Red Post Collection: Ask Riot: Victorious Champions, Preseason Attack Speed Tweaks, & More

Posted on at 3:06 PM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes a new Ask Riot, covering Victorious skins, spell visibility in bushes, and honoring opponents, as well as some attack speed changes coming in the future, AP itemization, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Touching base on Runes Balance for Pre-season 

Here's Riot Maple Nectar with a note on Runes balance and what they have planned:
"Hey, all. Maple Nectar here, Producer on the Live Team (aka Balance team). 
IT’S HAPPENING!!! As you’ve almost certainly noticed, Runes Reforged is finally here! I can’t even begin to express how fun and exciting it is to get to be a part of the journey as we usher in the largest gameplay update to League ever! We’re super stoked to see how the new system changes how you look at the game, how they impact the decisions you make, and how your path to victory is forged with the new runes. They've been live for 2 full days now (1 if you’re not from OCE), and we're starting to get a clearer picture of what the “balance” landscape looks like in this new world. We’re seeing tons of experimentation (Klepto support GP, Glacial Augment Jhin) which we’re super happy to see, as those creative decisions are something we were really hoping to get out of Runes. With that in mind, I'd like to take a moment to briefly discuss how we'll be approaching balance in the next few days/weeks in this post, and make sure everyone get an idea of what at a high level we're going to try to accomplish over the course of pre-season. This is likely the first of a number of posts over the next while 
Firstly, our goal is not going to be “get every champion to 50% winrate as fast as possible”. That wasn't our goal before pre-season, and that doesn’t change with everything out in the wild now. With Runes we expect to see a lot more creative decision making than before, choices that vary based on the champion you’re taking, your team comp, and who you’re facing. There’s sure to end up being some level of optimization between champions and the new runes system, but when a player gets creative and comes up with a really smart combination of champion and runes, we expect them to also be rewarded with a greater chance to succeed. That being said, there are always edge cases, and if we see something that warps gameplay in a way we’re not happy with we’ll step in and intervene even if winrates look within reason. We're also likely to step in if it appears that some champions are struggling to find success in the new system, as we want you to be able to take any champion, make cool choices, and have a chance to win. 
We’re starting to get an idea of how things are shaking out, though for a change so huge it’s going to take quite some time until dust settles and we have a clear picture of how everything looks both as individual pieces, and in the larger picture. We're going to try to solve the right issue, so if we see a champion succeeding disproportionately with a specific set of Runes compared to other champions in it’s class, we’re likely to take a good hard look at that individual champion and the things that changed around it (base stats, keystones etc). If an entire class moves disproportionately, that’s a signal of systemic changes being the culprit, so we’ll look to solve that as opposed to changing each individual champion. We don’t want to make the mistake of over correcting anything (champions/runes/items etc), since preseason is supposed to be a time of experimentation and creative decision making, but you can expect us to start acting proactively on things we’re not quite comfortable with. Tomorrow we’re likely to start talking about what we intend to micropatch and work on before Patch 7.23 lands. 
We're super pumped to see the crazy shit you’re trying, so keep it coming and Preseason responsibly."

Ask Riot: Victorious Champions

This week's Ask Riot is out now, covering how they choose the champions for the Victorious skins, why some spells can't be seen in the bushes, as well as honoring opponents. Check out the article for more:
This week, it’s Victorious skins, honoring opponents, and why you can’t see Nunu ulting in a bush. 
What method or criteria do you use to choose which champion gets the victorious skin each year?

We start looking at options for the Victorious Skin in the Spring. Making any skin takes time, but the Victorious Skin is also teased one month before it’s released. With this in mind, we need to plan ahead for the Victorious skin, especially in comparison to a normal skin. 
To begin, we take a look at champions that had a big competitive impact so far that year—this is largely based on Ranked and Pro play. Once we have some ideas for potential champions, we narrow down that list by eliminating champions who: 
  1. Already have a Victorious, Championship, or Conqueror skin. We wouldn’t do Conqueror and Victorious Karma in the same year, or Victorious Elise 2.0.
  2. Play the same role as a recent Victorious Skin. Since we had a top laner last season, we tried to avoid picking a top laner again this year.
  3. Have another skin coming out soon. We try to spread out skin content across our whole champion pool rather than drop a bunch of skins for one champ at the same time.
  4. Have a very small number of skins. Since the Victorious Skin can’t be attained by everyone, we don’t want that to feel like the only skin your favorite champ gets.
  5. Have a big balance change incoming. This is definitely the hardest criteria to figure out because balance can be fluid and we’re trying to predict the state of the game six months or so in advance.
After running through that list of criteria, we came down to Graves. As one of the stronger junglers at the time, he was towards the top of the list for both Pro and Ranked play. He’d never been featured in one of our competitive skin lines, wasn’t primarily a top laner, didn’t have a skin planned, and already had several skins available. As it turns out, he did receive some substantial balance changes, but those came after work on the skin had already begun. 
Game Designer, Competitive 

