Today’s red post includes a behavioral systems update for August 2020 focusing on intent to lose and leaver/afks, Meddler’s quick LoL thoughts for July 31st, this week’s Ask Riot, and more!
Behavioral Systems: August 2020 Update
Here’s the latest on behavioral systems from Riot Codebear – “Sharing our changes coming in the next few patches.”
“Hello everyone! We’re back with another monthly update on our progress toward improving League’s behavioral systems. As usual, we would like to give you some insight into what the team has been working on this month and what you should see rolling out across the next few patches.
In our July update we called out a few specific areas around disruptive behavior that we would be focusing on: Intent to lose actions and leaving or going idle in game.
- Intentionally feeding opponents
- Sabotage through disruptive gameplay actions (aka “griefing”)
- Intentionally leaving the game
- Going idle in game
- Game disconnects
Our goals are to:
- Reduce occurrences of the above behaviors in all queues
- Mitigate the impact to players when they experience disruptive behaviors in their games
Intentional Feeding and Idle/AFK Detection
After 100s of depressing manual VOD reviews and verification exercises, we think we’re in a good enough place to start getting improvements to how we detect intentional feeding and idle/AFK behaviors out for testing. These changes will allow us to:
- Identify these behaviors at DOUBLE THE RATE we are currently
- Take action against those negative behaviors more consistently
- Let players know when we’ve caught negative behaviors in their games and work towards alleviating that pain
Our first detection improvements are already live in 10.15, but we’ll continue to push new iterations across the next couple of patches. We’re working towards a world where we detect these behaviors as they occur, mitigate them for affected players during those games, and take action against the offenders immediately after the game.
Idle and AFK Actions
If we’re detecting disruptive behavior more often, how are we actioning against it? In order to reduce the overall footprint of idle and AFK behavior in League, we’ve outlined a few options that tackle the goals of:
- Preventing this behavior from occurring again.
- Deterring this behavior from occurring in the first place.
- Mitigating the impact of this behavior when it does occur.
We’re looking to dig more into the following solutions to address AFKs in the short-term:
- Early surrender options when we identify an AFK early in your game
- LP mitigation for those in ranked games that have an AFK or intent to lose behaviors on their team during a loss
- Stricter Queue lockouts for those that disconnect / AFK
- Pre-queue warnings for those that have disrupted games previously
We’re looking for feedback from players on these implementations, so we’ll be doing them in the same live experimentation fashion as we did with Champ Select Reporting. We don’t have a hard date for delivery just yet, but we should have at least one experiment live in the next month.
Speaking of Champ Select Reporting…
Champ Select Reporting
Two patches ago we launched Champion Select Reporting and Muting features. We’ve been able to gather significant data around disruptive behaviors in Champion Select and have seen success in giving players a pre-emptive way of avoiding verbal abuse in Champion Select and in game. Rather than turn these features off after the two-patch experiment as originally planned, we’ll leave them on going forward.
The two biggest trends we saw in reports were players whose champs were banned by their own teammates and reports of negative chat. Though we know these aren’t all the issues, it’s enough for us to start developing improvements based on our experiment’s results.
We’re committed to shipping the following to further develop the Champion Select experience:
- Ban confirmation and detection: We understand that there’s strategic value and personal preference for certain bans, and we want to maintain your ability to pick which champ you don’t want to play against. Based on report data, though, we want to make it clearer when your ban choice overlaps with what a teammate wants to play. We’ll be implementing better automated detection to double-check that you actually want to ban a champion that your teammate is currently hovering.
- Penalty System Integration: Though we can’t confidently act on behaviors directly in Champion Select just yet, we are looking to find and implement the best post-game actions we can to common issues, similar to End of Game reporting.
With each experiment we run, your feedback and experience with these new features helps guide the direction of League’s behavioral systems. Thanks for sticking with us as we work to make playing League a better experience.
As always, see you on the Rift.”
Quick LoL Thoughts: July 31
Here’s Meddler’s quick LoL thoughts for July 31st – “Spirit Blossom, end of TFT: Galaxies.”:
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 delayed or even stopped. If you’d like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler
It’s been great to see so many people enjoying Spirit Blossom so far. It’s an event we’re really happy with that’s been a long time in the making for many teams. While we can’t make every event this comprehensive we’re certainly aiming to do more events like this when we can. We’re also spending a lot of time looking at feedback around particular event features, understanding things like how much different groups of players care about narrative, different types of rewards, cinematics, meta systems like Spirit Bonds etc. Based off that we’ll adjust what goes into future events to try and deliver more of what really resonates with people. Early sentiment suggests that the Spirit Bonds system for example has been quite popular, which increases our interest in trying other between game thematic systems for events.
