Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 3/14, Parties Level Up, & More

Posted on at 11:47 AM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 14th, covering surveys, hiding healthbars, and more, as well as an update on open parties and voice, a new Matchmaking dev blog, & more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 14 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 14th, covering how they do surveys, hiding healthbars, and On My Way pings:
Hey 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: 
We do a lot of surveying each week to help us understand what's on players' minds. It's not something we talk about that much though, so figured it would be good to give anyone interested some more details. The surveys we do range from really simple (one or two boxes to tick after the game), to collecting general feedback (couple of questions and a box to type open feedback into) to quite lengthy (a link to an external website with a comprehensive set of questions about a range of topics). Over the last couple of weeks so some of topics we've been asking about include:
  • How important players feel the Honor system is or isn't
  • What players feel are are appropriate and inappropriate summoner names
  • Perceptions of queue time
  • The state of game Balance and what players feel needs buffing or nerfing
  • Attitudes to voice chat
  • Which champions people are excited to see interact in future stories (e.g. Swain/Darius, Ornn/Voli/Anivia, Garen/Kat, GP/MF etc, with a big list of possible combinations to chose from)
  • Perceptions of Swain. We ask about all new champs and VGUs, plus many of the smaller updates, both to players playing the champ in question and other in game with them. We survey just after their release and then again at least once a while later once things have settled down balance and perception wise.
  • Kai'Sa surveying, including thoughts about the release process too (what do people think about the teaser, reveal, comic, spotlight etc)
When conducting these surveys we want to get as accurate a reflection of the player base, or a targeted subset of it (e.g. ARAM players, or junglers) as possible. That means random selection from accounts within that target population and ensuring we're also getting a representative mix of accounts in terms of factors like what time of day someone normally plays or their MMR, assuming those aren't part of the initial targeting process (e.g. new players only, or Diamond plus players only). We'll also do surveying across a range of different regions to try and get as good a handle as possible on global player feelings. Lot of risk of unintentionally biasing towards feedback from English speaking regions otherwise, given we can read a lot of player feedback in it online easily ourselves. 
Because of that need for randomized surveying to get a representative result we don't usually do opt in surveys for whoever's interested. Definitely understand the desire a number of people have to contribute to surveying on stuff about the game. The issue though is that people actively looking to take part in surveys tend to be non representative of the larger group you're trying to build up an understanding of. That most commonly means they're much more invested in the subject in question, which will lead to results that show much higher than accurate amounts of caring, positivity, negativity, engagement (or past engagement) with the game etc. One thing we might be able to do however for anyone interested in the survey side of things is posting more of the data we gather. If there are particular things you'd be interested in seeing survey results for let me know and I'll chat with our data folks about what's possible. I expect there'll be some things we can't share (probably some commercially sensitive data for example at a guess), but should also be some things we can post and talk about more. 
Hiding Healthbars 
Small thing, but following up on it since it was asked about in one of these threads a while back. We've got a change in for 8.6 where, if you've got hide healthbars turned on, it'll also hide them even when you mouseover the unit in question. Goal there is to make it a bit easier for video creators who want to hide health bars to make content. 
On My Way Pings 
We're also doing some work at the moment on the 'On my way' pings to try and make it so they convey some information about how far away the person coming is when they ping (e.g. Nocturne is coming from very far away versus Malphite is nearly there). Looking at things like somewhat different sounds, visual effects and chat messages to communicate that. It'll be a bit before that's ready for PBE still because it's being worked on by a few folks from Champion team in the gaps in their schedule between champion work."

When asked about Ninja Tabi, Meddler commented:
"We're talking about Tabi at the moment. Should have some thoughts to share on Friday about them. Lot of that conversation's focused on how much of the issue is them being too strong versus being always a good choice (related issues, but not the same one)."

 Meddler talked more about the On the Way ping:
"I believe we decided to do pings that communicated distance instead of the stacking ping progression we'd previously talked about. Issue there was that the ways we wanted to communicate distance were the same things that the stacking omw pings also modified and the two combined made it extremely hard to understand quickly what was being communicated."

