Red Post Collection: Gameplay Thoughts for 2/21, Adding Simple Recalls to Older Champions, PBE BotRK + Kindred, and more!

Posted on at 1:31 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Added a set of tentative LeBlanc Changes from ricklessabandon !]

Today's red post collection includes  Meddler's gameplay thoughts for 21st, Ququroon with information on simple recall animations being added to older champions & skins, ricklessabandon on upcoming KindredBotRK, & LeBlanc PBE changes, & more! 
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: Feb 21

Here's Meddler with gameplay thoughts for February 21st, including discussion on Rek'Sai's mini update, increased bans in pro play, and more!
"Hi all, 
Some stuff on our minds below. As a reminder some of what gets discussed in these posts is tentative, or theoretical, not a thing that's definitely happening that we're just failing to share all the confirmed the details about. 
Rek'Sai's mini-update (similar in scope to Shyvana and Alistar's ones last year) is coming along well gameplay wise. Goal is to shift her so she's more fighter/less tank than she currently is, with more focus on personal kill potential and less on CC/team initiation. Also looking to improve satisfaction on the ult, with that likely being the spell that changes the most. 
10 Bans in Pro 
We're still monitoring the impact of the new ban system on pro play. So far it looks pretty good from our perspective, with some increase in champion diversity and champ select interest likely attributable to the ban changes. We've still got some caution that the setup of the second ban phase might be overly favorable to red side long term though. Some degree of that's deliberate to offset blue advantage earlier and map geo that often favors blue. At present there's also a pro team consensus that certain champs are must ban for red side, which makes pick/ban pretty rough for red. Some skew in red's favor later in the draft's helpful on those grounds too, at least right now. 
As a side point we're also currently looking at what work we'll need to do so that the 10 ban pro system is available in tournament draft custom games once the new client ships. Regular matchmade games will use a different 10 ban system. We do want to make sure players seeking tournament style practice, or looking to run their own tournaments, have the option of doing so though. 
Mid-season looks like it'll probably be patch 7.9 or 7.10 based on our current planning. We'll be doing a Vanguard update, some changes to defensive items and probably a couple of other things that aren't fair enough into testing to talk about yet. 
Default Recall Animations 
For anyone that missed it yesterday Ququroon made a post yesterday (link below) that talks about how we'll be making it so champions who don't have a recall animation use one of their other ones when recalling so they're not just standing there awkwardly."

On Rek'Sai, Meddler added:
Will rek'sai get a completly new ult or are you just making changes to the current one. 
I can't really imagine something under “improve satisfaction“ x)
What we've got in testing at least is almost a new ability."
Meddler continued:
what is going to happen to juggernauts (darius morde ect...)? people are saying that their stats are going to be looked at 
i'm sorry if you already answered to this question
Rek'Sai - W likely shifting to a more single target focused ability. 
Red side bans - current perception is red has 3 must ban champs in the first ban phase, so can't ban any team specific stuff. Not actually a 10 ban issue (would be the same problem under the old ban system too). 
Likely base stat buffs to juggernauts too should we go with the lower defensive stats on items/more on some champions (wardens, vanguards, juggernauts at least) approach. Still testing that though, so far from guaranteed."
As for thoughts on Warwick's recent update on live, Meddler noted:
Are there any plans for Warwick now that he's been out for a while
No immediate plans. Suspicion he might eventually need a nerf, but nothing in progress. If we had to guess most likely target would be lowering Q cap against monsters."

When asked about timing for 7.5 PBE to start, Meddler noted it should be on 22nd:
When is the PBE getting updated? Also is Shen going to get some changes in the Vanguard update? I honestly dont know the difference between a Tank and a Vanguard, but I am curious about Shen. And I am exited about the Aatrox changes coming to the PBE.
Tomorrow for the PBE I believe (Monday was a public holiday here in the US, so some things are delayed a day). 
Vanguards are tanks that focus more on initiating for their team than the average tank.
No planned changes for Shen in the Vanguard update, though probably some base stat adjustments at least as with other tanks."