Spirit Blossom’s Effect on Champion Play Rates
Another thing that’s been particularly noticeable for Spirit Blossom versus other events is how much it’s affected champion play rates. Normally we see a bit of increased popularity for champions featured prominently in an event but not a huge amount. This time however we’ve seen substantial increases in play rate for all the relevant champions. The chart below shows how a champion’s popularity has changed comparing this patch to the last one.
The horizontal axis is how many people are playing a champion. The vertical access is how many games on a champion the average player plays on them. Both axes are relative to average rates for all champions as represented by the median lines. That means that Kindred for example has gone from being a champion played by fewer people than average, with players who played Kindred an average amount, to being a fairly broadly played champion with a lot more play than average. Yasuo has then seen even more people playing him, but fewer average games per player, assumedly reflecting both that there are only so many chances to play Yasuo to go around and that some Yasuo players are taking the chance to player other champions for the event.
TFT: End of the Galaxies set draws near
We’re getting close to the end of the Galaxies set now, with a bit more than a month remaining. We’ll have a lot of details in both video and written form to share soon, covering things like lessons learned from Galaxies, what’s up next for TFT, how we’re thinking about different features and player desires etc. We’ve also got the first end of set tournament coming up soon as announced back in April, with the finals taking place on the 3rd and 4th of September with players from regions across the globe.
We hope you’ve enjoyed TFT’s first take on Sci-Fi and we’ll almost certainly try sci-fi again someday, maybe as a return to the Galaxies setting or maybe with a different tone and approach. Next up though we’ll be exploring a different theme that we’re really excited to see your reactions to.”
Over on the LoL subreddit, Meddler also mentioned champions for skins who have went a while without them:
“We’re targeting good skins for a range of champs who’ve gone a long time without one this year. Some of those are out already, a number more are still to come in the second half of the year. We’ll then do a review of some sort at the end of the year, talk with you folks about where we think we caught some champs up, what we missed etc.”
Ask Riot: Winter on the Rift?
Check out this week’s Ask Riot – “Will it snow again on the Rift? Which champs get honored most? Why is Morde’s new kit so different?”
“Welcome to Ask Riot!
This week, we’re talking about why some VGUs have more drastic kit changes than others, which champions get the most (and least) honors, and whether snow will ever return to the Rift.
Are you going to bring back Winter Summoner’s Rift or other changes in Rift appearance?
The map updates we’ve made for events like Snowdown and Arcade have always been fun for players (and honestly, for us as well). The downside is that they don’t last very long and often lack depth. Instead of doing a handful of these smaller map reskins every year, we’ve instead been focusing our efforts on creating more immersive environments that players get to experience for a longer period of time.
The most recent example of this approach is the relocation of Nexus Blitz—which will now be returning more often as part of events—to a beautiful (and mysterious) Ionian forest. Another example is the Elemental Rift update from last preseason.
So… Will we ever bring back snow back to the Rift? The answer is maybe, but we don’t have any plans to at the moment. That said, we’re constantly improving the tools we use to make environment art (did you know that the first TFT Arenas were made from pieces of SR, but at the time we didn’t have a way to repurpose the map parts, so we had to figure out how to chop ‘em up and reuse them first?). Improvements like this will help us make more immersive maps more quickly than before. Perhaps one day we can create temporary maps to support events, but in the meantime, we hope you enjoy The Temple of the Lily and the Lotus.
PS. Before y’all ask, “Why can’t you reuse the Winter map you already made?,” we’d like to remind you that the Rift LITERALLY CATCHES ON FIRE. (And grows flowers. And rocks. And… wind?) But in all seriousness, we’d need to make snowy versions of all four Elemental Rifts as well as snowy alcove areas. It’s not a technical challenge but would take some time to make the art for, and it’s not something we’re planning on this year.
– Karadwe, Product Lead
Why was Mordekaiser’s kit changed so much in comparison to Nunu’s and Fiddlestick’s rework?
