Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 4/25, Reminders, & more

Posted on at 3:46 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for 4/25, red comments from around the web, reminders, and more!
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Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: April 25th

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for April 25, including thoughts on Syndra, spell buffering, small patch/large patch feedback, and more:
"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: 
Touching on Syndra since she was asked about a lot last time. As you might have seen we've got a change to Syndra's passive bonus to Q on the PBE where it's reverted to the prior bonus of '15% more damage to champions' rather than giving the extended Sphere duration. Goals there are to make getting a high sphere ult less consistent and more of a skilltest again, increase the value of hitting individual Qs and avoid adding extra waveclear (hence champion damage only). 
Having said that, that's not to say the older Q bonus is the ideal thing to put there. It is however an understood effect we can swap to easily and get out quickly, which is important here given we'd like to improve Syndra's state but have a lot of other stuff underway as well. We can then follow up with additional power focused changes if appropriate. 
Spell Buffering now in 8.10, not 8.9 
The spell buffering changes mentioned last time are now in 8.10. Testing revealed bugs with a few abilities so we're both fixing those and checking similar abilities to see if they have the same issue. 
Also, since I saw some confusion over this last time, wanted to clarify how this buffering interacts with CC. This effect won't allow abilities to be cast through CC if they couldn't normally be done so. It's basically acting as though the button was pressed a fraction of a second later as it became available. If at that time the champion in question is silenced/stunned/whatever and couldn't normally cast the ability won't happen. 
Small Patch/Large Patch 
From 8.1 onwards this year we've been alternating small patches (odd numbers) and large patches (even numbers). That system's going to get a bit fuzzy for a few patches around midseason right now, current plan is to get back to it afterwards however. Before doing that though wanted to see what feedback you folks had about it, including:
  • Do you notice it at all?
  • Do you care?
  • Any particular differences that stand out versus how we previously approached patches? 
Adjusting Healthbar height based off camera position 
Something else you might see on the PBE soonish is an experiment into lowering healthbar heights automatically so they're displayed on screen if you can see the unit but not the healthbar. Intent is that it should help with cases like Baron and Towers in particular, where where you want to position your screen to see the most important part of the map sometimes leaves the healthbar off screen, making it harder to track objective progress. 
If you notice that on the PBE, whether directly or through the videos of others feedback much appreciated, in particular on whether it's more helpful or distracting."

When asked about champs with supporting skillshots, Meddler commented:
Why does nobody have supporting skillshots (except Lux and maybe Ezreal)? Is it because it might cause tension if you miss one or should shields and heals always be reliable?
I think we could probably do a little bit more with supportive skillshots. Biggest issue to overcome is that some designs (heals in particular) make it so that the best play is 'ask your ally to just not move for a moment'. That means allied skillshots should generally be things that you mainly want to use in combat, so they're still skillshots, not just a communication test. Lux (shield) and Ezreal (attack speed) work for that reason.

On items for melee crit champions, Meddler noted:
Will patch 8.10 (which contain crit item changes) also touch on melee crit user ? (Yasuo/Trynd mainly)
Some crit item impacting changes (it's mainly IE/ER) will be in 8.11. They'll be on the PBE from 8.10 onwards, but will be there for two patch cycles for extra testing and feedback rather than the usual one. 
Changes have considered melee crit users, at present we don't have any proactive changes (buff or nerf) in place for them though. Current plan is to see where they land and add or remove power as needed (don't think they'll be too out of line either way)."

On midseason jungle changes, Meddler noted:
Also can you talk about the midseason jungle changes a little?
We'll get a context post up on them soon (probably early next week at a guess). They're not that large though, just to avoid any assumptions around 'Riot's changing the whole jungle again'. Looking at how fast early leveling is (including where early XP comes from), mana regen and possibly the design of Runic Echoes."

Meddler continued:
Are you looking to make the jungle easier or harder? Will there be changes to junglers themselves?
Probably lowering really early game gank impact. Looking at changing systems (XP gain, some camp stats) rather than individual junglers, at least initially."

Meddler noted that, as usual, context posts would be provided for the upcoming midseason changes:
Are we getting any midseason posts about the changes before PBE launches next week? Do you go deeper in these changes in this Friday post?
We'll have the folks working on the changes put up some context posts. Main one will be a run through on some of the marksmen itemization and base stat changes from Axes. Probably also a smaller one on some jungle tweaks from Sotere."

