Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 6/29, Ask Riot, SSG Skins & Executes, & More

Posted on at 4:15 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for 6/29, including notes on 8.13 being a three week patch, as well as this week's Ask Riot, a roundup of answers from the Aatrox AMA on Reddit, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: June 29 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for June 29th, including notes on 8.13 being a three week patch, Fizz's continued W change testing, 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: 
Patch 8.13 will be a 3 week patch 
In order to get our patch timing to sync up with various events later in the year we need to do one three week patch, which will be 8.13 (the patch that's on live now). That means most things for 8.14 will just spend some extra time on the PBE and then the patch will go out as normal, just a week later. To reduce the time between balance adjustments though we'll be doing a mini patch via micropatching halfway through the 8.14 development cycle. An 8.13b basically, like we did 7.24b last year before the holidays. Details of what will go in that next week once we've got them figured out, will primarily be needed balance changes that shouldn't have to wait another week and a half until 8.14. 
ARAM dev blog 
For anyone that missed it we've got a Dev blog on the ARAM changes that were tried recently and why some are and aren't sticking around permanently. 
We're keeping:
  • The bench where rerolled picks go
  • Early surrender time
  • Delay until you can leave base
  • Faster early XP .
  • Dark Harvest ARAM specific nerfs
  • AOE health relics
We're Removing:
  • The three new items (mixed results and experiences with/against, might explore some of them again at some point)
  • Butcher's Bridge (back at some point, gone for now, talking when/how to do so again)
  • Warmog's. Poke without it's too strong. Will replace it at some point with an anti poke item designed for ARAM that gives needed poke resistance without all the issues Warmogs also brings. 
Fizz W 
We're going to take another stab at Fizz W changes on the PBE this cycle, aiming to incorporate elements of the new and old Ws. TLDR: 
Passive - AAs apply a DoT
Active - Next attack deals magic damage. If it kills, it resets. If it doesn't, Fizz gets magic damage on hit for 6s. 
As with the previous changes we were testing feedback much appreciated, especially if you get the chance to play with them directly on the PBE. Numbers won't necessarily be correct initially, so looking particularly for how it feels to use and what such a skill does to Fizz's gameplay pattern, rather than exact balance tuning. 
We've got some work going on on updating LoL's tooltip style at the moment as you might have seen with some partial changes on Aatrox's tooltips. That will be a gradual process and, like the cursor update, will involve a lot of showing stuff, getting feedback, and iterating on it. More details from the team working on that shortly, including what our goals are, what features we'll be adding that our current tooltips don't deliver, what sort of timeline to expect etc."

When asked about his plans for Lissandra's passive, Meddler noted:
"Only went into test this week, so a bit early. Will share details, if it's still testing well, end of next week. Downside of it is it would need a moderate amount of new art/sound, so would take longer to get to out than other approaches might."

When asked if he knew how the Aatrox hotfix from 6/27 landed, Meddler replied:
"Not yet. The micro patch added quite a bit of power to him. We want to wait a while and see where his learning curve takes his performance for now. If he's struggling next week would be a potential candidate for 8.13b, trying to avoid over buffing though."

On Irelia's state right now, Meddler commented:
I do think Irelia was too strong pre 8.13 at least, even just based off her performance in top. Agree mages being weak's a potential factor in her strength mid though, will be useful to see how putting power back into some of them affects her there.
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On 8.14 balance, Meddler replied:
Any news on what champions will get some balance changes next patch, particularly the mages you mentioned in your last post?
Also maybe some thoughts on Ahri specifically? Do you think the changes to her some time ago were successfull or do you see some room for other changes?
Not yet. Because 8.13 is a 3 week patch we're taking a bit of time to work on some other things before getting into the details of 8.14. Details/directions to come as soon as we've got something to share though.

As for Ashe and XayahMeddler replied:
Any info on plans for the likes of Ashe and Xayah given their unique crit interactions? 
Also how have the Jinx and Trist buffs done so far?
ADC wise we'll be looking at items and some of the ADCs who are struggling the most next. Ashe/Xayah unlikely to be in that next round of changes as a result. 
Jinx - Looks to be in a pretty strong spot at this point post 8.13, as does Twitch. 
Trist - Is still quite sad. She's one we will be looking at, though with some caution around what happens when she's got a strong lane and a strong late game.""