Why are some spells (like sion knockup, nunu ult, zilean bomb, etc.) invisible to the enemy when cast in/from a bush while other similar aoe spells are not?

The general rule for brush visibility is: “When I damage an enemy, I am revealed.” We make sure to follow this rule always because we think understanding and responding to direct damage or spell hits is an important part of LoL’s clear gameplay. 
In cases where the spell is casting but no damage has happened, we take a less uniform approach. 
Why we would not show an indicator: We think the spell is risky or limited enough that allowing for the element of surprise adds a reasonable use case. For example, Nunu ult has a significant cooldown and a very long, easily interrupted channel. Allowing Nunu to use brush to his advantage is a strong pairing that we think brings out good use cases rather than unfair ones. 
Why we would show an indicator: When a spell is very low cost, low risk, or high range. Some spells would project far too much threat too frequently from brush if they could be cast without a reveal. Xerath Q is a good example here—if he could repeatedly cast invisible Qs from brush, we think it would degrade the overall play experience rather than enhance it. 
Lead Champion Designer  

I do prefer the new honor system, it’s great. that being said I miss being able to honor an opponent, it’s a respect thing. if you can bring it back to the game at one point I think people would like it. have a good day.
We agree! Showing respect for your opponent is an important part of sportsmanship and we spent time playtesting several versions that included honoring your opponents. In the end, there were a few reasons why combining team recognition with opponent recognition wasn’t working. 
For example, we spent a lot of time on the categories and what matters when it comes to sportsmanship in League. In general, you have a very different picture of your fellow teammates compared to your opponents, so we’d need to have categories that were meaningful for both. For instance, getting outplayed 1v1 feels different than a teammate helping the team stay cool and focused on winning. If we solve that by collapsing to more generic categories for teammates and opponents, they wouldn’t mean as much since they could stand for anything. But if we had a bunch of really specific categories you wouldn’t have time to choose between them (assuming you could even find the right one). 
Also, honoring your opponent and honoring your teammate just felt like two separate things. Testers not only felt the vote screen was crowded, but due to the incomplete information you have, it was hard to have the confidence to pick an opponent that really stood out. We tried a few iterations, including having the system choose for you some “finalists,” but ultimately it felt best when it was wholly a player decision. 
So in the end we made the call to focus on teamwork right now, including improving the system for 2018, and revisit honoring your opponent in the future. 
Senior Systems Designer, Player Behavior Team

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. Have a question? 
Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, then ask away. 
We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points). 
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about."

