Showdown & Magma Chamber Info
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Champion Rotation – Preseason Week 8
Is Magma Chamber destined to never be? Will One-for-All make a return? Keep reading!
In December, we debuted our secondÂ Featured Game Mode, Showdown. We wanted to share some results from the mode’s first run, and give an update on the…less icy map we showed off at theÂ 2013 All-Star GameÂ and said weâ€™d launch before the next season.
The idea for a 1v1/2v2 map originated from aÂ Thunderdome projectÂ and ended up evolving into what you saw at the 2013 All-Star Game. At the time, the Featured Game Modes project was just kicking off and the team decided to take a deeper dive into a 1v1/2v2 game mode. They discovered a few things:
- Pros (and internal play testers) actually preferred the longer lanes, health packs and brush of Howling Abyss
- Magma Chamber ran alright on the nigh-supercomputers pros were playing on, but it was far from optimized and had a slew of unforeseen performance issues
There were also a few questions that needed answers:
- Would 1v1/2v2 be a popular and replayable mode for players?
- What’s the correct map layout? Should players be able to choose a lane on Summonerâ€™s Rift? Should there be health pickups? Brush?
- What’s the optimal rule set for a 1v1 or 2v2 matchup?
So we had to make a decision – we wanted to try out a game mode like this, but creating a mode-specific map represented a significant commitment when we weren’t sure the game mode was going to be something players wanted. Since players seemed really interested in a 1v1/2v2 experience, we chose to try the game mode out on Howling Abyss – an art-complete and optimized map – to gather player feedback and data.
Showdown was a relatively short-lived experience for most players. Tons of players tried Showdown out when it was first released, but, after only a week, players worldwide spent less than 1% of all in game time on Showdown. Generally, we heard good feedback about the 1v1/2v2 gameplay on Howling Abyss as compared to Magma Chamber. Players also had ideas about continued improvement of the 1v1/2v2 experience such as being able to do specific top, mid or bot lane matchups on SR.
Ultimately, we concluded that Magma Chamber simply isnâ€™t the right place for us to further develop a great 1v1/2v2 experience and the mode itself isnâ€™t sustainable as a permanent feature. So, after many discussions and a lot of fact checking, weâ€™re halting development of the Magma Chamber map you saw at last year’s All-Star Game. That doesn’t mean that a lot of you (and us) didnâ€™t have fun dueling it out on Howling Abyss and we really want to bring back 1v1/2v2 in the future.
(If youâ€™re interested in the complete breakdown of our Featured Game Modes data as well as some information on the future of Showdown, check outÂ Brackharâ€™s post.)
We know we changed our minds after making a commitment and weâ€™re sorry. We hate doing it. ThebiggestÂ promise we make, and the one that makes us believe this is the right decision, is that we aspire to be the most player-focused game company in the world. Weâ€™re always trying to make decisions that we think are in the best interest of players and in this case, we think that the best path forward is to perfect 1v1/2v2Â as a Featured Game Mode. Weâ€™re excited about future possibilities and there are already more projects in the works we think you guys will love.
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Let’s have a professional analysis of both modes – how popular were Snowdown and One-For-All?
Â Brackhar: Hey Everyone!
With Snowdown now a few weeks behind us, I wanted to talk with you guys about how the mode was received, some of the feedback that was given and what our future plans are for the experience. This post uses One For All as a comparison point, so you’ll get to see some neat data there as well. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
First, let’s start by discussing the feedback we received from the Micro Feedback Tool (MFT). The MFT is a tool where we pose a simple statement to players like “The game of Showdown I just played was fun,” and ask them to rate their agreement on a scale from 1 to 5. We use the MFT for almost every feature we release, and it’s a great way for us to hear player’s first impressions.
For any featured game mode we create, there are three main questions we ask via the MFT: Was the game fun, did it feel different from other game modes, and would you like to play it again. We then collect data at three different times during the event: once when the event starts, once midway through, and once at the end. This helps us understand how player sentiment changes as exposure to the game mode increases, and it can be very useful in separating out novelty appeal.
Generally speaking, we view a response above 4.0 as representing strong agreement in the community, and as you can see above, both 1v1 and 2v2 scored very well on all metrics. Additionally, each question remained stable throughout the different time periods on all questions, meaning, the people who continued to play Showdown enjoyed the mode and left with a favorable opinion. 2v2 generally scored slightly better on each of these questions which we expected given the increased amount of combat interaction. This leads us to believe that Showdown is a candidate for returning sometime in the future.
