Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 3/23, Cannon Minion Changes & More

Posted on at 10:38 AM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts on attack move changes, balancing champions for organized teams, and more, as well as a new banner callout feature on the PBE, Cannon minion changes in testing, & more!
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Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 23

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 23, noting attack move cursor changes:
"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: 
Attack Move Changes on PBE 
We're testing out some tweaks to how attack move works when you're using the attack closest to cursor setting (the default). Core of those changes is that we're increasing the distance around the cursor where targets will be checked for substantially before the game then checks for targets near your champion instead (500, instead of 250). There are also some secondary tweaks to how in-range targets will/won't be prioritized over out of range targets (avoiding mention of the details here to see what does or doesn’t get noticed on the PBE). We've been testing those adjustments internally for a while, and playtesters haven't been reporting noticeable differences. That's mainly a good sign (suggests things are just working well behind the scenes). Thoughts from anyone playing on PBE also much appreciated over the next week or so. Changes seem to be working overall, but want to double check that and if nothing else see if there's room for further polish. 
Balancing some champs for organized teams 
We've had long running difficulties with some champs who perform dramatically better for organized teams (pro teams, premade 5s, Clash soon etc) than they do for matchmade solo queue teams. Azir, Kalista and Ryze are the strongest example of that, where their performance for the average player trying them will often look pretty weak if they're in a balanced state for organized teams. One of our goals with champion balance is to ensure they're good choices in a wide range of contexts, so that's not ideal. At the same time though they're still situationally very strong even in solo queue sometimes. 
We've also put a lot of time into trying to close that gap on those three over the years, with mixed success, given some parts of those champions core identities are tied to the very elements that give them that variance in power by context. For a while, quite possibly a long while at that, we're going to be prioritizing most other champion work over closing that gap as a result. That means Azir, Kalista and Ryze will be balanced for their strong cases (organized play primarily), even if that leaves them quite weak in other contexts (exception: a bit of Ryze work that's already underway and might or might not ship). It's not that we think that's the perfect solution, but that we think the time's better spent on other champions who haven't got that same degree of attention over the years and would benefit a lot from it. 
If you're someone who likes those champs, but feels you shouldn't play them in solo queue, our apologies. I expect that feels pretty rough and that even if these champs are strong in the right circumstances that doesn't help if those circumstances aren't ones you personally experience. Completely agree there are downsides to this approach, we do think it's the best available trade off for LoL players as a whole though. 
A few more midseason bits and pieces worth mentioning:
  • We've been testing various jungle power level changes and recently concluded that we were better off putting them in midseason, both to take more time to get them right and since they're the sort of wider systemic change that's often better bundled into midseasons or preseasons, especially as we get to the otherwise lower change parts of the year.
  • It's likely we do some set up changes for midseason in 8.8 to help validate that they do what we think they do before we pair other changes with them. In particular we're looking at mage mana pools and regen in the first few levels, and how much we might need to increase their early ability to cast more spells to make them better duo laners. That’ll look like changes to base mana and regen, probably paired with a nerf to Doran’s Ring. Nothing too major by itself, but useful to understand what impact it has while we’re still working on other stuff."

When asked about Jungle changes in Midseason, Meddler noted:
If it’s not so tentative that you have no idea what you’ll do midseason, what have you tested in terms of jungle power changes? And which ones do you think will make it in some form to the actual jungle changes?
Similar stuff to what we talked about a while back. Looking at having junglers be less healthy early on (more risk when ganking), somewhat slower leveling first clear or two (shouldn't be ahead of solos), item tweaks etc."

On single target skill shots, Meddler commented:
I know its kinda off topic but will you guys change how single target skill shot works? I've heard that the end of these skills shots(blitz Q for example) there is a target finder, a circle if you will, so even if you would have missed the hook, it will jump to a target close by and hit them, even if they would have dodget it. 
This is very annoying, and promotes bad and skilless gameplay, and me and i'm sure a lot of us would be happy it that would be removed, or tweaked(but mainly removed) 
A few skills do have circle checks at the end after the line portion of the skillshots finished, usually when the missile itself has a really large appearance on completion (e.g. Nautilus Q). They're very much the exception though, apart from a few cases skill shots are line missiles from start to finish as per their spell indicators. Blitz Q does not have a circle check on its end, so if you're feeling that hits when it shouldn't then that's going to be due to either the width of the missile all the time and/or your champion's hitbox size/position."