On FizzMeddler commented:
Now that the work on Rengar and Leblanc is more or less complete, is there any chance of Fizz's rework being revisited? There's still a lot of dissatisfaction among Fizz players about the direction his rework took him, and some of the design principles it embodies are very similar to the ones that prompted Leblanc's revert. Would love to hear your thoughts.
We'll likely talk about Fizz at least after mid-season. The W I could see us adjusting potentially. The R power scaling by distance by contrast I think has done good things though (optimal play not being to just use your skillshot point blank as a non dodgeable CC)."

On Unsealed Spellbook, Meddler noted:
Is there larger context on why you've chosen to go with Unsealed Spellbook's current design on PBE, rather than the current design on live (but with Clarity in it)? 
Also, is there a chance we'll ever see more than just Clarity on it? I remember the PBE Chat with the Playtest team where it was said that Surge and Fortify were being tested but didn't make the cut. Does this leave other options (like Revive and Clairvoyance) impossible to have?
Lemme get the designer working on Unsealed to jump in and offer some thoughts (TLDR: Yes there's context and we should share it). 
Definitely possible we get more than just Clarity in there. Interested in doing so eventually but there were reasons those Summoner Spells got removed and need to ensure we're not just adding the same issues back in (Surge was very stat checky and didn't have much skill test even by Summoner Spell standards, Fortify tended to lead to non interactive stalling and wasn't satisfying for its power)."

Riot Rovient dropped in to provide more information:
"Hey there! 
The original Unsealed Spellbook (USB for short) was designed to allow players to really shake-up their Summoner Spell strategy throughout a game of League, choosing the right spells for the right moment. The fantasy was that players could swap to Smite to contest a close Baron fight, or to Ignite when the enemy Soraka is becoming too hot to handle. However, after taking a long look at the USB on Live, we found that the fantasy was not the reality, and that the primary incentive for taking the Rune was the passive 15% cooldown reduction on Summoner Spells. Essentially, players just wanted Flash more often (with the occasional swap to Teleport to keep enemy lanes on their toes for a portion of the game). 
We wanted the primary swapping mechanic to be the only focus for the USB redesign, so we dropped the cooldown reduction entirely. This meant that we'd have to make the swapping mechanic far more lucrative to ensure the Rune still functioned as an exciting and viable Keystone choice. 
Where USB V1 required players to successfully predict where the game might be going in the next several minutes, V2 now only asks that players think ahead to very near future. V2 enables players to swap to Ghost as they roam down from mid-lane to bot, or for a solo laner to burn both theirs and their enemy's Summoner Spells in an intense trade, only to have access to a 3rd Summoner a few seconds later (without even having to back and lose lane pressure). It even allows Summoner Spell dependent Marksmen like Varus to have extra safety in lane at the expense of an offensive Keystone choice from another Path. 
Another great aspect of USB V2 that we perhaps haven't explained well enough to our players is that your original Summoner Spells continue to cooldown 'in the background' when you've swapped to a new Summoner Spell. It's common to swap out a Summoner Spell that's currently on cooldown and have it be back up by the time you've used your new, swapped in Summoner Spell. 
Swapping needed to feel both strategically powerful and intellectually satisfying, and I believe this new incarnation of the Rune is stronger that the Live version in these elements. 
Finally, to answer your question about other 'retired' Summoner Spells finding a home in USB; the Rune is engineered to be flexible, so we can absolutely add more Summoner Spells if required. As always, we'll be evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each new addition to the Rune on a case by case basis, but it's possible you'll see more Spells added to the Unsealed Spellbook at some point in the future."

When asked for his opinion on the LeBlanc and Ahri changes in 8.8, Meddler commented:
What are your thoughts on Ahri and LeBlanc "reworks"?
Changes to both LB and Ahri recently seem positive to me so far. Remains to be seen how much might still need to be solved in terms of LB counterplay and Ahri variance in output (carry and failure potential). Think a bunch of things did get improved though certainly."

Meddler talked a little about Mordekaiser:
"Smaller scope work on Morde hasn't worked out that well, so I'm cautious about trying to make changes that aren't simple power adjustments until we can do a full overhaul. 
Base stats could make sense if he was weak, don't feel that's the case at present. Would agree with your assessment that he's got a kit that can be pretty sensitive to even fairly small buffs (and base stats are definitely direct buffs, not quality of life). 
W without recast adds some power and removes some enemy response, so would want to ensure both of those were goals or not do so. Wouldn't rule it out though. 
Removing W passive to add power doesn't make sense if the argument is that it's not doing much in the first place."

Maple Nectar noted gold shutdown changes were still planned for 8.10:
What happened to the gold of turrets and shutdownds from going to global to local?
Shutdown/bounty changes are coming in 8.10 assuming everything works smoothly!"

