Red Post Collection: In-Depth with Mastery, "Totally a feature!" bugs, WookieeCookie advice for Toxic Player, PBE Sheen Changes only Tooltip, and more!

Posted on at 6:41 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features Zileas with a new dev blog the design value of Mastery, a few Rioters sharing champion bugs that ended up staying as features, Lyte discussing the new behavior systems and returning to the topic of voice chat, WookieeCookie offering advice to a self-admitted toxic player, a reminder Doom Bots of Doom is almost over, and clarification on the 7/24 PBE's "changes" for Sheen.
Continue reading for more information!

LoL Design Values: In-depth with Mastery

Up first is a new dev blog with Zileas regarding Mastery, one of the core League of Legends design values.
"It's the second entry in our ongoing League of Legends design values! Last time we had environment and clarity designer Richard "Nome" Liu go in-depth on why Clarity is important in League of Legends. Up this week is Riot Games' Vice President of Game Design, Tom "Zileas" Cadwell, here to talk to one of League's most central themes: the pursuit of mastery. 
Zileas has been a part of Riot Games for a long time and he's actually the one who first introduced several of the terms used in our design values series – like Counterplay. Today, however, Zileas will be focusing more on mastery as it relates to every design decision we make in League and why it's so important to the game as a whole. Onward!"
 Chris ‘Pwyff’ Tom


Players are driven to play different game genres for different reasons. In MMOs, it might be a feeling of progression or social achievement. In single-player, story-focused games, it might be about immersion, or making your way through a deep narrative. In the MOBA genre, we believe the main thing that motivates players to stick around is the pursuit of mastery. 
Whether you're trying to be the best League player in the world or you're just picking up on how to last hit, playing League of Legends is about continually growing and becoming a better player. We believe that players who play League are seeking mastery, and our design philosophy is deeply tied to this idea. For our part, we hope to make a player's journey endlessly rich and fulfilling; someone who adapts quickly and instinctually should be rewarded as much as the one who spends days figuring out the most optimal path forward - both are pursuing mastery in their own unique ways. 
We’ve identified three major areas of mastery: personal expertise, teamwork, and adaptability.

Personal Expertise

Personal expertise is the direct skill you bring in controlling your character to win a fight or earn gold. It’s your ability to last hit, execute a basic combo, dodge and land skill shots, or make an informed decision in a fight. Some of the ways we can support personal expertise include: 
Creating optimization paths for champions is a design strategy we've spent more time on over the years. When we design or update champions, we ask if there are multiple levels of mastery possible – places where a player can fine-tune their skills to become even better over time. Yasuo and his passive, Way of the Wanderer, is a good example of growing mastery, where maximizing Flow through movement and ability use – and ensuring that large flow increases aren't 'wasted' on a full bar – can separate the good Yasuos from the great Yasuos. 
Rewarding consistent demonstrations of skill is an important philosophy for us, and this means smoothing out cases where this isn't true. As an example, system overhauls are large projects that try to build more potential for mastery. We continue to look at League and ask ourselves: when and where are players unable to use their skill to shine? And where these problems exist, is there a way we can fix it? 
Here are some examples from the 2014 pre-season changes where we made system overhauls to reward consistent skill:

  • Reducing team snowballing allowed players to win more often via their skill than their stats. When teams snowball out of control prematurely it becomes impossible for the opposing team, even with amazing play, to recover. On the other hand, a really 'fed' single player can still be focused and killed.
  • Stronger support scaling allows support players to continue to show their skill into the late game, rather than being overshadowed by the rest of their team in importance. When your power level is too different from other players in the game, even highly skilled players can feel like they're not making a difference. 
Counterplay, which will be further detailed by Morello in another blog, is the philosophy of designing champions to be challenging to master for both the player playing them and the opponent trying to beat them. When two champions fight, we want nuance, thought, and timing to matter in bothdirections, which means the best player should win. You're only as good as the opponents you can beat, and a champion that lacks counterplay is one which, if executed perfectly, leaves their opponent with shallow or nonexistent response choices.