Meddler commented on what they were looking into on the 'funnelling' strategy:
Do you have any further thoughts on funneling strategies currently? So far it seems if you hit one of the combos with champion specific nerfs (yi and taric for example), the pros just find the next best person to funnel to (kaisa being popular to the point the team can lose hard for 20 minutes and then win in two, see G2, but also seen it with Lucian, irelia, and others).
My personal opinion is that the funneling strategy is incredibly boring to watch (I watch a lot of league, lck, lpl, na, eu, so if someone picks this strat I just skip the game), but is also very frustrating to play against (every game I've played with or against this strategy is easily the worst experiences I've had in league). I think this needs more attention than just hitting specific champs.
Just one man's thoughts.
We do want to find wider solutions to the mid/jungle funneling we're seeing at the moment. The directions we looked at during 8.13's development all had excessive collateral damage to regular play though, so we opted for champion specific changes. We're going to keep working on systemic solutions, though whether we'll ship those before pre-season or in pre-season will depend on how disruptive they are."

On Kindred and GravesMeddler replied:
Thoughts on Kindred? Her winrate spiked really hard.
Also any changes planned on Graves?
Possible we overbuffed Kindred, no immediate nerfs plans though.
No current plans for further Graves nerfs after the most recent ones."

Meddler also answered questions on Twitter in lieu of a gameplay thoughts post earlier in the week. He noted Talon and Teleport changes possible in 8.14:
[1] "We'll be at least testing Talon nerfs during the 8.14 dev cycle. Not guaranteed they'll ship yet, but suspect something probably will. Agree with your assessment of ability to dictate when fights happen plus control over outcome being too strong a pairing." 
[2] Yeah, TP's been strong forever and seems to be picking up even more steam now with bot laners also adopting it. Likely have TP nerfs in 8.14, though not sure on details yet (removal of partial refund on cancel's one option we're considering, along with straight CD increase).

Ask Riot: SSG Skins & Executes 

This week's Ask Riot covers choosing the World Championship Team skins, cleansing suppressions, and Pyke’s execute indicator:
"How do you decide on the Worlds winner’s skins?

Oh hello, this question! It must be World Championship Team skins time! Over the last year, we’ve evolved and updated our approach to selecting the skins we make to celebrate the team and players who win Worlds. As teams continue to experiment with their rosters, we’ve had to reevaluate our criteria for the skins. 
We’ve set some guidelines with the teams, namely around the minimum threshold for a player to be considered for a skin. We ask that they meet at least one of the following conditions:  
  1. Participate in at least 2 play-in stage games that had an impact on the team’s advancement to the knockout game (i.e. those games had to matter for seeding or advancement).
  2. Participate in at least 2 group stage games that had an impact on the team’s advancement to the knockout game (i.e. those games had to matter for seeding or advancement).
  3. Participate in at least 1 knockout stage game (Quarters, Semis, or Finals). 
We also have a few criteria for which champions players can choose. The most important is that the player must have played the champion at least once during Worlds. The player can choose any champion that they played, even if it was only once. If the winning team already has a skin for that champion from a previous win, we might ask for another option. In the case of champions where we already have skins planned or in development, this no longer affects their eligibility for a championship skin. That’s a policy we changed last year, namely with SKT Jhin. 
Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, we limit the number of World Championship Team Skins to six per year. 
And then we’ve got the coaches. We save in-game coach content for something truly special. For example, if a coach has won three championships, they will be considered for in-game content. 
Lastly, let’s chat briefly about theming. Up through 2016, the theme for the skins was “Esports!” After receiving feedback around the 2016 SKT World Championship Team skins, we realized we had an opportunity to do something more compelling with our theming and allow for a broader reach to players who like a particular fantasy beyond jerseys, laptops, and headphones. We worked with SKT in 2017 and SSG this last round to create a skin fantasy that reflects their tastes and attitude as a team. It’s a crazy challenge for sure, but one we think is really paying off as the quality of these skins (from what you’ve told us) is just better. 
2017 World Championship Team SSG skins are just around the corner! 
Product Manager 
Why doesn’t crucible remove suppression?

There’s a great case to be made that Mikael’s Crucible should remove suppression. As its cleansing effect has become more similar to QSS’s over time (now that QSS no longer universally removes all debuffs on the user, and instead just CC effects), it makes more sense that it would remove the same effects. The primary consideration to make around such a change is how champions that heavily rely on their suppressions would be negatively affected, since it’s much easier for a single support to pick up a crucible than it is for a full team to pick up QSS. Despite that consideration, it’s probably a significant increase to clarity of mechanics, and the power of the effect is tunable through at least active cooldown and total cost of the item. That said, the impact of the change could be pretty disruptive, so it’s unlikely to change in the immediate future. 
Lead Live Gameplay Designer 
Why does Pyke have an indicator to show when his ult will execute people, but Darius and Urgot don’t?

