Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 10/9, /Dev: Missions Update, and More

Posted on at 4:54 PM by Aznbeat
Tonight's small red post collection includes a look at Meddler's gameplay thoughts for October 6th, a new /Dev on Missions and what Riot feels they did wrong and what they did right, as well as future mission plans, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: October 6th

Here's Meddler with his Quick Gameplay Thoughts for 10/6 including 7.21 balance changes, their approach to micropatching, and more:
"Hi all, 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get put delayed or even stopped. 
If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 
7.21 Balance Changes 
While most of our focus is on pre-season and beyond now we've still got some balance changes, or at least investigations, coming in 7.21 where we're confident changes won't be rendered irrelevant or inappropriate by pre-season's impact. Short versions of some of those below, more details to follow next week. 
  • Likely buffs - Frozen Heart, Urgot (after assessing Sterak's change especially)
  • Likely nerfs - Sejuani
  • Possible buff - Manamune
  • Possible nerf - Azir (might be in an ok spot to just leave until pre-season and then reassess, unclear without a deeper look at him) 
Why not buff ratios/nerf bases? 
A regular question that crops up is why not just just nerf bases and buff ratios to make a champ who's weak outside of support more effective in solo lanes (e.g. Brand or Zyra as recent subjects of discussion). Sometimes that is the right approach, there are a number circumstances where something different could be better though including: 
  • Often, as in cases like this, we don't want to impact a champ's power as a support. If we're just buffing ratios that buffs support too, if we're also nerfing bases that generally nerfs support, at the very least at some points in the game.
  • Ratio power is more snowbally than most other power, given its gold dependence. If you want to add snowball to a champ it can be the right call, if you want to add reliability it often isn't.
  • Adding power in other ways can be a good opportunity to add more distinction of playstyle between different positions (e.g. interaction with farming and therefore different skill testing)
  • Sometimes extra damage isn't the appropriate sort of power to add to a champion and ratio buffs aren't a good tool to offer some sorts of power (e.g. some things don't scale smoothly like ability resets, or have limits they shouldn't be pushed past like CC durations). 
Our approach to micropatching 
For anyone that hasn't seen it and is interested in how we're hotfixing more nowadays I'd highly recommend giving Maple Nectar's post from the start of the week a read. It goes into some depth as to why we're hotfixing more than we used to (TLDR = improved micropatch technology), why we do such patches in the first place and the trade off of reacting to problems quickly versus waiting on additional observations and data. 
Trying different directions with a few runes 
While we’re getting close to locking down all the runes for ship we’re still experimenting with somewhat different directions for a few to try and solve some remaining problems. Odds are high you’ll see alternate versions of some Runes, Press the Attack and Presence of Mind especially, on PBE at some point. Not guaranteed we’ll stick with the new versions of course, might try something new again or go back to the old."

When asked about Galio, Meddler commented:
Speaking of worlds. Do you think Galio still needs more nerfs to get him out of proplay? Or are you gonna wait for that mini rework before doing anything. It's really disheartening as a Galio main to see him sitting in the bottom 5 of mid and top lane winrates while still being nearly pick or ban in competitive play.
I think he needs to be sharpened a bit so he's not such a consistently good pick, with clearer strengths/weaknesses game to game. That should help get him out of pick/ban in pro and allow us to put some more power into him for regular play. 
In terms of changes we're looking at a bunch of number adjustments, not a mini rework (shifting power around rather than changing functionality)."

On Brand, Meddler commented:
"We think Brand is, and should be, a mage. We'd like to see players able to play him effectively in multiple positions, and both his support and mid lane play seem to have appropriate counterplay and interesting choices."

When asked if they planned to update old item pictures, Meddler replied:
"We'll continue to update some of them gradually over time when icon artist bandwidth permits (a lot's been going to Runes for a while now). We don't want to change too many item icons at once however either because it can be pretty disruptive glancing at the scoreboard and not being able to recognize a lot of stuff at a glance. We prefer a gradual approach as a result."

As for his thoughts on Assassins, Meddler commented:
"I think anti carries in general (assassins, divers, some pick mages) are struggling a bit at the moment, some exceptions. Biggest issue there I believe is the amount of survivability that can be stacked on, or offered to, their targets, more than their personal damage output. Locket's one of the big offenders there and we'll be making some changes to that soon or soonish. As with everything else we'll also need to see where things settle once pre-season's out, and whether even more help than already planned is needed or whether the changed state of the game's corrected things at least somewhat."

