[UPDATED] Red Post Collection: Changes to Sales & Discounts,League Community Podcast ft. Riot Scruffy, New Champion Select experience Q&A, & Zombie Slayer + Harrowing Legacy skins leaving Shop Soon!

Posted on at 12:03 PM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Added in the New Champion Select Q&A responses!]

In the second red post collection of the day, we have the first installment of the League Community Podcast with Scruffy discussing ChampUp and Poppy, Hippalus announcing changes to sales & discounts, and a reminder that the Zombie/Slayer & Harrowing legacy content is leaving the shop soon!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

League Community Podcast - RiotScruffy talks ChampUp and Poppy!

First up we have the first installment in the brand new League Community Podcast! This debut episode features Riot Scruffy chatting about life, league, and his work on the ChampUp team - Poppy, Yorick, and Taric!
"Welcome to the first installment of the League Community Podcast, a series in which we take you behind-the-scenes with Rioters to hear about their backgrounds and work on League. You can expect an installment every couple weeks or so, with Rioters from all over dropping by to share their stories and perspective. Make sure to let us know what you guys liked in today’s episode, and what you’d like to see more of! 
This week, we’ve got Lead Designer Mark “RiotScruffy” Yetter – join us as we chat with him about his background, work on the Champion Update team, and the upcoming Poppy update!"

[EDIT: For those looking to read and not listen, redditor benunchained posted a summary of the podcast here.]

When asked about having these published on itunes, Riot Zwill noted:
"Yep, we definitely plan on publishing this on iTunes. We're currently waiting for their approval, but are hopeful this will happen soon."

As for doing more of them, ADillonMostDirty noted:
"We're already working on a couple more! They'll show up on lol.com and the soundcloud just like this one, and we're also working on iTunes."

We’re changing up discounts 

Next up we have Hippalus announcing changes for how sales and discounts, including a more reliable discount schedule for all skin tiers, the removal of launch discounts for 1350/3250 RP skins starting in 2016, an extra champion and skin in each of the weekly sales, and an upcoming sale on skins released in the last 4-6 months!
"Hey everyone, 
A lot of you have given us feedback around offering sales more frequently and in wider varieties, so we’re trying to provide extra deals to help you grab the skins you want. 
  • We’re adding 2 additional champions and skins per week (now 8 instead of 6) to our standard 50% off discounts, effective immediately
  • We’re introducing an early sale for recently released skins, so you don’t have to wait a year for a skin’s first sale
    • All tiers, including future Legendaries, will be eligible for the early sale
    • Starting 2016, the early sale will replace launch discounts
    • To get things started, we’re rolling out an early sale with Extra Bonus RP on Dec. 3rd 
Introducing the early sale! 
A year or more is a long time to wait for a deal, so we are adding a monthly sale featuring skins of all tiers. All non-Legacy skins will go in the sale 4-6 months after release. This means skins that previously didn’t have early discounts (750s and 975s) will start going on sale sooner. 
We also want players to have a chance to get a deal on skins of any tier, which conflicts with the fact that we previously didn’t discount legendary skins (1820s). So we're making future Legendary skins eligible for the early sale (previously released 1820s won’t be going on sale though). This’ll be the only time Legendary and Ultimate skins will be purchasable at a direct discount. 
Here’s how it’ll break down:
Bringing all of our skins onto the same early sale schedule means there will no longer be a launch sale for 1350s and Ultimates starting in the new year. All 1350s released during the rest of 2015 will still go on sale at launch and be eligible for their early sale 4-6 months later. We’re kicking this off with a mega version of this sale. Keep reading for more details. 
More 50% off sales 
To give you more chances to grab a deal, we're bumping up the number of weekly skins and championsfrom 6 to 8 in our standard 50% off sales. This sale still applies to 520-1350 RP skins. The new sales schedule will generally follow this new pattern over the course of 2 weeks (4 sales): 
Week 1 - Sale 1
  • 520 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 1350 RP skin
Week 1 - Sale 2
  • 520 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
Week 2 - Sale 1
  • 520 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 1350 RP skin
Week 2 - Sale 2
  • 520 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
Let's get started 
To kick off the new sales, over 30 skins released in the last 4-6 months will go on sale from December 3 00:01 PST through December 7 23:59 PST. Remember, you'll also get extra bonus RP when you purchase RP from November 29 00:01 PST through December 7 23:59 PST. 
The following skins will be on sale: 
Skin:                                                                                                 Price:                    Sale Price:
The extra champion and skin in each weekly sale starts with our 11/13 - 11/16 sale!

When asked what this means for the price of the upcoming Dragon Trainer Tristana legendary skin, Riot Mulligan noted:
"As part of the new discount changes, Dragon Trainer Tristana will be available in the early sale after she has been out for 4-6 months :)"

As for if these early discounts will affect how long it takes for things to go on sale for 50% off, WizardCrab noted:
"The early sale won't affect any of the timings of the regular 50% off sales. So Warden Nautilus will still have the normal sale at 375 RP at the same time it would have, plus there's this bonus sale in the meantime."

