. We appreciate criticism because it makes the game better. But there is sometimes a fine line between criticism and abuse. Morello and I can take it, but not every brand new Rioter has tanked forums as long as we have. We'll support our guys as much as we can and encourage them to stick with it. For your part, keep in mind that it is possible to chase devs away, even if your intentions are noble. You have to have thick skin to be a designer. But you will find they are more eager to participate in discussions if you are civil, even if you majorly disagree with something. :)"

Pwyff also commented on the dev blog, saying:
"Pretty excited about this. All of League's design leadership put a lot of thought into these values for the sake of establishing a stronger communications landscape. These are pretty much foundational when it comes to providing feedback on changes, and I think a greater hope is that when you disagree with a change, at least examining it through the lens of these values. If we don't hit them or you can't see what we're going for, then that's a great place to start the conversation. 
Now it's on to wrangling the follow-up dev blogs on all of the values. Gonna be some cool knowledge there."

ZenonTheStoic also noted:
"Remember that this blog post describes our values and goals. We're not saying "EVERYTHING CURRENTLY IN THE GAME PERFECTLY AND FLAWLESSLY ADHERES TO THESE STANDARDS", we're saying "this is the game we're trying to make. All our design is striving to bring the game closer to this platonic ideal." Do call us out whenever we do not live up to these values, but please don't expect every single instance of where we fail to live up to these values to be fixed overnight. There are so, so many. 
That said, I'm so happy this is out there now. It'll make talking to you guys about design much easier and much more fruitful. Thanks to Morello and Pwyff for putting this together!"
ZenonTheStoic continued, answering a question on how "point and click" abilities can have counterplay:
"Good question! 
There are ways of putting counterplay into point and click abilities, though, to steal a Morello expression, in my opinion point and click (or more technically correct unit targeted abilities) are "guilty until proven innocent". One way to add counterplay is range. Annie Q is okay because of its relatively low range. Another way of doing it is by having your cake and eating it too--aka Lucian Q, which is a unit targeted ability that borrows dodging counterplay from skillshots (but fails at execution; this could be a devblog all by itself)."

Scarizard on Twisted Treeline and the Recent Jungle Changes

Scarizard hopped on the forums to chat about the Twisted Treeline, including the recent jungle changes in patch 4.8 and a few other topics currently on the radar:
Hey, thanks for making this thread. There's a lot of good discussion here, and feedback such as this is what's going to help us make the map better in the long run. 
For those of you who don't know me, i've been working on Live Balance and assisting in Reworks/Champions for almost 2 years. Pretty recently i've joined Nome and the legendary ManWolfAxeBoss to aid their efforts of making our Alt Maps better for everyone. Most recently we shipped Soul Anchor to Dominion (mega-props to Manwolf for this one) as well as balance changes to items (sweeper, BFT and Twin Shadows) and systems changes like the ones to Inhibitors, Monster Level Scaling as well as the ones you're talking about here. 
Let me make clear that while the work we do is informed (we keep up with the opinions/posts of high tier players like this one, as well as having access to a ton of data) i'll admit it's iterative. There will be side-effects of changes that we either didn't intend or don't wholly support, and my goal is to react swiftly on a patch-by-patch basis to help resolve some of the issues you're feeling. We're players of League (and lovers of Dominion -and- TT alike) and aim to increase the quality of life for these communities as best we can. So let's work together and make a better experience for everyone :D 
THAT SAID! Let's get into meat of y'all's feelin's and break down what's up.

