Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: January 24th, Ask Riot, & More

Posted on at 10:22 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post includes quick gameplay thoughts from Riot Scruffy, covering balance strategy refresh, jungle followup, upcoming balance changes for 10.3 & more, as well as this week's Ask Riot!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: January 24 

Here's Riot Scruffy with a quick gameplay thoughts thread for January 24th:
"Hey everyone. Riot Scruffy here, and I’m taking over for the Quick Gameplay Thoughts dev blog every other week. As Lead Gameplay Designer I manage the design teams that work on Champions, Game Balance, Items, the SR Map, Runes, Matchmaking, and Ranked. I plan to bring you all some updates and previews of upcoming work and go deeper into our reasoning and goals with the work that we do. Everything we add, change, and remove from LoL is done for a reason and we hope that our work makes the game better every patch. 
Balance Strategy Refresh 
This won’t be news to many of you, but I thought it would be good to do a quick refresh of our balance strategy. The reality of League of Legends is that the game played at different levels of skill is like an entirely different game in terms of which champions and strategies are strong or weak. With this in mind, it’s impossible to have all 148 champions balanced at every level of play. 
Our approach is to slice the game into 4 different skill segments where we think balance is meaningfully different:
  • Normal (Iron - Gold)
  • Skilled (Plat - Master)
  • Elite (Grandmaster-Challenger)
  • Professional 
And then ensure that every champ is: 
  • Viable in at least one segment
  • Overpowered in no skill segments 
The core reasoning behind this is that we think that an overpowered champion can suppress the viability and richness of the entire game meta, so we want to protect players of all skill levels from this unbalanced game state. 
Jungle Followup 
With enough time to see the results on the preseason jungle changes, we’re seeing some goals were achieved and some not. 
  • Small nerfs - the jungle XP and gold are nerfed, but it’s looking like it’s a bit too hard in particular on farming and later game junglers.
  • Pathing is more balanced - this goal was definitely achieved, not all paths are perfectly balanced with each other but we’re much closer here than we were in season 9
  • Less early ganks more farm - this goal was not achieved, we’re seeing roughly the same amount of early ganking as season 9 
The plan - we’re looking to buff up jungle XP slightly and skew towards incentives to farm over gank 
  • Buffing jungle XP per min for minutes 4-18 and spreading it across the less targeted camps that are often skipped by gank heavy junglers
  • Pushing back the minion farm penalty removal to further nerf funnel strategies (which are rare but extremely strong) 
Sett Release Retro 
Now that Sett has been out for two weeks, I wanted to share some thoughts on how we think his gameplay turned out. Some of the long term effects of hit kit can’t really be known for sure at this point, but I still wanted to share my early thoughts. 
  • Low complexity - Sett is a wonderful demonstration of how even in 2020, simple designs can be both satisfying and skillful. We want to do much more of this in the future where we focus on “quality over quantity” in our champ kits.
  • Unique but not game changing - Sett brings a few pretty exciting new ideas to the table like damage reflect and turning the enemy tank into a nuke. He isn’t redefining what a champion in LoL can be, but for his goals as an accessible top lane juggernaut, I think he’s on target.
  • Balance - Sett’s winrate has climbed over his first two weeks of play and he’s appearing to be a be viable as a top and jungle currently. It’s possible that he may need some slight nerfs in the future, but he doesn’t seem to be significantly OP today.
  • Clear weaknesses - Another success worth calling out is that Sett is powerful, but he provides enemies a clear opportunity for counterplay.
Upcoming balance changes for 10.3: 
Akali - Many of you already saw the Akali changes on PBE. Akali is dominating both pro and elite level play, but she’s not nearly as OP for skilled and normal. With that in mind we’re trying to reduce the amount of control she has over choosing when to fight, which is a core reason why she is such a strong pick at the top tier of play. The upside here is that if these mechanics changes make her a more counterable champion at the top levels of play, we can give her some more conventional buffs to allow her to be viable in regular play. After testing the initial changes, we’re making a few changes: 
  • Moving away from “CC reveals her during W stealth” as it was making the experience unreliable in a confusing way and adding inconsistency to our stealth rules
  • Cutting R2 speed decrease - this wasn’t getting us a lot of movement for how bad it felt
  • Keeping R1 as targeted as it’s effectively lowering both her escape tools and her super long range pick potential
  • Exploring a few other alternatives like early ranks of Q energy cost being higher to reduce her lane trade and push power 
Yuumi buffs - The Yuumi changes in patch 9.24 have left her with significant new weaknesses that allow us to give her a decent buff. The tactic we’re exploring right now is to buff Q rankups so that Q max is a viable build (letting her have an active playstyle instead of only E max build) 
Aphelios - We’re adding a max range on calibrum marks. We intend to keep it as a very long range poke effect, but bring it in line with other similar mechanics like Caitlyn or Xerath. Frankly, cross map sniping is not interactive or interesting gameplay, so we’re removing it. 
Senna - we want to shift a bit of power out of Markswoman position Senna to Support Senna. This probably means we’ll be tuning soul drops for when you get the minion kill vs when your ally does. 
These are just a few of the changes in for 10.3 - expect more info next week about the full patch. 
Thanks again everyone for playing. I’m excited to be making more posts like this about our design process and thinking. Feel free to drop questions or future topic requests in the comments. 