He continued:
Can you elaborate on why the distance was deemed more important/useful than the team agreement?
Being able to quickly tell how far away someone is coming from impacts your play significantly (e.g. engage quickly as the jungler is really near versus stall until your team mate can make it from near base to near Baron pit). Recognizing team coordination/agreement by contrast has some good feels to it, and helps reinforce positive teamplay, but is more about recognition than enabling more effective play."

On ADCs, Meddler  commented:
Hey Meddler, what do you think about shifting ADCs back into a more "sustained damage" role compared to a burst damage role in the late game? In past season where I played, probably s3-6, that seemed to be the case, but the advent of the energizer/crit-rush build made it so that marksmen were dishing out huge amounts of damage in 1-3 auto attacks, which I personally believe is why the meta is so marksmen-focused currently. 
I remember there were nerfs a while back making IE a worse first buy, I believe through nerfing crit chance on it and shifting it to the zeal items, but the energizer meta seems to make it still the best choice most of the time. Any thoughts on this?
I'd agree ADC damage is too frontloaded and arguably too anti squishy (hard to coexist near a late game ADC as someone who isn't tanky long enough to use your pattern). Shiv nerfs in 8.6 should bring that down a bit, expect we'll do more in or around midseason as well though."
He continued:
Hello Meddler! Any updates on when we should expect the post about the state of ADC and bot-lane? 
I feel like you had mention it coming out last Friday, then pushed it to this Monday.
We'll talk ADCs sometime around midseason. I'd originally wanted to get a bunch of stuff out there by now, but realized we weren't far enough along in our work for that to be doable."

When asked about QuinnMeddler replied:
What is your opinion about Quinn right now? Will she get buffs in 8.6 or later? Did you think about reverting her rework(with valor)?
She's got a significant number of changes in 8.6. Those are on the PBE at present if you want to check them out. Our expectation is they'll probably be slight buffs, but focus is more on feel than power. 
In terms of a revert we don't think that's a useful approach here. Unlike LB and Rengar Quinn has a much more split playerbase in terms of what people want from her and her prior state had at least as many issues."

On RumbleMeddler commented:
What's the current status on Rumble? any news or plans ?
Buffs weren't hitting the mark for 8.6. Looking at him again in 8.7 as a result."

On ZoeMeddler noted:
How's Zoe looking after the buffs?
Fingers crossed she might be in an ok spot? Power's probably about right and a number of gameplay issues look better. Need to give changes quite a bit more time to settle before getting too optimistic there though."

Parties level up!

Here's Xaafira with an announcement on open parties, Voice coming in 8.6, and more:
"Playing League with friends just got boosted. Open parties are a new way to fill a lobby without spamming invites, and it’s live right now. Parties will have voice chat equipped in patch 8.6, so feel free to request a gank from your farm-loving Udyr in real audio.

Everyone’s Invited 
The days of sending a bunch of invites and staring longingly at your screen for friends to accept are gone. Pick a queue and your open party will appear to your friends in their friends list. They’ll see the number of spots available and the queue you chose. With one click, they'll be in the party and their buddies have an option to join too.
So if you choose to play Draft Pick, your friends will see 1/5 spots filled for Draft and press the button next to your name to join. Once they’re in, their friends and yours will see 2/5 spots filled for Draft and choose to join as well. Once they’re in, their friends and yours will see 3/5 spots filled for Draft and choose to join as well. Once they’re in, their friends and yours will see we’re taking this joke too far. 
Queue restrictions are the same, so you can’t play with more than two teammates for Twisted Treeline and you can’t enter Ranked Flex with four players. 
If you’re not feeling open parties, turn the feature off with a toggle in your lobby and the client remembers your setting. If you close your party, you can still send invites to friends. 
Voice for Parties in Patch 8.6: Talk Me Through It 
After patch 8.6, your party can’t ignore your cries for help because they’ll hear you in voice chat. Voice chat only works for parties that queue together. If your party is a duo, you’ll only hear their voice in-game. As soon as you join a friend’s party you’ll connect to voice chat automatically and remain connected for as many games as you play together. We all have that quiet friend who doesn’t yell loudly enough when they’re getting ganked; just press tab in-game and adjust your settings to hear them. Voice works for any party of two or more players. 
Start the Wombos 
Test drive different team comps, play for laughs, or tryhard as an organized team. Leave questions in the comments and we’ll get you ready to party."

