Xerath in Health/Balance Testing, League System Talk, Promotion Series Change, Friend Invitations, Rengar, Irelia, and Much More

Xerath is in Health/Balance Testing

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Come back to us please?
What happened to the perfect storm of xerath updates? We haven't been told a thing in, like, ever.
There hasn't been anything to update. He's in health/balance testing now. There's also been a huge shuffling of release dates around, so I don't even have an eta to share.

 Promotion Series Changes

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Hey Summoners,

We made some changes to the way a promotion series can expire over time. Read below for an explanation:

Short summary: Last patch we released a change to the league system to fix a behavior that was extending players promotion series beyond the expected time amount. From the day you enter your series, you now have 28 days to complete that promotion series or it will be automatically ended.

Context: With the latest ranked play update, players now have a 28 day time limit from the day they qualify to complete their tier / division promotion. Previously we had allowed players to extend the series for an indefinite amount of time. Players who fail to complete their promotion series within 28 days will be removed from out of their series, where regular LP decay can be applied.

This change was to address an unintended behavior that was causing some players to have a promotion series that could run almost the full duration of the season. We've applied the update retroactively to all players currently participating within ranked play.

Unfortunately we failed to properly message this change within our official patch notes, and some players may have already been affected by it. This announcement is to provide clarity if you've been automatically failed out of your promotion series and were wondering why. We apologize for the inconvenience as we strive to make ranked play a more consistent and dynamic experience overall.


Riot Talks About S3 League System Concerns

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Hey Summoners,

Wanted to address some of these concerns. Now that we’re well into the season we can share some data with you about how the League System has changed the landscape of ranked since it was released. Month for month ranked participation increased as much as 2x over the same time periods last year while dodge rates dropped to about half. The number of leavers / afks in these games also remained well below most other queues. In other words the number of new ranked players and existing players who participate in ranked games is greater than ever before and the quality of the games improved. Ultimately we think this is the best measure of how successful a game type is but for the sake of looking at this vs. the old system we can look at the pros and cons of each:


In what ways is leagues better?

• All players have immediate achievable goals once they’re in a league and have frequent opportunities to feel competent as they progress.
• All players are divided into smaller leagues typically including some of their friends making progression feel more meaningful.
• Players are punished for queue dodging in a way that makes more sense in terms of progression. Again this reduced dodge rates dramatically.
• Promotional series create spikes in intensity which make the overall experience more fun and rewarding to participate in.
• The system shields players from ladder anxiety once they’ve reached a new tier and has some protections in place to keep them from instantly falling out of a division once promoted.
• Losing while still not a great experience is overall less punishing.

In what ways is leagues worse?

• Currently players can’t drop tiers, which causes some players to get to their target tier for the season and stop trying.
• Because league placement and MMR are not tightly coupled matchmaking appears to do funny things in some cases, leading players to believe they’re being matched unfairly when this is not the case.
• League point gains swing slightly more than MMR gains and in some very fringe cases places can earn 0 LP for games.


In what ways is MMR better?

• MMR gives a very accurate representation of your global position at any given time and it’s easy to see that you’re always being matched up against the correct opponents.
• The system is very fluid and players don’t have as much slack as in leagues to not try as hard once they’ve reached some threshold.

In what ways is MMR worse?

• There is no mechanism in place to properly punish dodging. Specifically if you try to lower a player’s MMR when they dodge, you’re marking them as a worse player, but this isn’t really true. This makes matchmaking much lower quality.
• You are seated into a very massive spectrum of players with no real meaningful sense of position (ie. rank 120,503 is less meaningful than rank 10 in Malzahar’s Captains)
• The system itself sets no obvious achievable goals for players and you never really get the sense that you’ve done something special by being involved.
• Because of the way the distribution grows over the course of the season players are heavily incentivized to participate late in the season but not before that.
• Losing is very punishing and you’re never shielded from a string of losses.

Overall when we weigh these two systems against one another even without the empirical data leagues is clearly a better system for players and the one we’re more in favor of. That said it’s not perfect and there are some areas that we want to improve on.

What do we want to improve?

• Far and away the biggest issue we want to address is the case where players can’t drop out of a tier once they’ve obtained it. It’s very likely that next season we will allow players to drop out of a division if they’re at 0LP and far below the MMR threshold for the tier they are in. This should solve a few issues, namely the trolling that happens once players reach their target tier and the issue where players get very small LP gains after being at 0 for a long period of time.
• The issue where players receive 0 LP in some cases when being at 99LP we’d like to fix by just instituting a minimum LP gain of 1 instead of requiring the player to be above the required MMR to get into the target tier though we’re monitoring the MMR of players in this tier closely to understand the consequences of that decision should we implement it next season.


