Red Post Collection: /Dev on ARAM changes, Bilgewater Bridge returns, June sales schedule, & more!

Posted on at 12:20 PM by Aznbeat
[Added Ask Riot: Ranked ARAMS?]

This afternoon's red post collection includes  a new /dev on permanent quality-of-life changes and temporary gameplay changes coming to ARAM, the return of Butcher's Bridge in the upcoming Bilgewater event, the June champion and skin sales schedule, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Ask Riot: Ranked ARAMS? 

Here's this week's Ask Riot:
"This week, it’s ranked ARAMs, unlocking Summoner Spells, and the upcoming marksman item changes. 
With the new ranked system for the new year, are you thinking of implementing a ranked system for aram too? it’d be nice to have something to say like, “look, this player is good at this mode.”

ARAM is a weird beast. If you imagine a game of SR or even TT, the hope is that your individual skill has a big impact on the outcome of the game. There are factors other than your skill at play however, including things like the somewhat random effect of who you’ll get as teammates and how well you gel as a team. In ARAM, these “other factors” have a huge impact on your success rate because which champion you and the other players get can massively affect the outcome. This is the part of ARAM that some ARAM enthusiasts find really fun—you never really know what’s going to happen. 
Additionally, we spend far less effort balancing champions for ARAM than we do for SR. Part of this is just a question of focus. We view SR as the core League of Legends experience and spend most our bandwidth on balancing it. But it is also an acknowledgement that in ARAM, whether you succeed or fail is often a lot more out of your control, so even achieving a high degree of game balance can only improve the game so much. 
For these two reasons, we worry that ranked ARAM just asks players to take ARAM more seriously, which could be a really frustrating experience. The urge to dodge might go through the roof for example. 
All of that said, while we’re focused a lot on improving the ranked experience this year, one of the questions we’re exploring for the future is whether League needs to offer more of a sense of progression for players who don’t play a lot of ranked. While leveling is uncapped now, and we have features like champion mastery, overall there isn’t much that a player who plays mostly Normals (including ARAM) can choose to focus on. They don’t really have a journey the way a ranked player can shoot for ending the season with a higher rank. Maybe that’s okay—maybe Normal players don’t need and aren’t looking for an end game in the same way. But the requests we get for things like competitive ARAM (or “look, this player is good at this mode” from the original question) maybe suggests that some players are. 
Design Director, League of Legends 

I recently taught my brother to play a little League, and I realized that new players have many difficulties by not having spells like flash. Why don’t you unlock all summoner spells from level 1?

New players to League come in with a lot of different experience levels, as you might imagine. Some have played MOBAs before, or at the very least have watched some League videos or maybe even have a friend offering them pointers. Other new players might have literally never played a PC game before. 
It can be hard to appreciate just how basic the basic skills of this kind of player can be if you haven’t witnessed it first hand. For example, they can struggle to find their champion if they scroll the camera off-screen. Expecting or prompting them to use Summoner Spells is asking an awful lot—they’re doing well if they even use their QWER. The new tutorial we’re working on emphasizes really elemental basics, like the fact that turrets exist and that they hurt. 
You can also play a lot of low-level games of League, even PvP, without really needing to use Summoner Spells. You’ll need to understand them eventually, for sure. But we see new players not understand, not use, and not go back to Summoners if we give them out too early. 
Design Director, League of Legends 

Why do you think reworking ADCs is necessary? ADCs do a lot of damage in the late game, but isn’t that what they’re designed for?

We’re making some changes to marksmen and some of the items they use for a few reasons: 
  1. We want to support a larger variety of marksman playstyles. Right now hyperscaling marksmen are generally very dominant. They’re hard to set back seriously enough in lane and their power spike kicks in fairly early (two items) for how strong their late game is. By contrast, lane bully marksmen, who should amongst other things be a natural counter to hypercarries, often aren’t effective enough.
  2. We also believe some marksmen, crit users primarily, deal too much burst damage to squishy targets, especially in the mid game. That contributes to an arms race situation, where squishy-on-squishy combat usually can’t involve spending any measurable amount of time in proximity to your opponent.
  3. Finally, we also want to reduce the early game power of marksmen who are strong late game by a bit. Some of that’s reflection of their late game strength, which should come with a trade off of early game weakness. Some of it’s also to help other champs lane against them, whether in bot lane or elsewhere on the map.
Lead Gameplay Designer 
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."

/Dev: ARAM Changes Incoming 

A ton of ARAM changes are headed our way! In addition to the return of the Bilgewater themed Butcher's Bridge map, they'll soon be adding a new Available Champion Pool feature to swap between rerolled champions, an increased ARAM F2P champion pool,  improvements to mastery scoring, beginning of game improvements, and more.  During the upcoming Bilgewater event, there will also be a set of event-only gameplay changes including new items, health relic changes, and more.