Teamwork is the ability to read a teammate's intentions while also giving cues in turn, or the ability to stay positive when setbacks occur, or the ability to do what's best for the team at all times. 
We design for teamwork in two major areas: teamplay and team incentives. 
Teamplay is a design philosophy similar to counterplay, and Statikk will be going more in-depth in his dev blog. In short, if a particular strategy or set of abilities become stronger with increasingly effective team coordination, teamplay is there. At a basic level, this means that we have to design in a way where your teammates need to care what you're doing, and react to it. To do this, we try to make abilities, like Thresh's Dark Passage, which greatly increase in power when the team collaborates effectively.

Team Incentives encourage players to play as a team. Basic systems like assist gold are an example of this, as are objectives like towers, dragon and baron. We've also positioned all of League of Legend’s out-of-game rewards and ranked play (wins/losses) entirely around team success in order to reward players for playing as a team. This has the final effect of helping players understand that the path to mastery must involve the mastery of teamwork.


Adaptability is both your ability to learn and respond to new ideas, new threats and new changes, along with your ability to play in a variety of styles. Different players are adaptable in different ways. Some choose to pick up a large number of champions, while others spend that time deeply mastering one along a variety of builds. We try to support both, but fundamentally believe that to pursue mastery in League is about being an adaptable player. 
Our primary method of rewarding adaptability is through system and play balance changes. We aspire to keep as many champions as possible viable at a competitive level (to mixed success, admittedly), and also spend a lot of time trying to increase the amount of viable team-level strategies. The better balanced the game is, the more we can reward players who remain adaptable against a wide breadth of threats, and similarly reward them for investing time in learning to play less-popular champions and strategies.

Closing Thoughts

We're committed to continuing to improve the potential for mastery in League of Legends, and look forward also helping you understand the ways we can achieve this goal (or give us feedback if you feel we're not!). We fundamentally believe a game where you know you're getting better with effort is also a game that's rewarding to play. We also hope you'll remain committed to your own mastery – and that this blog can serve as a reminder to challenge yourself to master new skills, champions and strategies! 
Tom "Zileas" Cadwell

Champion Bugs that were "totally a feature".

In a reddit thread asking Rioters what are some features that started out as bugs but, due to popularity or awesomeness, ended up staying around, Gypsylord shared that Vi's Q "vacuuming" minions was never originally intended!
"Vi's Q vacuuming minions and stunning them afterwards. For those of you that haven't noticed, when Vi uses Vault Breaker to dash through a minion wave it will clump them all up in a neat little pile behind her and stop their movement for a second. 
This behavior was originally a bug. I had intended for Vi to slightly bump minions as she passed through them but not move them anywhere. Fortunately, I was a lot worse at scripting back then, and I got Vi's position at the point of impact instead of the individual minions', causing them all to vacuum together. 
Was going to put an end to it until Volty playtested her top lane and commented on how smooth it was that Vault Breaker grouped up minions and then held them in place to be cleared by Excessive Force (E). Turns out the Q-E waveclear combo felt great. TOTALLY A FEATURE!!!"

Feral Pony mentioned that Hecarim's E allowing him to leap over small terrain:
"Graves buckshot had nothing to do with ashe volley. I was more trying to capture the feel of an actual shotgun (strong close range, bullet spread etc). 
Hecarim though had a bug where he leapt over terrain with his devastating charge. I fixed it before release but we added it back in later cause it was awesome. :)"

ZenonTheStoic also chimed in with his own example of Lucian's passive not originally targeting other minions if the main auto attack killed the original target.
"I meant to give Lucian's passive a "visual only" missile that would fire at the target's location if the first shot killed the target, just to clearly communicate "no, you totally used up your passive, trust me". When I made the "visual only" missile I copied the auto attack and changed it from being a unit targeted spell to being a location targeted spell, but crucially I forgot to delete the part of the logic where the auto attack does damage. 
Lucian shipped with this bug and people commented on how sometimes the second shot of the passive would kill a different unit that was standing next to the original target, and how cool that was. Err, fuck. Totally a feature! 
I went back to it and recoded it complete with a prediction mechanic and a "pick optimal target" for second shot mechanic. Because my animator Nickstravaganza is a bad-ass he set up Lucian's passive auto attack with technology called "parametric blending", which meant that Lucian would independently point the appropriate arm at the target of the second shot, even as he was moving and facing elsewhere. The first time I saw that in game I was like, why the fuck didn't we ship this in the first place?"

