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06-27-2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default Red Post Collection: Tidbits on SGU, Restricted Chat Results, & more!

Surrender at 20: Red Post Collection: Tidbits on SGU, Restricted Chat Results, Champ Designer thoughts on pick/bans, more from GM's AT, and more!

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Ready for a MASSIVE red post collection?
Continue reading for a whole slew of red posts, including tidbits about the new Spirit Guard Udyr skin, Lyte sharing the results of the restricted chat experiment, more from Grumpy Monkey's Art thread, Damiya explaining the recent behind the scenes improvements to the UI, CertainlyT sharing his thoughts ( as a designer ) on his champion's getting high pick/ban rates, and more!

Spirit Guard Udyr Tidbits
With the reveal of the long anticipated Spirit Guard Udyr skin last night, several Rioter's have joined in to comment on various aspects of the new ultimate skin.

RiotMindbullets commented on the notion of making the skin have Udyr actually transform into new animals, saying:
"Hey Guys,
Sorry I'm late the party on this one, was too busy reading up on what everyone thinks of SGU! I worked with the dudes/dudettes that put Udyr together, and we definitely discussed the transformation into actual animals.
One of the reasons we decided against this was how much it would change his silhouette in game. We wanted this skin to be equally awesome and readable in game so that the skin doesn't create any time of negative gameplay interaction.
Another reason we opted to not do this was because of how often you switch and how jarring it would be to be to constantly be changing from flying bird, to crawling turtle, to lumbering bear, to sprinting tiger and back again.

We felt that it is most appropriate to showcase how Udyr summons the powerful spirit of the animal to aid him in battle (with a little extra ooomph at max rank).


Really excited to see the discussion about him here, and sorry for the late response. Hope you guys like it!"
In response to a few questions, Riot Dudebro made the comments that SGU has been in development since before Pulsefire Ezreal was released ( nearly a year ago )
"It took us longer than 9 months to make this skin. We were working on him before PFE came out. I mean he's like 13 models, 4+ animation sets, different sounds for each stance, and custom effects per stance for minions,champs,jungle creeps, recalls,and emotes. Some even had max form specific work. phew!"
He continued:
"Well, it's game development "In development" could mean anything from nailing a gameplay design to getting the look in some concept art to testing new technology to achieve the desired look/feel to actually producing the content to testing new content. Content is always up for critique, it's always up for scope change, it's always up for re-do's and sometimes cancellation. Ya never know
Whatever employee numbers you may have heard, you have to remember not every single one of them is working on the art side. We have smaller groups who work on projects, so the Spirit Udyr team was really only like 6 to 8 people(for the in game assets). There were other groups who worked on the website and other things. Give those guys some props too; they rock!
In short, game development takes time and some companies do it differently."
Restricted Chat Experiment Results
Lyte stopped by the forums to proudly present the results of the recent restricted chat experiment, a feature that limits the amount of times toxic players can interact via the in game chat.
"Summoners!
The player behavior team has been working hard to redefine our vision of what punishments and rewards mean in League of Legends; we have been working hard towards a day where we don't have to utilize time bans. Although they have shown success in helping players improve their behaviors, we believe we can do even better by using account restrictions that teach and spread what sportsmanlike behavior looks like while still allowing players to play League of Legends on their main account. For the past three months, we have been testing our new Restricted Chat Mode, and the results have been interesting.
When we combine chat restrictions with timebans, we see a 15% decrease in the number of players who return to the Tribunal within the month. Players that complete their chat restrictions see up to a 20% decrease in the number of reports that they receive from fellow players.
When we first thought about account restrictions, we noticed that a lot of game studios opted to completely mute players and disable their ability to chat in games at all; however, we were inspired by the psychology of feedback and wanted to try something different. In Restricted Chat Mode, we wanted to put players into a situation where they had limited chat resources that would accrue over time; these players must think carefully about whether to use their chat messages for sportsmanlike behaviors, or for toxicity. If players chose to still use the chat messages for toxicity, they quickly hit a message cap and are effectively muted, which acts as immediate feedback to the player that their behavior is not cool. This experiment serves a dual purpose: it gives players an opportunity to learn what sportsmanlike behavior is, but if the player remains toxic, the feature shields other players from this behavior.
We've gotten some great feedback from players about Restricted Chat Mode Many players have noted how Restricted Chat Mode has taught them about sportsmanlike language, and how the mode has been helping them manage their behaviors and win more games. Many players have also asked whether they can opt-in to Restricted Chat Mode permanently. We're not quite sure how we want to handle this yet, but we wanted to share some initial results of this experiment.
We look forward to talking more about iterations to Restricted Chat Mode, and new player behavior features in the future!"
Speaking to the chat restrictions limited positive interaction as well as negative, Drevarius commented:
"It is true that the message cap doesn't discriminate between positive and negative intent, but it does create the situation where the player has to stop and consider whether what they are saying is worth a chat message or not.
In many cases, that is all that is required for the player to realize that some of their messages are inappropriate or unnecessary. The vast majority of our players are decent human beings - some of them just need assistance when they are having a bad day.