Here's Riot Popc0rner and Riot Vitzkrieg with more on more details:
"/DEV: ARAM Changes Incoming
Permanent quality-of-life changes and temporary gameplay changes are heading to the Howling Abyss. 

The Maps and Modes team has spent most of its time exploring new gameplay with modes like Star Guardian: Invasion and bringing back old favorites like One for All, but that means we haven’t given ARAM as much attention as we should have. We’re excited to change that in 8.11, and hopefully bring some additional freshness and polish to the Howling Abyss in the process. We recognize that ARAM is already a well-established mode with a widespread and dedicated following, and we want to make sure that the changes we make are ones the ARAM community will welcome. 
To that end, we’ll be adding a handful of quality-of-life features which should smooth out some experiences in Champion Select and at the beginning of the game. These features are intended to resolve some pain points we’ve seen crop up around ARAM, and as such, the plan is to keep them around for good. 
We’ve also got some big gameplay changes heading your way while the Bilgewater Event is running. These changes will help us test ways to make ARAM better, and help us to gauge how open the ARAM community is to changes to the mode. Although they’re temporary, the gameplay changes that are well-received may return to stay in a future patch. 
Let’s jump right in! 
Ever watched someone reroll your favorite champion with a trade request pending? What about rerolling one champion, only to end up with something worse? Tired of having to type “rr” in chat and sit back and wait, just in case someone wants to play Bard? 
Starting in 8.11, whenever you reroll a champion, that champion is sent to the Available Champions Pool (or as we like to call it, the Bench), where your teammates (or you) can freely trade for it. 
Our hope is that this will smooth out “Champion Select” and ensure that spending a reroll won’t make your team composition worse. And speaking of rerolls, we’re slightly increasing the rate at which you earn them. If you have no champions unlocked, you’ll earn a reroll about once every 2 games, increasing based on the number of champions owned. If you own every champion, you’ll earn one reroll each game, up to a max of two. 
At the same time, we’re widening the Free to Play pool in ARAM. We’re mainly doing this to make sure the mode stays true to its random nature and to limit the impact of ARAM-only accounts. The new ARAM Free to Play pool will consist of Summoner’s Rift’s last three Free to Play pools, which means it’ll usually contain 42 champions
Also, to celebrate Bilgewater and the launch of League’s newest champion, Pyke will be in the ARAM Free to Play pool for the duration of the upcoming event! 
We’re making some improvements to Champion Mastery on ARAM. Mastery scoring was designed primarily for Summoner’s Rift, and the algorithm it uses to calculate a score on ARAM underestimates mastery by quite a bit. As a result, it’s been pretty tough to get an S on ARAM. We’re adjusting this formula in 8.11, so the performance required to get an S will be more consistent with Summoner’s Rift. 
We’ve got a handful of other changes in the Quality of Life bucket too: 
  • There are now Base Gates at the beginning of the game, like there are on Summoner’s Rift, to give players a fair start regardless of how quickly they can finish loading or buying their first items. Like SR, these gates will go down 15 seconds into the game.
  • You’ll now begin ARAM games with 662 experience, which is the normal amount for Level 3, instead of no experience. This means that it won’t take nearly as long to go from Level 3 to Level 4 on ARAM in the future.
  • We’ve also changed the surrender time to 8 minutes for a unanimous early surrender vote and 12 minutes for a normal surrender vote, which is partially to make getting out of a game with a disconnected player faster. We considered enabling Remake for ARAM, but it’s likely that enabling Remake would lead to more early-disconnects and AFKs, resulting in an experience that’s worse for everybody. 
Let’s move on to the event-only gameplay changes. There are a bunch of things we want to try, both to give the mode a unique feel during Curse of the Drowned and to get a sense of what gameplay changes would be healthy in the long term. Right now, all of the changes we’re about to talk about are event-only, but the things that are well-received may find their way back to the Howling Abyss permanently. 
We take a pretty light-touch approach to balance in ARAM, but Dark Harvest has overperformed so strongly and so consistently (despite a small previous nerf) that it’s very nearly a must-take rune, and that makes the whole process of rune selection less interesting. During Bilgewater, we’ll be reducing Soul Essence from champion takedowns from 5 to 4, and Soul Essence from cannon minion kills from 4 to 2. 
And while we’re on the topic of “must-take,” let’s talk about Warmog’s Armor. In a way, Warmog’s breaks a core rule of ARAM by letting you heal back up to full health in a short period of time by avoiding combat. That makes it quite strong—so strong that we’ve seen it be built on just about every champion, even after the max-health requirement was raised. As a result, we’re removing Warmog’s Armor from ARAM for the duration of the event. 
Ultimately, we’re making both of these changes to test whether they make ARAM healthier and more enjoyable. Be sure to let us know what you think! 
We’ll be introducing three new items to ARAM while the Bilgewater event is going on. All three are intended to give melee attackers and short range mages (especially Assassins) some more gameplay options. These are the champions that tend to struggle in ARAM, and we’re hoping that giving them some extra tools will help even out the battlefield. 
A pair of boots that only melee champions can buy which let you walk through walls (and on air!). We stole them from Kayn. 
Spectral Cutlass 
An AD/Lethality item that, when activated, marks the ground beneath its bearer. A short time later, that bearer is automatically returned to the mark. 
Bloodletter’s Veil 
A close cousin of Banshee’s Veil, this AP/Magic Penetration item shields its owner when they do damage with an ability. 
These items will appear on the Recommended Items pages for all champions during the event, so go ahead and try them to get in, get out, and live to tell the tale. 
The last of the gameplay changes (but certainly not the least!) is a new approach to health packs. During the event, whenever you pick up a health relic, you’ll see the following: 
In addition to restoring a little bit of health and mana, health relics will now cast a huge Redemption-like heal. But be careful—the healing affects both teams equally, which means you’ll have to defend the perimeter to stop your opponents from nabbing some of that sweet HP for themselves! 
We have two goals with these changes. We want to let you share the health with your team, and we want to create some interesting gameplay around health relics. We fully expect some massive teamfights to break out when both teams try to sneak into the same ring. 
In addition, we’ve changed how much health and mana the relics give. They used to give a flat amount per level (about 20), but now they restore a percentage of your missing health and mana, meaning they’re far more effective if you’re very low on either. This is quite a large buff overall, so we increased the respawn time from 60 seconds to 90 seconds per relic. 
And to help you keep better track of health packs, we’re now displaying their respawn times in the Jungle Timer area above the scoreboard. 
And finally… Butcher’s Bridge is back! For the duration of the Bilgewater event, all ARAM games will take place here: 