TL DR: Overall the Leagues System has had a measurable and consistent positive impact, and while it’s not perfect we feel that it’s superior to MMR as a framework for us to work with and improve upon in the future.
Socrates, do think its possible that more players are participating in ranked this season because more people are playing the game?
I'm not in favor of elo instead of leagues - but you make it sound like all of a sudden the playerbase wants to play ranked because of the league system. Please tell me this isnt what you guys believe.
In this case we're looking at the relative and not the absolute measure so population size doesn't impact it. Meaning looking just at the % of games played by type compared to one another, ranked play increased.

Reading through these I feel I should reassert we feel it's not a perfect system, but we do feel it's a superior system. The list of things we want to address is by no means an exhaustive one. It's just the issues we feel are most pressing. I do feel that Bronze / Silver is likely too big of a slice of the population and that is definitely something we're looking at as well.
It's funny how you can make a huge post with a heavily biased list of pros/cons which is more or less identical to what you said before it was released and then use those pros and cons to say that the league system is better while players are telling you they hate it and liked the elo system better.
I could go through your entire list of pros for the league system and your cons for the elo system and point out why they are all either wrong or opinion being stated as fact, but I don't think it's necessary to make my point. You can pull out all the numbers you want, but players have been saying consistently since leagues were released that they suck. I don't think I've even seen a single post with people saying they love leagues.
I really think that what he said about tradeoffs was the most important point. There are clear pros and cons to any possible approach we can take to ranked. The S2 approach had its pros and cons, as does the S3 version. We certainly will make system tweaks to improve the S3 version moving forward, but no matter what we do, there will be both upsides and downsides.

To us, ultimately, the fact that ranked participation has both dramatically increased AND sustained tells us that the overall set of changes was favorable to the needs of our players. It would be very hard to justify a rollback in a situation where players show they prefer this system in their actions.

But, clearly we can make more improvements, and we do read threads like this to understand the pain points. I think the top two issues are cases where LP grants are extremely low, and cases where people feel unmotivated after hitting Metal V ranks.
I'm curious, why has there been such little push towards wanting to play ranked 5s. It seems odd that LoL would be focused so much on LCS and competitive gaming, yet have the main gameplay be a counter-intuitive gamemode. I mean LoL is often talked about being a much more team oriented game compared to it's predecessors AoS and DotA. Any chance in the future to promote team play considering the majority of toxicity comes from peoples disinterest to gain any friendship.
You are right, and while I don't anticipate a lot of feature development in this direction, I think there are some elegant things we can do to help on this front.
I understand that you're looking at your numbers, and it shows that the amount of ranked has increased since Season 2. And I'm sure you've read this from someone else already. But so has the amount of players.
It's on a percentage basis, it's up about 2x.

As you say "the fact that ranked participation has both dramatically increased AND sustained tells us that the overall set of changes was favorable to the needs of our players"
It's not because the changes were "favorable", People want to get better at this game, Ranked is the way to do so. People want borders, and prizes at the end of the season, Ranked is the only way to do so. There is NO other queue, that offers the same thing that ranked does. And you know what? With having to go through 5 promotion series, V > IV > III > II > I > V of next tier. That means you're dedicating, at maximum ASSUMING You win all of your games in promotions, 17 games. IF you win them all. And if you don't win them all? Oh boy, get back down to that 60LP and start again!
Not to mention, The type of border, prize, and everything you receive at the end of the season, gets better only when you move up a whole TIER.
So with people grinding for their End of season rewards, and with how long it could take some people to do so, It's not necessarily a huge surprise that ranked is "sustainable"
Your system is literally forcing people TO PLAY MORE RANKED to get their end of season rewards.
I don't know, it's been a continuous change, and a sustained one. You'd think people would just hit their level and stop if it was about that short-term goal.

Easier Friend Invitations Being Worked On

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Well, he got to the point he does know how the game is supposed to work, and whenever we play bot matches it usually ends up with either me, or one of the people I was matched up with carrying the entire game. I don't really think he'd improve much if 1-2 people are good enough to literally do all of the work for him, so I took him onto PVP. I kind of feel bad for making our team lose so many times as I'd try to give him some tips while people closer to my level kind of blow him up over and over again. It makes me consider using a smurf, but honestly I just wish I could use the account I always use and not have him be overwhelmed with all these better people making him kind of feel like a loser.. which is kind of my fault.
It isn't your fault. We admit that right now, it's quite difficult to bring new friends into the game if you are playing your main account--this is one of the reasons that people create new accounts and smurf. They aren't really smurfing, they just want to have slightly easier matches as their friend ramps up.