Feedback on New Behavior Systems

Lyte made his way to the forums to again share why a particular user received their behavior related punishments and to comment on the return of Reform cards.
"This is because it's a test. If it was a full completed feature, a lot of these issues are solved in Reform Cards which are sent to players that outline specific chat logs that led to the ban. In this test, most players actually are well-aware of the reasons they received the ban, so they don't post on the forums. 
I'd challenge that there's a lot of damage to the playerbase; so far, the vast majority of players that got a ban deserved it and they were providing so many negative experiences to other players in their matches that we don't want them to play League. 
I'm going to post a few of your chat logs here, but as a reminder to those who haven't seen my other posts, we cannot post the Summoner Names of every person in the chat log due to privacy issues, so we'll just be posting your specific chat. Secondly, in the future when Reform Cards are back online, chat logs sent to players will have the chatlog from the entire game, but with Summoner Names replaced with Champion Names except for the player receiving the punishment. Finally, just because a player is toxic to you doesn't mean you can respond with verbal abuse or racial slurs--all this does is create an even more negative experience for the up to 8 other players in the match. If someone is toxic, simply mute them and move on or both players will end up being punished. 
One final note. Google Me Dude, we all make mistakes. I don't care if you're Challenger or in the LCS, every player in the game makes mistakes, and every player plays poorly once in awhile. None of that gives you the right to sh*t on players constantly in matches. If you want to win more matches, you need to become a better teammate and leader; for example, if you actually want to lead your teams, you probably don't want to call them a ******."

He continued, mentioning upcoming system to "aggressively address" afk / leavers and defending his stance on people who get frustrated and retaliate with equally as toxic behavior.

they don't want you to know what went down, but if you play enough you know what actually happened. See that is the dirty little secret, it is incredibly easy to ban off chat logs under the guise "doesnt matter what your team does it doesnt justify your rude chat log". Now to fix the REAL problem which is what caused this player to rage i the first part? That takes work, energy, and money and riot has ZERO interest in fixing that part, they just want to punish the people who get frustrated and retaliate via chat, now it gives the illusion they are trying to fix "all that toxicity".
Actually, a lot of work is being done to fix the underlying issues that create frustration. For example, we'll be talking soon about a new system that aggressively addresses Leavers and AFKs. Secondly, matchmaking is being continuously improved, which is why you recently might have noticed that Blue/Purple win rates are back down to about ~50%.

Every player has a bad game. If I looked at your match history, I can easily find games where you had a bad game. How do you "fix" a player just having a bad game? Even professionals in the NBA, NFL, NHL and Olympics have bad days--that's why the world's "best" doesn't necessarily win every Olympic event and sometimes you have underdogs win it all. Should players throw racial slurs at you or sh*t on you repeatedly during that game? Should we, as a community, say that if you're having a bad game you deserve racism, homophobia, sexism and more?"
He continued:
"Retaliating in a toxic way is unacceptable in League. In fact, in many cases, both players end up being punished. Just because "someone started it" doesn't give you an excuse to ruin up to 8 other players' experiences.

When the features are complete, the Reform Cards will show the entire chat log and replace Summoner Names with Champion Names. For now, we only post the offending players' chat log to maintain the other players' privacy."

In response to a comments about the Tribunal and it "facing diminishing returns", Lyte noted:
"Actually, to clarify a few things: Tribunal wasn't broken. We had to take it down for some pretty immense upgrades, such as retooling the algorithms entirely to include machine learning, to add positive cases for review, and to make the system globally viable in every language around the world--that's a lot of work. 
What we meant by diminishing returns was, the system was getting so accurate that continuing to work on accuracy was hitting diminishing returns. Instead, by using machine learning, we can also focus on improving how the Tribunal handles the 'severity' of cases and improving the speed of the system.

