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Quick LoL Thoughts: March 13

Context on upcoming SR changes, Eternals status update, TFT development approach.

DevAuthorMeddler
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Hi folks,

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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

Some context on upcoming SR changes

First off, a bit of additional context on various upcoming SR changes in 10.6:

  • Anivia - We tested a change where Anivia’s ult would no longer be interrupted when Anivia got CC’d. Intent behind that was to ship a small buff that felt good relative to the amount of power it actually added. Feedback from Anivia players was very heavy on concerns that this actually added a lot more power than we were intending. We pulled that particular change from the patch as a result.
  • Jungle broadening - Our buffs to some champions jungle specific power in 10.4 and 10.5 have been looking promising with, from what we can tell, some increase in players queueing as jungle (leading to less autofill). So far getting those additional champions into a spot where they’re ok junglers hasn’t created the sorts of issues we’ve sometimes seen when champions migrate to new lanes (low interaction, some existing champions getting overly punished in those positions, poor team comps etc). We’ve got some more buffs aimed at getting more champions into a state where they can jungle in 10.6 as a result, after that we’re planning to hold off on further such work and assess for a while though.
  • Galio - This is technically 10.7, figured this was the easiest place to mention it though. We’ve got a Galio buff planned for 10.7 where the ally Galio targets with his ult gains Anti-Magic Bulwark (Galio’s Magic damage only shield from his W). Goal there is to get a bit more of Galio’s protector and anti magic themes into his ult without just adding universally relevant power like the universal damage reduction previously on the ult did.

Eternals

Eternals have been out for most of a patch cycle now so I wanted to share some initial thoughts on them:

  • We know they’re not to everyone’s tastes and aren’t trying to make it so they are. Our goal is to serve players who are interested in them while making it easy to opt out for those who don’t want to deal with them.
  • We put out a recent hotfix so that the death recap display of Eternals stays toggled off for the remainder of the game when triggered (‘n’ key by default). We’re open to further refinements to how and when Eternals display and to changes in the system in general. We’ve wanted to give Eternals a bit of time to settle, for players to get used to them and offer feedback, before looking at potential further work. Now that they’ve been out for a bit we’ll be doing some further assessment soon.
  • We want to be careful with Eternals design so that they don’t warp gameplay. Given LoL’s a competitive team based game we don’t want to introduce frictions between different goals. Progressing Eternals should be very correlated with actions that help win a game as a result (e.g. killing enemy champs, taking epic objectives etc) rather than incentivising less optimal play (e.g. saving CC abilities for killing blows instead, deliberately picking less effective summoner spells or items etc). That does lead to somewhat less interesting Eternal design. It’s a trade off we think’s needed though for overall game quality, especially looking at cases in the past where some of our mission designs ended up being problematic in that same way.
  • The personal best functionality of Eternals is intended to be one of the prime ways that skill, not just time spent, is shown off by the system (e.g. most champions hit by the center of Leona ult in one game as a separate thing to total hit ever). At present that’s unlocked after you hit milestone 5 for an Eternal. We’re discussing whether that is indeed the right place to have that functionality. That timing makes for a really satisfying unlock target and ensures there’s a lot of data gathered for each player to give a starting value. It does gate access to personal bests for quite a while though which for some players at least is a meaningful downside.

TFT Development approach

A question we see crop up fairly regularly is why we haven’t split TFT off into a separate game and instead keep it as a game mode within LoL. Doing so would give both experiences smaller download sizes, allow a cleaner UI, make it more obvious to newer players how they can get to the gameplay they want etc. Keeping both in the same client has some significant advantages though. The current approach gives development efficiencies when it comes to building code and content, both for TFT and for the MOBA side of LoL, meaning we can get more done than we otherwise could. There’s also a lot of player overlap between the two experiences, so easy movement back and forth between the two within a play session has some value too. Finally, while it would be a one time cost, splitting the two apart’s a decently sized project which is time that could be spent on developing or improving other features.

In the short term what we are looking at instead is ways to better meet the needs of both playerbases while maintaining the benefits of that proximity. That means things like separating out Ranked history for TFT, getting some dedicated news article etc space on the TFT hub, ensuring borders from TFT aren’t showing up in any SR queues and vice versa etc.



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