We're going to do more work in this space and try to make it easier for friends to bring other friends into League.
You guys should focus on fixing the current problem that most people are having please. No disrespect. @Lyte
I'm curious--what problem do you believe most people are having?
Hi Lyte.
I've just a quick question. I plan to make a thread (It's going to be a wall of text, in fact) about a survey i did on thousands of LoL players.
I did some experiments with my account and smurfs, at different skills levels, did some "research", and used results of my surveys to elaborate some suggestions for the player behavior.
However, I know Rioters wont read it if it's a wall of text... It's a bit hard to make a short thread to talk about this survey (40~ questions), and suggest something. Do you have any advice to make it easy to read, so, Rioters will not spend too many time on it, and will understand it ? I was thinking about some screenshots, but i don't know if it's the best idea.
(Sorry for my english, it's not my main language)
Hm, depending on the survey questions, I'd probably categorize the questions into 5-8 big categories or themes. Then, just create a PDF where each page is the most insightful graph from each category, followed by 4-5 brief sentences about other insights in that category.

Feel free to fire the finished work to lyte [at] riotgames [dot] com.
They'll just make a new account and ruin games for newer players with their toxicity. I strongly recommend before a perma ban, you give players something like a 2 week-in game restriction (or even 100 games) and see if they improve. I dont know if the concept of neuroplasticity is relevant here but we can train our brain to act in different ways and part of that is getting over the hurdle of raging and becoming a neutral or positive player, everyone deserves a legit chance to do that and repeated bans won't help that but extended chat restrictions before a perma could.
You can deny it if you want but in truth you'd prefer of those toxic ragers acted as normal players and stayed on your game. So the focus needs to be on changing these players and the current method isn't that sufficient. Sure, some people won't change but most people who end up in the triubal for the time change their behaviour and don't go there again, for some people this might take longer than a ban.
We've always said that we prefer reforming toxic players first, and will only remove them on a last resort basis.

We are currently handing out massive chat bans before permanent bans these days though, and are trying to research new ways to reduce the motivation for toxic players to simply make new accounts. One way would be to add more 'account restrictions' and just let these players stay on their main accounts.
Lyte does this mean you are un-banning previously permanently banned accounts? This would be very nice considering that you said riot is moving away from permanently banning people. I understand the argument here.
No, we will not retroactively unban permanently banned accounts, even if new features or account restrictions are launched.

Higher Visual Detail for Master Yi

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

I played a higher price for Headhunter and for the particles
Now with the rework the particles were stripped off making chosen Yi the best skin.
Why did you take off the particles?
UT OH! I did the original headhunter as well as the rework and I thought they looked similar to me. I have some tasks I need to complete but I'll try and take a look at it. Hang tight, I'll need to carve out some time in my schedule, sorry I failed

Rengar Still Going Through Changes

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Are you dead set on keeping rengar's core ultimate aspects such as turning invisible and revealing the enemy team?(Imo I think his ult should be scrapped for a new one)
I would like to also know what your definition of what a hunter is in your point of view, this may help us guide you to put rengar in a good place.
Interesting that you bring this up!

Part of the reason for Wav3 and i's radiosilence is that there isn't much to report at present. Other champions are taking testing bandwidth - and while we're definitely getting good iteration on the changes we have, it's not like Lucian, Yi, or other recently 'near-done' testpoints that need multiple balance tests. Generally for things like this it's 'Make change based on hypothesis -> test -> validate -> repeat' Validating what worked/didn't work with a particular iteration is the easy bit (Rengar without %AS on Q felt bad, Rengar with Q-train felt cool), but working on the next iteration to make sure it's still aligned with the changes but making progress can take time.

We're trying some crazy things. Namely, pretty much every human (even those who agree that Rengar stabbing with 0 warning is BS) has been to some degree opposed to the Icon/VO telegraph - and while it's definitely more fair playing against (and not near as detrimental as perceived), there's a lot of validity to the feeling of 'I want to be a hunter lion and this goes against my instinct that i will feel powerful'. It's only one solution out of a lot of them - I hear you guys on this one, and so we're trying alternate approaches to add the appropriate counterplay on the ultimate.

Larger update as soon as we have concrete stuff to show.