Adding simple recalls to older champs 

Here's Ququroon with information on simple recalls being added to over 70 older champions & 300 skins. These will be reused animations (largely idle variations or emotes) and will be hitting the PBE soon.
"Hail, summoners!

Let's talk Recall animations. I'm personally a fan of these, and I know many players agree. They allow for a cool personal moment, and feel a lot better than your champion standing still, staring into the deep void of space.

Many champions (and skins!) are lacking this animation at this moment, opting for the aforementioned navelgazing. The current reality is that making new animations for all of them is a very inefficient choice, as it would require our champion and skin animators to stop doing basically anything else.

So! Here's how we propose to fix it, and how we can fix it soon (like, 7.5 soon).
Pictured here is Ahri before, standing still, awkward, perhaps thinking about that failed gank she did on bottom lane a few minutes ago. Why did she think she could eat those tower shots? Ye gods, the horror, the shame.
Here she is after, using a current animation (Idle3, in this instance) as her Recall. It has a lot more movement and personality. This Ahri is planning her approach, coordinating with her team, and probably goes on to get a penta*.

This approach comes with a fun happy benefit.

After this ships, every single champion that lacked a recall will now have one. Skins without a unique recall will match the Base (Skin00, or a non-skin).

So yeah! If all goes as planned, this should be on PBE shortly! I'm looking forward to your impressions.

Are the repurposed recall animations being removed from where they were originally used? 
Nope! There'll be some redundancy.

What about champions/skins that already had recalls? 

Throw some stats at me! 
Not a question, but sure! 74 champions that lacked Recalls on their Base will now have one. Additionally to those 74 bases, 351 skins will now have recalls.

Can you explain more on why you went with this option?
Sure! As explained in the above question, a change of this caliber affects a large amount of champs and skins. Our animators have little down time (they’re all hard-working champs), as we have a ton of higher priority work in flight at any given moment. We explored the option of doing simple poses for the recalls, to account for animation. We felt this option wasn't quite matching the quality we’d expect for the effort they'd take- we found we wanted more movement in the animations. Taking all these factors into account, we looked for easier implementations - smarter ways to solve the problem.

*increased rate of Pentas may vary."
When asked for a list, Ququroon  added he'll have one up when after hit the PBE:
Is there a list of champions / skins that will be affected by this? 
Or is it every champion that had little movement in their recall animation? 
(Or are you allowed to tell me if kog'maw / any of his skins are affected? :3)
Every champion that just stood in their Idle1 animation are now updated. 
I have a list, but I want to put it out after PBE hits so people can find some on their own. Though, because you're the best Kog'maw in North America... For Koggles- Base, Caterpillar, Sonoran, Monarch, Reindeer, Lion Dance, Deep Sea, and Jurassic now all have a recall, as they didn't before (It's his Idle3 animation)."
Ququroon also commented that idle variations are mainly being used but others where it worked:
Question: Will always be an (idleX) animation for the new recall or it may vary?
Answered in another post, but it varies. Some didn't have idle variants, some didn't have idle variants that worked, some just worked better with emotes, etc.
Ququroon added:
So, is the plan to use their other idle animations? Or are some champions going to use emote animations?
I tried to pick the 'best' option for each champion, so it isn't a one-size fits all solution. I tried to stick to Idle variants more often than not, because Idle animations play infrequently, whereas emotes could play many times in a game."

As for if Ezreal will use his dance animation for recall, Ququroon commented:
Will Ezreal get his dance as his recall? If not I'll be disappointed.
I intentionally didn't do his dance so players could be more selective with it, if that makes sense. Willing to hear your logic behind wanting it though.