/Dev: Making Matchmaking Better 

Here's SapMagic and Get in Game with a new Matchmaking dev blog, part 2 of a 3 part series (part 1 here):
"Riot Support now has all the info on what’s under the hood, game designers answered a few of your questions around getting into game, and now in the final part of this update, we’ll talk about what we’ve been doing to make matchmaking better in League. 
You’ll hear this a lot, but League’s matchmaking should try to balance three things—create fair matches, where appropriate players get their primary position as much as possible, and maintain short queue times. We spent the last two years developing and shipping improvements to matchmaking behind the scenes and we’d like to share some of that data! 
One note: since we were able to keep match fairness consistent throughout the year at most skill levels, we’re gonna be focusing on position select and queue times for this update. We heard from you that both of these were in a pretty bad state, so that’s where we wanted to improve, and where we spent most of our development time last year. 
First up—position select. Adding autofill was one of the first steps we took to help with the pretty rough launch of the position select/dynamic queue system in 2016. Autofill massively cut queue times, but we heard from you a lot that the rate you were getting autofilled was too high. 
With that in mind, we looked at ways we could try to improve autofill rates. We’ve talked about how important it is as a tradeoff to a position select system in League, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be tightened up. We spent 2017 trying to prioritize getting your primary position far more and getting autofilled less. These graphs show NA data, but all regions follow roughly the same pattern. 
(a) Position priority – A change to the algorithm so you’d wait a bit longer but get your primary more often.
(b) Autofill – Autofill introduced for all players.
(c) Autofill primary fix – A config change for primary position rates.
(d) Autofill experiments – We ran some tests for a few different versions of autofill to find one that worked best.
(e) Kidnapping algorithm – This is a change to how we form teams. It’s not as nefarious as it sounds.
(f) Shuffling algorithm – This one tries to ensure you get your primary more.

With changes over the last year, hopefully you’re getting your primary up to 90% of the time, regardless of positions. The graph above shows how frequently players got their primary position, secondary position, or were autofilled last year. 
When we originally launched position select, if you chose mid primary and support secondary you’d end up mid in about 1 out of every 10 games—not a great “primary” experience. We’ve been working to change that since early 2016. Even with a position combination where getting your secondary is more likely than other combos (which for most servers is mid/support), we tried to make support much “safer” to take as a second option. 
(a) Position select launch – Players immediately figure out that support secondary probably means “you’re getting support.” The health of the system degenerates.
(b) Position priority – This feature helps temporarily but eventually degenerates again.
(c) Autofill – Autofill launches, and more players are assigned support.
(d) Autofill primary fix – Mid rates pass support for the first time through a config change aimed at primary position rates.
(e) Autofill experiments – We ran some tests for a few different versions of autofill to find one that worked best.
(f) Xayah and Rakan released – The bot lane duo bounced onto the Rift, and Rakan’s popularity pushed mid/support players to get mid way more often (as many more selected support as their primary! #supportmainsunite)
(g) Autofill test – Config change for autofill.
(h) Kidnapping algorithm – This is a change to how we form teams. Seriously, it’s not that bad.
(i) Zoe released – Many more players picking Zoe temporarily lowered the chances of getting mid. This is pretty standard for any new champion.
(j) Start of 2018 season – Which is basically now. 
The graph above shows how frequently you get your primary position, secondary position, or are autofilled in the hardest-to-accommodate case: mid primary, support secondary. We figure if the “worst-case scenario” is still performing pretty well, that’s a decent indication that regardless of what you choose, you should still get your primary in a vast majority of games. 
We had a couple of opportunities throughout the year to lower what we call your “time to game.” This includes anything that happens between hitting “Find Match” and getting into the loading screen—champ select duration, dodges, and queue times. Being stuck in an eight-minute champ select and then having someone dodge at the last minute feels rotten, so here’s what champ select looked like in 2017. 