Ask Riot: Who gets Prestige Skins?

Check out this week's Ask Riot - "What’s next for ARAM? Why does it take so much experience to unlock the last TFT pass reward?"
"This week, we’re talking about Prestige skins, missions, and ARAM. 
What is the process for choosing which champions will get a prestige skin? Why would you give champions one when they already have legendary skins? 

I’m glad you asked! Once we decide on some of the upcoming skin thematics, we select several that match up with the timing for events or Prestige Point skin releases. By the time we start deciding which champion to make a Prestige skin for, the champs within that thematic have usually been determined for a while. 
When we are selecting a champion for a Prestige skin, we consider a number of factors… 
  • Is there a Prestige skin that’d work well for one of the champions in the thematic? Arclight Brand for example, is a skin that would be hard to execute on because of the overlap in colors and materials. 
  • How popular is the champion, and when was the last time they got a skin? So far we have released Prestige skins mostly for champions with higher playrates, but we are experimenting with lower ones in the future to see how much players like them. 
  • Have they received a Prestige skin before? Ideally we don’t double up, but there might be exceptions if we don’t find a better fit and the skinline is part of an event that calls for one. 
When it comes to the overlap with Legendaries, we try to stay away from doubling up when possible (at least in the same year), but it’s not a huge factor, as they serve different purposes. Legendaries are about creating a unique skin for a champion unlike anything in their catalog that is either an augmentation of who they are or a complete re-imagination of the character within a skin thematic fantasy. Prestige skins are about taking an existing skin and adding rarity and desirability through more expensive-looking (and often sparkly!) materials in the model and VFX as well as the ways you can get the skin. 
As far as ever creating a Legendary Prestige skin, that’s not something we are currently planning to do. 
I’d also like to call out that we are still experimenting around with a few different selection methods and executions and will update players as our approach evolves. With only just over a dozen of them out in the world, it’s still a new product for us, and we learn more about it with each release. 
In case you missed it, check out this post for a list of champions getting Prestige skins in the first half of 2020. 
Lead Producer of Skins , Personalization 
In TFT, why is there such a huge jump from milestone #10 (8500 points) to #11 (20,000 points)? It feels like such an impossible task to get there that i don’t even want to bother trying. Similarly, why are there only 6 missions (2 of which are just “play the game”) every two weeks? 