As for the removal of the 1350 launch discount, WizardCrab noted:
"Yeah, it can be. This wasn't an easy decision we made lightly but we're hoping some of the other deals we're providing can make up for it. For one, if you look at the skin sales changes, not only did we up the total number from 6-8 per week, we also increased the number of higher tier skins. Now instead of 1350s going on 50% off sale only once every two years or more, they'll be on sale about once per year. That's a lot more opportunity to get those skins at a deeper discount. Twice as often, in fact. 
As for the release sale moving into the early sale, ideally our skins are not only relevant 4-6 months later, but for as long as you love playing the champion. I think most of our more recent skins achieve that. Players who rely on that opening discount should be able to pick up quality, relevant skins even 4-6 months later. It’s definitely tough when you gotta have it now, but we hope you’ll feel the same way about the skin when it does go on sale."

Nightmarish Legacy Skins descend into the Vault 

Zombie Nunu, Slayer Jinx, Slayer Pantheon, and all the creepy crawly legacy Harrowing content will soon be headed out of the shop and back into the vault! Be sure to pick 'em up through November 16th!
"The dead, the dying, the haunted, and hunted: The Vault calls to them all! Nightmarish Legacy Skins and Wards descend into the Vault on November 16 at 23:59 PST
Grab them now before… IT’S TOO LATE (insert thunder and spooky sound effects)."
Preview screenshots and videos for the legacy content can be found here!

Developing with the Community: The Riot API 

Last up we have Riot Exlibris with a post on the Riot API and the community!
"We recently announced the winners of our 2nd API challenge, and the dev community continues to grow. Read about the origin of the API below. 
Almost two years ago, we opened the digital floodgates and sent League data rushing out into the community via a new application programming interface (API). Requests (known as “calls”) through the API went directly into our game servers, offering up terabytes of juicy data for community devs to devour. What began as a weapon against unauthorised attempts to siphon raw data from live servers (known as scraping) became a powerful collaborative tool for devs both inside and outside of Riot. 
Riot’s Developer Relations team works with the League community’s creators and purveyors of third-party apps, features, and other programming wizardry. But, “It was a fight against scraping before it was about the community,” David Pritchett, Developer Relations specialist, admits. Developer Relations and Third Party Ecosystem manager J Eckert adds, “It was about protecting the player experience by protecting the platform. We needed to find a way to discourage third parties from scraping live servers and impaFzcting server performance as a result.” 
Back in 2011 and 2012, server platforms like Europe West were scaling at a rate none of our platform engineers had ever encountered before, and our old tech suffered stability issues. A few Rioters felt websites harvesting League data from our live servers could contribute to the problems we were seeing. 
Sites would fake client sessions in order to scrape the servers -- they needed accounts to do that. So site owners and devs created bot accounts to send thousands of requests for game-related information. Eckert says, “The biggest negative impact players could feel was on log-in queues, because as soon as we would bring the servers back up, all of the bots would try and reconnect and clog the queue.” Normally there’s spacing between real players connecting, even if it’s just milliseconds, but with bots, they all log in at the same exact instant the servers return. 
In addition to the potential stability problems and the definite log-in issues, “Scraping was, at least, white noise when we were troubleshooting,” explains Eckert. “There were a lot of connections and we didn’t know which ones were hurting us, and it was impossible to tell with all of the static, so we decided to try and get rid of some of it.” Cutting down on the thousands of extra requests for game data would either make things better, or we’d at least be closer to figuring out what was happening. 
Pritchett points out, “There was never a smoking gun pointing back to scraping definitively [as the cause for service instability], but we knew it was happening, and it was happening on significant scale.”
Fan art by SizoW 
Developing an official API wasn’t the first thing we tried in order to cut down on the rampant automated requests for large volumes of data. Pritchett points out, “Ban waves of accounts we knew were scraping did have at least some positive impact, but it wasn’t much.” 
Enter a small group of Rioters who had it in their heart to get more data out to players. “There was a side project started by a Rioter who wrote the code basically overnight, like over a weekend, and that was the very, very early inception of [the API],” says Pritchett. 
Teams working to maintain service stability realized that providing sites with official data would cut down on extraneous calls. Pritchett emphasises, “The point was that we had a bunch of players with very valuable skillsets, who were using those skillsets to help other players, even if it was in ways that we might not have been fully comfortable with. By working with them to build this API (and the community around it), we could address player feedback and concerns in ways that are meaningful and faster to market than a big dev can usually provide.” 
It wasn’t perfect. Pritchett is candid about the limitations of early implementations: “When we were first shopping around the API to a smaller group of sites, we were getting a ton of reasonable questions.” They would ask if the service was as stable, as data-heavy, or as useful as the scraping methods they were using before. Pritchett says, “We had to admit that in most cases the answer was, ‘Not yet.’” 
Having identified those shortcomings , we took notes on what devs needed and what they expected from the API. Pritchett finishes, “We tried to tailor the service to fit those specifications to fully get those devs on-board with the project.” Eckert adds, “We’ve since been able to hit parity with the methods they were using to get data before.” 
To the Developer Relations team, it all comes down to a really big carrot and a really small stick. Eckert describes the carrot, “We’re trying to make as many incentives as possible to work with us: sign up, get access to the API, get a lot more support, gain access to the community, talk to us one on one. It’s designed to be a huge bonus to be part of this.” As for the stick, he adds: “It’s not about punishments or penalties for coloring outside the lines, devs who choose to ignore the community just don’t receive the same resources and support.” 
We love sharing our data and we’re excited every time someone finds a new use for the firehose of numbers gushing from of our servers. Now the API lives in three data centers around the world, servicing millions of calls to game servers in every Riot region for over a thousand independent devs. All the while protecting players from slowdown, disconnects, or other stability issues that might have otherwise been related to that kind of call volume. 
In hindsight, the decision to start developing with the community through an official API was obvious, J Eckert concludes. “Passionate people who love the game and who know how to code are going to make stuff,” he says. “We just want to help them do it in a positive way.”"