Next, let’s take a look at some play data and see how it compared to One For All.
This is the first time we’ve shown data like this, so let me give some context. One of the more common metrics we use to measure a game mode’s appeal is the number of minutes a player spends playing each particular mode. By looking at the percent of time they spend in any particular experience, we can judge how it holds up against other game modes. Additionally, “minutes played” allows us to compare game modes with drastically different game lengths without biasing in one direction or another. One For All fares very well by this metric, averaging almost 23.4% of all playtime across all regions. Showdown also fared well, though it only accounted for about 2.3% of all play during the time period.
Because much of the appeal of these game modes comes from the novelty aspect, we also do a breakdown of playtime across the lifetime of a mode to see how it falls off. The below graph shows the average play time of both One For All and Showdown as a product of time.
As you can see, both One For All and Showdown had a high spike in playtime when they were first turned on, with One For All accounting for 37% and Showdown 8% on their respective first days. As time passed the amount of time both modes were played decreased. One For All lost 75% of its playtime and Showdown lost 90% by the end. This drop-off for both modes is a pretty good indicator that these modes are likely better suited as short-term events rather than permanent game modes. If the modes were left on permanently, the queue times for each would be pretty atrocious after a few more weeks.
All of the above is in line with how we generally expect featured game modes to perform, and this type of data helps us determine what to pursue next. Both modes successfully delivered on being fun, memorable experiences, and my team wants to thank all of you who played and gave your feedback. We really appreciate your support.
Speaking of feedback, a number of you wrote to us and gave your ideas on how we could improve Showdown in the future. I’d like to let you guys in on some of the early ideas we’re discussing.
- The amount of time spent in champion select was too long for how long the games were.
- After playing a number of games after release, this is a point we definitely agree with. One idea we’re discussing right now is potentially making each match a best of 3 or best of 5 competition instead of a one-off, which should help while also opening up some interesting counter play opportunities. There are a number of variants we could use also, from letting you bring in multiple champions that you cycle between to not resetting gold and xp so late game champions/builds could potentially shine more. All are open to discussion.
- Players wanted an experience more like top/mid/bot on SR.
- We’re pretty happy with the hybrid experience we created by doing Showdown on Howling Abyss, but we also understand the desire to have a matchup that is more true to the lanes of Summoner’s Rift. One thing we’re discussing is potentially having Showdown return on SR with different queues for top, mid or bot lane matchups. That way people who really do want to see who is the best mid-laner can, and no one will be able to use the excuse that they lost because of the health packs or brush differences.
- It’d be great to have a ladder showing progress.
- This is definitely a cool idea and one we want to pursue. Our team doesn’t have any web developers on it so we’d have to negotiate with some of the other teams here at Riot, but there’s value here for sure!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to sharing more data with you in the future!
Are the modes coming back?
Â Brackhar:Â Yeap! When any mode is received well it definitely becomes a candidate, with the question of when being dependent on its relative popularity.
Suggestion: Challenge players to Showdown from post-game screen
Â Brackhar:Â Yeah, that’d be a pretty cool addition. I’ll bring it up with the team.
Why are there such long breaks between game modes?
Â Brackhar:Â The breaks do a number of things that are helpful, from giving my team some time to make game modes that are more complex to also helping make each mode an event in the community so the play rate is high. As for why we don’t make the game modes permanent I talk a bit about it in this post:Â http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com….php?t=4019198
Is it true that making these modes permanent now will lead to long queue times?
Â Brackhar:Â Well, you can see from the data that the play rate dropped off substantially after just two weeks for Showdown, and it didn’t show signs of stopping. A few more weeks and we’d likely be looking at 20 minute queue times commonly, which is unacceptable for a 5 minute average game mode.
Will you give us statistics like this for Champion win rates?
Â Brackhar:Â I can’t speak to champion win rates, but I’d love to keep doing this for any of the featured game modes we do.
What do you think of a Capture-the-Flag mode?
Â Brackhar:Â Could be pretty cool! I think bombing run would be a bit better than CTF, but I like the idea!
Can you explain how using game time is an unbiased way of gathering data?