When asked how permanent these animations will be, Ququroon noted:
Are these repurposed idle animations (or taunt or whatever other emote as the cases may be) permanent recall solutions for the affected champs, or is getting actual recall animations something that riot wants to do eventually when the various animators aren't as busy with other things?
Permanent in that they likely won't be changed without an Update of some kind? Yes.
A couple champions are particularly bad (Corki is pretty bleh, for instance), so we might give them some treatment a little sooner than later (this is still in talks, no promises, etc.)."
Ququroon continued:
I always wondered if something like this was gonna happen, cool to see that it's actually happening! New animations would have been cool but I understand how much work that would probably be so idles and taunts are welcome. Some of the old champions have fairly limited and short animations from what I understand, are there any that play two or three idle animations in succession before the recall ends? Or is it just a single animation in all cases? 
Yes! I do have a couple champions stringing some animations together. Works for some, doesn't work for others. :D"

When asked about using animations included on other skins, Ququroon noted:
Will Renekton use a idle animation or the already ingame Scorched earth one? (Because its really badass)
Under no circumstance did I steal a unique recall from a skin. Didn't want to diminish any current quality."

Upcoming Kindred, BotRK, and LeBlanc PBE Changes

ricklessabandon jumped on twitter to share tentative Blade of the Ruined King and Kindred changes that will be returning to the PBE with upcoming 7.5 cycle!
[1] "a few projects i'm working on will be hitting the pbe this week, so i wanted to get some early, tentative information out there to think on" 
[2] "and here's where the kindred changes will start at this cycle"
[3] "here's where the blade of the ruined king changes will start at this cycle"
When asked if this version still has the same slow, ricklessabandon noted:
"same slow as on live -- 25% for 3 seconds (and you steal the movement speed for the same duration)"
As for potential build path changes and the removal of attack speed, he noted:
"ah, yeah -- will probably smooth that out on the final stats. we did talk about about the build path, but aren't change it yet"

He also shared a set of LeBlanc PBE changes -
[1] "following yesterday's "previews" of projects hitting pbe this week, there will also be some leblanc changes showing up—starting out extreme" 
[2] extreme" emphasizing that this is a starting point for numbers, and that we'll be doing a lot of testing and discussing this week

