Red Post Collection: 10.18 Mid-Patch Updates, Client Cleanup: Next Stop, Champ Select & More

Posted on at 8:59 AM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes 10.18 mid-patch updates, a new blog on the Client Cleanup initiative, a new Ask Riot on who received the most Spirit Petals in Spirit Bonds, and more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


Quick Gameplay Thoughts: September 4th

Here's Riot Scruffy with his quick gameplay thoughts for September 4th - "Champion Gameplay Discovery Process, Clash Build-A-Team."
"Disclaimer 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The work or goals could change depending on what we discover, and projects mentioned may get delayed or even stopped. That said, I believe it’s important to share as much as we can even if plans may change. 
Champion Gameplay Discovery Process 
One of, if not the most difficult parts of gameplay design for a new champion is figuring out the high level direction in the early stages of development. These early decisions will affect the eventual possibilities and overall potential that the champion can achieve. Additionally, with a blank canvas comes the extra paralysis and indecision from the infinite possibilities. 
To help guide this early process, we have developed a simple framework that asks four key questions. If all of these questions are answered successfully, we have a good direction that we can move forward with. 
  • Does your direction open a door to new gameplay spaces?
    • In a game of over 150 champions, each one needs to bring something new to the gameplay possibilities of League.
  • Is your theme resonant with the intended playerbase?
    • It’s critical that the theme matches the expectations and aspirations of the intended player. If we’re making a deadly assassin but have themed it as a fluffy duckling, there is a mismatch between the gameplay and theme.
  • Does your gameplay hook deliver on the theme?
    • For the game designers specifically, we want to check early on that our gameplay direction matches and enhances the chosen theme.
  • Does your gameplay direction have room to be satisfying and healthy?
    • There are many small facets of excellent champion design, but at the early stage we focus on these critical two. Will this gameplay lead to a satisfying playstyle that keeps players coming back? Does this direction degrade the gameplay of League by removing strategy, interaction, or counterplay? Sometimes there can still be counterplay issues introduced later in development, but this is a check to avoid fundamental problems at the initial direction.
On top of this framework, we have recently adopted an 8-week process that both helps us capture a wide range of potential options but also find a direction in a reasonable amount of time and not spin our wheels. This process is for a single gameplay designer, who is designing and prototyping throughout using our internal tools: 
  • Preparation
    • Brainstorm widely with the larger team all possible exciting ideas that could fit the high level goals for the champ. Evaluate and review with the team leads which are our 3 most promising ideas.
  • Week 1-2
    • Prototype direction 1 and learn as much as we can about its potential (answer the 4 questions above)
  • Week 3-4
    • Prototype direction 2 and learn as much as we can about its potential
  • Week 5-6
    • Prototype direction 3 and learn as much as we can about its potential
  • Week 7-8
    • Choose our most promising direction and iterate on it to further refine the upsides and solve problems or remove risks
This process, by forcing us to try a few different ideas, helps us avoid finding an idea we like and becoming overly attached even if there are more exciting possibilities. It also helps us gain confidence when we choose a direction knowing that we have explored a number of other promising spaces. 
Clash Build-a-Team V1
In this patch (10.18), we shipped our first iteration of "Build-a-Team" which you can find within the Clash tab. This basic set of features is intended to assist with making it easier for players to find others to play Clash with. Though it doesn't currently solve all the problems with finding teammates, we think it's a good start to at least find friends and friends of friends that are also interested in participating in Clash. 
We're working to improve and expand Build-a-Team as Clash grows and move closer to a day when there are no more players thinking “I wish I could Clash, but I don’t have anyone to play with.” 
Thanks again everyone for playing. Stay safe out there."

10.18 Mid-Patch Updates

A handful of mid-patch updates went out this week, check out the details from the Patch Notes!
"MID-PATCH UPDATES 
9/2/2020 Kayle Balance Change, Zac Bugfix, Health Bar Name QoL, Announcement Bugfix 
Announcement
  • BUGFIX Fixed a bug where announcements were not appearing correctly for champions with Mastery 4 or higher
Health Bar Naming
  • QOL CHANGE Added the ability to show Champion names instead of Summoner names over the health bar
Kayle 
The change to Kayle's E is not something we're making mid-patch. It's already live and in the game, but it was unintentionally left out of the original patch notes! Documenting at the top in this section so players are aware. 
  • E - STARFIRE SPELLBLADE COOLDOWN 8 seconds ⇒ 8/7.5/7/6.5/6 seconds
Zac
  • W - UNSTABLE BUGFIX Fixed a bug where Zac would not get cooldown reduction from picking up his Cell Division chunks"