Â Brackhar:Â Sure, I’ll take a stab at it. Broadly speaking, the idea is the players generally have an amount of time that they’re interested in playing LoL when they sit down. Have you ever had a 80 minute SR game and thought “Man, that game was super long, I can’t play another” or had a 20 minute surrender and thought “Oh hey, that game was super fast, I can probably get in another one?” That’s this concept in practice.
As such, what differences in game time do is they affect the minimum amount of time you’ll play a mode in a night, more than anything else. If a game mode is really engaging you’ll play it for all the time you’re on, and if it’s not you’ll spend that time elsewhere. If we had shipped Showdown as a best of 5 match vs the heads up one we did, our expectation is that we would have seen a similar amount of time spent in Showdown with on the order of a fifth the total number of game starts. It is fair that the Showdown experience spent more proportional time in champion select than our other modes does, but even if you multiply the average by 1.2x it doesn’t really move the needle appreciably.
Â Brackhar:Â We use % play time as a way to measure player’s engagement with a game mode and feel that it effectively normalizes for engagement across varying game length since players naturally self-budget their time. Since Showdown had a very low % play time by the end of its lifetime and had much worse falloff than any of our other modes during a same time window after launch, we felt that Showdown was not a particularly long-term engaging mode.
The caveat here is that the MFT data shows that the game mode was received well and left people with a positive opinion, meaning that it’s a decent candidate to try bringing back with changes in the future. However, as currently envisioned it’s not a strong candidate for being a permanent game mode.
What do you mean by “spending time in Champion Select”?
Â Brackhar:Â What I was trying to refer to by referencing champion select was heading off a potential counter argument. Champion select for Showdown takes roughly 2-4 minutes to get through, and the average Showdown time was 7 minutes. As such you could argue that only looking at game time isn’t a great measure of engagement, since spending time banning champions/selecting champions is a much larger proportion of the experience compared to other game modes. All I was trying to say was that, even if you inflate the playtime of Showdown to account for that time in champion select, it doesn’t appreciably change the results.
As for accounting for players yes. Average play time accounts for that inherently, which is why we use it. Number of game starts is where you really have to account for different team sizes, and as such is a confusing metric in this case. That’s why we left it out.
Using this methology, are Dominion / Twisted Treeline worth maintaining?
Â Brackhar:Â We want to try and do some things with Dominion via the auspices of featured game modes, we just need to figure out what first.
Why aren’t these game modes available all the time?
Â Brackhar:Â Every game mode that is on live increases the cost of any change that we do. Some of the balance changes that we’ve done already have broken One For All as an example, so we’ll need to go back and fix it up before we bring it back. Now imagine that we’re having to check 10+ game modes for every change we do, and you can see how slow development could become.
Will you include Team Builder in featured game modes?
Â Brackhar:Â Yeah, I think Team Builder has a lot of potential for cool stuff in featured game modes! I definitely want to explore the possibilities once it’s released.
Are you concerned that MFT data might be inherently skewed upwards?
Â Brackhar:Â We use these types of questions for a bunch of stuff. Trust me; when players don’t like something they let us know. 😛
Do these stats include custom games?
Â Brackhar:Â Yeap.
Don’t you think not resetting gold and xp would make for some really bad snowballing, where eventually it would be extremely difficult to come back from a bad position?
Â Brackhar:Â Possibly, but maybe we also remove the gold/xp bonus from champion kills. The idea basically comes from the question of if it’s interesting to see how a matchup fairs at different champ levels. Some champs are better late game, so maybe it’d be more fair to them. Dunno! It’s just an idea currently.
Do you think making 1v1 and 2v2 “hardcore” conceptually alienated a lot of players?
Â Brackhar:Â I dunno. We’ve got a pretty large segment of out playerbase who self identify as hardcore/competitive players, so I don’t think that’s intrinsically it. As for the timing question I don’t know if I’d agree with the argument as phrased.
Morello explains Riot’s philosophy in dealing with top lane picks. Happy times guaranteed below!Â
Why did you nerf Irelia so many times?
Â Morello:Â Irelia’s not a special case to me, but a representation of the problem that many fighters have overall – you bring power to the table, and your function is to outpower everything in terms of raw effectiveness.
Let me give you a little history lesson on fighters from the old days;
Originally, melee consisted of mostly true tanks and melee carries – Yi and Tryndamere to be exact. Quickly, the latter category really was phased out by ranged AD who could do their jobs, and better. Sure, melee did more damage, but with itemization, the damage wasn’t meaningful enough to make up for the extra risk incurred by melee ranged attacks.