New Champion Select Q&A!

The new Champion Select Q&A with the dev team is now live! Head on over to the thread and get your questions in! As usual, we'll have a wrap up in a future red post collection!
" [Link to info on new champion select experience]
Hey all, 
Lyte here. Last week we shared the new champ select for the first time. For the next couple of hours, the design team behind the feature will be here to answer all your champ select questions. 
Here’s who’s hanging out with me: 
Daniel “ryedan” Balmert, Kam “boourns” Fung, and Eric “Socrates” Kenna. Come ask us anything you want about the design, the visuals, or experience of the new champ select!"
Below are the more interesting responses from the Q&A, arranged based on similar topics!

As for when the feature might launch, Lyte noted:
Hey guys, when will this go live in EUW?
We'd like to do some pre-season testing on NA and TR first, and if things are going well, we'll rapidly roll it out globally."
Lyte continued on the release timeline for the new team builder, noting:
So not to create risky expectations or anything, but is the plan to push the new champion select experience to live WITH the start of the 2016 season? Or perhaps slightly before?
The honest answer is, we're not sure. The team's been working around the clock because of this one nasty bug in Champ Select that crashes some clients, and we recently identified the root cause but it's a super tricky situation. We'd love to do another PBE beta of the new Champ Select, and potentially roll it out in Normal Draft on some servers before the start of the 2016 Ranked Season; however, no promises because we're not sure when we can nail down this bug and finish some of the remaining features we'd like to do."
When asked what this new champion select experience will replace, Lyte noted:
So is this something of an evolution of Team Builder, or would it be its own queue?
When we started this project, we always felt like this was the "end-game" of Team Builder. We're actually considering closing down the old Team Builder queue, and slowly replacing many of the queues with this new Champ Select experience. So, the Ranked 2016 Season will just have this new Champ Select experience as its queue, and in the future, Normal Draft will just be this new Champ Select experience."
Lyte  continued:
Team Builder will be kind of useless, because now with the new draft you get the role that you want to play. What will happen to Team Builder after the release of the new draft? Are you going to change something or do you remove it completely?
All the testing so far has suggested that the new Champ Select is the best possible League experience, so we're considering sunsetting the old Team Builder. 
We'd also like to replace some of the other queue experiences (like Normal Draft and Ranked) with this new Champ Select experience." 

boourns added:
Thank you, and also, for the blind pick, when we enter blind pick for the new champion select, would we need to call our role through via chat or does the picking the role before starting the queue will happen? 
And does the new champion select be applied to Dominion and ARAM?
It'll be ranked and normal draft only to begin with, we're still working out the designs for other queues." 

boourns also commented on how this new CS experience will interact with Blind Pick:
Will blind pick still be available or does this also replace blind pick?
Blind pick will still be available! 
Longer term we'd like to add position selection before you queue up to blind pick as well."
Ryedan   added:
Will the blind pick version of this be the same thing as it is now just without bans?
No bans, everyone picks at once (like live), but with positions "assigned" based on your lobby preference. If you were assigned support and you really wanted to play Trundle support, that's cool. If you get assigned support, but you wanted jungle so you pick Trundle to go jungle and ruin your ACTUAL jungle's day, not cool - that's trolling."

As for using this type of champion select on non-SR maps, Ryedan  commented:
Do you guys have any plans to implement the new Champion Select to other queues like ARAM, Dominion etc. or is it just Summoner's Rift for the time being? Thanks
"Select 2 positions - Mid or MID" (just kidding...) 
There's nothing in this that we think is exclusive to summoner's rift (systematically). It can be adapted for all queues and modes."
Riot Socrates  also added:
Do you guys have any plans to implement the new Champion Select to other queues like ARAM, Dominion etc. or is it just Summoner's Rift for the time being? Thanks
The challenge is making the grades meaningful in other modes requires a pretty different set of rules. It's something we've talked about a bit internally. We'll likely enable it in a few other modes at some point but no firm plans yet."