(a) 10 bans system launchMoving from six alternating bans to 10 simultaneous ones shaved over 30 seconds on average from each champ select.
(b) Simultaneous draft picks launchMaking consecutive picks part of the same phase cut a lot more time.

On top of these feature launches, we released some visual improvements to champ select designed at drawing more attention to when it’s your time to act. We saw unintentional dodges (as a result of not locking in) drop from one-out-of-ten to one-out-of-fifteen with these changes.
As for queue times, being stuck in multiple long queues in a row feels rough, and as our team’s name “Get In Game” suggests… we want to get you into game. In 2016, at the highest levels, some players were waiting literally hours just to play a game of League. Not good. 
(a) Optimal Operational Parenthesis Solution – Please don’t ask us about this.
(b) Dodge fix – We fixed an edge case where dodges caused players to get stuck in matchmaking.
(c) Kidnapping test – Testing a different kidnapping setup for a month or so…
(d) Kidnapping test off – … and then reverting it to see what impact it had.
(e) Box algorithm – Optimized code for hardware setup to get faster queue pops. Thinking inside the box.
(f) Kidnapping algorithm – This is the same fix mentioned in previous graphs—it also improved time to game.
So compared to the beginning of 2017, queues should feel a lot shorter across the board, only reaching around 4 minutes at worst (with some high-MMR exceptions). Sorry to everyone who takes in-queue toilet breaks. 
Alright, just one more graph—let’s rewind a little. As you’ve seen, improving matchmaking is iterative, long-term, and never done. Here are the queue times for the same five days in January (roughly the start of each season) from 2015 to 2018: 
Early 2015: Queue times were okay, but at their worst, they hit around 12+ minutes.
Early 2016: Position select was really inefficient at launch, so some high level players would wait 26 minutes or more just to play one game. Yikes.
Early 2017: Autofill’s introduction, as well as other small fixes, normalized queue times back to 2015 levels.
Early 2018: 2017’s iterative improvements, bug fixes, and config changes have gotten League to the healthiest matchmaking state so far.
So, in short: We know it’s not perfect, but today, you should be in fair matches, with the position that you want more often, as well as not waiting long to get into game. But… what’s next? 
For 2018, we’re considering some crazy ideas. These are in various stages of development ranging from “It’ll probably happen” to “No idea if that’ll actually work.” Here are a few things we’re thinking about. 
We’re wondering if it’s possible to have 20 or 30 second queue times for everyone without sacrificing other factors. It might not even be possible, we’re not totally sure yet. But we’ll see if there’s even a small chance of making it happen. 
We’ve got a new algorithm that’s gone through a few tests that looks like it could get players to an accurate matchmaking rating much more quickly than right now. As a bonus, this can help with getting smurfs to the right places faster. We’ll let you know when this comes out of testing, assuming it plays out the way we expect. 
No design for ranked solves every problem. One of the big ones in today’s system is that games are just as challenging skill-wise no matter what position you end up playing. This sucks when you’re just playing out of your comfort zone and double sucks when you get autofilled. We’re looking at a few different ways of solving those issues without creating a ton of exploits. We’re still brainstorming here, so it’s a perfect time to let us know what you think about this problem. 
This is the third post of a three-part update on matchmaking in League! Read the rest below: 
Part 1: How does matchmaking work?A much-needed update to the Riot Support article to better represent how matchmaking works in League in 2018. 
Part 2: /dev: Matchmaking Real Talk Answering some of the tough questions around matchmaking, and hopefully dispelling some myths along the way. 
Part 3: /dev: Making Matchmaking Better Take a look behind the scenes at some of the improvements we’ve been making for the last couple of years."

Quick Hits

  • The LoL BR team also released a version of the Face Your Fears site, notably they voted for a few different champions! Here's the art:


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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