Red Post Collection: Champion Insights - Kalista, Context on Renekton PBE Changes, Update on the Tribunal, and more!

Posted on at 8:21 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features a new Champion Insight artcle that includes the Kalista team sharing stories from her development, WookieeCookie and Lyte with an update on the Tribunal and the use of reports while the system is down, SmashGizmo with context on the recent Renekton PBE changes, & more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Champion Insights: We are the Spear of Vengeance

First up we have a new "Champion Insights: We Are the Spear of Vengeance" article, which includes several members of her development team The Bravo RayCertainlyT, and the Ant in Oz  - sharing stories from Kalista's development!
Baby Steps

"Kalista began development just as the smoke cleared from Jinx’s launch. The champion team faced a new challenge. Years of female marks(wo)men featured similar shape language and gobs of guns, bows and even bow-guns. A consensus formed: the time had come for a different approach to a female marksman.

Most champions begin life as an amorphous idea blob. Someone’s inspired and does what inspired people do: bring their thoughts to life and share them like crazy. If that idea resonates, artists draw, designers noodle and storytellers write. When that happens, a new champion is on the way to becoming an identifiable embryo.

Concept artist Larry “TheBravoRay” tackled the post-Jinx conundrum. Inspired by Zeus and his lightning bolts, he imagined a tall, athletic woman throwing a spear over and over again. But given that marksmen attack repeatedly all game, every game, he needed a conceit that kept her spears supplied.
Larry spoke about his approach to the issue, “I wanted to do the archetype of the fallen warrior.” He sketched a few undead representations of martial females to explore the idea. “I wanted players to think, why is she in this state? Why does she look like a wraith and how’d those spears get in her back? What’s the major momentum for this character going forward? From there I think we kinda knew. Brad ‘CertainlyT’, the champion designer, started talking and throwing ideas in and that helped drive the concept as well.”

In early days, in-development champions earn codenames by what makes them stand out. Shortly after Larry’s concepts began making the rounds, Spectral Legionnaire entered active development.

Teams in teams

Champions spring from tight-knit teams of craft-experts, where two people rarely have the same skills and expertise. Within the broader champion team, there are multiple, fully-functional teams and each is focused on one particular new champion at a time.

Even if these teams carry the responsibility to understand exactly who, what and why the champion should be in the game, they share their work widely, soliciting opinions and expertise from tons of Rioters. Even Ryze and Tryndamere pop in to see what’s being cooked up.

Defining Kalista

Kalista was still taking her first steps when Anthony “Ant in Oz” joined Riot’s narrative team. She’d be his first project and he leapt right onto a charging train. “We sort of knew she was betrayed and that was like a quarter of who she was. So my first task was to try and write a few stories to flesh out some ideas and see which of those stories resonated with everybody working on the champ. You can see very quickly when people get excited about a story and that gets them re-enthused about the champ... That’s when you know you’ve hit a good mark.”

On Brad’s (design) side of things, he’d been prototyping cooperative gameplay designs with the hope they’d find their home in Kalista’s kit. In co-op, the fun’s in accomplishing objectives together, not simply doing similar things while standing near each other. This rule of thumb meant the relationship between Kalista and another champion required shared purpose and an even footing. The idea thematically lined up with Kalista’s martial bearing. Soldiers train to fight as a unit with common objectives--similar to the peer relationship in duo lanes.

When Anthony saw the early designs, he jumped. “This was a good example of the background and the story getting inspired by the gameplay direction. I think that goes back and forth between gameplay, narrative and all the different artists. We all feed off each other. I think that’s a really healthy, natural way for things to work.”

What began with Brad’s exploration of how players could cooperate evolved into The Pledge that allows another champion to yield their soul to Kalista. With a thematic and narrative conceit in place for Kalista, Brad solidified how duo lane players could best work together to farm, score kills and save each other’s butts.
Problem Child

One particular problem still hovered over Kalista’s gestation. There was consensus that she would be a wraith, but striking the balance between who Kalista once was, a proud warrior, and who she is, the Spear of Vengeance, proved difficult.

