Red Post Collection: Ask Riot: Balancing Champions, Patch Chat for Patch 8.3 & More

Posted on at 4:20 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes a new Ask Riot, covering balancing champions and Legacy skins, the Patch Chat with the Playtest Team for Patch 8.3, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Ask Riot: Balancing Champions 

A new Ask Riot is here! This week's article covers balancing champs and legacy skins:
Let’s talk balancing champions and legacy skins. 
Seeing the opinions about Zoe, I have to ask: do you take perception into account when changing champs?

Player perception is something we talk about frequently when we’re working on champions (particularly polarizing champs like Zoe, Yasuo, Zed, etc.), though very rarely does it influence whether we take action on a champ in a vacuum. A very common statement that we’ll hear is “X champion is frustrating to play against,” which is a pretty vague statement that could refer to any number of in-game experiences: Is it that counterplay doesn’t feel obvious despite having faced the champion many times? Is it that you die very quickly when the champion executes their combo well? Is it that they have high mobility and are very hard to hit with skillshots? Is it that you feel like you can’t walk into Fog of War to follow them if they’re roaming? 
All of the above impact your perception of a champion, but not all of them are indicative of a problem. If Zed takes you from 100% hp to 0% by hitting all his shurikens + ult + duskblade + ignite, should we nerf that? As an assassin it means he did his job, and nerfing him so he couldn’t kill you would remove him from ever being considered a viable champion. What we should do is make sure you have tools at your disposal to help you handle these situations (in this case, building armor or getting a GA or Zhonya’s), but our response to the perception that “Zed is frustrating” should not just be to nerf him. 
Another thing we consider is that the perception around specific champions or the meta varies drastically depending on MMR, region, position played, etc. While something may feel like an issue to a very specific set of players, oftentimes (but not always) that perception does not impact the rest of the playerbase. What might be a problem in NA at high MMR may not be an issue in KR, what’s an issue in Brazil in low MMR might not be an issue in Vietnam, and so on. We try our best to design with a global perspective. 
To summarize—we utilize player perception as flags for potential problems that we need to dig into, but they aren’t necessarily an immediate call to action that something needs to be done. 
Product Lead, Live Gameplay

What work is done to test balancing for a new champion?

Balancing new and updated champions is generally a group effort from the designer, playtester, and primary Live Gameplay point of contact. While we frequently discuss balance very early in development (often in the form of asking questions such as “Will this champion be fun to play with and against?” and “Is there sufficient skill expression within the kit?”), we start paying particular attention to numbers once a champion’s kit is locked. This can happen relatively early in development, but sometimes it happens quite late. For example, we were iterating on Swain’s final ultimate right up until his PBE release. 
Numbers tuning usually starts by comparing the champion’s stats and abilities to similar ones that already exist in our game. When deciding what sort of base stats Swain should have, we looked at Vladimir, Lissandra, Karthus, and other moderate range mages that excel at teamfighting, and then adjusted his numbers to where we thought they would be appropriate. We do something similar with abilities as well. If we’re giving a champion a “boomerang” type ability, it’s generally safe to look at other ones that already exist in the game, such as Ahri’s Orb of Deception, and start from there. 
We gain confidence for these values mostly from games played by the Playtest Team. A champion in development is assigned a lead playtester who is responsible for mastering them and understanding what they look like when played optimally. They’ll figure out ideal itemization and rune pages while learning what match ups they excel and struggle in. 
As a champion nears release, the designer, lead playtester, and live gameplay designer will meet and discuss the different levers they’re willing to pull if a champion releases too strong or too weak. They’ll also put together a plan for long term balance that outlines how they’d adjust the champion depending on how they’re performing. 
Qa Analyst, Playtest Team 
Are legacy skins coming back soon?

We used to have “vault” sales where we’d bring back legacy skins for a short period of time, but we stopped these in 2016 because most players didn’t participate in them, and we thought there were better ways to unvault skins. 
Now we bring back legacy skins during holidays and appropriate events. Non-holiday legacy skins won’t be coming back as often, but you can still get them through Your Shop and Hextech Crafting. One other thing we’ve been trying is bringing back vault skins alongside new champion content, like Karma’s splash update or the ANNIE: Origins video, to really celebrate the champion. 
Revenue Strategist

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."

Patch Chat with the Playtest Team - 8.3 

Here's Riot Novalas with a new Patch Chat for Patch 8.3:
"Hey everyone and welcome to Patch 8.3. Get ready for the Swain Train! 
I’m Riot Novalas & I’m a QA Analyst on Riot’s Playtest Team, a group of high elo players who work on Core Gameplay playing new champions, reworks, balance tweaks, items, and map updates before they’re released. It’s our job to test the changes that our designers come up with and ensure that we’re introducing positive changes to League in terms of both balance and fun. 
Patch Chat serves as an opportunity for us to talk about the patches that come out every two weeks.
You can find information on the most recent patch by following this link: 
Swain hits live with this patch receiving a full Visual Game Update. Riot King Cobra and Riot Madness Heroo are the two playtesters for Swain and they'll be around to answer (most) Swain-related questions! 
Outside of the Noxian Grand General, this patch has nerfs to Azir, Jarvan IV, Kog'Maw and more! We've also got some love for Master Yi & Viktor. Unsealed Spellbook took a summoner CDR hit & some Inspiration runes were moved around! 
Ask us ANYTHING about 8.3. We're here to answer questions about your favorite champions, inquiries about runes, or maybe how often we execute to jungle camps! Feel free to hit us up about our experiences with Swain in development! We're also down to just chat, though. 
Disclaimer: We have no insight on upcoming/future skins. 
Adam “Riot Afic” Cohen
Chris “Auberaun” Roberts
Christy “Riot Ender L” Frierson
Nick “Riot Endstep” Frijia
Sigmundur “GangIeri” Helgason
Arnor “Riot Hjarta” Halldorsson
Rob “Riot King Cobra” Rosa
Miktat “Riot Koyuncu” Koyuncu
Brian “Riot Madness Heroo” Pressoir
Nabi “Riot Novalas” Barak
Dan “Riot penguin” Hardison
Robert “ROBERTxLEE” Lee"

Quick Hits

  • RiotSparkle noted a bug on rune selection and that they are working on a fix:
"Hi friends ~ 
Okay, so a couple different updates on this front:
  1. There is a bug with auto swapping right now, just confirmed with the programmers. Normally, you WILL have the preset Resolve page UNTIL you pick a champion (at which point it should select that champion's default preset page). Right now the first part is firing, the second is not. We're on it. o7
  2. We're actually working on a better protect & inform plan for future patches to not make your valid pages all broken like this every time we make a change (because we want to make changes to runes pretty often!). As a heads up, the plan is to slot the default rune (from the preset page) into that slot IF it becomes empty because we shuffled things around and broke it. ALSO we will mark all pages swapped like this in champ select & the inventory and let you know what happened so you can re-arrange things in your pages yourself. 
TL;DR There is a bug that chooses just Resolve rn if you have an invalid page. Also, in the future we want to let you use the, like 90% of your page that is still working and just default that one slot as opposed to putting you into a whole new preset page."
They also noted:
Yes, for future patches we'll add a small note that we've switched up runes in the client. 
We won't force you to mess with things, but we do wanna let you know that runes have changed if you want to re-evaluate your pages."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • Hunt of the Blood Moon is now available to play during the Lunar Revel through February 19th!
  • The Lunar Revel is here! Through February 19th, check out new skins, chroma, missions, Hextech crafting, emotes, ward skins, new merch, and much more!

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