Many of you have different amounts of time to play TFT and complete missions. We really don’t want anyone who plays TFT on a regular basis to feel left out because they can’t play multiple hours a day, or because they missed some missions one week. This is why we set the target for milestone 10 at 8500 XP—hitting that amount is challenging and requires active play, but not a huge grind. 
We also know some of you are extremely engaged and play a ton of TFT, and we didn’t want you to get halfway into the season and have nothing left to work for. So we added milestone 11 as a “bonus” mission for highly invested players to progress towards. We had thought of it as a challenge, a huge jump in XP that would require dedicated work throughout the season but would be something to work towards even if you were progressing really quickly. From the reactions and responses we’ve seen, I’d say this hasn’t really gone as planned. I regret that so many people reach milestone 10, look to the next reward and are disheartened. Some rewards should be difficult to earn, but reaching a new milestone also shouldn’t be a disheartening moment. In response to this, we reduced the XP required for milestone 11 from 20,000 to 16,000. 
As for the number of missions we have in TFT, we usually run six missions a week. Over the holidays we imagined you would be more busy than normal, so we ran slightly less missions and made them worth more XP each to compensate. In general, we try to run a number of missions that sets a good balance between structured and unstructured play. It wouldn’t be super fun if all of your TFT games you were being pushed to do one strategy in order to get mission XP. 
Senior Game Designer 
About the Season 2020 missions, one says “Let’s play ranked for 3 games”… Why can’t you have an option to play like 7 of any other game. I myself am 49 years old and I just don’t like how they troll you on ranked. I’m here to have fun not worry about every move I make, hence why I play aram exclusively. thank you! 

At the highest level, our missions fall into two buckets: 1) Give players additional rewards for playing, and 2) Serve as “calls to action” to motivate players to do or try things that they may not do or try otherwise. 
Examples of mission type #1 are things like earn gold, take structures, and get takedowns—actions that happen naturally through playing and aren’t gameplay warping or distracting. These are usually live during events so that playing is even more rewarding. 
Examples of call-to-action missions include things like “watch some esports matches,” and in this case, “go play ranked.” Our hope with this mission is that it motivates some players to try ranked who may not have otherwise. We set the number of games needed pretty low so that if players who try ranked aren’t loving it, they don’t feel like they have to keep playing. We also aim to set the rewards for call-to-action missions “low” enough, so it doesn’t feel too bad or frustrating if you flat-out don’t want to do them. For example, the “esports watch missions” often just give some Blue Essence, as does the “play ranked” mission. 
In short… our hope with a mission like “play three ranked games” is that we can give you a nice reward if you decide to give ranked (or something else) a try, without setting the reward so high that you feel like you have to play. 
Game Design Lead 
Do you plan on doing more work on ARAM this year? 

We currently work on ARAM in two ways. First, we take the pulse of ARAM’s balance and game health every 2–3 patches and make small adjustments as necessary. For the most part, these adjustments will be tweaks to champions’ damage-taken and damage-dealt, but we may sometimes make minor adjustments to items, runes, or other parts of the game. 
Second, we periodically make more impactful and experimental changes to ARAM shake things up as part of a major event. Most of these changes will only last the length of that event, but we’ll also try to include a few things that could become the new normal for ARAM. For example, AoE health packs, poke damage reduction, and the reroll bench all made their first appearances during a big event, and they improved the ARAM experience enough to stick around forever. 
We expect to do an event like this roughly once a year (although this doesn’t guarantee an event like this every year). Right now, we are currently exploring some directions for 2020. The exact timing will depend on a lot of things, like the types of changes planned and which other game modes we’re working on. For more details on what an ARAM event might look like, check out some of the previous /dev articles, including where we announced the last ARAM event and talked about what we learned. And if there’s something you’d like to see, please let us know! 
Associate Game Designer

Have a question? Click on the button below, sign into your League account, and ask away.

We’ll do our best 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."


  • With patch 10.2 comes the updated TFT Little Legend and Arena skin loadouts - both now opening in a new larger window with full previews. 
Over on twitter, Riot Hjarta mentioned
"The new loadout is now live for TFT! There are some slight visual bugs we will address this patch, but please let me know if you find a bug. Also feel free to share feedback on using it :) 
Good work @Evergreenily, looks good!"

  • Meddler tweeted a reminder on some friends list sorting options now that Legends of Runeterra has launched and LoL & LoR share chat capabilities:
"For anyone like me who didn't realize at first - if you want your LoL friends list to go back to sorting people by category instead of by game there's an option for that in the settings menu for it"


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • The Mecha Kingdoms 2020 event is now running from now until Feb 18th! Play ARURF, grab new skins &, chromas, complete missions to earn loot, and more!

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