Red Post Collection: Trials: Three Days Left, /Dev: Champion Balance Framework, and more!

Posted on at 12:57 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes the most recent update on the Trials event, /Dev blogs on Champion Balance and the state of Clash, Mordekaiser's champion theme, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Trials: Three Days Left 

Here's Bilby with an update on Trials:
"There’s three days remaining in the Trials house competition. Here are our current overall standings: 
1st: United - 45
2nd: Warband - 43
3rd: Council - 42
4th: Faceless - 42 
Earn points for yourself and your house through missions and MSI watch rewards until June 2, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. PT. The current missions have the highest point value of any in the event (check the Event Article for the full list of Trials missions). 
Remember: Only missions that show your house icon count towards your house’s progress. Missions from the Trials Pass won’t count towards the competition, and points awarded increase each week so everyone has the chance for a comeback. 
At the end of the event, everyone in the winning house will receive a permanent golden house emote. Players in that house will also retain their house spawn animations for a period of time after the event. 
Good luck."

/Dev: Champion Balance Framework 

Check out this /Dev blog from Riot Repertoir on champion balance - "How we go about making balance tweaks."
"Conversations around balance can be rough. Over the past 9(!) years, we have found that players don’t necessarily always understand what we’re trying to accomplish (or can accomplish) in a patch cycle. But we want to change that. 
Introducing the Champion Balance Framework, a source for all players to hold the “balance” team accountable for how we approach buffing/nerfing champions on a patch-to-patch basis. We’ve been making changes internally on the way we view champion balance for Summoner’s Rift. Now that we’ve had some time to see that change in action, we wanted to formalize this approach so if players dislike a change we make, they can at least understand why we decided to make that change. 
What follows is our way of establishing consistent understandings of how we evaluate champions’ power level, especially for the purposes of determining if they ought to be buff or nerf candidates on any given patch. The hope here is that this approach will result in balance targets that feel much more consistent, and thus more understandable. 
Champion Balance in the Past 
The main improvement we’d like to make by creating a more visible balance strategy is that players feel like the approach to League’s balance decisions is consistent. We expect that a more consistent approach can be more easily trusted–inconsistency with our approach to balance can be the most frustrating thing for players, even more than any individual balance issues of the past or future. 
To achieve this, we are putting in place a system that seeks to limit subjectivity in the assessment of (not the reasons for) a champion’s power level. By doing so, we should have fewer champs fly under the radar in either overpowered or underpowered states, and we also avoid risky bias-based balancing. 
Updating Our Approach 
In the past, we’ve operated under the rough guideline of “we balance for Plat+ play.” Despite that, we’ve demonstrated that we also make balance decisions under other conditions or for other reasons. As such, we’re now formally recognizing the four audiences for which we balance Summoner’s Rift, as well as the parameters that we view as underpowered, overpowered, and reasonably balanced. Here are the audiences: 
Average Play 
This group contains most players, everything below the top 10% of solo queue (approximately up through Gold). While some may argue that the game should be balanced around only the very best players of the game, we think a balanced experience is an important part of what makes League compelling regardless of skill level. That said, we also think this group’s experience is less sensitive to exact balance conditions, and so our definitions of what is too strong for them is less restricted. 
Win rate tells us most of what we need to know about champions’ power level here, and combined with their ban rate, gives us a good view of what is too strong for this group of players. The more a champion is banned beyond the global average ban rate (ABR, currently ~7%), the more we use their ban rate as an expression of the champion’s power level in the tier, and the tighter a band we put on their win rate. 
  • Top End: [54.5%WR if <ABR] to [52.5%WR at 5x ABR]
  • Bottom End: 49%WR 
Skilled Play 