I've detailed and broken into points your concerns in this thread, and i'll respond to them as best i can. If you feel i've left any out drop me a comment and i'll try and get to it. 
- 'Smite being optional' is desirable - these changes ruin that.
- The necessity of Jungle Items limits my diversity of items that i can build on junglers.
- The jungle pool has become less diverse with these changes.
- Y no Madreds???
- Turtling is too effective with AP/Waveclear champions (Ziggs being a big one named here)
- Ichors OP
- Games are taking longer (or at the very least feeling longer)
- 3v3 becoming a mini-5v5 
Smite isn't optional 
First up on our list gives me a chance to detail our current thinking about jungling on Twisted Treeline. At this time, we do not believe that jungling should be mandatory the same way that it is on SR. Since the map's release, comps with 'support' lanes vs ones that had junglers were a unique and defining characteristic of teams' playstyles. We want to keep this and feel like it's a point of mastery and learning for TT players. That said, if you do want to jungle on TT there are certain conventions we expect you to follow.
On both maps, Junglers perform a very important role - controlling game flow through uncertainty and strategy. Their power on these maps have been linked to and controlled by the use of Smite and build paths giving us predictable power curves/spikes throughout the game. We intend to enforce this on TT as well. There may need to be a ton of balance changes to support this stance - Smite might need more damage, a lesser CD, a cooler effect, who knows? Jungle items might need to be reworked entirely to fit the needs and flow of this map. If it comes to that, we'll compensate where necessary. 
Jungle Items limit build diversity // Jungle champions are too limited
This one i feel less sure on. Let me up front agree with you that yes, build diversity for junglers is limited. I do not agree that this is new, however. Ravenous Hydra was (and likely still is) bought on every common jungler as their first and sometimes only damage item. It didn't just limit the jungle items outright - how good you were with Hydra defined how good a jungler your champion could be, with an exception being made for Evelynn. We see making Spirit Items better as an opportunity to introduce diversity to jungle picks and builds by allowing different characters to be played. 
That's probably not true right now. It's likely that Lee Sin, Kha'Zix, and all the other top tier junglers still just build Hydra and dominate everyone. Instead of just taking out Hydra with the nerf shotgun however, i'd like your thoughts on what spirit items could accomplish to enable diverse junglers (Super Golem Spirit letting Maokai, Nautilus. Amumu more niche? Super Wraith Spirit letting certain AP's into the fray?) 
Y No Madreds? 
We'll be adding this. Now that we're embracing machete/spirit stone, we'll likely be putting this into Grez's lantern or something else. Unsure how it will manifest, though i like the idea of tweaking the costs such that you could start with either Spirit Stone or Madred's Razor's from start of game. Would like thoughts here! 
Turtling is too effective with AP Champions/Waveclear 
While i think this is a problem, i'd argue this is mostly a champion specific issue. Ziggs does this on every map he's played in - but ours having two lanes makes his 'clear endlessly in one lane and ult another' even more obnoxious. Ichor's duration and effect also make stalling champions pretty rough. 
It's unclear how we'll respond to this right now - i'd like to hear your ideas on how you'd like to see it solved, but my gut says that waveclear is just too powerful on this map. Your champion can probably hit a point where they -can- one shot minions, but maybe it needs to start later? A lot of possible solutions to this. As an aside, the tower defense changes were actually made in an attempt to address this meta before it took hold - Champions like Ziggs, Cassi, Vel'Koz and Syndra (and many others) who can waveclear to siege a tower with little to no effort would poke the towers down super quickly - so this change was made to try and give people defending AP sieges a little more time/bulk to deal with it. Naturally this means defending AP/Waveclear is also pretty hard to deal with.

Regardless, this is something we're keeping our eye on with great interest/caution. 
Ichors OP

I agree here. This isn't 'BOTH ICHORS NERFED NEXT PATCH GG RIOT', but i think Blue Buff on an elixir and Tower Damage on an elixir may just be too strong. It could also be the duration/cost, but i'm inclined to think that any gold threshold that says 'you stall the game out longer for x minutes' is probably overdoing it. Will put a lot of thought into what elixirs -should- be, but as with every other bullet-point (you guessed it) i want to hear what y'all think.
The last two concerns have a lot to do with the overall identity of the map (What should TT be?) and as such, i'd rather respond to them separately and give them the discussion they deserve instead of trying to boil my thinking down to a paragraph or two. 
Not the longest post ever, but not the shortest. This is not me simply telling you how things are going to be, but meant to be a first transmission that can lead to y'all communicating with us on the issues you're most passionate about. 
Fire away! ALSO IF YOU MANAGED TO READ ALL OF THIS YOU ARE A HERO [i probably overused commas to hell]"

[ Continued ] PENTAKILL album out on June 3rd

Following his confirmation that the upcoming Pentakill album will be free and that  Jørn Lande is the album's vocalist, Praeco

When asked if they will use the awesome Pentakill art as a splash art for the set of in-game skins, Praeco commented:
"We will :) "
He also confirmed that Derek Sherinian appears on the track Ohmwrecker.

Over on his Twitter, Praeco also mentioned they'll be releasing another full length Pentakill track tomorrow ( 5/29 )!

One for All : Mirror Mode available between 5/29 and 6/8!

Just a reminder that our latest featured gameplay mode, One for All: Mirror Mode, will be available starting today, May 29th, and lasting until June 8th!

Check out this post for more, including details on the new Battle Boost feature exclusive to the new mode! If you have more questions, feel free to visit the player support FAQ!

For those NA summoner's wondering when it will be enabled, Triggs commented:
"We're doing a phased rollout of One For All Mirror Mode. It's scheduled to be rolled out for NA at 10am PDT."

OCE Live Service Update - May 29th

Riot Cochese, Live Services Manager, has posted an update regarding specific problems and concerns with the Oceania server, including recent changes, progress on a few key issues, and feedback on pain points OCE players may currently be experiencing.

 Check out the full post for more info.  

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