When asked if you'll still be able to select ward skins in champion select,  Lyte  noted:
Will we be able to choose ward skins and buy champion skins in the future during the new select?
Yes! This is a feature we're still working on, but didn't finish by the first PBE release."
Ryedan   also added:
Guys please.. very important question for me! 
Did you consider adding Summoner Icon Select into new Champion Select? 
E.g. I'm going to play Mecha skin so I can select Mecha icon during draft. (So many icons, not so many reasons to buy them all atm!)
This is a tricky situation. Your summoner icon isn't really shown in champ select (unless you count the load screen). Let's be honest - as your ally, I care more about what you're playing than what your icon is in champ select. 
Now, being able to choose icons, ward skins, skins, chromas, finishers etc. all together AFTER I've selected my champion is a feature set we're considering."
As for the random button not appearing during PBE testing, Lyte  noted:
Can I have my random button back, please?
We're going to get it back for Normal Draft, but it's going to still be removed in Ranked. The PBE was considered the "Ranked" experience, so we didn't add the button for now."
As for the time it takes to get through the new champion select experience, Riot Socrates  explained:

I'm worried that this will increase the time before games by too much. The only reason I don't play ranked or draft often is because I go through 5 minutes of people picking their champions (maybe not that long but I feel like everyone always waits till the last second to lock in and ban). I know this was addressed in the main post (I remember reading something about the pregame times being shorter) but I want to make sure I have a full understanding of this.Could someone bullet point breakdown each step of what happens before you start a game for me and how long the players have to complete that step?
I felt the same way with the old experience, Drafting can feel like it takes a long time and we definitely didn't want to make it take longer. In our testing so far we've seen champ selects move slightly faster. The biggest change that impacts this is requiring champion selections to be locked in instead of it being possible to idle on a champ selection and have it auto lock at the end. 
This is what it looks like from old to new: 
Old Champ Select:
Ban Phase: 60s per ban (360s total)
Pick Phase: 60s per pick (360s total) *Remember, 2 players pick at once sometimes
Resolution/Trades Phase: 60s
Total: 780s potential cap 
New Champ Select:
Position Assignment: ~4s
Planning Phase: ~35s
Ban Phase: 40s per ban (240s total)
Pick Phase: 40s per pick (400s total)
Resolution/Trades Phase: 40s
Total: 720s potential cap 
The above is subject to changes based on testing."
boourns added:
"Also, keep in mind that by requiring lock-ins each of the ban and pick phases will be shorter than the maximum. We're hoping it's significantly shorter when combined with pick intent so that we get you into game faster with less waiting."

When asked about how the system decides between putting you in a group based on your primary vs secondary role,  Lyte  explained:
First, thank you for having these Q&As, I love hearing about your perspective on the changes you guys bring to the game!Do you have any estimates on your chance of getting your primary role vs secondary? Cuz it seems that, for example, if your primary was the highly contested mid lane and your secondary the underappreciated support of even fill, it seems that you might actually get placed in your secondary role more frequently than your primary. Is this a possibility?Are you also considering adding exceptions for the fill position? Personally, I feel comfortable on all the lanes, but I am an atrocious jungler. Is there anyway I could fill for any position that isn't jungle, or will I just have to choose 2 laning roles?Also, one final, more complicated question.How, if at all, do you think the new process will alter the pick/ban phase?Thanks for your time! I'm loving his the changes are looking so far!
We have done a few models internally of how each position will shake out. As you can imagine, players who choose Support or Jungle as their "Primary" position will most likely get them a majority of the time. If players choose a more popular primary position like Mid or ADC, it could be as low as 50% of the time; however, we have a few features in the matchmaker in place that will detect if you haven't gotten your Primary position for awhile, and bias the system to make sure you get it. 
We wanted to keep the system as simple and intuitive as possible for the first release, so there's no "exclusion" features yet for positions. We have a few sketches of how we'd do "Fill Except X" or "Choose 3 out of 5 Positions," but we'd like to keep it simple and see how the queue times and health is before we start adding more complex position selection schemes. 
In our internal labs where we brought pros and players in to test the new Distributed Ban system, we saw many players start banning out strong champions in their personal lane. This actually made lanes a bit more competitive because you could try crazier, off-meta champions and ban your counters."
In response to concerns that only selecting two roles will be limiting to players, Lyte noted:
"This is a pretty common misunderstanding in Ranked play today. On average, players are only proficient at about 2.2 positions today. In fact, as you go higher in skill, you become more specialized in particular positions. However, we have some ideas to actually encourage players to master multiple positions beyond 2, and potentially reward players for truly being a master of all positions in League."
As for removing the ability to skip a ban, Lyte explained:
Does this mean, it's impossible to wait until timer runs out to NOT ban anyone? Will we get option to abstain from banning or to ban random champion? I actually prefer banless games (even ranked) just because of challenge it provides.
No, we've intentionally removed the ability to let the timer run out to lock in a Pick, or skip a Ban. When you're in a team with strangers, skipping a ban is a confusing and frustrating experience for the rest of the team (and they often misunderstand it as the Captain being AFK). If you really want the challenge of skipping bans, grab 4 friends and join Dynamic Queue as a Premade of 5 and ban random champions."

