Red Post Collection: Even more Meddler Q&A Ghostcrawler on Community Feedback, Death Recap thoughts, and more!

Posted on at 2:33 PM by Moobeat
This evening's red post collection features more Q&A from Meddler, a brief reminder that the Summoner's Rift Update does not have a tentative release date yet, commentary on the Sona model / texture update son the PBE, Ghostcrawler discussing how designers approach and the importance of player feedback, Nome on update the death recap, a VOD of the shoutcasters squaring off against the Doom Bots of Doom, and much more!
Continue reading for more information.

[ Continued ] Meddler Q&A + More

When asked if he thought Cassiopeia could use or is up for any changes, Meddler noted:
"New passive's a possibility, current one's useful but doesn't offer that much interesting gameplay. Not sure on the art side."

As for his earlier comments of wanting to try out a new passive on Lissandra and when we might expect to see that being tested out, Meddler noted:
"Sometime in the medium term (at least a few patches, possibly more), assuming it playtests as hoped in the first place. In the shorter term we're also looking at some other changes to her though too."

and, finally, when asked if there are still more non-human champions coming up, Meddler noted:
"Yeah, we've still got some monsters, or at least non humans, planned. That's not just for this year though."

However, Meddler did popped into thread on the OCE boards to chat more!

When asked what patch 4.13 will contain, he noted:
"4.13 is primarily focused on buffing or nerfing a number of champions we think need a bit of help or are a bit dominant. 4.14 by contrast is likely to be pretty safe, adjusting for anything unexpected from 4.13 or that's cropped up in the meantime, plus bug fixes. After that we'll go back to usual, though likely with a bit more focus on champions that aren't game health problems, but are a bit weak, and so would be good candidates for quick improvements."

As for Lee Sin nerfs or Sejuani buffs, Meddler shared:
"We're looking at some Lee Sin nerfs. No plans to Sejuani though. I agree her passive's not great feeling, I'm somewhat suspicious she may be a bit strong at the moment though with the recent Quill Coat/Ancient Golem changes."
When asked to elaborate on why he thinks Sejuani maybe strong despite her extremely low pick rate, he explained:
"I'd expect to see some correlation between champions that are perceived as strong and pick rate by players, especially in ranked, definitely wouldn't want to use pick rate as an indicator of actual strength though. At a minimum, sometimes a champion's power isn't fully appreciated. Play rates are heavily influenced by how many players find a champ's concept appealing as well though. Lux and Vayne for example have fairly high pick rates at the moment, but I wouldn't used that to argue they're overpowered. Popular and underpowered or balanced is possible, as is unpopular and overpowered."

He also replied to a summoner asking about more Braum changes:
"Yeah, we'll be chipping a little more power off him, probably in the next patch. As above though most of our changes for the next couple of patches will trend towards smaller adjustments."

SR Update still doesn't have a release date.

Just in case you were wondering, RiotForScience dropped off a reminder that we still don't have a date for the release of the Summoner's Rift update.
"we have not confirmed a date yet"

Orianna's Ball... HAD ARMS?!?

An astute summoner by the name of CommandShockwave posted up a thread on the general boards asking about a curious discovery; while digging around in the files they found that Orianna's Ball has files for little tiny robot arms.

Riot Whist, an associate animator, popped in to give some context:
"I wasn't here when she was made, neither was my lead, I checked her animation files and she has controls doing these motions. 
I'm assuming we voted that the arms were weird and removed them mid-way through production but didn't feel the need to have this reanimated so the animation is still there.

Even if they were robot arms they'd still look odd I think."

Sona's ... MTU?

[ The current version of Sona's PBE model / texture update as of the 7/17 PBE. See this post for the other skins! ]

When asked how to classify the PBE updates to Sona's models and textures ( since it isn't quite a VU but is more than just a texture update ) , IronStylus explained:
"Yeah, we're still referring to this as a TU although.. maybe it's more like.. an MTU (Model & Texture Update) or something since her base has a new model. However that model is fitted to her current rig with some tweaking. 
What I think is interesting about this is it'll give us an idea how much value comes out of visual changes of this sort which don't just throw the current character assets in the dumpster and make, from an asset standpoint, what is essentially a new character. 
Either way, feedback seems to be generally positive so I'm happy the team could deliver it!'

Nome on Death Recap

When asked when and if Riot plans to update and make the Death Recap system more reliable, Nome replied:
By this point, the Death Recap's bogus info, constant mistakes, and lack of non-damage inputs (i.e. if someone Exhausted you) makes it an eyesore, not a helpful source of information. Yet Riot won't even entertain the notion of updating it. Why?

It's a thorny question, and depends what you mean by updating it. 
If you mean the multitude of bugs, then that's going to take a lot of time, and might not be worth the effort. Rather, we need to go back and re-assess what the value of a good death recap is. We don't want to go the combat log route; raw information is rarely actionable. Likewise, I'm not entirely clear on how the existing implementation is useful outside of letting you know how much magic or physical damage you took. We'll probably update it at some point in the future once we knock out some competing UI features, but if we do, expect more of a redesign."

Shen Ult Bug Update

Following up on his earlier thread and discussion regarding the elusive Shen ult bug that keeps him from being available in the LCS, LtRandolph returned to comment:
"Update on this, since I forgot to report back earlier. As far as my data is showing, the bug has been stopped. I'm getting closer to understanding what's going on, so I'm going to spend half an hour before the next patch updating my logging info to get even closer to knowing the root cause.