Fair question! Since I was the designer on Nunu’s rework as well as Mordekaiser’s (with EndlessPillows), I’ll explain how that process worked and how we arrived at the final ability kits that we did.
When we do updates to champions, there are varying levels of what needs to be overhauled versus what needs to just be modernized or “touched-up.” They vary from small updates like Ezreal’s in 2018 to massive overhauls like Mordekaiser’s. It all depends on why we’re doing the update in the first place and how much of their kit is iconic or essential to their strategic identity (more on this below).
Just prior to their updates, Nunu and Mordekaiser were both at (or very near) the bottom of the roster in terms of play rate, which is what made them good candidates for VGUs. Having that low of a playrate is a good indicator that their kits are not resonant with modern players. Granted, we are completely open to having niche champions, but there’s a big difference between “niche” and “most people really don’t like this.” In particular, even niche champions will be higher on the depth of play scale, which measures how many games the typical main plays that champion. Nunu and Morde were very low on depth as well, not just overall playrate (breadth).
Our process for updating champion kit’s is pretty consistent, and when simplified, it looks like this:
- Look for any iconic abilities that should be maintained and brought forward into the new kit.
- Ensure that the strategic identity of the champion is maintained.
- With what room is left, create the gameplay experience that you would expect as a player when you see their character art or read their lore.
So for Nunu, that went like this:
- Absolute Zero is probably one of the best textbook cases of what an iconic ability is. It’s been around since the beginning, and most players know what it does and even what its name is. To remove that in his update would be overly frustrating to players, even the majority that weren’t playing him actively at the time.
- Nunu’s strategic identity was objective control. How/why was he so good at that? Because of Consume. And so, since we didn’t want to change his strategic identity, we brought Consume forward as well. (In both cases, we updated the abilities, but they were very similar to their original versions.)
- I wanted to make the act of moving around the map (especially the jungle) more fun, and we also wanted to tell the story of this playful friendship between a boy and a “monster,” so the idea of rolling the snowball was born.
In its simplified form, that looks very straightforward, but we did many iterations on his abilities and passive to end up where we did. In some ways, trying to keep 2 of his 4 abilities makes things more difficult because it doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity.
Mordekaiser, on the other hand, didn’t have any abilities that were as iconic. An argument could be made for controlling ghosts with his R, but that was a particular portion of the kit that most players didn’t care for. We spent months trying to make that feel better and make it work, for what it’s worth, but decided in the end we weren’t going to meet our goals of making the champion more fun to play for more people if we forced pet control into the new kit. (We talk more about this in the behind-the-scenes video on Morde’s development.) Removing the ghosts also meant we had more power budget to put into the things we thought would be fun and feel good, which is why his Q hits so hard.
Second, Mordekaiser didn’t have as clear of a strategic identity as champions like Mordekaiser and Fiddlesticks did. We still wanted Morde to be an AP juggernaut that uses offense to power his defense, but at the strategic level, he didn’t have a very clear purpose or strength. That meant we had an opportunity to come up with a new one, which is what sparked the idea of taking champions to the Death Realm to isolate them from their allies in a true 1v1.
So with his whole kit largely open, we got to ask ourselves: When you see Mordekaiser’s picture, or when you read about Mordekaiser’s lore, what is the character you expect to get to play? And the answer was pretty clear: a heavily armored, huge mace-wielding badass that is lord of the death realm and wielder of its magic. His new abilities were born from wanting to actualize that fantasy—smash things with his mace, feel nearly indestructible at times, use magic to do things at ranges that aren’t typical for a juggernaut, and ultimately take enemies to the place where you are strongest and destroy them.
I know that’s a long answer, but hopefully that gives you a better idea of the journey we go on when we explore updating champions. Each VGU has different goals, and some of those require a lot of change and others require less. If you want to dive into more specifics, you can check out these posts about Urgot, Evelynn, Fiddlesticks, and Volibear, and this video about Pantheon.
– Riot Xenogenic, Lead Game Designer
Which champions have gotten the most and least honors this season?
The award for the “most honorable champion” in League goes to Yuumi (0.8 honors received per game, more than 20% higher than the average!). She’s followed pretty closely by Soraka, Lulu, and Nami.
