Red Post Collection: Queue health in patch notes, Meddler Grab bag on PBE & upcoming changes, and more!

Posted on at 3:55 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection includes a heads up that Queue health updates will be included in official patch notes, Meddler on recent PBE and upcoming changes including Azir, Garen, CotC, Krugs, and more, a note that the upcoming Snowdown skins on PBE are legacy, several reminders, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Queue health comes to patch notes 

"The new season is just a few days away, so this year we’re opening up communications when it comes to ranked. 
To give you more information on how 2017’s ranked queues are performing, we're making their overall health a part of each and every iteration of patch notes. Here’s what it looks like: 
Queue health
To assess what “healthy” is, we’re constantly going to be looking at queue times, dodge rates, and position preference rates, across premade sizes, skill level, and time of day/week. From those, we’ll devise a simple graphic rating and stick it in patch notes. We’ll do this on a per-region basis.

Means queue times are generally low, matches are fair and role selection is well distributed. Awesome.

Means one or more metrics are veering towards… suboptimal, but the queue is still playable and we’re happy to keep it as-is. This one’s more of a heads-up than a warning.
Means we’re going to have to make some adjustments to Solo/Duo or Flex, and you’ll see exactly what we’re changing to help make the queue healthier.

One of the requirements for Ranked Flex to work is a minimum number of solo players to keep matchmaking smooth. We’ve prepared a plan to make sure we can respond quickly if we see long queue times. 
  • The things we’d try first include: 
  • higher weighted position preferences
  • scheduled queue availability
  • limiting Ranked Flex to pure five-person premades
  • limiting Ranked Flex to restrict four-person premades (which all regions launch with) 
The latest updates will be recapped in the following patch notes. If we have to make massive changes quickly, we’ll likely make it part of the status page with an in-client notification. 
Queue health updates roll out in patch 6.24, and we’re looking for feedback and suggestions. Let us know what you think!"

Meddler Grab Bag - PBE context,  Krugs, Early Surrenders, & more

Next up we have a large collection of posts from Meddler including  context on many changes seen on the 6.24 PBE cycle such as Syndra, Garen, or Azir, Krugs XP changes, early surrender, and more!