Riot Aether provided more details over on Reddit:
The latest shutdown changes I've seen in testing are siphoning some % of shutdown gold out of the teamwide bonus (potentially even 100%) and into the person who got the shutdown/teammates who assisted. If you're the one who got shut down, that means one or two people on the enemy team will be stronger before, but the other four members of the team will be weaker. 
Say this happens in lane—if you die to a gank after winning a bunch of 1v1s top, the rest of the enemy team won't get as much gold as they do now. This means your other lanes aren't put at a disadvantage, giving them a better chance at winning or going even. So, when lane phase ends, you'll have preserved more of the initial lead you gained because they won't have gotten gold from your death. 
Also, to confirm your hopes, shutdown gold isn't the be-all end-all change for carry potential, just the first and clearest example. Otherwise we would've just called the section "Shutdown bounty changes" :P"
When asked about Zyra, Maple Nectar replied:
1) Is anything going to be done to help midlane Zyra? Right now her plants feel kinda bland because they're getting one-shotted by literally everything even though her whole kit depends heavily on them. 
2) Already asked about this in the previous post but I wanna give it another shot. Any info on the Morgana/Kayle dual update?
We have some work slated to explicitly address some of the annoying 1 shot stuff for Zyra plants. It's been on our list for a few patches now, but keeps getting eked out by other work we have to prioritize above it. Pretty unsatisfying answer unfortunately, since it feels bad to keep hearing us talk about it but not do it. Repertoire has some specific ideas for it that we'll get around to as soon as we can."

Meddler talked more about spell buffering:
"Spell buffering:
  • At present (some exceptions) if you push the button to cast a spell and the spell's still on CD nothing happens.
  • That's what you'd expect by default. It does create an issue for players with more than minimal ping however where the spell is available to be cast on the server (it's come off CD) but the player's client hasn't been told that yet so they can't cast it until they receive that update.
  • This change makes it so that, if a player inputs a cast command just before the spell becomes available it will cast when available if there's nothing stopping it (not CC'd, OOM etc).
  • Main change should be smoother play and effective CDs that match design intent for people with medium or high ping. Lee Sin W buffering done last year's an example of that, making it so whether or not you're a strong Lee Sin player's notably less dependent on your connection.
  • Might make some combos a bit smoother in non ping related cases as well, not expecting too much change there though."