Clarifications on the New Icons

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Abyssal Scepter: So basically, you turned it from a skull on a stick to a skull on a spine. Okay?
Fair point. I guess it's mostly that the old one lacked any real design and wasn't super interesting. The base was there, it just needed to be pushed. :P

I like it. The only one I don't fully like the change on is Vampiric Scepter. I would have liked to see more of the skull/face in there.
I tried to keep the implied face in there with the fangs and eyes, but keeping the skull ended up making the whole item feel super clunky. Kind of a shame, because in theory it's pretty cool, I just found it really difficult to execute on and still make look like the Vampiric stuff we see with Vlad. Thanks very much for the feedback though!

I think the new icons are brilliant! And I like the whole explaining the process behind each design change too!
Hope you get round to updating all the remaining ones soon so we don't have the clash of art styles...
Will you be updating summoner spell icons too?
I assure you, no icon will go untouched (unless it released more recently--Orb of Winter, Spectral Cowl, and Seeker's Armguard are already in-style, as are all the newer champs since Annie's rework). Look forward to them soon!

love the new icons.
how long does it take to redesign one? And how many people are involved?
Are there plans to change the other icons too?
It varies from icon to icon. Ability icons usually take about two days to bring to final polish, since we paint them at a much higher resolution than seen in game. Item icons can take a bit longer, because a big part of the icon is doing actual redesigns and running the concept by people to make sure the shape language and colors are working. The average time for these item icons was about 4 days apiece, though they were staggered a bit. The overall work time on these was about a month in between other icon projects, and lots of testing and reviews were done before we decided to put them in.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for more coming up in the future!

The only one I don't like is new Deathfire Grasp, and that's becaus the new icon is so vastly different from the old, not just in terms of the actual item itself but even in the colours used for it, that I can no longer identify it at a glance. All the other new icons I can give them the briefest of looks and still immediately know what it is (which is important in a game when you need to do your shopping as quickly as possible), but for Deathfire Grasp, I find myself constantly have to search and research the shop to find it because the icon is too drastically different. I'll get used to it eventually, and for new players coming into the game this will never be an issue, but I find the drastic visual change is definitely a huge annoyance that slows down my shopping at the moment.
This was one of the icons we were most worried about changing, but the old one had very little to work with. I tried a few variations keeping the pink and grey, and even had several iterations with the skull, but they were all mostly as confusing as the original was (which isn't terribly clear, though I know it's been around a while so it has become hugely familiar). In the end this one provided the clearest read, and we wanted to introduce the more dramatic changes slowly so that the overall transition would be less jarring. We have a few others planned to be reworked to about this level, but the number isn't very high and we hope to slot them in gradually over time.
Agreed. A month is INSANE. I could make more icons than this in a day. Bit more if I had to go through discussions and touch-ups, but definately not a MONTH.
As I said, "The overall work time on these was about a month in between other icon projects," which means we had a lot of things going on simultaneously. Keep in mind we're trying to hit all the new content too, guys. :P

RiotRadioblur , I was wondering , Are you in charge of updating champion's abilities icons?
Because , I had a really big doubt. Why didn't you change the ability icons for some champions when they got a Visual Upgrade? I know you did for Annie , Karma , Master Yi , Katarina. But why not Ashe , Nidalee , Soraka?(just examples)
Soraka , for example , really needs new icons to match her new look and all. Her old ability Icons just look.. really outdated and not really pretty.
I know this doesn't exactly belong to this thread , but I would really appreciate It If you could give me an answer.
I'm doing most of our icons internally right now, but the whole Visual Design department shares a lot of that responsibility so it doesn't really fall to any one of us in particular. I can say that updating relaunched champion ability icons was a movement I started when I got here, which was just before Annie was relaunched. We're looking at ways to get back and update all the old stuff, but there's a lot of new content rolling out all the time that eats up a significant amount of bandwidth. I don't want to promise anything, but I assure you it's not off our radar.

That being said, were these Icons worked on by the Vigil hires I read about? The style reminds me so much of the Darksiders art, and for me that's not a bad thing. I was a fan of Vigil long before I became a Riot fan and it makes me happy to see the style live on in another of my favorite games.
Actually all of these items were primarily spearheaded by me with some seriously huge assists from all the other departments. There are quite a few Vigil folks around the office, but none of them had much of a hand in this rework pass to my knowledge. That said, we might be seeing some down the road with some of them jumping in for support, just as long as the end result continues to feel distinctly "Riot."
Meanwhile, Nome implements Monflair Spellblade which gives resistances(As all swords do!) and has a ranged only tag (Because long-range-sword!) ^^
Don't get me wrong I'm not ranting, I'm just trying to sarcastically point to those inconsistencies. They really bug me - You can look at Thornmail and you'll know what it does:
It's armor, it gives resistances - check
It has thorns, it hurts you when you touch it - check (sorta)
Name and item-design match so well - Why would you break this principle just because you want to recycle an item there?
So, just a humble request: Please not only update the visuals, have an eye on those items which match/don't match their icon and adjust those accordingly.
That's actually a great point. Definitely something to think about going forward. Thanks for the feedback!

