Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 3/7, Riot Games Merch Updates, & More

Posted on at 10:46 AM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 7th, covering an assessment on the Baron/Elder Dragon change in 8.4, Lissandra, a change to healthbar positions, and more, as well as Riot Games Merch updates!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 7 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 7th, including an assessment on the Baron and Elder Dragon changes in patch 8.4, thoughts on Lissandra, and more:
Hi folks,

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: 
Early assessment of Elder Dragon and Baron changes from 8.4

We took a look last week at how the recent Elder Dragon and Baron changes impacted regular games. At that point at least (this was pre Banner of Command popularity) we were seeing:
  • Teams would take Baron a bit more often. There chance of winning the game after taking Baron didn't change meaningfully however, though when they did win they tended to do so a bit faster than previously.
  • First Elder Dragon was getting taken as often as previously and, when taken, had the same correlation with victory as previously.
  • Second+ Elder Dragon got taken significantly more often (50% more games with a team getting more than one Elder dragon). When that happened their win % did increase significantly (from 69% chance to win after taking Elder 2 in 8.3 to 78% chance in 8.4).
On the Elder dragon side of things that's what we were aiming for basically. Securing two Elder dragons is intended to give you a very large edge, even in a game that's close enough to go 45 minutes plus. The lack of Baron change is a bit surprising by contrast. The faster resolution to games that would have been won anyway's no bad thing (not drawing out games that are already over). The lack of any meaningfully increased chance to win off a Baron take's unexpected though, given the buff did get significantly stronger. We'll need to watch that for a bit longer, see how it affects pro play (where late game stall outs were more of an issue to begin with) and whether Banner of Command use does or doesn't influence things. Also possible that teams aren't taking full advantage of the extra power yet, so there could also be a bit of learning curve still to come too. 
We've got some Lissandra changes in testing with the goals of giving her a more satisfying passive, a bit more power, more reason to play proactively in lane and a bit more to optimize around. Still very much work in progress, and no particular release date yet. Summary of what's in testing below and feedback on it much appreciated, bear in mind any of the details could still change though:
  • Passive - Old passive removed. New passive grants Lissandra bonus damage against targets she has previously impaired the movement of (slow, root, stun etc). Bonus damage scales with AP (0.2 at present), basic attacks get half the bonus damage spells do.
  • W - If it hits 3 or more targets its CD is significantly reduced and Lissandra's next spell cast costs no mana. Base CD increased somewhat, mana cost reduced.
  • Overall damage reduced somewhat on W, E and R to offset power in new passive (changes are intended to be power positive, but still need to take some damage from unempowered abilities to pay for extra damage on empowered ones).
  • Base mana regen, regen per level, starting mana increased somewhat. 
Health Bar Positioning 
We've got a change to how health bars get positioned for units near the edge of your screen that we've just started testing. We're looking to make it so that a unit's health bar does a better job of showing you exactly where their hit box (should be directly below the health bar). At present though parallax error means that's less accurate the further from the center of the screen a unit is, especially on taller units. It's a subtle effect, but one that contributes to reported hitbox oddities on various spells. More details on that to come as soon as its PBE ready. In addition to parallax adjustments we’ll also be lowering the heights on some health bars too, which also contributes to the problem.

Current healthbar positioning:
More accurate to hit box positioning:

When asked for updates on the Irelia VGU, Meddler noted:
Hi Meddler, I was wondering if there are any updates on how the irelia  VGU is progressing? Keep up the great work as always.
No details to share, it's getting fairly close though (next VGU and will be out before the next new champion as well)."

Meddler clarified the schedule further:
"Kaisa -> Irelia VGU -> New champ"

On Volibear, Braum, and KarthusMeddler commented:
Hey Meddler, three questions:
1. Do you feel like the recent changes to Volibear made him really much stronger or did it somewhat just got more people into looking at him ?
2. Not related to balance but a question about an interaction: is it intended, that Braums E blocks Karthus ult ? I know that the shield blocks the first incoming damage but I thought that it depends on the angle.
3. What about giving people the possibility to let the champs name getting displayed over the health bar instead of the summoner names ? nobody uses ingame names and referrs in chat simply to the champion.
Volibear - I think the changes made him substantially stronger. Good to see him in a better spot, 8.4 added a bit too much power though. 
Braum/Karthus - From memory the intent there is it blocks Karthus ult if Braum has the shield facing roughly in Karthus' direction. 
Champ names instead of player names - Would like to add that as an option at some point, there's a lot of other UI work that's we've prioritized above it though."