While we try to have parity and consistency across champion mechanics when possible, there are often exceptions to every rule. 
When it comes down to decisions like these, we have to take into consideration every aspect of a champion and remember to not just look at each ability in a vacuum. Each champion (and each ability) has its own needs and goals. 
For Darius, a part of his gameplay revolves around the ambiguity of whether or not his ultimate will kill a target. It adds excitement to the spell and is a way players express their skill and mastery by learning the perfect moment to land a killing blow as soon as possible. 
For Pyke, we had different goals. A large reason we added the gold sharing mechanic was as a social release valve. We didn’t want to create a lot of unneeded friction between members of the same team because a support was taking all the gold. If Pyke’s ultimate was very difficult to pull off, we wouldn’t really be relieving tension between teammates as often as we’d like. His ultimate is also a skillshot, because we wanted to allow enemies to have a response and we wanted Pyke to feel awesome when he’s able to land a kill. If he doesn’t land the killing blow, it can put him in a very risky situation by blinking onto a target he expects to be dead. Additionally, Pyke is very fragile compared to Darius and Urgot. He lives on the razor’s edge. He needs to know “right now!” if his ult will kill someone because it can easily be the difference between his death or a pentakill.

All of this together meant that we didn’t really want to ask Pyke players to also judge the HP kill threshold themselves. There are already a lot of other skill tests they are undergoing with this spell (and elsewhere on the kit). 
That said, we have seen this question a lot and have been talking internally about Urgot’s ultimate. We don’t feel like a players ability to judge “Yup, that looks like 25% to me!” is an important skill test for them either. So we will be adding the same kill indicator on enemies’ HP bars for his ultimate in a future patch. 
Champion 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."

Aatrox AMA on Reddit 

The team who updated Aatrox took to Reddit to answer questions about the process, and as usual we have a roundup of the answers, courtesy of community member Spideraxe:
"::edit:: Alright, the team's headed back to work! They may jump in with a few more answers in the days to come. Thanks for joining us, everyone! 
Aatrox brings an end to all life, but we'll answer some questions while we wait for death. The AMA kicks off at 2:00 PM PDT and runs until 5:00 PM PDT. Here are the mortals on hand to answer the questions caged within the darkness of your hearts: 
u/RiotJag - Design | u/WAAAARGHbobo  - Narrative | u/JesterCapp - Art | u/Hexadriven  - Art | u/RiotLtRandolph - Engineering | u/IamRiotNovalas - Playtest | u/endstep - Playtest | u/Reav3 - Production | u/EdwinMols - Production | u/RiotAether - Comms 

[Aatrox AMA Roundup]