This group contains the top 10% of solo queue players, except the very top players (the next group). This group is similar to the Average Play group, but with higher sensitivity to power level. As such, the parameters we use to determine what is too strong for this group are a bit more restricted. 
  • Top End: [54%WR if <ABR] to [52%WR at 5x ABR]
  • Bottom End: 49%WR 
Elite Play 
This group contains the top 0.1% of solo queue players, the best-of-the-best in solo queue. This group is the most sensitive to balance changes out of all the solo queue groups, and also has unique balance needs. Unlike the other solo queue groups, we rarely have sufficient win rate data to determine if something is too strong here (sample size is small due to the extremely limited size of the player audience). Even if we did, these players have mastered the game to such an extent that their champion select behaviors can be trusted as accurate representations of power level. To that end, we draw conclusions about power level based on pick rates in addition to ban rates, and we notably do not consider pick rate a strong indicator of power at any other solo queue tier. We introduce the concept of Presence in this tier, where Presence is the combined Pick and Ban rate of the champion. 
  • Top End: 45% Ban Rate
  • Bottom End: 5% Presence 
Professional Play 
This group is the top five recognized leagues of competitive play (currently LPL, LCK, LEC, LCS, and LMS). Somewhat similar to Elite, we determine power level based on this group’s champion select behaviors more so than the results of the games in which they are picked. It’s arguable that just because a champion isn’t picked on a certain patch, that they’re not actually underpowered for this group, but rather that the meta just doesn’t currently allow them to be picked. Despite this reasonable stance, we will consider these champions underpowered in the context of the current meta, and we will balance around the champions’ power level within that meta. 
  • Top End: 90% Presence on the current patch OR 80% presence in consecutive patches.
  • Bottom End: 5% Presence 
Moving forward, we will consider a champion balanced for Summoner’s Rift if they can be considered balanced for any of these audiences. They will be considered overpowered if they cross the top end for ANY of the audiences, and they will holistically be considered underpowered if they are below the bottom end for ALL of the audiences. 
Translating that understanding into action, our champion balance priorities are to immediately address champions that are overpowered, then address champions that are underpowered across the board, and when those are accounted for, working on making champions balanced across several audiences (for example, in cases where they might only be balanced for one or two audiences). 
Turning Data Into Changes 
Once we’ve identified champions that are out of balance, we get into the meaty stuff pertaining to how to actually adjust things. For this, there’s no definitive framework. We’ll continue to use our understanding of audiences’ needs and experiences to make good change. Our hope is that the above system for identifying imbalances allows us to more easily move beyond what is out of whack and get into the why that’s the case, as well as how we ought to address it. Put simply, the framework more easily gets us to the point of agreement on the fact that a champion like Hecarim (for a recent example) is overpowered, and then we get to work on how to fix it. 
New and Reworked Champions? 
New and updated champs won’t abide by these exact parameters for about one month after release. These champions are still actively being learned by the player base—both by those playing the champs and those playing with/against them—and we can expect the champions’ actual power levels to be much different from their statistical performance around launch. 
Over the past year, we don’t think we’ve done a great job at balancing new and updated champions, so we’ve put new systems in place outside of our typical strategy to better accommodate them. 
These systems focus on things like… a champion’s expected power level at release, their expected performance growth over the first few days/weeks, and plans for if their performance doesn’t match these expectations. This should help ensure no new or reworked champions remain underpowered or overpowered for significant periods of time after release in the future. 
Champions With High Play Rates? 
We’re pretty wary about punishing a champion for their popularity, as some champs will naturally be played more than others, even at statistically similar power levels—Yasuo and Lee Sin are two examples or champs who’re played pretty consistently, regardless of overall performance. We’ve considered using “play rate change” as a way to account for this, but we didn’t think it added enough value to the framework because play rate doesn’t seem to have a significant correlation to power level. The only exception to this is at the highest levels of play, where we do use play rate as an indication of power. 