We'll be bringing the system back globally, which is a huge goal for us because for awhile only servers like NA/EU benefited from the system."

As for the "74% of players warned by Tribunal never return" statistic, Lyte explained:
"This is a great question. 
For the majority of players (74%), the first warning in the Tribunal was enough for them to improve their behaviors. In fact, with warnings + chat restrictions, that number goes up to 75-77% in many servers. 
More % of players improve their behaviors after the next tier ban, but at the end of the day, we see about 1-3% of players refuse to reform regardless of the consequences. Systems like the one here try to identify those players, and immediately escalate their bans to the highest tiers. We've seen that players who tend to be consistently severe in their behaviors tend to never reform, which is why we built a machine learning approach to try to identify these patterns.

In general, we'll always focus on reform. It works for the vast majority of players that ever see a punishment system; however, by giving the worst 1-3% so many chances, we're actually letting them ruin a lot more games and players' experiences and that's something we want to try to reduce."

If you'd like to browse more of WookieeCookie and Lyte providing context and examples to why users where punished, check out these links:
  • WookieeCookie responding to a user banned for using exploits / hacks
  • Lyte #1
  • Lyte #2 
  • Lyte #3 

[ Continued ] Voice Chat Discussion

Lyte also reiterated a few of his earlier comments on an integrated voice chat system in League of Legends over on twitter.
[ 1 ] Regarding communication, we see that most players use different solutions for voice with friends already.

[ 2 ] We agree voice with friends = awesome. Voice with strangers = less awesome. Teams with split voice/text = less awesome.

[ 3 ] That's what most people believe, but the data is pretty against the idea that people make more friends off voicechat.

[ 4 ] No worries, common misunderstanding with chat. Voicechat with friends is awesome, but we see huge numbers of friends

[ 5 ] Already use Skype, Vent, Mumble etc with friends. If we did something there it'd have to be unique or better.

[ 6 ] We found this to be untrue as well, and have reviewed data from multiple games/genres. What happens is people (1/2)

[ 7 ] are MORE toxic... in text. So, they won't say it over voice, but they'll type it out instead.

[ 8 ] That's the interesting part. People are MORE rude in text, when they use voice. So overall, the experience is net neg.

[ 9 ] You can still manage it, but the text-toxicity increases by a significant amount. Almost 150% more in some cases.

[ 10 ] You actually have a lot more players quitting / playing less games because of that 150% increase.

[ 11 ] I agree, games need to solve the "voice chat problem." It'd be valuable to all games if we did.

Advice for a Toxic Player

In a thread where a self-admitted toxic player asked for a rioter's advice to become a better player, WoookieeCookie stepped up to the plate to offer his advice to enjoying the game, decreasing stress, and being humble to your follow player.

You're already a step ahead by asking for help. But the trick here will be how you follow through.

If you're genuinely interested in improving then you need to take a step back and really reflect on why you play League of Legends or any other competitive online game for that matter.

Seriously ask yourself: "Am I even having fun?" Be honest.

To me, it sounds like you're not right now. Even though you admit to it, I bet you don't enjoy calling people "autstic ****s" in game. That sounds incredibly taxing and draining to get so worked up in every game you play.

Chances are, if you're not having fun now; you were at some point. You have A LOT of games played since you started in November 2010. You've been through the irelia nerfs, the UI changes, the server instability, the OP Win Xiao release, S1, S2, and S3 championships and a great many more.

If you're not having fun then reflect to figure out why. Why did you come to League in the first place? Do you have a favorite champion? You love competition? The strats and plays? Maybe an LCS Player or Streamer you look up to and want to mimic?

From what you told me, it sounds like you enjoy winning. And you HATE losing. That's pretty cool. Who doesn't hate losing? If you're going to approach League from that angle, then you need to have reasonable expectations. You need to be honest with yourself.

First thing to keep in mind: You win some. You lose some.

That needs to be your new motto.