Zeno's Paradox, anyone?"

Ghostcrawler and Community Input

In a thread accusing him having previously said he doesn't care about community feedback, Ghostcrawler stepped in to clear the air and explain the role the communities feedback plays on changes:
"With all due respect, this is poop. I would never say that I don't care about community input. Maybe artists or writers can get away with delivering on a vision without outside input, but I don't believe many game developers can work that way, at least if they are building games with a large player base. 
On the contrary, I recognized really early on in my career how valuable getting unfiltered feedback is from players. That's why I have always spent so much effort to try to communicate on forums, twitter or even face to face. I don't know how you can develop games without that input, and the fact that Riot takes player feedback so seriously is one of the reasons I decided it would be a good fit for me. 
Now, it's possible that someone was misquoting or misremembering an instance when I was trying to explain the role of a game designer. Sometimes players will assert that the community should be responsible for balance (or even all) changes to a game, because players as a collective spend far more time with the game than any individual developer ever could. My opinion on that approach is that it wouldn't work well. Crowdsourcing is great at solving problems or even coming up with novel ideas, but it isn't great at designing things. Players have different interests or goals or even different visions for how they think a game should work. Instead, I believe better results are achieved when there is a vision holder making decisions, but those decisions are informed from player feedback. 
The distinction is something like this: 
-- Should a developer make *every* change suggested by players? No way and yikes.

-- Should a developer make changes that are informed by player feedback? *Every* time."
when criticized about having said "this is poop", he noted:
"The poster either intentionally or unintentionally had some bad information, which I feared would color the feelings of other posters, making it harder for me to communicate with them. I felt it was necessary to take a fairly strong stance (by invoking the offensive word "poop") to demonstrate that I felt passionately that players needed to know how much we valued their feedback. I don't understand why that would piss people off... ?"
As for his avoidance of posting in the various Lee Sin balance threads, he explained:
"I didn't ignore the LS discussion. The thread had reached the point where new folks were jumping in saying "Too many posts so I'm not going to read them," which makes continuing discussions difficult. :(

I said we want to give him some weaknesses without redefining the champion. I said we aren't sure yet what those weaknesses will be. When we do know, I will most likely not be the one to announce it. Look for a patch forecast or something similar."
he continued:
"I didn't say that we weren't reading it. I was saying it was increasingly harder to make responses that contributed to the conversation. Later posters weren't even reading the earlier posts (even though we still were) and increasingly off-topic posts were happening just because of the red posts. As an aside, we totally appreciate that the proverbial pot was bubbling over on this issue and had we addressed it earlier maybe it wouldn't have exploded. But the fact is that it did explode, and it's one of the limitations of forum communication that threads just become unwieldy at some point. 
I'd also challenge that doing something QUICKLY is always the best solution. If it's something that affects the enjoyment of the game for a lot of players, then quick and clumsy may be the best approach. At other times, it makes more sense to wait a few patches for a change that has a chance of lasting more than a few more patches.

We understand some of you would be happy with us essentially deleting Lee Sin by nerfing his stats so much that nobody will play him competitively. That's a nuclear option for us. It ends up being just as controversial and making as many players unhappy as not doing anything. We thought we had a good solution for him several months ago. The response from players was pretty negative. Yes, some players wouldn't tolerate any change to a favorite champ and we can't be held hostage to that tactic or we can never nerf anyone. Others presented compelling arguments that Lee's mobility was a defining trait for him, and a fun one that required a fair amount of skill. We were swayed by those arguments and decided not to make any changes at that time. But we still want to make changes. We'll be interested in seeing the response to them."

Ghostcrawler signed off by reiterating his role in the design process and why champion diversity is important:
"As a clarification, I don't balance champions. You wouldn't want me to. :). I set the frameworks by which champions are balanced. For example, we agree it's not acceptable to have so many champions that never see competitive play. Their win rates aren't terrible but they don't get played enough. This is the entire purpose of the Champion Update team -- to modernize champs whose visuals or gameplay feel old. If you have questions or concerns about specific champions, you're better off having a dialogue with the developer working on them specifically. (And I can try to encourage more of those dudes to get out here and talk to you.) If you're more interested in higher level design philosophy or future direction of the game, those are better questions for me personally (and they don't have to all be in this one thread obviously).

Likewise, it's not cool for certain champions to dominate certain roles. This isn't simply a matter of buffing or nerfing because even having a slight disadvantage is enough to discourage players from ever trying that champ. In other words, the design can't be a simple math problem that is transparently solved. If one ADC has great range, that's awesome, but she (ahem) needs weaknesses or limitations where other champs shine. This means the changes are more holistic and not just a matter of balance tuning. In some cases we need to open up new avenues in which champs can shine. This takes time, which is frustrating, I know. But it is something we are working on."

Shout Casters vs DOOM BOTS OF DOOM

In case you missed it after yesterday's EU LCS matches, here is a VOD of the NA Casters playing a game against the DOOM BOTS OF DOOM!

"Yesterday, Phreak, RivingtonThe3rd, Jatt, Kobe and Zirene took on the marauding Doom Bots of Doom. Could humanity’s bravest secure victory, or would the Doom Bots claim Summoner’s Rift for all machinekind? Click on to watch the carnage... 
Have you fought the Doom Bots of Doom yet? Tell us your stories below!"

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