Preseason Attack Speed Tweaks 

Here's Riot Stashu with a thread on attack speed changes coming in the future:
"Hey all! 
Riot Stashu here, and today I wanted to talk about some upcoming changes we have planned to Champions’ base attack speed stat. As a heads up, these changes are pretty minor, but worth explaining for those interested in how stats work! 
First, let’s outline the problem we’re hoping to address here. A champion’s base attack speed currently determines two superficially similar -- but functionally different -- things: 
1. A champion's starting attacks per second
2. Amount of attacks per second a Champion gains from percent bonus attack speed (i.e. from percent attack speed stats given by items, runes, and other buffs) 
Sometimes it makes sense for a champion to have high level one attack speed but to NOT have attack speed items be especially strong on them, or vice versa. But, at present, there is no good way to accomplish this. Some champion kits bend over backwards to get the attack speed curve they need (like Diana with her low base attack speed and high percent bonus attack speed passive), whereas some give up and just add in some extra stats under the hood (Caitlyn, for example, technically has some unlisted bonus attack speed at level 1). Neither of these solutions are ideal and there are many champions whose feel or balance could be improved by separating these stats and re-tailoring their kits. We’ve often wanted a new stat, “attack speed ratio”, that would function like AP ratios on champion abilities: scaling how much output attack speed champions get as they gain the stat. But we’ve made-do and worked within these bounds since there was never strong enough cause to rewrite the attack speed formula. 
Enter Runes Reforged. Or, more specifically, exit old Runes. When we removed old Runes the lack of all those early game stats left many champions feeling a bit off. So we set about re-adding some early game stats on a per-kit basis to get these champions back up to snuff. For many of these champions that meant granting some attack speed. And, boom, there was the problem -- we had no stat that could offer the same thing as the old percent bonus attack speed runes. We could only adjust a champion’s base attack speed and attack speed per level, and both of these would have unintended consequences on builds. With so many champions on the docket to be affected this time, on top of the historical desire to separate the two functions of champion base attack speed, we finally decided to commit to rewriting the attack speed formula. 
And we almost did it, too! 
Alas, Runes Reforged was a huge project and we really wanted to introduce as few bugs as possible to the game. Obviously, a change that could potentially affect the timing of every attack in the game needs thorough testing and validation on top of that. Given that, we decided to err on the side of safety and to push back the change until after Runes ship and we’ve had time to give it the testing it deserves. So for Runes Reforged launch, expect a few champions to have ‘the Caitlyn special,’ with some behind-the-scenes bonus attack speed at level 1 as a temporary solution. 
But fear not! We’ll be picking up our attack speed work asap, and are hoping to go live with it a patch or two after Runes Reforged. When that hits, each champion will have a new stat that will allow us to adjust their attack speed ratio independently of their base attack speed. With that, we’ll undo the temporary bonus attack speed we gave out and get the same effect by bumping up those champions’ base attack speeds without increasing their attack speed ratios (a never before seen feat!). 
Worth mentioning, the introduction of this new stat won’t actually change anything, at least not right away. We’re building in the capacity to do such changes, but not doing them just yet (except for the champions we gave level 1 bonus attack speed to). When we finish this work, attack speed in League of Legends should feel entirely unchanged, but we’ll have better tools to make precise adjustments in the future 
Attack speed can be a bit confusing, and I only glossed over it here, so if you have any questions, please ask! I’ll be hanging in the comments for a while. Thanks for reading! 

AP Itemisation Context #2 

PhRoXz0n is back with another update on AP Itemization and what strategies they are considering:
"Thought I’d drop in some context on where I’m at with the AP items project - See post #1 here: 
Goal: Give mana users more contextual choices on their first item.
Secondary: Small improvements to the item system generally. 
Out of the options we are considering, it boils down to discussing two main strategies that seem more promising. 
Strategy One: A “reductionist” approach that makes mana purchases on mages not mandatory to function (eg. Morellos has no mana, Ludens and Nashors Tooth become more viable first options -> with tweaks to other systems/champs). 
  • We already have some examples of this: Ahri, Annie, Azir, Brand, Diana, Ekko, Fizz, LB, Liss, Velkoz, etc. and they manage to have pretty decent item diversity without breaking the game.
  • Making mana items not mandatory however, is a fundamental departure from how League has operated since its inception and has many implications.
    • A few of the things to think about with this approach: Defensive item strength (Banshee/ROA/Zhonyas prevalence), how transformational can first items be in terms of pattern (eg. Righteous Glory when strong), mana functioning as a failsafe against one shot burst combos, is this the best state of the game, how long will it take to validate, etc.
Strategy Two: Retaining mana as a required early purchase and create contextual choices for this purchase (involves figuring out what these statlines and uniques look like).
  • Considerations in this space can be tough, because Morellonomicon gives mages a lot of the stats they could want and so the result of making the slot more contextual can make the purchase feel bad (just give me my old item back) or result in power creep. We subsequently have to be quite careful here and really make sure we’re making improvements.
  • As you may have seen on the Zoe stream, one version of this is investigating Lost Chapter alternatives (some with CDR, some without).
  • CDR is pretty hard to compete with generally speaking and this power probably needs to index heavily into burst, utility or teamfight power while remaining relatively generically usable.
Separate from this larger project, also looking into some smaller scope improvements:
  • Looking at ways to improve the Void/Deathcap multiplier split choice. (This could be as simple as buffing Deathcap).
  • Small scope improvements in post first item choices (dealing with shielding/healing, flat magic pen – eg. Liandries/Sorc Shoes, etc.).
  • Making Mejais a more reasonable option to opt into rather than just a smurf stomping option (making a fully stacked dark seal more reasonable to upgrade).
We're still discussing these options, so let us know if you have suggestions/concerns."