Lyte also commented on the pick/ban rules, noting:
By "priority champ" selection, do you mean the first/second picks can choose their champions before the ban phase begins?
No, we just mean that the first and second slots get 1st and 2nd pick, which are traditionally powerful picks in draft. We have considered changing drafting more significantly, but didn't settle on something we liked for this pre-season." 

As for changes vs the initial PBE build to improve clarity that you now must lock everything,  Lyte  explained:
I was on the PBE and I remember that people were dodging all the time because it wasn't clear that they had to lock everything in. Will it be clearer in the future?
Yes, the latest version internally has a few more features that clarify that you MUSTlock in all Bans and Picks. We'll keep an eye on this as we go, we know this was not clear 

When asked what happens if a player dodges because they don't get their primary role, Lyte noted:
If someone still decides to dodge because they don't get their primary choosen role how far back will the others go in select? Back to quene? Or simply back to the map that shows where everyone is going to go and just a new person pops into the dodged role?
If a player dodges, they will get the same queue dodge penalty as today (5/15 minutes in Normals, more in Ranked and -LP). For the rest of the team, they will go back into the matchmaking queue searching for new opponents. Once opponents are found, it'll replay the map animation with the flags dropping and enter a new Champ Select."
boourns  also commented on the idea of a "vote kick" in lobby:
Will a lobby vote to kick ever be implemented? I'm sick of people trolling in lobbies and either ruining the gaming or causing everyone to requeue.
We expect that the new champion select experience will greatly reduce these kinds of situations. We're going to look at our metrics after release and see if there's value in attacking the problem more. 
That said, we don't think vote kick is a great way to solve the problem. If we do work around negative champion select behavior it will be more around reporting that behavior after you dodge. Vote kick just has too many negative side effects (it may actually increase bullying of off-meta champion picks for example)."
On the topic of "vote kick", Lyte added:
Will it be possible to report the champion select trollers in anyway?
There won't be any additional features for Champ Select trolling or votekicking initially. We think the design resolves a lot of the current conflicts of Champ Select, but are keeping an eye on any remaining issues. If there are still significant problems in Champ Select, we may consider a way for players to queue dodge and file a report and a reason for why they dodged, and if we can do some machine learning magic here we'll make sure the players don't get a queue dodge penalty if the report was accurate."

Lyte also commented on the new champion select being set up to accept 2:1:1:J comps at the moment:
The new way seems great and useful for the current meta. 
But I think the meta might be shifted a bit with the new objective introduced for top Laners , and the new masteries , especially Vampirism, which can give some sustain. May be adc and support would prefer to begin top lane now and I would like the new champion select to be able to go with the meta shift if it proves useful
The cool part about the new Champ Select system is how flexible it is. If the meta changes to 2:1:1:J for example, we can literally input that into the matchmaker and start having the system create that team comp. If there is a day where multiple team comps are popular, we have some backup plans to allow teams to opt-in to which comps they are interested in playing."
Ryedan  also added:
What if your team is not doing the standard 1 top 1 mid 1 jg 2 bot?
The "standard meta" exists for a reason - it's conducive to cooperative competitive play. The problem is if you want to play off-meta while others in your group wish to play on-meta. 
For the next season, you will need to queue up as a 5 man group in order to have non-standard metas (the actual system will allow it and will show it during the flag drop!) It's possible, but it requires that 4 other people willingly opt into it, not "surprise" them with it at champ select."

boourns  commented on how premades work with secondary/primary roles:
I have a PBE and i played it there, it seems like its a good system but the only concern i have is there are times when i see 3 people go for mid and thehir second choice is maybe adc so they pick the same thing, where do they get distributed to and hoe does the system pick who gets priority over mid or adc?
If you're in a premade party the system prevents this. You must have party size + 1 unique positions selected. So if you're duo you can't go bot/supp, supp/bot. Instead you must have one more unique position. 
If you're soloing the system will prefer to give you your primary choice when possible."
boourns  also commented on the premade vs premade adjustments:
So if i understood correctly 5 people premade can play against 5 people now knowing eachother? If so thats really unfair
We prioritize matching the same size groups against each other. It may happen that a premade 5 gets matched against solos, but it should be very rare based on our simulations using live data. We'll know more when we look at real matches post release. If it's happening too often we'll take measures to make sure we're getting fair matches."

When asked if this new visual style represents what the upcoming client update will look like, Ryedan  noted:
Is the style of the new champion select what we should expect from the new client later in season 6?
This is a half step toward the new client style. In general, look for things to be super clear and obvious, while we use motion to guide the eye around the page."