Champions With High Mastery Curves? 
A mastery curve is a representation of how much more effective a player becomes on a champ as they play them more. Champions with steep mastery curves, like Aurelion Sol and Katarina, typically have a much higher win rate when played by experienced players than newcomers to the champion. 
We are intentionally leaving out mastery curve data when considering which champions to buff or nerf because we don’t want to enact a system that might punish the investments players make into mastering a champion. We’re also optimistic that if a champion’s power when mastered is out of line, then it will show up as highly present in Pro play or highly banned in Elite play—both of which will lead to nerfs. 
Really Frustrating Champs? 
There are a lot of reasons a champion could be frustrating to play with or against, ranging from their current power level to their mobility. Using this framework—in tandem with things like survey data and player conversation—will help us to pinpoint exactly what’s causing the trouble. By having clear and objective balance breakpoints, we can better gauge when we can move on from balance work and into designing to reduce overly frustrating gameplay. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive though: Riven’s increased E cooldown in patch 9.10 is an example of a change aimed to reduce a champions’ power level and their “frustration factor” simultaneously. 
Regional Differences? 
The data we’re drawing from is globally aggregated rather than region-specific. There is potential for a champion’s performance to vary from region to region, but we feel that keeping the data global helps players focus on identifying what problem is being solved by the change regardless of what region plays it better (or not). 
If we start changing champions based on a small number of regions’ experiences that can wildly vary from the rest of the world, we are likely to run into issues where the patch notes don’t make sense for players in the other regions. We believe if a trend or an especially spicy playstyle continues to persist, they will show up more prominently in the global data, in which we can then make changes to mitigate them. 
It really is about limiting how random changes in the patch notes can feel to players. We expect it to be much easier to explain why we make balance changes based on different “audiences” (every region has average, skilled, and elite players) than to explain that a certain nerf is to account for something a specific region is experiencing. 
If No (or Few) Champions Fall Into Buff or Nerf Territory? 
Then we’ve finally balanced League of Legends. Time to pack it up. 
But really, if we’re in a stable state where we’ve dealt with most of the overly strong and weak champions, then our next priority is to make champions more balanced across multiple audiences, or consider reevaluating if the current power bands meet the game’s modern needs. It’s possible these bands shrink gradually over time, to some degree. There’s also always work to consider on runes, items, positions, and more to make sure all of these are balanced against one another. 
So What About Items, Summoner Spells, and the Jungle? 
There’s much more that goes into a balanced League experience than just the power level of champions. But champions are also the lens through which players experience the game, and the piece of the game that tends to resonate most strongly with players. 
Most other patch work can be done in service to this approach. For example, we changed the Rift Scuttler’s spawn timer to open up the jungle to a wider variety of champions. We nerfed/changed Ardent Censer to make it so players didn’t feel like they absolutely had to pick enchanters. Generally speaking, when the power level of systemic content is so high that it dictates the champions you want to play, League is a much less compelling game for most players. 
If I Have Thoughts About The New System or Balance In General? 
Please let us know! We think this new approach will ultimately lead to better, more consistent champion balance for players across all skill levels, but if the champions we’re targeting for buffs and nerfs don’t seem to make sense from your experience, we’re very open to adjusting it. We don’t expect to reach a point where perception lines up perfectly with the champs we buff and nerf, but we do hope this system brings us closer to that. 
We’ll be around in the comments today to answer some of your questions and read your thoughts. On behalf of the entire Summoner’s Rift team, thanks for reading!"