The team saw this and wanted to solve it. After a few attempts and one successful champion launch on this front, Garen, Xin was released. Xin was our first true love letter to melee (Garen was more designed to be a straight-forward champion).
And oh, what a love letter it was. Xin was tough as a nail, bursty as an assassin and had chainable CC. Our solution was to try to give them everything we could to make up for the melee nature. While Xin’s tuning was absurd on launch, the formula worked in the “here’s how melee can be viable in LoL.” The problem is that approach left us little we could do to adjust playbalance outside of power and numbers.
All-the-while, we were continuing to launch champions at a break-neck pace. I started at the Miss Fortune patch, and I think while she was launching we had 6 other champions almost done at that time. I’d be surprised if Irelia wasn’t kit-locked already by then (hard to remember as I’m old now).
So, we kept on keeping on – Irelia, Renekton, J4, half of 2012, etc etc. All the while, these melee were enjoyable, people were playing them, we saw some new trends with the S1 switch – lots was looking up.
The problem was that we didn’t have nearly the sophistication with understanding what effect this would have on the game long-term. We’d all get different insights and peeks into it, but never anything to change course. It was really in the end of 2011 (after a very storied Volibear development) where we went “OK, what the **** is happening here.”
Now, we get into last year and up to today. Fighters have these problem more than even (Hi, Riven!) and they all live in a world where any of them that don’t are completely useless. In the short-term, we try to play whack-a-mole to keep it in check somewhat, but it’s a bit of a futile battle – as long asoneÂ champion has this problem, no others can show up with interesting stuff, meaningful weaknesses, or a laning phase that doesn’t have everything.
And our balance was going this way on fighters too – Nasus’ eventual rise from trash to god, Jax’s two redos, etc. Our long-term desires were directly being fought by the actual reality. So while we knew we wanted to fix it, we didn’t want to, say, release Vi in a state where she wasn’t playable. I think it’s a pretty harsh kick in the dick to make something really exciting and then go “jk she’s bad forever” because we made her in line with what we think fighters should be, rather than what they are.
So, “Better Nerf Irelia” is just a representation of why fighters break League of Legends, and in the abstract sense, we have a lot of old stuff that does it.
For what it’s worth, I’m pretty much fed up with that state of the game as a designer. I want to go hard. I want to reconstruct this stuff. There’s no way we can start making interesting characters in these lanes when you get a ton of tool variety, reliability, power, and stats for just playing your character competently. Meanwhile, something that takes nuance and hard work is just bad – because his competition for power is so high, there’s no way he can be in that space.
Are Fighters (Bruisers, for old-timers) the primary offender when it comes to balance?
Â Morello:Â I think fighters are the worse in this, but ADC (via items and some kits) and assassins have similarly patterned problems. Mages have tool overload, and I think mobility creep is out of control too. All on the hit list.
I’m OK if someone quits with rage over “my champ got nerfed a lot”, I’m not OK if someone quits because “eh, League is getting boring” – the road we’ll be on if we don’t do something about it.
Do you have the team necessary to make major balance changes?
Â Morello:Â I’m hiring/have hired at least 4 people for Core Gameplay/Live Balance this year. So there’s someÂ
Are you willing to make those changes?
Â Morello:Â I guess I’d rather have us fail spectacularly (and likely make big progress) than not shoot for it.
Ghostcrawler, former Lead Balance Designer for World of Warcraft, steps in the shoes of a Rioter with a very important mission – beat Morello at nerfing things.
Will Ghostcrawler replace Morello as Lead Designer?
Â Morello:Â Nah – League’s a huge game and there’s a lot to do. GC’s actually some MUCH-needed help on the leadership side – it’s just too much for any one person to handle and make the progress I’d like to see. We’ll be dividing up some of the effort on leading it, but other than making sure more things have support, the teams are pretty unchanged from who’s doing want (Statikk and friends are still doing Game Health, Meddler still heads champ development, we just have more expertise to draw on now).
A lot of the things we want to focus on with game health this year (and preseason is a kick-off to this effort) is primarily around fixing a lot of the old problems. After finishing up support (IE the gold item particulars + Annie problem), we want to focus on adding choice and depth by taking a HARD look at “ball of stats” stuff so we can actually introduce interesting stuff with trade-offs.