Meddler commented that they are looking into an earlier than usual surrender time for a unanimous (all five members on a team in agreement) surrender vote:
"Unanimous surrender (5/5) at 15 minutes is the version we were looking to test. That slipped as a priority relative to the new client and pre-season work. We'll be getting back to it soonish most likely though. Probably going to start off with a test on one region only, then assess whether it's working as intended or not and whether we should roll it out wider."
When asked about the reverts for Syndra's R damage nerf on PBE, Meddler explained:
"We've been seeing Syndra's performance, ban rate and play rate all dropping more than expected in 6.23. The team concluded it was better to hold the Syndra changes a patch and consider whether they were still appropriate for 7.1 as a result."
When asked about the current Azir PBE changes, Meddler offered context on the upcoming 6.24 changes:
"There are some champs, Azir and Kalista being the most prominent two right now, with whom we're really cautious when buffing. They are weak, but have been significant game health problems in the past. That means buffs that aren't accompanied by bigger game health changes are going to be small (at least in a single patch) and targeted at parts of their kits that haven't been the main sources of problems. 
In Azir's case for 6.24 we're looking at: 
  • Decreased CD on W (12-8 -> 10 -> 6 is what we're testing right now)
  • Reduced gold from destroying the passive tower (100g -> 50g)
  • Increased AD scaling on the passive tower over time to match other towers (3 AD/min -> 4 AD/min)
  • Decreased construction time on the passive tower (5s -> 3.5s, this a change that might need some animation work though so might not make it into 6.24) 
Rationale for these changes is that we want to add power but want to avoid the burst, mobility and CC cases that have been challenging with Azir in the past. More sustained access to soldiers via W makes sense as a result, and is definitely the largest of the buffs. The passive's also, we think, a safer place to put power, hence doing so in ways that both make it a bit more useable and decrease the cost of doing so a bit."
Meddler continued:
have you considered shifting damage out of his Q and putting more emphasis on it as a tool for moving soldiers? 
I always thought this would make sense since he was supposed to be heavy DPS/zone control and not a poke or burst mage.
I suspect that's something we'll do at some point, with you it makes a lot of sense for his intended strengths/weaknesses. It's a much bigger piece of work than we had bandwidth for in 6.24 though, shifting damage patterns like that has some pretty wide impacts on how a champion plays. For 6.24 by contrast we needed things we could test, tweak and ship in a very short span of time."
As for the Garen's E now shredding armor on the PBE, Meddler explained:
"There are a few things we're hoping to accomplish by adding a shred to Garen's E: 
  1. We want to buff Garen moderately. He's underperforming, and has been for a while. At the same time though when he's strong his kit leaves some opponents feeling unable to deal with him. He's certainly not unique in that regard, he is one of the tankier champions to have that trait though, with a really reliable combat pattern in those match ups. A moderate, rather than large, buff is our target for a single patch as a result.
  2. We want Garen to be more impactful on team compositions. We want champions in general to have a moderate degree of impact on which champions you pick alongside them. Garen at present's pretty soft in that regard, with a low degree of team power contribution (as opposed to personal power). Adding an Armor Shred, rather than just increasing his own damage, makes it more attractive to pair him with multiple other champions with significant physical damage. It also means that Garen getting a lot of kills, as he can be prone to do with his ult in particular, feels like a better use of those kills than at present - the items and XP he'll be getting from them should at least somewhat improve his ability to keep that shred up.
  3. We want to increase the impact playing well as Garen and playing well against Garen has. The shred comes all at once after 4 E hits, rather than gradually stacking, to both slightly reward good Garen play and good play against Garen more (clear success/fail cases).
  4. We'd like Garen to be a bit more target agnostic. When ahead Q/E/R can burst squishies pretty hard. When behind though he can really struggle to have any impact of note on tankier enemy champs. A % armor shred evens that out a bit.  
In terms of listening to Garen mains we always want to get some understanding of how the most frequent players of a champion feel about that champ's current state. That can offer some really good insights. At the same time though listening to mains doesn't necessarily mean doing what's asked. Some players do a great job of separating out personal feelings from suggested changes and offer really nuanced feedback that solves problems. Others however will push for buffs to their favorite champs until those champs are the strongest, or close to strongest, members of their class, without regard for the impact on other champs or the game as a whole."
As for Kalista's now reverted PBE changes, Meddler noted they'll return depending on how other changes in 6.24 pan out:
"Kalista changes we've been testing are the mana refund on single E kill (instead of double) and E being able to apply stacks even while on CD. We'll probably delay those changes to 7.1 though to see how the combination of BotRK buffs and Fervor buffs impact Kalista."
When asked about changes to Krugs XP in 6.24, Meddler explained:
"Update here - we'll be making some changes to Krugs in 6.24. That'll be targeted primarily, or possibly only, at the first clear. That'll involve something like making them take a bit longer (higher early health?), changing it so Krugs+Red won't put you at 3 by themselves (need to grab Raptors, Scuttle or something else) or some other change again that removes the level 3 versus level 1 bot lane gank. 
Also still assessing jungle XP in other circumstances, nothing else stands out to the same degree though."

When asked about potential Lucian changes, Meddler noted he and other marksmen may see changes in 7.1 depending on how the Fervor mastery changes end up:
"Not directly yet. Lucian's performance has certainly dropped a noticeable amount, which makes sense given the item changes in particular. We do think he should be stronger than he currently is, we want to look at some systemic changes first though that are affecting a number of Marksmen, Fervor being weak in particular. Current plan as a result is to buff Fervor in 6.24, possibly with some other systemic changes, and then assess underperforming marksmen like Lucian in 7.1 again."
As for when we might see some sort of Aatrox work, Meddler noted:
Just a question senpai meddler, when will we most likely see Aatrox buffs/changes?
I hope in January or February. Depends on what scope of work we conclude is appropriate for now (small update versus balance changes). Longer term I think Aatrox needs a moderate sized update, and has a lot of thematic potential that's untapped. Short term we'll want to figure out what it's makes sense to try and tackle right now though given the time/resources currently available."