In cases where a player is still being toxic, chat restrictions will at least put a limit on their output and they will soon incur a more severe punishment."
While this is all well and good, a few players started asking about updates on what the player behavior team is fixed to do about champion select. Lyte's response:
"Most of the Player Behavior team is focused on a potential solution for Champ Select. We've been doing a lot of research, including visiting campuses to talk to scientists about potential research we could apply to a solution.

We agree, a lot of problems do begin in Champion Select, and it's one of the things we want to fix in the future."
Designer thoughts on their champs with high pick / ban rates
When asked how a champion designer reacts to seeing their champions constantly picked or banned on a competitive level, CertainlyT - the designer of Thresh - shared his thoughts on the topic:
"I'm sure your answer will have some variation on a designer-by-designer basis. Personally, my emotions span the gamut from excitement to apprehension.
It's enjoyable to see your champions used competitively not just because of the pride you have in playing a role in their creation but because you get to see them pushed to their limits -- be it through innovative uses of mechanics or straightforward application of what you imagined to be core mechanics.

In the case of Thresh, I was blown away by KT Rolster B's (?) tricky play of hooking to Baron from behind the pit and lanterning in a Jayce with him to bypass ward vision in front of the pit. Lantern fake outs throw the lantern into fog of war when the enemy engages to bluff your jungler counter-ganking always please me as I love the psychological aspect of LoL's gameplay. I am also always happy when I see Thresh's sustained peeling power being put to good use alongside a carry like Twitch or Kog'Maw, both of whom lack much in the way of self-protection. Conversely, I enjoy watching teams playing against Thresh focus him down repeatedly during the laning phase, as this is the natural counterplay to a kit based around peel and lock down without much escape potential of its own. If memory serves, Raven and Starlast, SKT Telecom T1s hyper-aggressive bot lane, struggled once opponents adapted to their Twitch/Thresh lane by just blowing up Thresh.
I really loved the trend of Zyra mid in EU LCS last split as an answer to a heavy bruiser metagame. Her ability to stifle the enemy team's hard engage was clearly a valuable commodity at the time, and some of my favorite players like Xpeke used her to her fullest potential.
It's also cool to see players (both pro and otherwise) attach themselves to your champion. Madlife and Edward dueling for the Title of Thresh Prince, LG-IM's Lasha playing Zyra even when the Korean scene had started to sour on her, Dyrus picking Darius against Jayce because he had the self-confidence to believe that his way of playing could invert what most of us saw as a terrible matchup, all of these are memorable highlights to the past year of LoL ESports for me.
****
Frequent competitive play is also nerve-wracking. You want your champion to remain a fun and balanced pick for non-competitive (i.e., all of us), but consistent picks make you wonder if you've created a kit that cannot be balanced across all tiers of play without substantial work.
It's also a bit sad because as a designer and player I like seeing a diversity of picks in competitive play, not just to keep the play-by-play fresh but because it means a greater variety of strategies from the teams. To some extent though, this can stimulate creative thinking about how to rectify the problem. In fact, competitive play was a major motivator of the swap of Thresh's Q passive to his E -- the Live team (and I agreed) felt that his early damage and zoning potential was crowding out Blitzcrank and Leona. While this still might be the case, we see both of those champions used with greater frequency in competitive after the change.