When asked about Jungle item changes, Meddler replied:
Any updates on changes to jungle items coming in 8.6? I remember you said the relationship between Machete and Talisman was being looked at, and I've read from another rioter (I think it was Repertoire?) that there were plans to make jungle sustain worse/to make camps harder, to reduce early pressure junglers have at the moment.
Additionally, if there's a new enchant on the table (potentially to replace Tracker's), what's on the table? Is a return to Ranger's/Poacher's on the Table? Would we see something completely new (ex: a more utility-focused smite, such as one that increases allied damage to the target monster)? It seems like there could be a few options that sound like good ideas... on paper.
Still looking at jungle items, might have something more solid for 8.6, uncertain right now. Won't be adding a 3rd option to Chilling/Challenging in the short term at least, getting that right would take some time and sustain/early power are the issues we think need the focus more right now at least."

When asked about Banner of Command in pro play, Meddler commented:
Thoughts on Banner + Baron in Pro Play? At the least, from an experiment standpoint, it was really enjoyable to watch.
Think it's cool, but too strong. Looking to split the difference between 8.3 Baron cannons against towers and 8.4 Baron cannons against towers. Hoping that means it's a thing we see sometimes, on teams with weak siege or against teams with strong clear, rather than a really dominant or never seen thing."

Meddler talked more about Lissandra:
Hey Meddler do you think this new passive for Liss fills the niche you originally intended for her since you were her designer
It's somewhat similar to something I tried back in the day (pre-ship) that didn't work out. I was trying to find some form of stacking bonus on targets that empowered subsequent spell casts, play up the combo caster thing. The versions I tried then were too hard to appreciate though and didn't change her play really, beyond making her burst poor, so I ended up cutting them. Would have liked to explore further, but that was during a period where we had a comparatively rushed champion development phase, so just didn't have enough weeks between Elise followup and needing to move on to other work post Lissandra. 
This approach I'm hopeful about because 'You've CC'd or you haven't' is a much clearer state to track/play around, has a few fun interactions with other things (e.g. Rylai's or Red Buff) and concentrates the damage a more than gradual stacking does."

He went on:
With the Lissandra passive, will the extra damage from impaired movement come from her abilities only or will runes & items also benefit her from this? Glacial Augment for example or GLP?
Any movement impairing effects Lissandra herself applies. So Rylai's, Red Buff, Glacial Augment, Frozen Mallet, Randuin's active, Nami E on Lissandra AAs etc would all work (though many probably aren't good choices)."

Meddler  continued:
For this new Liss passive, is the idea for her to cc a target and then use and empowered spell on them right after? Does this mean she has a certain amount of time to hit an empowered ability or how exactly would it work?
Current version is 'if your CC is still on them when you hit them with a spell or attack'. Duration to get the empowered attack is the duration of the CC as a result."

Meddler gave his thoughts on pro play:
Hey Meddler i'm a filthy scrub who doesn't play much league but watch i more often - are you still looking to make LCS matches more exciting or are you happy with the competitive meta?
We think 8.4 helped a decent amount with making pro games more engaging as a viewer (less stalling/low action periods). Would like to move a bit further in that regard. Need to be careful though both around 8.5/8.6 (play off patches, which one depending on the region) and that we're not improving pro by significantly damaging regular play."

As for Rakan and XayahMeddler noted:
What was the Rakan and Xayah bugs and what part of Rakan do you intend to buff?
Not sure about what we'll target for buffs yet (possible I'm just out of the loop though if it's already on PBE). The bug's an interaction where Rakan gets more benefit than intended from Xayah's W, giving a much bigger discrepancy in with Xayah/without Xayah power than intended."

When asked for context on the Guinsoo's Rageblade changes that are in testing on the PBE, Meddler replied:
Can we get some context on the Rageblade changes on PBE currently?
We're experimenting with some different directions, including melee/ranged splits, whether it should be a hybrid item or not, whether it should be a rush item or something that you pair with previously built on hit stuff, whether it should have a stat line that forces Adaptive stats to AP etc. One of our goals is to try and open it up to more users, without just buffing it even more for those it's already strong on. Not sure what the team's thoughts are on the current version on the PBE, it only went into testing a day or two ago (had different changes again before that). Will pick their brains and get some more thoughts in for Friday."

Riot Repertoir also noted:
"There's already a different version set to hit the PBE today. Still pretty changed from Live, but back to being a bit more traditionally hybrid."