Client Cleanup: Next Stop, Champ Select

Here's the most recent blog on the Client Cleanup initiative from Riot Cactopus, Riot Am1t, and Riot A Huevo - "We're wrapping up our efforts to improve client bootstrap time and moving our focus to champ select."
"Earlier this year, we made a commitment to share bi-monthly updates on the behind-the-scenes work we're doing to improve the performance and reliability of the League of Legends client. 
Today's update is the fourth blog in the series. (See the first, the second, and the third entries.) 
TL;DR: We've successfully improved client bootstrap time to the point that we're now ready to focus more heavily on addressing high-priority areas like champ select. We're also sharing some new data we gathered by surveying players about the client and its issues. 
CLIENT BOOTSTRAP TIME 
At the beginning of the year, we said that we'd like to get client bootstrap time (the time it takes for the client to start up) down to 15 seconds, even for players with very slow machines. 
We've since spent a lot of time digging deep into the client's architecture, rooting out core problems with the plugins and apps that make the client work. And in recent weeks, we've made some breakthroughs and gotten incredibly close to our goal. \
Bootstrap now only takes about 18.5 seconds for players in the 90th percentile. That means that for about 90% of you, bootstrap time is even faster (although recent performance gains will be felt most noticeably for players with slower machines). 
We spoke in an earlier blog about some setbacks to bootstrap time that were caused in part by increased player traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can see that spike in the chart above starting around March of this year. 
We made steady headway in improving bootstrap times in the months following the spike, but our biggest improvement came more recently in patch 10.16. This can be explained by a couple of key steps the team took. 
First, in patch 10.14 we implemented tech that allowed us to learn just how much each of the client's 68 plugins contribute to bootstrap time. It turns out that some plugins were causing much bigger problems than others. We found that a mere eight plugins accounted for 75% of plugin load time, while the other 60 plugins accounted for the remaining 25% load time. 
Armed with this knowledge, it became a lot simpler for us to figure out which plugins we should focus on consolidating. We also decided to try additional approaches alongside our consolidation work: In patch 10.16, we began to more fully implement a solution that allows us to defer loading certain plugins and ember apps altogether until players actually need them. 
Now that we've gotten so close to our original goal for bootstrap times, we feel prepared to finally move our focus to the second phase of our campaign: improving responsiveness and reliability in champ select and other key parts of the client. 
Before we talk about the specifics of that plan, we want to share a little bit of data about the client that we've gathered by surveying players around the world. 
CLIENT SENTIMENT SURVEY DATA 
You're probably thinking, "Rito, you absolute noobs, why do you need to survey us about the client? You already know it's bad!" 
And uh… yes, that's fair. But we want a more nuanced view of the issues. How prevalent are the problems? And which ones are the most severe? By answering these questions, we can better prioritize our upcoming work. Plus, by gathering measurable sentiment around the client, we can see how your opinion of the client is changing over time. 
Our first set of surveys ran in just a few regions, but we intend to run more surveys in the future—adjusting, adding, and removing questions as needed—so we can track our progress over time. 
So with that context, we've got some dank charts for you. 
To start off, one of the things we want to track is how perception of the client is trending on a month-by-month basis. 
This result isn't too surprising—but it's valuable as a data point, because if we keep running these surveys over time, we'll start to get a much more complete view of our progress. And we'll be sharing that data with you in the months to come. 
With the following survey question, we started to dig into specific problems: \
While some issues are more common than others, nearly 50% of surveyed players say they're experiencing at least one of these problems. 
Next, we asked players who said they experienced a technical issue to rate how frustrating each of those respective issues were on a 5-point scale from "not at all frustrating" to "extremely frustrating." Below you can see the percentage of respondents who identified issues as either very or extremely frustrating. 
Here's another view which lets you see both the reported frequency of each problem versus how frustrating respondents said they are: 
It's clear from charts like this one that two particular problems are obvious outliers. 
First, issues that prevent you from picking or banning in champ select are far-and-away the most frustrating. And second, long load times for the end-of-game screen are extremely common. Armed with this info, we have a stronger sense of where to focus during the next phase of our work. 
NEXT STEPS 
Over the next few months, we want to focus on solving the most common and most frustrating problems players are facing with the client. So the next stage of our Client Cleanup Campaign will focus on improving champ select and the transition from end of game back into honor and the client. 
First, let's talk about champ select. 
Way back in February, we said our ultimate goal was to improve the responsiveness of UI/UX buttons in champ select. Specifically, we said we wanted to get the response time for things like the "lock in" button down to under 100ms, even for players in the 90th percentile. 
Now, though, we've realized if we want players to be happy, we're going to have to refactor key components of champion select. 
The work we'll be doing on champ select breaks down into three main commitments. We will: 
  1. Make champ select streamlined and more reliable. Players have long been asking for a snappier, more responsive champ select. We would like to refactor existing components to improve responsiveness, reduce memory consumption, simplify architecture, and cut down on unintentional dodges.
  2. Re-evaluate the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of champ select. We'll work with our design team to see where we can remove or streamline low-value, poor-performing animations and resource-intensive components.
  3. Address as many known bugs as possible, prioritizing our work on them by the level of pain they cause.
At the same time that we focus on champ select, we'll dedicate resources to streamlining the transition from the honor screen to the end-of-game lobby. Too many players report a laggy experience with this part of the game flow, so we're already pursuing an engineering plan to address it. 
This process will take time, certainly more than we'd like. But our commitment throughout our campaign is to talk to you about our work the same way we're talking to each other about it internally—with honesty and transparency. 
We'll report back on our progress with another blog like this one in a couple of months. In the meantime, as always, thanks for playing."