This is true for every player in League of Legends. It doesn't matter if they're Bronze, or Challenger. If you're getting upset at a loss, you really have to think to yourself: "Why u mad?" Of course you're going to have losses. At any given time of the day, 50% of the players in League are winning games, and 50% of the players are losing.

Another thing to keep in mind: Sometimes a loss is going to be outside of your control. Think about it right now. Dwell on it. Get it out of your system; because it's going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes you or someone on your team will be faced with a technical problem. Sometimes someone on your team is going to have a behavior problem. Sometimes someone on your team is just going to perform poorly.

League is a team game, it's not about you. It's about all of the players (including you) working together to make magic happen. Sometimes you're going to get a team and composition that gels really well with each other, sometimes you're not. Sometimes you are going to be able to carry your team, sometimes you are not. Sometimes you are going to get carried, sometimes you are not.

You win some, you lose some.

You can't control your teammates. You're not telepathically linked, you're not all fans of the same playstyles or strats. This is random solo queue. You are being paired with strangers.

Solo Queue isn't about controlling others it is about working with others.

The only one you get to control is yourself. Understand and accept that.

But! and this is key! Give your team mates some credit dude, they're not that different from you. We're all in this together, and we ALSO want to win. We love League of Legends just like you do. We love it so much we're playing Ranked Solo Queue and being competitive; just like you!

It might not seem like it all the time. We may not choose the same builds as you(or do you not choose the same builds as us?). We might not always perform well(but then again, you don't either). We might be a bit testy or angry in champion select (maybe we just had a string of losses like you and are agitated? Maybe we are expecting you to troll just as much as you are expecting us to troll?)

But in the end, we're all players; we're all fans of the game. And if you're going to play League of Legends you have to understand this, and you have to give other players the respect they deserve as human beings.

So what do we have so far?

-You play to win and get better.
-But you know that you will win some and you will lose some.
-You also know that you can't control everyone on your team.
-But you also know that your teammates are not that different from you. They love League, and they want to win, just like you.

If you really think about it like this and then you reflect on your last month or so of games there is only one conclusion. The biggest obstacle in your League of Legends ranked matches is yourself. You're not giving the benefit of the doubt to your team mates. You're not understanding that everyone is flawed. You're not acknowledging that people are inherently good and want to do good.

You can try to "stop committing toxic behavior", but if you're not going to get at the core philosophical reasons that fuel that toxic behavior you will never succeed.

Are you interested in what people say about you?

Here's a breakdown of a recent game you played. The person on your team who reported you said: 
Negative Attitude - "Wins the game but still cries abotu someone else's build.":

What did you do?

(23 seconds in and you've already stalked everyone else in your game. You noticed that the Yi didn't have the same kind of runes you would have chosen)
Penguinbashr (0:23): yep, another game ruined by someone who can't be bothered to have a decent rune page

(Yi asks)
Yi: who has a bad page?

(You respond)
Penguinbashr (0:50): you do? no defensive runes? are you that dumb?
((Where's the benefit of the doubt? Is he dumb or is he just trying a different strategy? Maybe he picked the wrong rune page? It happens, even to pros. Besides that, why are you so focused on what he's doing? You've already gone out of your way to assume the worst in another player and then let everyone else on your team know too. Now you're mad. He's sad, and your team is holding their breathe)

Yi: aww man
Penguinbashr (1:34): shhh to you to. Now I have to go ****ing tank riven because yet again my game is ruined by someone who cant pick for the team
((You're being a bit dramatic. It's 1:34 into the game, and it's already ruined? How are you even going to win if you're willing to give up before the minions have reached their lanes? What are your team mates suppose to think when you're already claiming the game is ruined? What sort of image are you trying to give off? Do you want them to be better? Do you want Yi to go back in time and change his runes? At this point, such a comment is completely unnecessary. Something better would be "Alrighty! We'll give it a shot!" or "That's okay, we'll make do!"))