/Dev: State of Clash 

Here's Riot IAmWalrus with a /Dev blog on Clash - "We’re making some changes to the tournament mode, which will be back for testing later this year."
It’s been a while since we’ve had a meaty update on Clash. A few months back, we ran tests in various regions, trying to ensure Clash can offer a stable and fun experience for everyone. These tests didn’t run as smoothly as we’d hoped, and some players still had trouble getting into their Clash games. Because of these difficulties, we’re delaying the launch of Clash while we make fundamental changes to the mode, and we’ll continue with tests later this year. 
The Latest Regional Tests 
Last year we outlined the issues that were preventing Clash from running smoothly. At their core, Clash’s technical problems were the result of too many games starting simultaneously, which overloaded the platforms that run League of Legends. In preparation for the last round of regional tests, we implemented short-term fixes—like decreasing the server load from Clash by staggering game start times—and began work on long-term fixes—like refactoring the monolithic platform so that starting games causes less strain. 
Even with these improvements, the bracket launching process still tried to start too many games simultaneously, which unfortunately resulted in players having trouble getting into their Clash games. 
So, as you might’ve surmised by the lack of additional updates, we’re putting regional tests on hold while we make some changes to Clash. Our goal is to strike the right balance between reducing server load and preserving the tournament format to ensure Clash is still the exciting competitive experience we’ve promised. 
Changes to Clash 
Given this goal, here’s our current plan for revising Clash. 
Rolling Bracket Starts: Instead of a single start time per skill tier—where everyone would need to lock-in at say, 5pm—-your team will be able to lock in at any time during a multi-hour window. Once locked in, your team will get placed into a bracket as soon as one is available, and the games will begin. This will help us to stagger game start times and also allows players who can’t make the lock-in time to still join the tournament. 
Two Single-Day Tournaments: Rather than one three-day tournament, we’re changing Clash weekends to be two separate one-day tournaments. This significantly reduces the complexity of the tournaments, making it easier to repair brackets or matches that end up breaking for whatever reason. There will be 8-team brackets on both days, and your team can enter on one or both days. 
Bracket Recoverability: With the tournament structure simplified, we’re building in additional bracket repair tech to help fix any issues that crop up over the course of a given tournament. If your opponent DCs before the match, for example, we can try to repair your bracket by substituting in another team for your first match. 
Next Steps 
We’ll be taking the following steps to get Clash ready for launch:
  1. Development (in progress): Now that we’ve created a new format, we need to modify Clash to support it.
  2. More Internal Testing (starting soon): We reaaally want to make sure we test everything we can before putting Clash in front of players.
  3. Regional Testing (summer 2019): We’ll run regional tests to build confidence with the changes. If the regional tests are successful (or only run into easily fixable issues), we’ll run more regional test until we’re confident we can launch in all regions.
  4. Global Beta (TBD): Once regional tests all run smoothly, we’ll ramp up towards a bigger beta across multiple regions simultaneously.
  5. Launch (TBD): We have more confidence in the scalability and resiliency of our new design, so once we complete a successful global beta—and see the new system works to scale and across all regions—Clash will be ready for prime time. 
Closing Thoughts 
We believe in Clash and want it to succeed just as much as you do. We’ll keep you updated as we reach the milestones above. Thank you for your unrelenting patience and support."

Mordekaiser, The Iron Revenant | Champion Theme

"The official champion theme for Mordekaiser, The Iron Revenant."


"Hope your Blue Essence balances are ready! The Essence Emporium returns starting June 4th and ends June 18th. Time to get URFwick and some new champie icons!"
  • Pro View and the Team and Fan Passes are now available! Check out the Pro View page to sign up, or this page for details on what it includes! Check out this page for details on the Fan and Team Passes, available for 980 RP each in the store!
"Your weekly dose of server problem-os, NA League news, and other! 
LCS resumes this weekend, congrats to Maryville for winning the Collegiate Championship, and an update to Mordekaiser (everyone’s favorite walking suit of armor) has been revealed! 
  • Mac voice still not working properly An ongoing issue that is still being worked on. We will follow up when we get any additional updates. 
Server Stuff:
  • Account Transfers Disabled (5/23, ~10 hours) PS reports account transfers are resetting players content and level to 1. Transfers are disabled globally and messaging is posted while a change list step is awaiting completion. Finishing the change list fixed the transfer errors, messaging removed and transfers are turned back on.
  • Transferred accounts incorrect web data(5/24, ~2 hours) Reports filter into the NOC detailing transferred accounts have issues on Boards, Community Events, and other web locations. Investigation leads to a core process having the wrong region set. Changing the core process to correctly denote regions fixed all the issues, and affected players start seeing correct info on the web again. Elise can sit in peace again.
  • Slow Logins (5/27, ~20 minutes) Automated monitoring notices increased delays with logins on various regions. NOC started to investigate login issues, only to see the errors self-resolve before any in-depth investigation could start.
  • Account Transfers Disabled (5/25, ~ongoing) Transfers are currently down, hopefully can expand the why in next week's GBL!
Game Stuff:
  • None this week
Player Support Issues: 
Friendly PSA: please make sure your account is secured as best as possible here with these steps. (Also, everyone’s awesome, so make sure to be awesome to each other in game as well). 
Morgageddon & Couch Commando


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • Make sure to check out the LoL Twitch Prime rewards! - "Get up to 3 Legendary Shards, a full Legendary Skin, 7 Skin Shards, and 4 Exclusive Emotes as long as you stay a Twitch Prime member."
  • The Mid Season Trials event is in full swing! Now through June 2, you can choose your house, complete missions and earn rewards for your team! Check out out post for more details!

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