4th Ban

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AchillaKov

Senior Member

09-01-2012

Should there be a 4th ban before season 2 finals? To block out some of the stronger heros and open up more variety? Thoughts...


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Mokkun

Senior Member

09-01-2012

As long as they shorten the ban timer.

It already takes too long to go through draft pick.


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TheIcyPenguin

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Member

09-01-2012

no because it would be to dramatic right before the finals and my completely shut down certain strategies


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Flaker

Senior Member

09-01-2012

nop.


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PhreaksWilly

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Senior Member

09-01-2012

Nope, not until season 3


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AchillaKov

Senior Member

09-01-2012

Didn't think of it that way penguin...another ban would stop a lot of strategies people have been formulating thats true...but i just hate seeing one of these strong strong heros sneak through and decimate


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Zileas

VP of Game Design

09-05-2012
1 of 34 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by AchillaKov View Post
Should there be a 4th ban before season 2 finals? To block out some of the stronger heros and open up more variety? Thoughts...
We debate this one a lot internally.

In the short-term, I can say that we don't think that changing the format right before the final tournament makes a lot of sense.

That being said, in the long-run, we could go 6, or we could go 8. We lean 6 at present. That could change.

The reasoning here is pretty simple. Bans get used for 4 purposes in general, 3 of which have a meaningful impact on tournament play:

Reason 1: To remove champions that players perceive are 'must pick or ban' or 'S tier'
Reason 2: To ban your opponent's best player's signature champion (e.g. banning sivir vs doublelift in the NA regionals)
Reason 3: To eliminate backbone champions from strategies that they are poor at dealing with, or to eliminate counters to their niche strategy.
Reason 4: Because you hate playing vs a particular champion (e.g. Shaco) (NOT RELEVANT TO COMPETITIVE PLAY)

We think that #1 is important. We think that #3 CAN be helpful. We aren't a big fan of #2, though this somewhat becomes a debate between 'slightly more champion diversity' and 'wanting to see top players play their signature champion'.

Right now, there are between 1 and 6 'S Tier' Champions depending on who you watch play -- At the NA regionals, it appeared to be some combination of Yorick(Yeah, he has some challenges), Alistar, Shen, Karthus, Malphite and Morgana (I would say that's in roughly descending order from highest to lowest priority). So today, most of the time, teams are banning maybe 2 champions to knock out S tier picks, with 1 ban going to signature champion denial or strategy denial.

If we go to 8 bans instead of 6, we increase the amount of 'denial' bans by 100%. I'm not really sure we are better off with more denial bans. I for one want to see Froggen play Anivia and Voyboy play Olaf, and honestly, you would see that significantly less with 8 bans.

Additionally, when the live design team succeeds in getting these 'must ban or plays' down more, which they regularly do, you will see more bans go to denial bans, which again, I think is dangerous. I don't feel that most of our current 'must bans' are truly 'must bans', but supposing we shifted that perception, at 8 bans and only 1 "must ban" per team, you'd see each team banning 3 characters for specific advantage -- so you could shut down all of their signature champions. Additionally, 8 bans raises the potential for some weird edge cases around banning a bunch of one role (such as support, jungle, etc).

That's why we are waiting this out. As the perceived "S tier" champs oscillate between low numbers and average numbers, we will get a better feel for how much denial banning hurts the game vs enhances the game, and can make better long-term decisions. Right now, the benefits of going to 8 are somewhat hazy, so we are being conservative.

Questions asked:
Zileas, as you add champions, you must have more bans, right?
We don't really agree with this -- we feel the minimum bans are related to the number of S tier champions, which can come from new releases, but honestly, is something we are getting better at managing with time. It's very conceivable we could have 50% more champions but have half the S tier champions.

I disagree with your S tier list / You are acknowledging that those champs are OP / etc
I based this off of what happened at the NA regionals generally. I am judging this based on what the pros do and how it impacts picks and people getting their signature champions -- ultimately that's more 'true' for setting bans than my general opinions on play balance. For the record, the only champion on there I'm 100% confident needs some work is Yorrick. The rest will of course be evaluated like we always do on this stuff, and touched when we need to.