Quick Hits

  • Riot Aether commented on a bug list for Runes Reforged, noting they would be looking into it:
Thanks for the solid write-up! I'm passing this over to the team (assuming they haven't already seen it, which... they probably have :P). To set expectations, it may be a bit until changes happen here—we're close to locking down 8.9, which means it's unlikely that fixes will make it in time unless someone was already working on them (gotta check to make sure fixing one thing doesn't break another, etc). 
From there, the less-impactful or QoL-ish notes will have to be weighed against whatever else the team was planning to do. Prioritization on this front isn't as simple as draining a locked-down list over a set amount of patches, which is why some of the non-gameplay-impacting suggestions have been around for a while now: as the team takes on new projects, that work bumps these smaller issues down again. 
..this comment has probably gotten to the point where I'm starting to speak a little out of turn, so I'll shut up and go forward this link now. Thanks again for such a clean list!
"The game needs a lot of things. Better exploration around shielding, the champions that utilize shields, and the items that empower shields could get us a lot of gains. We unfortunately didn't come to a good solution that was of appropriate scope to get into the game before midseason, at which point it didn't make sense to try to also squeeze that into midseason efforts. 
I understand why that explanation will be unpopular. I also would have preferred we came to a proper solution."
Riot Games Motion Graphics Team 
Riot Games Motion Graphics Team is a member of Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
Hi! I'm Sanketh, a motion graphics artist on the Core Gameplay Publishing team. I've worked on many login screens the last few years, among other things, and get asked about our techniques (referred to as black magic too often, haha), so I thought I would shed some light on that! 
I recorded some mograph related tutorials at work before, but wanted to make some player facing to share some of our techniques we get asked about often. Hopefully this gives some of you a sneak peak at how we go about rigging and animating the characters you see as you log in! This example shows the basic process rigging/animating the non-layered Fiddlesticks splash, and is a pretty quick/basic example for the sake of learning. We usually spend weeks on a login animation, rather than 1 day, haha. 
This is also the first set of videos for our new Motion Graphics team channel; I hope there is more to come here soon, but our team is fairly small and we are usually pretty busy... so I wouldn't expect videos here super frequently. At any rate, I hope these videos are helpful or cool to see for you. Feel free to leave comments or questions and we will try to get back to you. 
Thanks for watching! 
Warning: This tutorial is aimed at After Effects artists, so it might be boring and technical if you aren't one. Part 4 might be a little more interesting since I cracked open the Taliyah and Warwick files which might be neat to look at!"
  • Maple Nectar provided details on tracking bugs on champions as well as Wukong:
"One of our designers was looking at a few Talon bugs last week in some time between tasks. Some were proving pretty tricky - I'll track down where we landed on those last week. I know 1 fix for sure is going into this patch (his Q range will no longer be bugged), but there was also some weird behavioral bugs when flipping over walls he was investigating. 
Wukong ended up getting put on the backburner for a short amount of time while we re-evaluated the function/success of mini updates/roster scope updates. We'd been exploring him around the same time as the Xin Zhao rework, and there were a few lessons from that release that we wanted to learn from and apply to some of the champions like Wukong that share some similar thematic space and gameplay desire for players (we've seen that Wukong has a similar fantasy that Xin Zhao players and a few others share). For the time being we have him on one of our short lists for the champion team designer to pick up when they're looking for an additional smaller scope project to take on while waiting on iterations for their main project. I can't promise any timelines as usual, but there's only 11 champions on that short list, so I hope that information is better than no thing. Sorry we've been so silent on Wukong, there just hasn't been much to share recently that would feel particularly great, but I realize silence doesn't feel super splendid either. FWIW I think there has to be a better passive for him, and I'd be really interested if we could make him less bound to lethality in order to be viable in a game. Right now if you can't delete their squishies quickly, you don't bring much to a team comp that you couldn't get elsewhere. (Wukong has been one of my higher played champions in seasons past)."
Maple Nectar continued on the topic of finding bugs:
"To be entirely honest, this is one of the things that we're not super great at. I wish we had the time to fix every bug in the game (or at least the major ones), but we run into a few reoccurring problems on that front:
1. Visibility - even if there are threads about important bugs we may not seen them
2. Repro Steps - even if there are reports, there aren't always clear methods for us to reproduce them so we can track down the issue
3. Time - as Beany mentioned, when looking at an allocation of value to time, delivering on new content almost always trumps taking time to fix bugs - especially when they can get really hairy really quick. We could hire more people to do this, or could allocate more time to bug fixing, but it would come at the cost of additional things being shipped - something that can be a bitter pill to swallow for a lot of people. 
I've been trying to think of ways to at least make some progress here, let me know what you think of this as a tactic. Essentially, reception to the bug fixes from Quinn that were bundled into a patch 8.6 was really positive - though it also took a decent amount of time for the designer to round up all the bugs/QoL changes, make the fixes, get them tested etc. I was wondering if going onto each of the subreddits for all the champion mains and dropping something like a: 
"Hey guys, as a community it would be great if you could build up and prioritize a list of bug fixes / quality of life improvements that you think would help make your champion feel better. I can't promise if/when we'll get to them, but if we're doing work on a champion, it would be far easier to just get to reference a list from the people that care about the champion the most as opposed to us guessing what fixes may actually help. If the community thinks something is important, and we know where to find it, it becomes way easier for us to actually commit to that work." 
Something to that effect anyway."
  • Maple Nectar commented on what makes a Diver:
What else SHOULD a diver bring to the table? A diver's role is to kill priority targets, is it not?
To an extent yes - a diver is intended to be able to get onto the back line and present a very serious threat, but currently it feels like unless WK is able to delete someone with E+Q+AA with Duskblade (and ult when he has it), the amount of tools he has left or opportunity for compelling decision making is super low. It leads to Wukong having some very high highs (when I win, I win really hard), but also some really low lows (if I lose early, it's near impossible to claw back into the game). I don't think we should homogenize his kit so that he just has a flat power curve, since variance in performance between games is important, but do think that it would be great to let him rely on more than just E+Q+AA, or E+Q+R. He's pretty binary in that way, but his kit doesn't let him do much else."
  • Riot Repertoir commented on Rageblade and high AD amounts:
"The extremely high amounts of AD are the results of different %amps acting recursively with each other. It's not an issue unique to Jhin, and there are other instances of recursive stat increases in the game, but it is certainly most pronounced on him. A change is already locked into the 8.9 to address this with Rageblade."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • MSI 2018 starts May 3rd, but you can start the celebrations now! Check out our coverage in MSI 2018 Hits the Rift!
  • The Midseason Essence Emporium will be open from 4/19 - 4/30! Check this article for more details!

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