When asked how they came up with the visual changes and decided on extras like playing champion select sounds on lock in, Lyte  explained:
Hi, Lyte! I tried out the new champion select on PBE last week.It looks really, really cool. Are you at all concerned that the huge visual change may confound attempts to gauge the actual impact of the functional changes?I like the choice to have the champion select quote play globally when champs get locked in. What prompted this change? Is there any concern about champ select quotes (Sona, etc.) that don't make much sense this way?
We're planning some deep dives and behind the scenes looks at the building of the new Champ Select, and our initial testing was actually with these ugly (sorry boourns!) prototypes that just had grey boxes and words. This is called UX lab testing in the games industry, and allows design teams to focus feedback and testing on the actual functional experience of the system and not be distracted by the polish of fancy visuals or animations. It's only until pretty far in the project until you start adding in the stuff that makes the system look like magic. 
The Champ Select quotes being played was actually a spontaneous idea by RiotBahamut. He was tinkering with the Champ Select and thought it would be cool, and the team instantly loved how it felt. We're aware there could be some trolling or spammy experiences, but we think the overall value would be worthwhile. In fact, we'd love to add some more easter eggs to the system...
Ryedan also commented on the flashy new animations and look:
So with this new champ select, how did you guys come up with the look? cause it seems almost a little flashy but still good
I think it looks flashy when it needs to. When you're picking, we don't have any giant full screen animations playing, so you can clearly focus on your choice. When you're not picking, we wanted it to be a little more dramatic and engrossing. 
For the live version, we're working on integrating options to turn off animations (for people who simply don't wanna look at sweet, sweet eye candy or for performance reasons). In an effort to put our best foot forward, we opted to ship to PBE with the flashy stuff and build the simple stuff for later."

When asked about the idea of being able to sticky pools of champions you prefer to play, Ryedan replied:
Will we have the option of creating a custom pool of champions? In the same vein, would it be possible for me to have different 'pages' of pools? For example, if I get assigned Top, I'd like my Top Mains list to come up. If I get to ban, Maybe have a Preferred Bans list.
It's always a cost vs benefit issue, but we're willing to look at the benefit. Something we've kicked around is having your top X (5?) played champions stickied to the top of the champion grid (for easy access). We want to use something smart that doesn't require management, otherwise it's unlikely to get adopted (and therefore deliver any value) to many players. Item sets are great for power users, but we didn't see as much use as we thought. It's great for those couple of people that really use it, but we could have brought something much more useful to more players."
boourns also replied to an inquiry on a "Fill except X" option:
Will there be a fill except X option for people who are jacks of 4 trades?
Not on release, if you're a jack of 4 trades I'd suggest alternating between two of those choices every game. After all, you can only play one position a game! You know, unless some crazy stuff happens in the meta."

As for the naming scheme of the positions, boourns commented:
Hey guys, was just wondering if there would be a more clarified marksman option in Que screen because on PBE it just says bot.
We've gone round and round on the naming for this position. Bottom is not final, but it's our best guess so far. Marksman or ADC is a bit too specific for the bottom carry position because of people like Mordekaiser."

As for preventative measures to reduce toxicity in the new champion select, boourns noted:
When will there be a safeguard(s) against toxic pre-game summoner behavior. If someone decides to be toxic in the pre-game with such phrases as "Oh I had you last game, I'm going to feed this game so you definitely lose." or anything of the like, I don't want to lose LP in dodging, I don't want to be punished for dodging. Instead, that toxic player should be receiving the punishments. 
Tl;Dr What steps are being taken against pre-game negativity?
The design of the new champion select experience is specifically aimed at reducing conflict in champion select, we think that setting the right environment up for cooperation and communication is the best safeguard against toxic champion select behavior. Your specific example is incredibly rare, even right now, and if it's a pattern of behavior that player will already be punished by existing systems. 
That said we have some designs in our backlog for reporting pre-game toxicity. We're going to see how negative behavior in champion select looks after release and decide if it's valuable to do something like pre-game reports (we're hoping there will be so little it won't be necessary)."
boourns  continued:
It's not incredibly rare, it's fairly frequent, I've been playing this game since season one, and about 1 in 4 of all my ranked games have contained that kind of behavior, not directed towards me specifically, but in general. Especially in the lower ranks.
Sorry, if I wasn't specific. The kind of targeted negativity you used as an example: "Oh I had you last game, I'm going to feed this game so you definitely lose." is incredibly rare. Even rarer for the person to actually follow through.

Most of the negative behavior we see is centered around people arguing about positions and the follow on negativity from that. Which is basically the fundamental problem we're trying to solve with the new champion select experience. Of course we're going to be looking at how this changes post release and, if necessary, we have features designed to combat bad behavior in champion select."