Zileas on Irelia's Kit

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

It's hard to balance her because her kit have a bit of everything they said.
Vayne's kit have even more things, and her last nerf actually didn't change anything. Her ultimate isn't her problem.
Her W is the problem. Health counter true damage, but vayne is a ranged hyper carry with % health true damage. You can't even say this without laughing.
It's more that she lacks counterplay, so she will tend to snowball a lot. Reliable stun, really good sustain, excellent chase potential, etc. When characters lack counterplay, we balance them to fair, but they are on a knifepoint of out of control or totally awful depending upon how the game goes. Good play comes from rich counterplay where you are 'in the game' for longer once you are behind if you make a great play (or the other way around if you are ahead). This is a lot more interesting to everyone, and a lot less frustrating, it's win win and makes the lane experience a more protracted battle for dominance.

This is a lot of why we've avoided hard lane counters at champ select and don't have a lot of types of skills. I know you guys sometimes criticize us for it, but that's the upside (which is also why Irelia gets so many complaints of either too strong or too weak vs most champions).
I'd imagine you must really hate the current state of yorick then.
Well... yes.
thats a funny definition of reliable you got there. im guessing annie has a reliable stun too right?
if irelia and annie's stuns are reliable what do you call sion's and tarics?
No, for Annie to hold her stun, she has to be inactive with further spells. Irelia on the other hand has no such restriction. Annie's stun has much better counterplay and gameplay both.
Must be lower hp% and shorter range isn't considered any restriction?
It is, but the counterplay is very low. If she's eligible, she gets it.

Critical Flaws of the Mercy Vote Concept

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

While decreasing the pain involved in a 4v5 is a great idea and a noble goal, we have to be very careful with how we approach this problem.

NeuroCat touched on this already, but I'd like to reiterate an important point:

When changing or adding systems to improve the player experience we need to do our best to avoid creating new avenues for negative behavior.

With the Mercy Vote concept there are a few places where new conflicts are created.

1. If there is any benefit (smaller loss penalty OR earlier surrender opportunity) to having one of your teammates leave the game, then we are giving an incentive for bullying one of your teammates out of the game.

2. By putting mercy vote control into the hands of the other team we are creating a scenario where one team may feel entitled to a mercy vote but the other team does not issue one. If you know in your heart you deserved mercy but the other team doesn't vote to grant it, you are going to feel pretty bad.

Any system we implement to make the 4v5 situation better would have to solve for conflicts such as (and not limited to) these.

So - how would you guys suggest we do that?
I would also like to add that the chance of 4 random teammates in solo queue banding together as a toxic unit in the effort to bully a 5th random teammate to leave the game in order to provoke a mercy vote has such a low chance of ever occurring that it can be deemed totally and utterly inconceivable!
It does not take the cooperation of four players to make someone miserable enough to want to quit. It only takes one dedicated jerk.

Right now toxic behavior is generated mostly by players who are frustrated or who have had a bad day, with focused trolling for the sake of trolling also being a small contributor. There are, intentionally, no gameplay incentives for being toxic. I think it would be very scary to set that precedent.

If this solution is implemented secretly, my only request is that the system be know internally as the DirtyNate solution. You don't even have to tell me that you're using it. =)
I will not confirm or deny implementation of a DirtyNate solution.

Number 1, I believe, has a simple fix to it. The main problem I have seen in my experience is when a player doesn't connect since the beginning of the game. If you were to make it so the mercy vote were to happen only when someone doesn't connect since the start of the game and say 10 min into the game they still aren't there. This will solve the issue of trying to bully a feeder out to get a mercy vote.
This has come up in internal discussions as well. There is potential value here.

The issue with the incentive for bullying should not be a problem as Offensive Language is reportable and there is a in-game mute button.
Reporting is a tool for punishing toxic behavior. It does not, however, directly prevent the behavior. At that point 'the damage is already done' so to speak. Prevention is much, much better.



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