Do people blame you because they don’t know what Lead Designer’s job is?
Â Morello:Â There’s a lot of this – people think I suck at numeric balancing because I DO, but that’s also why I don’t actually do it. Funny how that worksÂ
That being said, the leads ARE responsible for what goes out. So it’s our fault stillÂ
How do you feel about Greg (“Ghostcrawler”) joining as Lead Designer?
Â Xelnath:Â I appreciate the positive thoughts.
I worked with Greg both directly and indirectly for years. He’s an awesome guy who took on the impossible task of doing what Morello has done for league for so long on a game where people are incredibly invested in their character and any nerf is an extremely personal offense.
It’s a tough, tough job. Greg tanked it like a champion.
I’m excited to see how helps bolster our ranks.
Â ricklessabandon:Â Miss Fortune seems to perform fairly well, but with the recent releases and/or updates for other Marksmen the spotlight hasn’t been on her for a little while. That said, I do have some changes in mind i’d like to get on the pbe soon, so if those go over well they could ship in the foreseeable future.
Â Â ricklessabandon:Â Just to be clear, ‘more than a small number adjustment or two’ could include anything from reworking one ability up to redoing her whole kitâ€”it means that it’s more than a couple of days worth of time, and that’s about all it means as far as ruling out possibilities.
Until someone starts working on her in earnest, I couldn’t really say which other kit update (Master Yi, Katarina, Trundle, Ahri, etc) Irelia’s would be like.
Â Lyte:Â Summoners,
Team Builder is coming to the PBE today! On Monday and Tuesday (1/13 and 1/14), we’re going to run a PBE test of Team Builder from 1:00 – 5:00 PM PST. Select PBE testers will be able to try out this new feature and give us invaluable feedback on its design and functionality.
We got a lot of great feedback on Team Builder in the first two PBE tests, and we have been hard at work incorporating some of your feedback. Team Builder is a complete re-design of Champion Select, which means itâ€™s extremely complicated and there are a lot of changes. One of our goals is to keep collaborating with players on this feature, and collect feedback throughout the development process.
What does this mean for players?
As players, youâ€™ll be able to help us test the feature extremely early in the process, and work directly with developers to evolve the feature over time.
PBE is a smaller server, so queue times will be longer, and gameplay experiences will not represent a Live server. Matches might be very unbalanced as players of all skill levels will appear in the same match, but our focus is on testing the feature and collecting your feedback.
The following additions have been made for this PBE test:
- Skin Selection now works, but skin preferences wonâ€™t be saved from game-to-game
- Role selection is currently limited to “Any Role”
- Limited Match Found Ceremony (youâ€™ll hear a gong!)
- Added tool-tips for several buttons in the feature
- Lots of polish!
The following bugs have been fixed for this PBE test:
- Summoner Spell selections are now saved
- Summoner Icons will now show up in the loading screen
- Team Builder games will now be available for Spectator Mode
- Reduced the volume of sound effects
- Added missing buttons in the Champion Select window
- You now receive a notification when a group disbands
- Team Builder animations can now be disabled in the client
The following features are still turned off or incomplete for this PBE test:
- Friend Invites from Friends List
- Dynamic Matchmaking Adjustments
- Estimated Wait Times
- Anti-Abuse System
How do I get involved and help make Team Builder awesome?
We’ll be using this thread to collect player feedback and answer questions about this PBE test.Â We’re looking for more general feedback since we’ll be on PBE longer than the previous tests. For example, where are all the places we can add polish to the feature, and are there any points in the feature that seems confusing to you.
RiotDoctahWayne has a threadÂ in the Bugs ForumÂ that will be collecting information on bugs youâ€™ve found in Team Builder.
To participate in future beta testing for League of Legends,Â apply for beta access here.
The following Champions will be free-to-play until January 21st!
- AhriÂ – 6300 IP / 975 RP
- CaitlynÂ – 4800 IP / 880 RP
- CorkiÂ – 3150 IP /790 RP
- FizzÂ – 6300 IP / 975 RP
- Kha’ZixÂ – 6300 IP / 975 RP
- LuxÂ – 3150 IP / 790 RP
- RammusÂ – 3150 IP / 790 RP
- RengarÂ – 6300 IP / 975 RP
- TaricÂ – 1350 IP / 585 RP
- UdyrÂ – 1350 IP / 585 RP
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