On possible VO updates, Meddler commented:
I recall around the time of Varus’ lore update that he may get a new VO? Is that still a thing/with the release of the MF skin are we getting a new VO for her base?
We're looking to do new VO for MF and Varus at some point, no timeline I know of at the moment though. Won't be an MF general voice update with the skin."

On LissandraMeddler replied:
"Nothing definite. I was hoping to target 8.8, that's looking really unlikely though in terms of the amount of time I've been able to put into Lissandra work recently however. I got a good amount of progress and testing in a couple of weeks back, have been pretty slammed since then though, to the extent I've spent more time answering questions about that work than actually working on it I suspect."

When asked about the larger/smaller patch system on the PBE and how its doing, Meddler noted:
Now that we're a few months into Season 2018, do you have some thoughts on how the system of lager and smaller patches is doing? Is it serving the intended purpose? ^^
Looking to give it a few more cycles and then pick players brains on that and share some of our thoughts. While we technically started with 8.2 as the first large patch it wasn't that much different than a normal one, so we've really only seen it in action with 8.4 and 8.6 (only just released a couple of days back) so far."

On Ryze, Azir, and KalistaMeddler commented:
Just for clarification, does point 2 mean that champions like Ryze, Azir and Kalista will never have work done to try to fix the gap between pro and solo queue or does it mean they're just very low priority for changes?
Lower priority. They'll probably still get some work in that regard, but it won't take priority over work on other champions to the degree it has in the past."

Meddler continued:
I understand with regard to your point about Azir/Kalista/Ryze that the idea is to leave these champs as is in their weak-in-regular-play/strong-in-pro-play states to allocate resources toward other champions? 
Also, how do you decide which champs to give some love to? Ahri in particular struck me as an odd (but not unwelcome) choice. 
That's our thinking on Azir/Kilsta/Ryze yeah. 
Which champs we do work on depends on things like: 
  • Their current balance state in a range of contexts (different MMRs, regions, solo queue versus organized play etc)
  • Whether we believe there's good opportunity to make frustrating kits less frustrating, unsatisfying kits more satisfying, degenerate kits that lead to non interactive play or exclude other champs from the meta better etc.
  • How much time we've currently got available and the amount of time needed to work on a champion meaningfully
  • Whether a champion has an upcoming VGU soonish (with a year generally) or not
  • Whether someone's got a particular strong idea for improving a champ
  • Etc
Ahri was chosen for work because, while she's not underperforming, her range of performance tends to be pretty flat. When she's doing well she struggles to capitalize enough on that lead, so the Ahri player's not as rewarded as they should be. When she's not doing well she's still pretty safe and not paying enough price, so people playing against her aren't rewarded/satisfied enough. That leads to less engaging/interesting games which is something we want to address, particularly on a pretty popular champion who's therefore having that flattening effect on a significant proportion of games played."

On RumbleMeddler commented:
Hello, are there any other Rumble changes currently in testing to go alongside the Q buff? Or maybe we'll see a different iteration in the following days? While I do like the current direction that the buffs are taking I still think that they could be refined a bit better and I'd like to know what's your and the whole team's take on that
Still testing the Q buff at present, other changes haven't been working out as well so far (W duration, E recast model, R slow changes etc). Nothing set in stone yet."

On Lethal Tempo, Meddler replied:
Any thoughts about improving Lethal Tempo?
What about its effect be continuously active while in combat (after the 1.5s timer, with or without the AS cap), and then enter in CD when you are out of combat? Any other possible ideas?
It needs work (very narrow set of champs who should ever use it in particular). We've been testing a Keystone that also gives Attack Speed that we thought might make for a good replacement (tentative ship date: midseason). We've come to the conclusion though that it's better off as a separate thing, rather than as something to fill the LT niche, so will need to reasses LT again."