When asked about AP itemization, Meddler replied:
Also, I know preseason is looking towards new runes but are you possibly looking into maybe AP itemization as well? If not preseason, sometime afterwards in season 8?
We're planning to do a pass on AP itemization sometime early in Season 8. First priority will be getting pre-season stuff balanced and further polished, after that though we'll be looking at a few other things, AP items included."

/Dev: Missions Update 

Here's Riot Mort with a new /Dev on Missions, including what they think they got right and what they got wrong with them.
"Hey everyone. I’m Riot_Mort, one of the game designers who have been working on event Missions! Since we launched the system, we’ve tried a variety of different mission types. I wanted to go over some of our big takeaways, struggles, and where we’d like to go moving forward. 
This is a new feature for us, and while we think there’s a lot of cool things Missions can bring to League and our events, we totally understand that we could do some really stupid things, too. What you’ve experienced so far, and you’ll continue to see for a while, is a lot of experimentation to see what resonates (and what doesn’t). We take all of your feedback very seriously, and we’re looking at every aspect of event Missions for ways we can improve. 
What hasn’t worked: 
Missions can be effective at encouraging you to try new things, which has been one of our goals. However, forcing you into different game modes feels like it crosses the line for a lot of you. We want you to enjoy League how you want to enjoy it, and most of you enjoy Summoner’s Rift above all else. 
What has worked:
We think focusing Missions on Summoner’s Rift is a good thing. So, going forward, the majority of Missions will either target Summoner’s Rift or be a general Mission that will work on any map (such as earning 30 Assists, no matter which map). 
Rotating game modes are an exception because they’re time-limited. Creating a fun experience around a mode like Star Guardian: Invasion is one of the major benefits of the Missions. We’re able to challenge you and reward you for participating, and we are looking to do more of this in the future. 
What hasn’t worked:
We knew this one was something we needed to be careful with. The example above can be completed by pretty much every role—except support. What we hadn’t counted on was how resistant some people are to playing their non-main position. This one had a lot of support players simply saying, “Oh well, I guess I don’t get to do this mission,” which was not at all our goal. We’re going to be really cautious about how many times we ask players to do this in the future, but we also have some improvements coming.
We’re still really interested in designing Missions encouraging specific champs to be played, as we feel there is a lot of potential for these types of Missions, but are treading lightly. Even a mission like the above, which doesn’t actually require you to play the champ in question, created more difficulty than we anticipated. 
Many of you have suggested things like additional Missions for champions you’ve hit Mastery 7 on, and we know there are ways to have exciting Missions that ask you to play certain champs. We just need to find them and try more ways to do it. 
What has worked: 
We like the idea of using the system to challenge you to try new things. With the launch of new champions like Kayn and Ornn, we saw an opportunity to reward you for trying them out. Kayn’s Missions turned out to be too far on the difficult side, and we’re still discussing if giving the Missions to players not interested in the champ was the right call. We think Ornn’s Missions turned out much better, as they encouraged you to try the unique parts of the new champion. 
We will likely be continuing these in the future since they encourage people to try champs they’ve never played. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new main along the way! 
What has and hasn’t worked: 
We knew these missions would be divisive. We are definitely sympathetic to the solo player and understand that any time we ask you to go into a premade, solo players feel left out and can’t always complete the mission. 
Our intention is to make something memorable for the players who do play as five. There are few experiences as unforgettable as coming together as a group of friends and conquering a challenge. This has always been a part of League, and we want to find new ways to offer that fun. 
With Star Guardian, we were cautious about organically allowing groups to tackle the difficult goals. We were worried about how that would affect champ select when strangers may not be able to work out the goals—there’s not much time to agree on a comp and who’s playing who during champ select. But we heard a lot of frustration from solo players that has made us look back at that decision to see if we can do better next time. It is hard to coordinate as a group of solo players, so when you’re successful, we should probably celebrate that fact. 
We understand solo players feeling like they’re missing out, and we’re looking into ways to alleviate some of this. For now, it means these group Missions won’t have any exclusive rewards, except maybe a summoner icon to signify the amazing accomplishment. S-Rank in Invasion: Onslaught was tough! Our goal isn’t that every single mission will be completed by everyone, but rather that everyone has enough stuff to do during events. 
The new Worlds 5-man Missions are an attempt at creating compelling missions for premades, but they don’t have an exclusive reward tied to them. These Missions are designed to let a group of 5 players opt into a challenge and then work together to overcome it. 