As for the planned changes to the healthbars, Meddler asked for feedback:
I feel like the health bars not being visually centered over the champ is going to have my OCD kick in, but time will tell.
Give us some feedback once it's on PBE if you can. They're still centered when champs are closer to the center of the screen, just somewhat offset around the edges since that's where the misleading appearance otherwise happens. It's something I've personally found works pretty smoothly in game, though looks a bit odd in still images, so curious to hear what you think at that point."

On RumbleMeddler  noted:
Have you decided how you will buff Rumble?
Some ult buffs are being tested internally at the moment, they're pretty tentative/debated at this point though still."

When asked for updates on the VO update for an as of yet unnamed older champion, Meddler noted:
Hey Meddler! I recall you mentioning that, after the Cho’gath Effects update, you’d like to give updating the VO of an older champion. Is that still something you guys are chipping away at, or was it shelved due to resource strain/not hitting the mark/innumerable other reasons? Also, any word on how the Cho visual updates landed?
VO update ended up getting delayed unfortunately. We got the new recording into testing, both with Rioters and some mains who came in to test it out, and got a fair bit of 'this is a different champion/personality' which was not our goal. Will take another go at it later though."

Riot Games Merch Updates

After the announcement for the upcoming sale of the limited edition Ahri: A New Dawn figure, the Riot Games Merch FB. have been releasing small details about the figure:

[1] "The biggest question we got last week was What size is Ahri: A New Dawn?. . .so here is a peek at her sizing chart. She is 18.5 inches tall (that is 2 inches taller than the Twisted Fate statue). Ahri is Limited Edition, priced at $185 and launches on March 13th at 11am PST. 
Ahri is sculpted by legendary artist Simon Lee, who is behind some of Hollywoods most notable designs from movies like Pacific Rim, Kong: Skull Island, and Star Trek Beyond. 550 statues are available in North America and 550 are available for Europe."

[2] "Ahri: A New Dawn - profile view. 
March 13th, 11am pst."
Also running at the moment is a hoodie sale, with hoodies 30% off until March 12th!

Quick Hits

  • Riot Maple commented on his thoughts on balancing pro play vs. solo queue:
"This is going to be painting with a broad brush, and there will 100% be exceptions to this, but looking back I think a lot of the champs we tend to tiptoe around are those that are "problems" in pro play, without being much of an issue in soloq. It makes it harder since we cause a lot of pain when nerfing a champion just because they're strong in pro play, because for a lot of our players it feels like we're taking away their game for something they don't even particularly care about. 100% we're not perfect about this either, but we're hopefully getting better. 
Regarding levels of diversity, I think that a lot of it is on us, but there's also a good amount of that on the professional teams. We can try to make as many champions viable in each role as possible, but in pro the correct move is often to optimize only a few strategies, which usually only call for a certain subset of champions. With limited time to practice on each patch, it's more realistic to pour time into those champions than to try and pick up things that may be fringe viable in pro or even a specific pocket pick. On that front, how do you think your appreciation of the pro scene would change if a team could only pick a specific champion twice every split(hypothetical example purely for discussion)? Putting a system like that in place would surely increase diversity in all roles, but would you want a professional scene where you'd have top teams playing against each other on champs they didn't feel comfortable with / hadn't practiced much with their team? Would love your thoughts! 
"One of the issue with DoT's is how much power we need to give them to feel good. Turns out when you take a spell's damage and split it over multiple instances it starts to feel weak.
Example: During development Vi's R used to hit twice, once on the knockup and once on the knockdown. It did roughly 1.5x the damage that it does now. Everyone told me it felt weak. 
One day I reduced the total damage it did by 30%, and made it only hit once at the end. Suddenly Vi testers were telling me that the ult felt great, and people playing against were saying that it was too bursty. 
"Too bursty now." "Feels great now." After I had reduced the damage by 30%. All thanks to combining the damage into a single instance. This is why DoTs are difficult."
"It’s hard to imagine a more passionate group than League players – moments after Kai’Sa was teased, artists and cosplayers sprang into action, creating their own takes on the Daughter of the Void. Summoner Showcase today is all about Kai’Sa and the talented creators who made Kai’Sa their own. 
Do you have MORE Kai’Sa art to show off? Post it in the comments for everyone to enjoy! Want to see your art on the Showcase? Send it to us in the comments below, reach out to us on Twitter, and use #SUMMONERSHOWCASE so we can see your posts and submissions!"


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

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