[PBE] Feature in testing: New banner call outs for objective steals 

Here's Fearless with details on a new feature in testing on the PBE:
"Hello Friends! 
We have a small feature in testing on the PBE right now, where the game will attempt to recognize when a team “steals” an objective. We’re looking to find ways to recognize more high moments, and big objective steals are some of the biggest turning points that the game currently doesn’t celebrate well. 
We’re currently trying to watch for when both teams end up damaging an objective, and based on how that damage is split up and comes in over time, we recognize the steal and for now, give it a kill banner. If we get the procedural recognition dialed in to a spot that feels accurate, we might look to improve the callouts in game. 
Right now, the most important feedback would be any times that the game calls an objective take a steal, but you feel that was off. We’d also be happy to hear about any situations that you feel should have been a steal, but weren’t called out. 
Quick note that this is only hooked up for Dragon and Baron, it’s a known bug that Rift Herald is currently excluded. 
Thanks Friends!"

Cannon Minion changes targeted for 8.7 

Here's RiotRepertoir with a thread on cannon minion changes coming to the PBE:
"Hi everyone,

We're looking to ship some changes to primarily cannon minions (and a few others for the sake of tuning) for 8.7. The basic outcome of these changes is that cannons will be worth a fair amount more and be a bit tankier, while other minions will be worth slightly less gold.

The idea behind these changes is that increasing the value of cannons will make them more worth fighting over, and that increasing their health will make the waves they're in not quite so easily cleared out. Some of you may recall that this approach is very similar to about half of a larger minion pass that appeared on the PBE for the 8.6 cycle, but we're not currently looking to add those other changes into the mix for now. Below are the tentative cannon minion changes and related tuning changes to the rest of the system:

Cannon Minions
  • Base Gold Value :: 45 >>> 60
  • Gold Value Growth per 90 seconds (3 waves) :: 0.35 >>> 3
  • Base Health :: 828 >>> 900
  • Health Growth per 90 seconds (3 waves) :: 23 >>> 50
  • Health Growth per 90 seconds (3 waves) beginning at wave 16 :: 32 >>> 60
  • Health bar size visually increased

Super Minions
  • Base Gold Value :: 45 >>> 60
  • Gold Value Growth per 90 seconds (3 waves) :: 0.35 >>> 3

Melee Minions

  • Base Gold Value :: 20 >>> 21
  • Gold Value Growth per 90 seconds (3 waves) :: 0.125 >>> 0

Caster Minions
  • Base Gold Value :: 17 >>> 14
  • Gold Value Growth per 90 seconds (3 waves) :: 0.125 >>> 0

One of the first things worth pointing out with these changes is that the total amount of gold acquirable from minions in the system is largely unchanged, with the percent difference in cumulative gold in the system starting around -1.5% and fluctuating between -1% and +1% by 20 minutes into the game.

The major tuning consideration that still needs to be made if we're to go forward with this seems to be what to do about Relic Shield and its upgrades, since at optimal play, this sure results in increased gold generation for its users. As such, if you see an alteration to any of those items hit the PBE soon, that's likely why.

Feedback on this stuff is welcome. If it seems there's something being neglected, please do call that out. Happy cannon hunting!


When asked about the gold cost cap, Riot Repertoir responded:
i still don't understand how they work out. Do they increase their gold value and hp infinitely? or are they capped?
Their HP keeps on growing, which is consistent with Live behavior. Their gold value caps out at 90g."

On the general waveclear changes that were testing in a previous PBE cycle, Riot Repertoir  noted:
What happended to the other Changes to the Health of Melee and Caster Minions you talked about in a different Post? I really liked the Idea of nerfing Wave Clearing in the Game and was looking forward to it
We're still considering options for general waves clear cases but weren't confident in the last round of that iteration, and so we chose to separate the cannon stuff out from the general wave clear stuff."

On pushing, Riot Repertoir  noted:
How's this going to be affected by the pushing mechanics (not sure if that's still a thing or if it ever was), banner of command and baron in regards to the cannons?
Seems like rushing it would be a pretty nice option along with maybe a zz'rot if you can protect the cannon or even deny it from the enemy.
Waves with cannons in them probably stack up a bit more because the cannons are tankier, but turrets will continue to deal percent health damage to all minions, so once they're at the turret, it shouldn't be too different."