Zileas, are you saying the game is primarily balanced for eSports?
LoL is a competitive game, and we spend a lot of effort to optimize to make for good high-level play. We also spend effort to make mid-tier play good, but it's a different standard. We will always nerf something if it is destroying ANYONE's experience (e.g. if Twitch was running 75% win rate among 80% of our players, we'd definitely nerf him), but we make detailed, careful, precise nerfs and buffs to optimize for top-level play. That's a pretty standard balance approach that I feel like is used in all competitive games, and has served us well thus far.

If you guys think this, why do you have bans at all?
Things often become fine in moderation. There's some definite benefit on diversity we are getting, and the negatives are not coming through that much. And, by eliminating perceived S-tier, we remove a lot of downsides around people feeling the tournament was hosed because of [insert OP champion here]. I doubt we'd ever go below 6 bans, but I guess if there was a long period of no 'must pick or ban' perception, we might.

Why don't you heave interwoven bans (e.g. pick pick ban ban pick pick)
This is a fairly complex topic. There are two short answers. First, we always want more gameplay, but we value gameplay in the game more than gameplay in champion select. If the most important decisions are loaded more in champ select than the game, the game starts to become rock-paper-scissors. The second answer is that if you add second step bans, those bans will 95% go to denial bans (blocking signature champions and strategy counter champions). The interleaving just magnifies the power of denial bans.

The more nuanced answer is that League is opposed to 'rock paper scissors' style design. That's why we don't have hard immunities in large amounts, and why we don't have a ton of true hard counter champion picks. However, as you add more denial bans, you can start to create situations where this starts to become the case, especially if you can do it later in the pick phase and isolate around a specific role. If you are in a situation where you are very unlikely to be able to apply skill to prevail against a 'similar skill' opponent before the game started, the game just stopped being skill-based. So, we seek to avoid those situations as much as we can.

I'm sure a common response to this will be --'Even if you don't need them/they have some side effects, doesn't it make champion select more strategic?'. I think it does to a tiny extent (It's a single pick in time), and has the potential to introduce more rock-paper-scissors picks. This is all fairly relative though -- there WILL be times where you can ban the counters and enable something, I am just making the argument that in aggregate, doing this will make the game more rock-paper-scissors in champion select, and in aggregate, will reduce the # of team-level strategies.

But, we'd rather have people lose from playing poorly (or the other team playing awesome), than we would have them lose at champion select, and I feel like that potential is higher as we add bans. So, in summary, I'd rather keep the gameplay in the game than at champion select. You make dozens of choices in execution and prioritizing around your comp once in the game, and only do it once in champ select.

Doesn't having interwoven bans increase the # of viable team-level strategies?
It's hard to know 100%, but I think the evidence points to it being likely to reduce our team-level strategies. A lot of our powerful but slightly less common strategies (e.g. variants of sustain/poke with double trap, or double invade, and so forth) are pushed into relevance by a smaller number of characters than 'primary' strategies. If you can do this, primary strategies that can draw on a LOT of different characters will be the ones that survive. Being able to 'counter' those with an intermittent ban will tend to either result in people not trying them, or getting blown up in champion select and having a match of rock-paper-scissors play out.

We have several goals with play balance right now, but one which is steadily producing better and better results, is the idea that we need to push more variants of team-level strategy into viability. This is not the '1:1:2:jungle" thing, as that encapsulates about 10% of the meta, it's more about making sure there are multiple flavors of early, mid, late game strategy, different approaches to valuing types of plays, and different comps to accomplish the same things, and that all of these comps play out in an interesting way against each other. The meta is healthiest ultimately when players can throw a bunch of different things at each other -- AND have them be interesting, balanced games. Banning at champion select effectively to them produce a situation where your niche strategy is pushed into viability via a rock-paper-scissors effect is just not good gameplay in our view.

Bottom line -- I think the mind games possible in a more elaborate ban phase are really interesting, but it comes at a cost in the actual game potentially. It's really a question of where do you want the gameplay occurring? In champ select, or in the game.


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Thats unhealthy

Senior Member

09-05-2012

Zileas with the 4 day Necromancing skills.


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Zileas

VP of Game Design

09-05-2012
2 of 34 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thats unhealthy View Post
Zileas with the 4 day Necromancing skills.
I had it on my browser, but was busy with PAX ;p


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Tricky Rick

Senior Member

09-05-2012

Thread is about to blow up.

@ Zileas, good post, informative, thanks.


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