In fact, supportive champions tend to receive the most honors in general, with 13 out of the top 15 most-honored champions in League being champion primarily played in the Support role. The only two exceptions are Ivern (ranked 5th), and Kalista (ranked 14th). I found Kalista particularly interesting, since she’s an ADC that has more “direct” synergies with her support (due to her Oathsworn Bond), which may explain why she’s so high up in honors.
On the flip side… the champion with the fewest honors received per game goes to Jayce (ranked 148th), followed very closely by Teemo and Quinn.
Some more interesting data in case you’re interested:
- The highest-honored champion that is primarily played as a mid laner is Galio (at rank 30), followed by Orianna (rank 42).
- The highest-honored champion that is primarily played as a top laner is Shen (rank 53), followed by Sion (rank 55).
- The most-to-least honored roles seem to be Support -> ADC -> Jungle -> Mid -> Top. (This probably says more about the pattern of which roles tend to honor what other roles, like Supports and ADCs more frequently honoring each other, than the nature of the champions themselves).
- There’s some regional variance in who gets honored. Some examples include Lee Sin dropping from the 32nd to 96th most honored champion in North American servers, or Yasuo jumping 63 ranks when looking only at European servers (ranked 45th, compared to the global average of 108).
Thanks for the question—it’s always a pleasure answering data questions that players have about the game!
– Riot South Korea, Insights Analyst
Have a question? Head here, drop your question in the box, and ask away.”
- A new Spirit Blossom trailer featuring the 10.16 Spirit Blossom skins is now up on the Riot KR Youtube:
- A new Art Spotlight is now out, showing the creation of Spirit Blossom Riven in Spirit bonds – “Spirit Blossom Riven – Spirit Bonds: Art Spotlight“
- Here’s Endless Pillows with details on changes coming to Yone’s walk animation:
“Hey Yone players, just wanted to give you a quick update on the walking animation.
First off, thank you for all the feedback. We are lucky to have so many players jump on PBE and watch streams to give us their thoughts before Yone hits live. We heard your concerns loud and clear.
I wanted to provide some insight to our current thought process, constraints, and what we plan to do next.
Adam (Yone’s animator) has put in a lot of work over the last couple of days exploring the options we had available to us when it comes to this animation. A champion’s walk is deeply rooted throughout a kit. Almost every animation needs to have supporting animations handle the transition to and from the walk. Changing the core of this animation means having to alter every other animation to support it. That said, I don’t think we would want to do that anyways. We tried testing a few animations where Yone sheaths his blade when running, or even dismisses his Azakana blade to move more quickly. But these animations didn’t feel like they fit Yone’s character.
Yone is supposed to be different from Yasuo. And different from most other champions. He is calm. Calculating. Precise in his decision making and movement. He also knows how crazy powerful he is. And some enemies take no effort for him to defeat. We think that his current walk can have an imposing and intimidating feeling to it when he is in combat with others. (Kind of like: “I don’t even need to break a sweat to absolutely demolish you”).
All of that being said, this type of stance/walk doesn’t really make sense when Yone is not actively fighting. Especially in moments where the player is just trying to get from point A to point B. Who exactly is he trying to intimidate? Why does it look like he’s taking his sweet time? Why is he so rigid when he should probably be hustling to get to his destination? This is where we agree with you 100%. It doesn’t make sense for any character. Especially Yone, someone who is capable of great speed and agility when he needs it.
Our current plan is to make tweaks to the run animation to better match your expectations and feedback: Leaning forward, less rigid, and have Yone look like he is ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. We will also have him transition into his run animation when he has not been attacking for a few moments (Similar to how/when Yasuo sheaths his blade). We think this keeps the thematic of Yone in-tact while resolving a lot of the dissonance players are feeling.
EndlessPillows also noted some Spirit Blossom Yone VFX tweaks we should see next patch:
“We actually just got sign off today to make updates to the VFX on SB Yone. They will not make it in for live, but should come out with the following patch.”
“It will mostly be focused on Q3 (Warning tornado on Yone, Q3 missile/dash). We are also going to try and make improvements to the E execute icon above enemies heads for both skins to make it more visible/readable.”
“Important message from Alberto Guerrero, Director of Esports EMEA”
- The Spirit Blossom event is running from now until August 24th! Check out new skins, chromas, loot, and more, plus build your Spirit Bonds with champions to earn rewards, and look for future skins and champions to join the festival!