(4 minutes later, it looks like perhaps Yi has died)
Penguinbashr(5:36): oh well, gg. why do you like to ruin games?
((Where's the benefit of the doubt? Do you really think Yi likes to ruin games? Do you think he doesn't care to win? Why are you calling GG at 5 minutes in? Why play a game if you think you can lose in the first few minutes of a match. That sounds like a terrible game to play))
((20 minutes go by, you're relatively quiet. I believe it's because you have chat restrictions. Regardless, it's pretty clear your team is starting to come out on top. Still though, your attention has now gone to the Janna Support))
Penguinbashr(26:43): why would you go athenes over crucible
Janna(26:59): Don't need Crucible atm
Janna(27:06): Nothing to really use it on
Janna(27:12): Unless Trist gets hit by a bubble,
(((Not even acknowledging Janna, you continue to blast her, remember; you're team is up!)) 
Penguinbashr(27:22): why dont you have a sightstone either. this is support 101. sightstone, crucible, boots, gp item.
Janna(27:28): Don't need Sightstone
Janna(27:34): We're winning heavily
Penguinbashr (27:39): christ. i support and get fed up with adc's. i dont support and i get fed up with people doing **** builds.
((Is it a **** build when your team is winning?))

Janna(27:40): They aren't going to be warding that effectively.
Janna(27:53): I'm a 2 time diamond support, play your own Champ.
Penguinbashr (28:20): if you say so. that's why you're too dumb to get a sightstone right. or a decent trinket item.
((Again, where's the benefit of the doubt? Janna has over 2,675 games played since she started in April 2011. Her win rate for the last 20 games played is 65%. She wants to win, just like you do; you're not all that different))

((A minute later Janna seems to still be the focus of your thoughts. You continue to give her unneeded advice because you're not willing to give her the benefit of the doubt))
Penguinbashr(29:11): stacking athenes and crucible. wow. so good.
Penguinbashr (29:42): did you know items with the same unique effect dont stack?
Janna(29:53): Did you know toxicity gets you banned?
Janna(30:01): I don't need the mana.
Janna(30:10): I use Athene's for mana
Janna(30:16): and Cruc for the cleanse.
Janna(30:29): Why are you bming me
((Really though, ask yourself, why are you bming anyone? Your team is winning the match. Everyone is getting a long with each other, except for you, because you're unwilling to trust anyone else in the game. You're not having fun because you're too busy being paranoid about everyone else's intentions in game to sit back and enjoy the ride. You're so focused on how you think everyone else is playing poorly, that you're not even taking into account what you may be doing poorly yourself.))
And that's really a shame. Because you don't control other players, you can't improve other players; trying to do so is a battle you can't win. They are not NPC AI's at your control, they are independent thinking human beings with their own opinions, wishes, and desires. (Although they all want to win, just like you!)

This is only one chat log, but it's representative of many that I reviewed. I can't really give a full in depth analysis of each game; but I wanted to address some of the core issues you're having trouble with.

Please don't think I'm saying you're a bad guy. You're very likely a pretty chill dude in real life. You're certainly not alone with this kind of attitude. There is a strong minority segment of players that act similar to you. They want to win and they're willing to tear down anyone who gets in their way to do so. This post is as much for them, as it is for you because that attitude isn't going to get them anywhere.

I really hope you take the time to reflect on the issue. If you're realistic about yourself and others I think you'll make a lot of progress. I genuinely believe that currently your poor behavior and attitude is handicapping your overall true level of skill."

The Doom Bots of Doom ending Soon!

Don't forget! Doom Bots of Doom is only around until July 27th!

Here's L4T3NCY with a reminder:
"We’re getting ready to yank the Doom Bots of Doom back into the Featured Game Mode workshop! If you haven’t faced off against their unique brand of chaos yet, or if you’re itching for one last duel with Mega Tibbers, head to the Fields of Justice before the end of July 27 and get busy dying!"

[ PBE ] Trinity Force, Sheen , Lich Bane changes only Tooltip 

As you may have noticed in the 7/24 PBE update, Sheen, Lich Bane, and Trinity Force had their Spellblade tooltips changed from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds on the PBE.

According to Pwyff, this was not an actual set of changes, only a tooltip update.
"re: Spellblade changes on the PBE - it's just a tooltip fix (from a day when we didn't want decimals in tooltips?) - always been 1.5s cd"

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