Group Responses

Lyte  Group Responses #1
If you're planning on giving IP bonuses to people who play in-demand roles: 
A) Is this the only thing you're giving them? 
B) Will people who get put into that role via selecting 'fill' also get the IP bonuses? 
C) Is this your only plan to help alleviate the issues that normal team builder had with queue times?
a) It really depends what the issues are when we launch. We have a couple different options including some bonus IP, some components for the future Crafting system, etc.

b) Yes, players that select "Fill" will always get bonuses.

c) We have a few backup plans that have to do with tweaking the matchmaker."

Lyte group responses #2:
Well, when is it going live? Even a rough estimate would be nice. 
Also, will people be able to see your champion mastery in select? For example, I'm lvl 5 mastery with Heimer. Would other players be able to see that this guy who wants to take Heimer in knows how to play him? Or would it be hidden until the loading screen?
To be honest, we're not sure when we're going to go live yet. We have some polish we'd like to do, maybe a new feature or two, and have one nasty bug we need to fix before the Ranked 2016 Season. The team would love to do another PBE test, and potentially a roll out to NA and TR before the Ranked 2016 Season begins to iron out any further kinks, but we're working around the clock right now and it's hard to predict when each of these pieces will finish. 
Right now, there are no plans to allow everyone to see your Champion Mastery in Champ Select. We may re-visit this in the future though, and would just have to balance out the negative behaviors that were created. For example, in a distant future when we have more than 5 levels of Champion Mastery, maybe we only show Champion Mastery only when you are Level 10 or higher--this is a significant investment, and something "cool" to show you're a master with a champion. However, Level 10 might be a lofty, challenging goal. If we decided to show, say Level 2 Champ Mastery or higher, it would create an immediate perception that if you WEREN'T showing Champ Mastery with a champ, that you shouldn't play Ranked at all. We're aware some players would love this type of "gate" on who you can play in Ranked, but it's not something we're going to consider today because there are more important issues to improve in Ranked Mode."

Ryedan  Group Questions #1
Q SET 2 (Design) 
A. why all the circles??? 
B. why did you decide to include the champion portrait and not just the icon on the main selection? 
C. how much input did each person have about the design, or was a single person elading the majority?Thank you very much!
A) Circles are the coolest shape. (No, but seriously,) Inside of champion select, we are using circles for "Representations of Identity." So, when I see champions I could pick, they are squares or rectangles - it's just a sea of options. When I'm declaring intent to play or have locked-in a champion, we are using a circle. That's why when you are picking a champion on the champ grid, the selection marker is a circle inscribed in a square - the transition between the two shapes. 
We are also putting summoner icons in circles for the same reason - identity markers. As for why a circle specifically, it's a clean shape that has built in "space" even when stacked side by side. This helps individuals stand out, when looking at a group (instead of packed together like squares) 
B) Are you talking about the splash screens instead of squares in the center stage? If so, we thought that we should use the real-estate on screen to focus on what's important at that time. When an ally or enemy is picking, you should be watching and reacting to it, so we decided to use the larger assets for more gravitas. 
C) I was the only actual visual designer working on it, but me, Lyte and Boourns were tied at the hip for many months, then the motion guys joined and things really started getting snazzy. Even non-design people on the team (QA, engineering) had full access to my in-progress work and got to see and comment on what we were making. On the flip-side, I got to see all the code they were writing and discuss the engineering stuff, but it wasn't nearly as sparkly."
Ryedan group questions #2:
That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying they aren't prepared for it because of the unfamiliarity of dealing with champions they don't fully understand. It matters if you're good or not, but having at least some knowledge of the champions you're laning against is half the battle. 
This argument doesn't apply to League since 10 bans wouldn't even remove a twelfth of the roster, leaving picks open that are still strong where they need to be. Also, if the meta picks are removed every game, what do you think would happen? Typically a meta pick is so oppressively strong that it crowds out other picks. If they're gone, yes, people would find the "next best thing," however, the next best thing might not work vs the enemy team or not synergize well with your own, which opens the roster even further since you may have to dig deeper for a pick. Do you think that everyone will ban the same 10 champs and the next 10 strongest will become he new meta? As much as I vehemently disagree with the balance team's direction, without giving a 5 page report, I'll say I'm convinced this won't happen. 
Do we though? If something is "must pick," then there's the question of whether or not it's balanced. When something gets into 100% pick / ban territory, that's a red flag for balance, not an accepted fact of life for us. Because there are so many "must picks" currently, and even moreso with the preseason, I completely disagree that 3 a side is a comfortable amount. Especially when the new draft system is half way there in a way, where you have 3 people each picking one to ban. I suppose it's more frustrating to see that this is so close to what we've wanted, but we're still at 6 bans.

1) Unfamiliarity with champions is also part of the ranked assessment. I understand what you're getting at, but I think we disagree on where "general LoL" knowledge and "Ranked specific" knowledge begin and end.