In the long run, I am hopeful that Thresh's presence can emphasize the unique strengths of Blitz (objective control due to his ability to pull buffs or wayward champions over walls) and Leona (a true kill lane that eschews trading power for 100-0 all ins -- see Curse v Dig in last week's LCS, where they didn't want to trade with Draven's Spinning Axes, they wanted to kill him in 2 seconds). Leona also brings greater reliability as an initiator, since her R is much more consistent than Thresh Q now that he maxes it second in competitive play.

Does that mean Thresh is in a long term state of balance? No, but it does illuminate the fact that he doesn't inherently usurp those champions' roles."
More from Grumpy Monkey's Art Thread
We have a few more images from Grumpy Monkey's Art Thread!
"Here are two more pieces from the vault. One is the Void Crystal Ryze skin. I made this when I was on the skin team, it was one of my first assignments.

The second is Heartseeker Vayne...yeah."

Grumpy Monkey also gave us a little peek into his typical work, revealing it to be dynamic ( and talking about some reworks! yeah! ):
"It depends really. Riot is a pretty dynamic company. Speaking for myself, I am sometimes working on three or four models at the same time all in different phases of development. Just recently I was working on drawings for the Sion Rework, Drawings and meetings about the Twitch rework, Sculpting the base and skins for Sivir,working on the final geometry and textures for Master Yi as well as working on the new base for an as of yet unannounced rework. So yeah it gets pretty dynamic and you have to know your limits and what you can and can't do within the timelines you are given.

But back when I was on champion team, I was usually working on two things at a time. One champion that is currently in production, and one that is in pre-production. Pretty easy. Skins team is crazy though, you can be working on a lot of things at the same time just like the rework team. But at the end of the day it really boils down to the individual artist, as to their own capacity and what keeps them in the state of mind to produce their best work."
Why no Pre / Post Game Chat Logs in the Tribunal?
When presented with the question of "Why can't we have pre and post game chat logs in the Tribunal", RoamingNumeral, a social systems designer, replied:
"We've seen this request pretty often on the forums or reddit, and it's easy to see why; many of us have experienced pre- or post-game toxicity and we want to react to that. That said, we've looked into this and we found that the VAST majority of players who are toxic pre- and post-game are also toxic in game and end up in the Tribunal anyways. That's not saying that they're toxic in game every time they're toxic before or after a game, but most of these players who can't control themselves out of game, can't manage it in game a lot of the time either.

Another consideration is the development cost of pulling pre- and post-game chat into the Tribunal. It's certainly not impossible, but it's not negligible either. Given that we really wouldn't bring many players to the Tribunal with pre- and post-game chat that wouldn't get there anyway because of in-game toxicity, and the cost of building the feature, we would rather spend the time working on other awesome features in the Player Behavior space."
More on Recent "under-the-hood" UI Changes
Damiya elaborated on some of the recent and upcoming UI improvements, specifically the ones that are hard for us to really feel as they are "under-the-hood" sort of reworks, and discussing how these changes make it easier to improve these features in the future.
"So I talked about this a little in another thread, but basically the current changes to the Runes page was sort of an under-the-hood rework of how the page works in the code. The main intent was to make it way easier to maintain and modify going forward by upgrading the underlying tech.
While everyone on the team is super committed to making improvements to the functionality and user experience of the Runes screen (along with all the other screens in the client), the first step is for the Engineers to get in there and rebuild some of these screens into a much more flexible format. This unlocks the page and allows our UX and Art gurus to roll up their sleeves and explore ways to improve and iterate on the client without some of the constraints that we've historically grappled with. Similarly the Buddy chat window received the same hidden rework, and there are other screens that will receive similar treatment in the near future.

To speak specifically to Rune pages, I was talking with another Developer about this the other day; we've looked into ways to make the rune pages reorderable and within the constraints of the current page layout we couldn't make that happen in a way that felt good. Because the pages are all numbered and arrayed out in a row across the top of the screen, it felt super weird to drag the boxes back and forth and see the numbers change and so on. The same problem came up with mastery pages; a bunch of pagination buttons just don't feel clean to drag around.

That said, it's definitely a feature that a lot of people would like to see added, and it's something that will bring a lot of value to our players. We don't have a great solution for it at this point, but it's something that we'll continue to look for an opportunity to make happen. The Runes rework was an important step towards putting the PVP.Net client in a place where it can be easily updated and improved, even if the benefits of the rework aren't immediately available to you guys."
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