Butcher’s Bridge is several years old now, and we first made it without the benefits of our new map pipelines and tools. We decided to overhaul both Butcher’s Bridge and the Howling Abyss, bringing them into the environment tech we first used on Project: Overcharge last year. The upgraded map uses our new lighting system, supports relative team colors, and is significantly easier to maintain. 
We hope you enjoy trying out these changes as much as we enjoyed working on them. We’ll be listening for your feedback, so please let us know what you think. In particular, we want to know if you’d like to see any of the temporary changes come to ARAM full-time. 
Thanks for taking the time to read, and we’ll catch you out on the Bridge!"
For more on upcoming ARAM changes currently testing on the PBE, check on the boards or in our 8.11 PBE cycle page.

June sales schedule 

Here's Riot Evaelin with the June Sales Schedule:
"Check out all the champs and skins on sale this June! Like previous sales schedules, we’re not posting the exact dates for each champ and skin, but they’ll all be on sale sometime next month. 
Just a heads up—since we’re publishing these in advance, we won’t offer partial refunds on champs and skins purchased before they go on sale."

Quick Hits

  • Here's the5thsin discussing Pyke's bandana in his teaser versus in game:
Hi, Pyke's teaser producer here. Thanks for your feedback and for the very cool paintover (digging the strong Riddick vibes). I'm really happy you like this derivation of the character's real mask in the teaser. (Fair warning: my phone keeps autocorrecting Pyke to Puke—I'll try to catch them all, but please be gentle if I don't). Some people have pointed out that the blown out eyes and chunkier shapes on his mask work well in the in-game camera, and I agree. Even beyond that, though, the differences you point out have to do with both Pyke's story and the way it's told. 
If you met Pyke on the street, first of all you'd be dead, but just before that happened you'd see the in-game mask and eyes. Pyke used to me a man, and that bandana would have been manmade, probably in Bilgewater. Its design reflects the aesthetic used by the people of that city, and (speculating here) it looks to me like it was influenced by the tribal patterns from the Blue Flame Isles, kind of like Illaoi's tattoos. The blown out eyes, which he definitely did nothave in his first life, are part of the terrible price Pyke paid in becoming what he is. They're a reflection of the source of his power. 
So diving into The Bloodwater Ripper video, you have to remember that Pyke's the one telling the story. Since we can't take what he tells and shows us at face value, the mask isn't necessarily what Pyke wears. The aberration of the mask is how he sees himself and how he feels when he wears it. Maybe it's the distorted reflection he saw in the surface of some water once. As for the eyes with irises, I think of them as remnants of his human side. It's Pyke's tale, and he wants you to know he's looking right at you. He couldn't really do that with the eyes he has now. 
So setting aside personal preference and what does/doesn't work well in the game, consider that there are conscious choices to Pyke's appearance that speak to who he is as a character. I hope that helps shed some light on the matter."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • The Rainbow Fluft icon, celebrating IDAHOTB, is available to purchase for 1 BE through Patch 8.10! This enables a rainbow spawn animation during the patch, so make sure to grab it while you can!
  • MSI 2018 kicks off May 3rd! Check our MSI 2018 Hits the Rift coverage for a look at in-game content such the new Conqueror Varus OR head on over to [LoL Esports] for streams & more!

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