Riot Direct Tour: Poland's Vanishing Data Packets

Here's a look at some work done to stop packet loss in Poland:
"Pretend for a minute that you really enjoy playing football (probably not difficult). And you’re pretty good--you’re playing in a small but fiercely competitive league, and hopes are riding on your grade-A shooting. You take the ball past one defender, juke the next with ease, and you’re heading for the goal. You line up the perfect shot, one that will arc gracefully over the goalkeeper’s hopeless expression and nestle soundlessly into the waiting net. But that doesn’t happen; the ball suddenly rolls half a meter to the right, and you’re already committed to the kick. Your foot connects with nothing, ruining your balance. The opposing team laughingly steals the ball from you, and your teammates don’t stop them. They’re too busy shouting at you or, worse, shaking their heads in quiet shame. 
This is what it’s like to play League with high packet loss. The reality of the game doesn’t match up with what you see on your screen, and you make decisions based on old information. Plenty of packet loss trouble happens fully on one end of the connection or the other; it’s either us or you. And sometimes there are solutions. Switching to a wired connection from a wireless one, for example, can go a long way in preventing an unintended tower dive. 
But packet loss can easily happen because of the way the internet is built, which is a little outside of both of our realms of control. This was the case for hundreds of thousands of players in Poland, who despite maintaining strong connections and a visible path to the game servers, constantly experienced some of the worst packet loss in the region. For these players, with upwards of 5% packet loss (that’s a lot), kicking the ball was a form of roulette. And it sucks for those players; when packet loss is your constant companion, you stop trusting yourself to make plays. More than that, your team stops trusting you. Even the most forgiving allies will stop coming to gank your lane if you can’t consistently react, whether that’s your fault or not. 
Riot Direct is a team formed to tackle just these sorts of cases--situations where the whole of the internet stands against a good game of League. We’ve talked before about what that looks like, but in many such cases, the problems are obvious. In North America, the team helped move the game servers from the west coast to Chicago, on the logic that putting servers in the middle of the country would make for a more consistent play experience all over (It did. Duh). 
The team did do something similar in Europe. We’ve plugged into ten data centers across the continent, most recently in Sofia, Bulgaria. These improvements have drastically cut down the number of times a connection has to bounce before reaching our game servers: 
Fact: Talon’s win rate increased by 2% for each fork we removed from the map. Source: Every ADC main’s promo series. 
This work has been great for a whole lot of regions in eastern and central Europe, and our Sofia center gives us a great foothold to keep improving connections in south-eastern Europe. Poland should have been improving--but it wasn’t. What these players shared was a common ISP and several common cable pathways to our servers. No matter how fast we got them onto the Riot Direct highway, their connections were already shaky, and so they kept kicking in vain at footballs that never were. 
Since catching traffic on the way to our server wasn’t working, we had to catch it at the source. We decided to set up in data center in Warsaw, Poland, where the ISP was based. Once we had a physical presence on their network, we could share internet traffic, and grab League players before they had a chance to ride the broken roads they traveled before. 
Whenever we plug into a new data center, we expect to improve League traffic as a whole in the region and see small gains over a wide range. Warsaw was unique in that it was targeted at a poignant but localized problem for a (relatively) small number of players. We wouldn’t know for sure how effective it would be until we turned on the data center and started redirecting traffic. Mid-November of 2016 we did just that, and almost immediately, saw some results: 
This graph tracks packet loss in Poland a few days before we activated Warsaw and a few days after. Percentage of packets lost is on the Y axis, time on the X.
For reference, 2% packet loss is roughly average for a network--you won’t see disruptions of play at that number. For affected Polish players, playing at peak times (when packet loss is highest), after we turned on Warsaw was like playing in the middle of the night. For the first time, you could play League without mashing buttons in the hopes that one or two commands make it through the noise. Playmakers could pick up Riven or Vayne and at last know what it means to feed without lag. Overall, this was an extremely positive change, not just for the affected players but for everyone who might team up with them. 
Such a big change comes with risk; you can’t mess with the foundations of the internet without some collateral damage. This damage came in the form of several hundred players, whose connections previously ran through Warsaw on different ISPs. Before November, these players had reasonable connections, but the instant we turned on our data center, these connections were rerouted and performing worse. Significantly worse, in some cases. 
Turns out these players were connecting through Riot Direct but, in a rare turn of events, their previous connection was actually more efficient. In order to fix it, we track each player’s connection manually and stop it from being redirected poorly. It’s a tedious but permanent solution, so once we fix a player’s connection they don’t have to worry anymore about being redirected. As of January, affected connections are back to normal, and we’re still working with various internet service providers in the area to see if we can make things even better. 
League is a game of milliseconds, and the more consistent your connection, the better time you’re gonna have. The Riot Direct team is committed to finding ways to make this happen anywhere problems might otherwise be chalked up to “bad internet.” And while we can’t solve every issue this way, there is a certain domino effect. Every improved connection is another ally you can rely on to kick the ball when it counts."

Quick Hits - Previously Discussed 7.5 PBE changes

[NOTE: The 7.5 PBE update was confirmed to not start on 2/21 - look for it to start later this week, presumably on 22nd!]

In addition to the Kindred and BotRK changes and the recall additions above, we've also had a lot of discussion lately regarding other changes to expect as the 7.5 PBE cycle starts up later this week:
  • Meddler mentioned a set of Aatrox changes, aiming to get him in a better place until they can get a larger update for him:
"Main changes there are:
  • Shifting the passive to a windowed one (proc that grants AS/AD and revive if off CD for a duration, with some downtime). Goal is to offer periods of comparative strength and weakness (lot of the issues we've had with Aatrox's game health have been due to the nature of his revive passive) 
  • Removal of % health costs, probably a flat health cost on E. One of Aatrox's big issues is that he's pretty feast or famine, stat checking people hard with a drain tank pattern or just dying. Giving him the flexibility to build defense more (health) without getting as punished by his kit for it gives some good fallback options/alternate builds. 
  • Changing the W heal so it's not dependent on his AD, or as extremely different above/below 50% health. Ties in with the build path options above, with a % missing heal looking like a fairly likely mechanic. 
  • More details and context next week." 
  • Meddler mentioned likely nerfs or changes to Varus and Edge of Night.
  • Return of tentative Blade of the Ruined King changes - changelist from ricklessabandon.
  • Return of tentative Kindred changes - changelist from ricklessabandon

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