Meddler also commented on Courage of the Colossus and any potential tank changes as a result:
Are you looking at tanks at all right now? With assassins being strong and adcs being weak, the last option of the rock/paper/scissors match is pretty strong.
CoC is pretty out of line. We're hitting that in 6.24 which should pull a number of tanks down significantly, given they've usually been the standout users of it. Will look at individual champs after that if needed."

On Mordekaiser and other champions post 6.24 Rylai's Crystal Scepter change, Meddler noted:
"He's not on our radar yet at least, though we'll be giving him and a lot of AP champs a look after 6.24. Statistically at least he's pretty out of line when played by experienced players and compared to other champions played by equally experienced players. We'll see where he ends up after the Rylai's change and what he's doing in game then do some thinking."

When asked about thoughts on the current state of Nidalee, Meddler commented:
"Theory is she's weak and it will probably be appropriate to buff her soon. Removal of Strength of Ages hit her particularly hard. We've been holding off on buffs until now though because of a large discrepancy between experienced Nidalee players and newer players. Nid's one of the champs who benefits the most from less intuitive optimizations in the jungle, so we've wanted to give it more time than most to see where she ends up once the new jungle's been properly adapted to."

When asked about Frozen MalletMeddler commented:
You didn't forget it, didn't you Rito
No, we haven't forgotten Frozen Mallet. Its use is fairly niche, and the champions who do apply it do so only at short to medium ranges. It's not very comparable with Rylai's situation as a result."
Meddler added:
What are yours thoughts on FM compared to IBG
I generally think windowed effects generate better gameplay and I think that's true in this case - we've been able to keep IBG a more regularly purchased item than FM because, I'd argue, it's a healthier design. Having said that I do wonder if it might still be too effective when used without other armor items."

When asked about potentially changing LP gains based  on grade at end of game, Meddler noted:
"It's been brought up. The concern we have with anything that modifies LP gain/loss that isn't 'your team won/didn't win' is that it can distort player behavior in game at the expense of their team. At present if you're trying to maximize your odds of gaining LP the best thing you can do is whatever increases your team's chances of winning the most. If you add LP incentives to personal champion grades however you end up with some situations where players are encouraged to try and maximize their grade at the expense of their team. That leads to cases like players refusing to defend because they think the game's already over and they don't want to get any more deaths, players farming to try and increase their CS for grade purposes instead of just winning the game, players going for repeated kills on weak enemy champs instead of just taking an objective etc."

About the Glorious Evolved… 

Following the launch of the new Camille bio and stories,  Thermal Kitten jumped on the boards to talk about the new stories and what role Viktor plays in them:
"Hi. For context, I’m Camille’s narrative writer. I’m responsible for Camille’s VO and I also wrote “The Weakest Heart”, “Tea with the Gray Lady”, and her bio. 
I don’t usually post on the boards (we writers tend to be a little shy), but I do read. As the author of the above stories, I want to ease the fears of Viktor fans where I can. I understand it feels crappy to wait in the dark and wonder. My intention in “The Weakest Heart” was never to strip Viktor of his background. Two of Viktor’s core narrative pillars for me are that he is a fervent believer in his cause and that he is a man of science. 
On a recent devblog Ant in Oz mentioned the idea of a story hook. I thought ‘evolving’ the Glorious Evolution could be a good hook to dig into with Viktor and challenge him as a character. (Part of building story hooks is also to make hooks we, as the writers who might be using them in the future, want to tell.) 
Viktor wants to bring people to his cause. He wants those people who join him to understand his cause as he does. As some have speculated here, what if some of those people see more of the miracle and less of the science? What would a man of science do with that? For me as a writer, that’s a juicy character question to build a story around. (Which is why I didn’t give Camille an aside on Viktor in "The Weakest Heart". I thought it would be a bit cheap to answer it that way versus a story that centered on Viktor as the protagonist.) 
I hope this clarifies things a bit and helps Viktor fans sleep better tonight."
Check out the mentioned stories [here].