Ask Riot: Who Got the Most Spirit Petals?

Check out this week's Ask Riot - "Help, I forgot to give away my last petal! Also, why were they so hard to get? And who got the most?"
"Welcome to Ask Riot! 
Today it’s all about the spirit petals.

I had a petal left when Spirit Blossom ended, and now it won’t let me give it to a champ. Is there a way I can still get the rewards? 
Don’t worry! We’re not going to pull a Teemo and try to trick you out of a hard-earned spirit petal. If you’ve earned a petal but were unable to give it to your chosen spirit, you can submit a ticket to Player Support, so we can help you cross over long enough to grab your emote. 
Whatacoolwitch, Player Support Writer 
Why were the Spirit Blossom petals so hard to get? I wanted to give them to more champs :’( 
It has been a challenge to get Vayne and Riven the petals they deserve from me, so I definitely understand where this question comes from. We’ve absolutely heard the frustrations about getting a hold of the petals, as well as the frustrations about there only being 5 while there are 10 very amazing characters you may want to grow close to. In short, we agree that petals ended up feeling a bit too hard to chase down, but I’d still like to take a moment to explain the intention behind them. 
Spirit petals were hard to get because they were supposed to represent something exclusive, rare, and challenging. They were the way for you to earn the most intimate connection with champions: the special scenes you get in the epilogue. Making such a connection with all of the champions would make those scenes feel lesser. In addition to the narrative reward, it also makes the lasting rewards for such an exclusive and difficult choice more meaningful—when someone flashes their Teemo emote, you know they were really best pals. All 5 petals were never meant to be fully collected, except by the most ardent and zealous players. 
While this explains why we wanted petals to be exclusive and challenging to earn, it doesn’t cover the pacing of earning them. We want decisions like this to have impact and meaning, but we don’t always want it to feel like such a slogging chore and want to do better in the future in that regard. 
Riot Gearhook, Game Designer

Which champions got the most and least petals for Spirit Blossom? 
The champions that got the most petals were Yasuo, Teemo, and Ahri. This correlates pretty strongly with playrate, as the champions with the most “mains” seemed to generally be the ones that got the most petals. (I mean who wouldn’t give a petal to their main?) 
Also, in case you missed it, there’s an epilogue for any champion you gave a petal to. If you want to say goodbye to your true love super duper best pal spirit realm companions, head back to the Spirit Bonds tab in the client before the weekend ends—it’ll be taken down sometime on Monday, 9/7. 
Reav3, Lead Producer of Spirit Blossom Event

Have a question? Head here, drop your question in the box, and ask away."

Miscellaneous

"Asked and answered. @seradotwav 
#KDA #SERAPHINE #COLLAB #CALLINGALLBLADES #BLADES #COMINGSOON"
  • Riot Scruffy tweeted a look at upcoming item icons for Preseason:
[1] "As you know we're upgrading our item icons this preseason. You're going to see a slice of that work in progress coming a bit early with TFT: Fates. 
Current plan is to keep everything the same on SR until preseason and do the full update all at once. 
(BF, Bramble, Deathcap)"
[2] "Feedback is definitely welcome, we know that iterations and adjustments are always a part of the process to make these perfect."

Reminders

  • The PsyOps 2020 Event is running now through September 30th! Check out new skins, chromas, missions, and more!

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