On the chance of making lanes harder, Riot Repertoir replied:
Still curious how the net result of this isn't just making lanes harder in bad matchups.
It is making laning somewhat harder in bad matchups. That's intended.
Removing all gold increases over time from the other minions and shoving them all onto the cannon also seems like it will result in less gold from clearing crashing side waves if you're not there dead on time. (Towers do kill cannon minions first, right?) Penalizes slow rotation a little more than it used to.
Yes, this is true. That seems acceptable to me for the most part. It requires the player to not so much change what they're doing as it requires them to do what they're already doing a little better."

Quick Hits

  • Riot Montag commented on Voice autoconnecting in the client:
"Hijacking the top thread to provide some additional info. I know I’m a little late to the party (woke up a little while ago). I’m the UX designer for voice, so I’m definitely the person you will love or hate for this decision. I want to be transparent about our rationale — y’all are smart and can make your own decisions about it, but I wanted to make sure you heard it from the horse’s mouth. 
Why these defaults 
One of our main goals for voice was convenience: it should feel like it just works. When we tested this internally, the convenience of having it just work as soon as you're in the channel feels great — and I’d lamented going back to live to play occasionally because it wasn’t as immediately and effortlessly available. 
We also care a lot about making sure voice is a viable comms option for playing with parties, and defaults are a key influence here. Other games share the defaults we’ve launched with, and voice has become core to the experience of playing with a party in those games. The experience feels great in League when we've tested it: you can jump into a friend's party and start chatting and know with reasonable confidence that other folks are on the other end. And because these are from your friends list, the existing social connections mitigate potential toxicity issues. 
We see a future where you jump into a party, start chatting, and you’re off. It’s woven into the fabric of playing with a party. At the same time, we want to give you control over voice, so we provide a lot of customization options like immediately muting, disconnecting, or settings for changing what happens when you join a party (join muted, don't join voice). So while we think the default will be the best experience for parties, we do still want to give players lots of control over who's speaking in their ear. 
Where we could’ve done better 
This is a big expectation shift. We think it’s the right one for the long term, but it’s not like League is a new game that launched with this from the start. We have a warning when you join voice for the first time, but we could have done a much better job being loud about this change and making sure you felt fully in control of your relationship with voice. That’s 100% on me, and we’re looking at ways to make this better (already got some stuff on my whiteboard at home). 
We already have some features in the works that we hope will add to your ability to control how voice works for you, like auto-muting when you go AFK, configuring whether voice shows up on the scoreboard in game, and better audio cues for when people join parties/voice. I hope this gives you a little bit more understanding of why we made the decisions we did."
"Late to the party here, but I hope this gets some eyes on it. 
Yes this is a bad experience - both for the new players and for the existing ranked players who are in those games. 
We have been working towards a solution. Basically it takes too long for us to converge to a player's correct rating right now. If we start their MMR too low it means smurfs end up ruining a lot of games for a long time. With faster convergence we solve the problem of true new players constantly losing until their MMR falls enough, and we solve the problem of smurfs impacting more games until we get them high enough. Once that is finished being updated, we can then seed new players lower without worrying about smurfs as much. 
We actually have a new service for tracking MMR that we are getting in place. We will start tracking player's MMR with this new service in parallel to the existing method. This will let us validate that its working, iterate on the changes, and measure the effects before going live."
  • RainbowPi commented their thoughts on key fragments automatically completing:
"Hi, I'm the tech lead on loot. This is part of why we haven't made it automatic yet. 
We are actively trying to design the best way to do this, but this sort of mechanic is on our backlog. I'm not sure of the time tables, but this is a feature that we are working on. :) 
In the meantime let me take this back to the team. We've recently done a bunch of UI tech fixes that may make this easy now. No guarantees, but we are talking about it. 
Glad to see y'all passionate about this as well."
  •  Phroxzon commented on general and specific champion balance:
"A few things to note here, one is that we don't explicitly balance for winrates, winrates are usually just a "canary in the coal mine" that something may be up and we would usually nerf for gameplay reasons (eg. typically qualitative assessments). 
In WW's case (and there are others similar, such as Ahri), are champs that peak hard at Plat 5 and drop off sharply by ELO). Since the number of people by division decreases the higher you get, it means the overall winrate you see on lolalytics/ platinum+ site you use is dwarfed by a champion's performance in Plat 5, even though they may be balanced for higher levels. 
That's not to say we wouldn't nerf WW at some point and the conversation of who we balance for is a whole different can of worms, but just something to keep in mind." 


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

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