This happens organically a lot (players who make an all Yordle team or a full Star Guardian team), and we think these missions can be a lot of fun. While we typically don’t want missions to warp the game, if a team of five are willing to opt into it, we’re more okay with trying that out. We’ll be paying close attention to feedback though, and seeing what types of experiences you get from these Missions. 
What hasn’t worked: 
Asking you to win games is pretty straightforward. You’re trying to win all the time already, right? While it’s true, having such a binary goal makes losing feel worse than it already does. A bland mission like this falls apart if you go on a three-game losing streak. We want to avoid this moving forward while still promoting winning, since winning games of League should come above all else. We’ll keep doing these types of Missions in the short-term future but are looking at ways to make it feel less bad if you have an off day on the Rift. 
What has worked: 
Missions that progress over multiple games.
Missions like this one have felt pretty good. They ask you to do things that are already important to League, but you still make some progress whether you win or lose. It feels pretty good to fill up those progress bars and finally complete them, and it also feels good when those progress bars take quite a few games to fill up. Expect to see more of these in the future! 
Missions the team does together. 
These Missions don’t force you into specific roles, but instead ask the whole team to cooperate on things they should already be doing well. This way, everyone needs to work together to win—which is what League is all about. Expect to see some more of these as well. 
So based on all this information, we’ve got some improvements coming that we think will help Missions continue to be even more fun and will offer some cool experiences. 
With the launch of the Worlds 2017 Missions, you can see that we now have the ability to create Missions with a ton of new objectives. Things like dragons, ward placements, and item purchases are just some of the types of Missions you’ll see. With this, we think you’ll be able to try some more types of Missions (which should feel pretty good, we hope). 
As we mentioned, we want to give players ways to complete things that fit their play style and choices. Based on this, we are looking into creating Missions with OR conditions, so that you can decide what objective you want to chase without being forced into something you don’t want to do. 
Example: Kill 500 Minions/Jungle Spawns -OR- Get 30 Assists. 
With this simple example, people who play in lane can complete the mission by killing minions, but support players will still be able to complete the mission without having to play an ADC or queue specifically to complete the mission. This will allow us to do some more unique mission types. 
As I mentioned, Missions that are just “win a game” are pretty binary. We think we can do better, so we’re looking into Missions where winning is still very desirable, but losing doesn’t mean you make no progress. 
Example: Get 100 Assists. Games you win count for double. 
In this example, if you get 15 assists and win, you will get credit for 30—which feels great. If you lose, you’ll still get credit for 15. This way losing streaks aren’t as painful, but winning is still the more desirable result (as usual). 
One thing that’s come up a lot is that the rewards don’t feel like they’re worth the time/effort you spend on completing the missions. This is something we’re taking very seriously and want to try to do better on. Admittedly, our goal was to get Missions and events out to you first, and now our next challenge is making the rewards better. 
The way we see it, there are really three reward types: 
  • A standard reward: This is a typical mission like you’ve seen in our previous events and examples. Missions that take one or more games to complete usually reward things like:
    • Tokens which can be used to make things in loot, like loot boxes
    • Blue Essence
    • Summoner Icons
    • And in the future: XP in the upcoming leveling system

  • A commitment reward: These are the rewards that show you played during an event and were one of the few who managed to play and accomplish a lot. These should be something cool and unique that everyone can push for, if they put the time in. Things like:
    • Special Summoner Icons
    • Emotes
    • Launch Borders for Skins
    • Ward Skins
  • A skill reward: These are rewards for completing really difficult challenges. They indicate you were one of the precious few able to overcome an extreme challenge and let you show off just how awesome you are. This is the type of mission we will be careful to not do too often, but when we do it, we want the reward to be great. We are currently discussing our options on exactly how we want to reward this particular type of accomplishment and are open to you thoughts. 
Overall, our goal is for Missions to open you up to new experiences and challenges. When you complete them, you should feel incredibly satisfied and proud—and have something to remember and commemorate your accomplishment. We hope we can deliver on that goal. 
If you have any questions or feedback, we love hearing it (really)."


Last up, a few reminders on upcoming and ending soon promotions and sales!
  • With Worlds 2017 in full swing, Summoner's Rift is celebrating with new emotes, map accents, and much more as Worlds hits the Rift through the end of Worlds! Championship Ashe and her Golden Championship chroma, ward, legacy esports skins and much more are now available! Check out the post for all the details.

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