Quick Hits

  • Riot Mort commented on the portrait icons that are available for new players who complete the tutorial, as well as being purchasable in the store for 5000 BE:
"The NEW new player experience is out now, and after completing the first tutorial, players are given a choice of which champ to keep, and an icon to celebrate that choice. For new players, this is a cool way to express to others which choice they made! 
However we realized that some current players and fans of those champs would also want the icons, so we made them available to everyone. We didn't want to charge RP, so instead we made it a decent chunk of BE so it's a bit of an investment, but the option is there. "
"The item shop uses a different search system than the client. The time pressures of the game causes quite a bit more demand to get even faster and more ambiguous searches to work. 
We readily export data in a similar format to how the item shop consumes it through the data API. You can find an example of this on a CDN by navigating to many league web pages with items, looking at network, and then examining "items.json" as well as "language.json". 
The Parts 
In items.json, you'll find item data with some various fields on it. The important fields for searching are: name, colloq, and tags. The tags field lines up with some data you'll fine in language.json. These are all exports of exactly the same fields the game uses. 
Building an "Unfiltered" Search Key 
On the game side of things, the game (while it loads) will go through each item and build what the system calls a "search key". This is a combination of the item's localized name + any colloquialisms provided by game designers or localization teams + the localized name of any categories the item belongs to (e.g. "Armor" or "Attack Damage", including hidden categories like "Active") + the colloquialisms of any of those categories + possible easter egg additions. This resulting "unfiltered" search key is delimited by semicolons to have a nice language neutral delimitation without overcomplicating things. e.g. The unfiltered search key for Zz'Rot Portal is: 
"Zz'Rot Portal;Void Gate;Magic Resistance;Health Regen;Armor;Active;Movement Speed;mr;hpregen;hp5;armour;ms" 
So what's all this unfiltered business? Well, having to capitalize letters to search would be annoying right? That rhetorical question actually changes depending on which language you're in. In the simplest terms, for English, filtering effectively just looks like "lower case (as English would lower case)". If you're just going to do English, you can skip the rest of this section. But as I spent a not insignificant portion of time while building the item shop in learning how to type in Korean and Japanese as well as learning things like the difference between dotless and dotted "i" (vs "ı"), I'm just going to go ahead an describe that too. :P 
Filtering reduces the search key down to something that's faster to type for many different languages. It goes through each character in the unfiltered search key and makes a choice based on it about what to add to the resulting filtered search key. For any characters found with a diacritic mark, they become a non-diacritic version visually similar to them. Any of "ÁáÀàÂâÄäÆæĀāĂăÃãĄą" all result in "a" being added to the resulting filtered search key. Some characters will have more complex translations that makes more sense for the regions used to them. For example, either of "Å" or "å" will result in "aa" being added instead of just "a". Some information is lost in these transitions. Turkish doesn't capitalize "i" to "I" like English does, for example. "i" becomes "İ" instead (note the dot). We reduce all variants of this to just "i" for the purpose of searching (why this works will come up in the "Matching" section). Korean gets all the various partial characters completely removed from the result; e.g. "ㅋㅋㅋㅋ" is just thrown out, no matter how many you look for. After all of this, we then do various lower cases for all the different languages that need it (I also broke this for Russian a few months ago for a couple patches. Sorry ;_; ) 
Once you have this filtered search key, then the item shop can actually work on it. From here on, the process is... mostly... pretty simple. Whatever someone writes into the search bar goes through the samefiltering process that happened to the search key, meaning any nuance that was lost by it will resultingly match in the same way. If someone puts in delimiters (such as spaces but also things like a comma, the japanese comma, full stops...) each delimited thing will filter down the results independently. e.g. Searching for "armor ap" will first match on "armor", then will filter down the resulting list with by "ap". 
Wrap Up 
And that's it! That's how the item shop search works! 
... with one big exception. There's special behavior if your client is in Chinese. While in Chinese, you can actually search for items entirely in Pinyin. If you use an IME to complete a character though, it will then ignore any pinyin characters from them on. Causing things like "秒biǎo" to just search on "秒". 
She continued:
"And if you're really trying to speed up your item purchasing even further, you can actually hit Enter to select the first item in the search box (or 'down arrow' works), then Enter again to purchase. Or, while an item is selected, you can use the arrow keys to select another item. Combined with the list above, this gives you a rather short set of key combinations to fast purchase items. 
(Also, her* not him. :) )"
"We actually have data that corroborates that older players tend to play less-mechanically intensive champions than younger players: 
In many of our surveys we have a demographics sections, and from self-selected age buckets (we typically don't ask for your exact age in our demographics questions) we've compared ages of players against the champions they play. Here's a brief snapshot of where younger/older players over-index on some champions: 
Younger players: Zed, Thresh, Kayn, Yasuo 
Older players: Sona, Swain, Zyra, Morgana 
I think OP and the comments have already covered the major theory, but it's basically that as we get older and our twitch reactions get slower (or we just have less time to keep up on our beyblade mechanics), we still want to compete or perform at a high level (or just maintain our level!) so we gravitate towards more cerebral champions as opposed to.. I guess cerebellum champions? 
A great example of this from back in my StarCraft 2 days was White-Ra, one of the oldest pro players, who would typically play a slower, more methodical or strategic protoss playstyle as opposed to say, MarineKingPrime, who was one of the younger upstarts and revolutionized marine splitting for Terran. 
EDIT two additional points 
(1) less time to practice/grind mechanics is probably the biggest culprit (although our reaction times do start to deterioate in our early 20s... c’est la vie or some French shit) 
(2) those data only reflect where age groups over-index. Older players still play Yasuo and Zed more than they play Sona and Swain, just not as much relative to younger players. You’re never too old to dust off adobe premier/overuse of motion blur, name change to “wind wanderer”, demote 3 ranks and 3 honor levels, and study the blade. 
(3) yes there are other factors that contribute, and thematic is a good call out. I have a joke framework with other researchers here called the “Cajun Catfish/Shadow Ninja scale”. Basically a lot of your older game devs get really excited to design something unique, new, interesting, avant-garde, etc... a Cajun Catfish (Tahm Kench), whereas your young players just want a dope Shadow Ninja (Zed). 
Likely translates to player tastes with league champions. Older players have seen ninjas, samurais, miscellaneous edgelords in every game they’ve played, so maybe they’re more enameled of more unique champions like Tahm Kench or Swain. 
Just another potential albeit minor factor."
"Five rivalries. Five tournaments. Five champions. 
Here’s everything you need to know to keep up with the Rift Rivals action happening around the world."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • The free skins promotions on Riot social media are heading to the vault! Check out the full details on this page to redeem Riot Girl Tristana, Dreadnight Garen, and Unchained Alistar before August 1st!

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