Larry talked about a particularly dark time, “There was a lot of feedback when people (internally) started seeing the character...they said, ‘She looks too much like a zombie.’ And that was the key word, ‘zombie, zombie, zombie.’ It was okay that she was undead, because that was the point, but the non-intelligent zombie was not what we wanted.” The artists on Kalista’s pod cooperated with illustrators on the splash team to rejigger her face, helping her become the purposeful, relentless hunter they imagined.
Anthony spoke about another breakthrough on the identity front. During VO (voiceover) development, “There was a realization that she wouldn’t say ‘I’ very much because she’s more than one entity, really. So it became, ‘We are the Spear of Vengeance.’” This shift allowed the team to make a clearer statement about who she is and explore the relationship between Kalista and the souls she bonds with. In seldom instances, when she remembers her past life, she still says “I”, providing a small glimpse into her harrowed past.

Fate’s Call

Brad emphasized trust as the key to navigating Kalista through difficult challenges and into the game. “We were constantly faced with problems. Solvable problems that we worked through together, but meetings were less jokey. There was more spit-balling, more discussion on how to solve things...If I list the things that I’m proud of this team for, it’d be a long list for this champion in particular.”

Larry continued the line of thought, “It’s all a bunch of professionals collaborating together... Every guy and gal is a pro at what they do and when we get tough feedback we trust. Like if it’s gameplay feedback, I trust Brad is gonna understand and act and do things properly. Same thing with stories, or art or animation...” Offering a final comment, Brad said, “It’s just something you have to be really excited about, you know? Not making a champion, but making this champion.”
Share your take on Champion Insights and give Kalista a shot during her debut on the free champion rotation."

Reports and Update on the Tribunal

In a reddit thread asking about the use and effectiveness of the end of game player reports while Tribunal is still down for updates, RiotWookieeCookie jumped in to share:
"Good question! 
We still store reports on our servers and they are helpful for a number of different things.
You might have noticed but while the Tribunal is down we have a few features to monitor behavior. These include Chat Restriction, new Leaverbuster, PBJ Ban Audits, intentional feeding audits, and hack/scripting bans. 
Reports are not the core of these features but they help us a lot. They especially help me or someone else on my team when we're investigating a player. 
We're not looking at one or two reports and drawing conclusions, we know that such a small sample size is not really indicative of how a person may act in game. We're always looking for trends and patterns. 
That's why I really REALLY encourage you to leave a report on any player you feel deserves it. But, most importantly;leave a comment explaining why! 
A report with a comment is much more helpful and valuable to us than a blank report.
One rule of thumb I have when I report players is that if I can't be bothered to leave an explanation why, then they probably were not worth reporting in the first place. :D"

Lyte also tagged in to explain the use of reports and comment on the upcoming Tribunal updates:
"Reports are still being used by a variety of systems that aren't tied to the Tribunal.

Some examples include:
  • Chat Restrictions, which are given to players who show moderate verbal toxicity.
  • Intentional Feeder Bans, which are given to players who currently show intentional feeding patterns in their games.
  • Ranked Restrictions, which are given to players who show toxicity in Ranked Modes and restricts them from playing Ranked until they improve their behaviors.
  • Escalated Bans, which are 14-day bans given to players who show extreme verbal toxicity.

There's a team at Riot working hard on the Tribunal, and we realize it's been down for 6 months now. One of the biggest problems of the system was the speed of its feedback loops, as it would often take longer than a week for a player to receive their punishment. As we've mentioned before, the faster the feedback, the better the results. A second problem was that many territories in the world never got a Tribunal at all due to hardware/infrastructure issues.

We intend to have more news about the Tribunal in 2015, and are planning some initial tests of the new system. For example, we're seeing how current reports affect the new system, and we'll be looking for some players to help us test the system on the PBE in 2015.