FeralPony on design of Rumble's Heat Mechanic

Over on his, FeralPony dove into the design of Rumble's heat mechanic:
Can you explain your design goals with the fury mechanic when designing Rumble
When I was designing Rumble the very first thing I designed before any of the abilities was the Heat mechanic. I was really trying to capture the feel of the classic Mech combat style games such as Mechwarrior or Armored Core. This was our first, and most likely only champion in a Mech so I wanted to ensure he felt really unique to play. Those games have these crazy powerful but bulky and difficult to control machines. 
Thematically their power isn't gated by cooldowns, or magic, it's gated by the raw materials holding the construct together where you can push it to it's limit to the point where it shuts down if you push it too far. I wanted to reward that push your limits mentality and living in the "Danger Zone" feeling - (to the point where I literally just called it the Danger Zone :D) 
The first ability designed after that was the flamethrower and it was designed to be an absurd DPS ability that was gated primarily by the heat mechanic. It actually originated as a toggle ability but we found in playtesting people just left it on and overheated over and over again. I wanted to retain the ability to have it up 100% if you wanted to, hence the Cooldown so when you have 40% CDR it can be used non-stop. I wanted the kit, and the system to work purely off that one primary ability regardless of the other abilities of the kit. 
The each button press added 20 heat was actually pretty controllable (in a good way) and gave each button press on the champion a lot of deliberateracy. It was the best way I found to get players to understand, engage, and really "feel" the mech without referencing their energy bar the whole time. 
Lastly, there is a delay between button presses where your heat doesn't decay (which is synced up to the W shield cooldown) allowing players a way to maintain their current heat levels. All the cooldowns of the base kit (not ultimate) were entirely based around the timings and tunings that felt right for the heat gains/decay. W on cooldown - retains your level and Q on cooldown will slowly raise your heat values allowing you to enter the danger zone at level 1, or in jungle should you desire. 
The bonus damage on overheat was a late addition that resulted from players not doing anything but running away while overheated and feeling generally terrible about their basic attacks. I was opposed to adding it initially but I was pushed by Ezreal to do so as we pretty quickly realized from testing that simply being a relatively squishy melee champion without spells was punishing enough. If someone wants to take that extra layer of risk we should at least give them a small reward for doing so. It led to some pretty fun high moments and all-in plays as well using your last Flamespitter to drop into Overheat and get some nice spike damage in that last 2-3 seconds which we found to be pretty cool."

/ALL Chat - When do you NOT copy the pros?

New Episode of /ALL Chat asking When do you NOT copy the pros?

"The Baron Pit is ALL Chat’s discussion segment where we roundtable a question and then kick it to you for your opinions. This episode’s question: when do you NOT copy the pros? 
Watching pro League of Legends is a great way to learn how to demolish your lane opponents and up your game. Sometimes, however, pro players are playing a completely different game than you and I. From weird pocket picks to strategically funneling gold, when should you not copy the pros in solo queue to get the best results?"

Quick Hits -  Snowdown Legacy skins, IWC All-Star, & more

[Quick hits is our own mini news collection inside a red post collection, often including shorter or easy to digest stories and repeat information you may have missed in other posts! ]

  • Riot KateyKhaos confirmed the upcoming Graves, Karma, and Braum skins are all legacy. 
"Snow Day Graves, Winter Wonder Karma and Santa Braum will be legacy skins."

  • In a reddit thread discussing a support from Noxus, Riot Phoenix commented that a scrapped idea for Poppy's rework waas that she could make items for her allies to use. 
[1] "That was one idea for when we were working on Poppy :)"
[2] "no, lol. She would make items for her allies."

  • The 2016 International Wildcard All-Star event kicks off  December 1st with four days of of SR team play as well as fun all-star game modes such as One for All, Assassin's Mode, and a 1v1 tournament. More information - Event Schedule / Teams / Stream.


To round out tonight's red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions, limited time opportunities, and upcoming events!

  • Purchase Elementalist Lux before the end of the day on December 13th to received the exclusive Elemental Origin loading screen border and summoner icon.

"The biggest merch event of the year is here. The Battle for Baron has begun. From November 22 to December 8 stack savings with all shirts and figures 2 for $30, summon a mystery plush ally, grab special rotating items and register on the merch site to join the fight with a special Merch Quest. After you register, win two games where your team kills Baron and unlock the special limited edition Baron figure for $30."

  • 2016 All-Star Event starts up Thursday, December 8th! Click [here] for, schedule, rosters for TEAM FIRE and TEAM ICE, and more!

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