2) No, not everyone will ban the same 10 champs, but the amount of "permaban" (80+%) champions increases. Some champions represent keystones in team composition (Sivir is the queen of mobile engagement), and having more of them on permaban status means further and further stagnation in team comps (not necessarily in champ picks)

We don't want players to ban out strategies, we want them to be able to ban out tactics. More bans means you can shutdown entire strategies. The champion / balance teams try to preserve champion identities, so a growing champion pool doesn't mean more "backups." If you ban a keystone champion, that strategy might never work with a replacement.

3) The balance of a champion is only loosely tied to bans. Darius and Fiora are near-permaban status. Next patch we have no effective changes for either of those champions.That's not on accident or by omission.

Bans are more likely to follow perception. I think it feels worse to lose a game versus Darius because he steamrolls your whole team when he gets going. Beating a Darius feels meh (and he has a sub-par win rate to boot). Why would you want to play your next game against a Darius when there's a risk that could happen? BANNED.

Yeah he's kinda powerful, but not "so oppressively strong that it crowds out other picks." Remember when Fizz was permaban with a low win rate? It was frustrating to play against - literally like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. Now Fizz has a much better win rate than Darius OR Fiora, but he's almost never banned."

Ryedan  group responses #3:
Wouldn't you think that would be a good thing to have the extra wait time before you have the ability to do ranked? It would force newer players to have more time playing and learning the game, the champions, and how to play with and against them. I know people who started doing ranked when they had just enough champions to gain access, and they failed miserably because they just weren't ready. 
Also, what are the diversity reasons? If your champion pool is banned with 2 or 3 button clicks, then there should be an obvious problem there. I could have somewhat agreed about this when no one had a predetermined role when they got into the lobby, but that's been solved now as you can queue for your specific role.
There's no such thing as "not ready for ranked" as far as skill. The spectrum of Bronze to Challenger covers everyone. The reason we have the level 30 cap is to make sure you're not playing against people who have access to raw stat advantages over you. 
I don't know what the plans are regarding increasing the ban count, but it's a heavy issue. If you could ban 5 chess pieces, we'd have all pawns. On the flip side, zero bans means that the absolute best options will be picked 100% of the time, leading to stagnation in picks (first pick always gets queen). 
You need to maintain a comfortable amount of bans that permits something powerful left on the board, while still allowing the player-base to deny commonly accepted "OP" picks. You need fewer bans than "must picks" in order for bans to mean anything, otherwise it's just a false choice."

boourns group responses #1:
A "few" questions if anyone would like to answer them: 
C. how much input did each person have about the design, or was a single person elading the majority? 
Q SET 3 (experience) 
A. how much time did you spend testing the new design? (/will continue) 
B. who came up with the "intent" idea? 
C. Do you plan to re-implement the "Auto lock in" design or still make people like in their final choice or kick 
Q SET 4 (Personal, lowest priority) 
A. What are your credentials? 
Thank you very much!
That's a lot of questions! I'll pick up some of the experience and design related ones. 
2C In terms of input, we all had a lot although Lyte would make a lot of the final calls on decisions. Not just the "designers" on the team, but everyone involved had a lot of input into the design. 
Set 3 
A. We spent a ton of time testing many different kinds of players. Off the top of my head, we did 3 rounds of formal testing in our lab with prototypes before we even started, several surveys, an 80 player internal playtest, and two playtests with professional players and content creators. That's not even counting the informal testing that we do by showing designs to other rioters. 
B. It's been a while, but I think I started the ball rolling on the idea. It's changed a lot over the course of development, but we all saw the potential in allowing players to communicate champions outside of chat. 
C. Unless something drastic changes, we'll release with mandatory lock-ins. We already have work slated to continue improving our messaging around mandatory lock-ins. We're very cognizant that this is a big change in behavior for players that will result in short term pain, but we think it's overall much better to have people be present during champion select and confirm their choices rather than running the timer out. 
Set 4 
A. My background is industrial design, but I've been working in user experience since I graduated (almost a decade ago :-S). It's all the same kinds of problems, just a different medium in my mind!."


Riot Socrates  also briefly commented on the upcoming crafting system, noting:
I'm just wondering how does the finding chest system work and the champions already masters do you still get stuff
The champion mastery chests will be tied to end of game grades. It's a new set of objectives, so it won't look at your existing progress in the mastery system. That said your actual skill improvement with champions (ie. your ability to reliably earn high grades) will help you earn chests more quickly. 
We haven't gone into a ton of specific beyond this yet, but we will have details coming as we get closer to the start of the season."

As for the upcoming Dynamic Queue changes and ranked display, Riot Socrates explained:
Is it true that we will be able to 5 premade ranked but not to play for other set of ranked (ranked teams 5v5 or 3v3) so all lp goes to main rank from which we get victorious skin? 
PS: I dont know if i said it correctly accpet my mistakes plss.
Dynamic queue is separate from ranked 5s, so it'll all go towards what is currently called your solo queue rating whether you play as 1,2,3,4 or 5."

Interested in more on the new champion select experience? Check out our PBE preview!

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