Some of the new features in the system include:
  • the ability to review positive players in the Tribunal and grant them some rewards
  • new ways for players to see their contributions to the community in the Justice Reviews
  • a visual update to the entire system, including the Case Review and Reform Cards
  • a new tier system for punishments so that players only get 1 warning and 2 chances before they completely lose their account
  • optimized algorithms that hopefully allow us to ensure that players get punished or rewarded within a few days of their Tribunal case (we still need to tune this)
  • the ability for awesome contributors in the Tribunal to earn some in-game rewards each year

There's some other additions to the Tribunal, but these are some of the cooler things I'm looking forward to as a League player myself. Anyways, we'll talk more about some of our plans on how we'll re-introduce the Tribunal back into League in 2015. We apologize for the delay; unfortunately, scaling the Tribunal globally to millions of players proved to be more difficult than we initially expected... but when you're making something that millions of people will use, nothing is ever easy."
When asked why they couldn't keep up the old Tribunal system while these new changes were being developed, Lyte explained:
"Unfortunately, maintaining a "live" system is a decent amount of work for a team so if we kept the old system up and running it would have potentially taken much longer to get the new system up. It is also much harder to run some analytics and research tests when 2 systems are concurrently "live." For example, it was much easier to run Escalated Ban and Ranked Restriction tests without an old Tribunal also reviewing cases and judging the same behaviors these other systems were monitoring and punishing for. Now that we understand how Escalated Bans and Ranked Restrictions work without any other systems interfering, we can incorporate them much easier into the new Tribunal. 
Not to get into the nitty gritty, but for example if we're upgrading tech stacks or hardware throughout League of Legends, this team would have to keep up with these changes on the old system while also building a new one for the future so it's also a lot of redundant work. 
Although it was a painful choice, and one that we can debate for the ages, we made the choice to shut the old Tribunal down to focus all team resources on the new one."

Lyte continued, explaining how the system deals with false reports:
It dosen't matter because no human is checking the report it's only a robot that bans after a X amount of reports. If you report them wheter or not they were toxic the result will be the same they'll get banned
This is false for several reasons. 
One, the Report System takes into account every player's report accuracy. If your reports are accurate, your reports will mean more and the systems will actually take your votes into account. 
If your reports are inaccurate, if you spam reports, or if you simply do silly things like get a premade group of 4 to report someone for no reason, your reports will lose value over time. 
If reports just resulted in punishment no matter what, trust me, you'd hear about millions of false positives on the forums, not just a few players complaining about their bans every so often."
When asked if the new Tribunal will include support for Custom Games, Lyte noted:
"At this time, the launch of the new Tribunal does not include support for Custom Games; however, what queues are "active" or not are a simple toggle in the new system. 
As with any new system we want to manage the launch very carefully and not simply open the floodgates of every queue on the system. If all matchmade queues are doing well after the Tribunal launch and we want to expand into Custom Games, we can."

When asked to elaborate on the ability ot review positive players in the Tribunal, Lyte noted
"When players log into the new Tribunal they will be presented with a random case that could be Negative, Neutral or Positive. Because there's 3 options and random "test" cases, it's very difficult for players to simply spam "Punish" in the new system because they'll quickly get flagged for being highly inaccurate, and also this new setup encourages players to dive deeper into cases and read the details instead of potentially seeing something like 90% of cases be punishable. 
If you get presented a Positive case, and you vote Positive, the player in the case will get a small in-game prize that is still TBD but should be a nice little pat on the back for the player. Players that are rated positive in the Tribunal often will also be eligible for more frequent rewards like the double IP Boost we tested a few weeks ago."

As for the possibility of a revamped Honor system, Lyte commented:
"We actually have a follow-up design to Honor that will make it compatible with the new Tribunal. 
It won't come out at the same time, but Honor is something we're working on in 2015."