Blue Essence Discussions

With the leveling changes now in effect with Patch 7.22, there has been lots of discussion on the boards and Reddit about XP and blue essence gains. Here's a few comments from across the web:

Cactopus replied to user's concerns:
"I've posted this in a couple of other places, because you're definitely not the only person who feels this way. TL;DR: We hear you, and it's something we're talking about internally. 
We always knew shit was gonna be crazy during preseason, so right now we’re just reading all the feedback and taking note of the problems like this that folks are pointing out. If complaints about it are still popping up after people have had time to play with the nuances of the system, we’ve got a few changes in mind we could make to make things feel better."

He continued:
"I can address some of this right now. The new leveling curve actually gets easier right after you hit any milestone level (including ones past 150+) and then slows down again as you get closer to the next milestone level. Mort made another post explaining this
Later today we’ll probably just put out a post with way more info about the leveling curve and how it compares to the old system. I’ll update this comment with a link to that once it happens."

Ghostcrawler also provided his thoughts:
"Hey guys, I'm trying to find a good thread to cover a few of the topics you all have brought up on the reward overhaul. I'll give it a shot here and hope enough of you see it. 
1) Our goal with this update is to make the rewards feel awesome, or certainly more awesome than they were before. We're not trying to be all sneaky about anything (because, c'mon, you guys would figure it out anyway). League has a lot of different kinds of players in different situations, so there will be some players who feel like they getting rewards much faster and others who feel like it's about the same or a little less. When we can though, we're totally comfortable tweaking reward to try to hit the mark as much as we can for as many players as we can. 
Just so you understand where we are coming from, I mentioned several months ago that changing runes to be free is a potentially significant revenue hit for us (because it ultimately allows you all to acquire more champions without spending RP). We're willing to make that trade because we think it's better for players and for the long term health of League. But it does mean we have to be careful and thoughtful before we give away too much additional content as leveling rewards. I know it feels icky to talk about revenue (and honestly it does for us too), but it's what allows Riot to keep supporting League and to make cool new features like the rune and rewards overhaul in the first place. 
2) We've seen a lot of concerns about how champ mastery 6 and 7 for blue essence feels awkward with the other economy changes. This seems like totally reasonable feedback and we're discussing if it makes sense to do something different here. We don't want to react too quickly since the changes are pretty fresh still for most players, but we are absolutely discussing it. 
3) A big goal of the new system was to shift the slow (often barely noticeable) trickle of currency from individual games to larger, more noticeable chunks that come with a level increase. We still think that design makes sense. We do agree however that it can feel crappy in situations where maybe you only need 50-10 more blue essence to get something cool, but gaining another level feels days or weeks away. We might be able to make that feel better by adding a small amount of blue essence to first win of the day rewards or something similar. Again, this isn't an announced change - just the kind of thing we are discussing to help solve a problem that a lot of players are bringing up. 
Overall, yes, this is a really big change to League of Legends. I think Riot is most successful when we release something that we think is good, but then continue to iterate and tweak it in response to player pain and feedback. So we will do that here as well. We really appreciate all of the feedback so far. Please keep it coming."

Quick Hits

"Hey there, I'm the VO Producer at Riot, and I wanted to give you all a heads up as to why we moved in the direction we did on Vayne's VO. When taking a look at the Legendary, we opened up a dialogue about who Vayne is in her base thematic and who she is in the Project universe. When you hear base Vayne, you hear the Gothic horror influences. It's consistent with our remorseless monster hunter, and the melodramatic purr really works to reinforce those thematic elements. When shifting to Project, we found her base VO, while iconic, took away from what we were trying to do with this particular skin. It's always our hope to give players the best possible experience we can. Shifting away from base Vayne's VO and leaning into the Project thematic created the most cohesive experience and one that we were excited to share with all of you."

"Check out the top 5 plays from the Finals of the 2017 World Championship in this week's episode of The Penta."

"The reigning champions SKT Telecom T1 took on Samsung Galaxy for a much anticipated rematch. Find out what went down with Flashback."
"This week on The Breakdown we’re taking a look at the play that ended SKT’s domination at the World Championship and crowned SSG as champions of Worlds 2017."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • With preseason comes a handful of missions to complete matchmade games and earn rewards based on things you've previously owned, time played, etc. Be sure to check your missions in-game!

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