Context on Renekton PBE Changes

SmashGizmo has also sliced and diced his way to the forums to drop off context on today's  PBE Rekenton changes , explaining:
"Hey guys, SmashGizmo here to give some context on the Renekton changes that just hit PBE today. Essentially, we're looking to do two things here:
1) Give Renekton a lot more Fury when he's fighting champions and a little less Fury when he's not interacting with champions.
P - Reign of Anger
  • FURY DECAY RATE:: 2/second >>> 4/second 
Q - Cull the Meek
  • FURY GENERATION ON NON-CHAMPION HIT:: 5/target >>> 2.5/target
  • FURY GENERATION ON CHAMPION HIT:: 5/target >>> 10/target 
W - Ruthless Predator
E2 - Dice
We really wanted to give Renekton some new ways to spike his Fury generation in teamfights without making his laning power go crazy, so we've put conditional Fury generation on all of his non-empowered abilities that is stronger vs. Champions than vs. minions. We also increased the decay rate on Fury so that Renekton doesn't sit on full Fury without staying in combat. 
Also, a small note here, Renekton has never generated Fury when using empowered abilities, so while the tooltips are being more explicit about this interaction, the mechanics haven't been changed with regards to empowered abilities. 
2) Smooth out Renekton's healing from Cull the Meek so that it is still relevant later in the game.
Q - Cull the Meek
  • HEALING VS MINIONS (Non Fury Enhanced):: 5% damage >>> 3/4.5/6/7.5/9 (+0.04 Bonus AD)
  • HEALING VS MINIONS (Fury Enhanced):: 10% damage >>> 9/13.5/18/22.5/27 (+0.12 Bonus AD)
  • HEALING VS CHAMPIONS (Non Fury Enhanced):: 20% damage >>> 9/13.5/18/22.5/27 (+0.12 Bonus AD)
  • HEALING VS CHAMPIONS (Fury Enhanced):: 40% damage >>> 27/40.5/54/67.5/81 (+0.36 Bonus AD)
I apologize for how mathy this ends up being, but the tl;dr here is that healing vs. minions is unchanged and the healing vs. champions is better vs. targets with higher armor. Basically, we wanted Renekton to still have the choice to heal himself with Empowered Q after opponents built armor, since the ability's main function breaks down in the middle of teamfights on live right now. The current tuning on this healing is that he's going from 20%/40% post-mitigation healing to 15%/30% pre-mitigation healing, which is almost always a buff for him (except at very very low armor values). 
All in all, we're just hoping to get Renekton into a better spot where his late game is not so impotent, while still leaving him with the strong early power curve we've come to know him for."
He continued:
"I've thought about the upped Fury gain on large monsters (wouldn't want it to be too whacky vs. camps with 3/4 monsters), but I don't think we want to push Renekton to the jungle at the moment. 
R is currently unchanged. We may tweak the Fury gen at some point in time if Renekton is too strong/too weak, but at the moment, his turning seems pretty close in internal testing so we haven't tweaked it."

Upcoming Poro Ward Skins are Legacy

Riot KateyKhaos also dropped by the boards to comment that all six of the upcoming poro themed ward skins, three of which will be released with the start of the Snowdown and the other three are currently testing on the PBE, will be legacy skins.
"All six of them will be legacy"

Interested in a closer look at these a-poro-ble new ward skins?

Eternum Rek'Sai Ravages a New World

Rek'Sai is currently tunneling her way around live and Riot has published a preview of her futuristic Eternum Rek'Sai skin!
"A steel-plated conduit erupts from the ground, shaking the placid night. Jagged symbols adorn the conduit’s frame, shrouded by a viscous vapor oozing from its seams. With a shriek of metal, the portal grinds open. Alloy claws stab through the breach, gouging at the reinforced armor as they grapple for a hold. Digging into the frame, a mangle of alien composite and hellish flesh wrenches through. It lumbers to spiked feet and screeches into the darkness. Eternum Rek’Sai has a fresh world to ravage.
Infiltrate the enemy jungle with Eternum Rek’Sai, available now in the League of Legends store for 1350 RP (on sale for 975 RP through December 18)."

Check out our Rek'Sai release coverage or this video preview for a better look at Eternum Rek'Sai!

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