Quick Gameplay Thoughts: July 24

VFX updates, recent high-MMR matchmaking changes.


These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The work or goals could change depending on what we discover, and projects mentioned may get delayed or even stopped. That said, I believe it’s important to share as much as we can even if plans may change.

Context on VFX updates

We’ve been rolling out visual effect updates (VFX) to a variety of champions over the past few months, but we see some players a bit confused with what these projects goals are.

  • Clarity and quality focus - These updates are meant to target our oldest, least clear, and noisiest VFX in the game. We’re hoping to little by little bring all spell effects up to our current standards.
  • Done in spare cycles - These have been passion projects taken on by a few of our skin and champion devs when they have small amounts of time in between their bigger work. They have been really going the extra mile to sneak in small art upgrades for the game, even when it’s not part of their core job. They also read and respond to as much feedback as they can, so don’t hesitate to give it, but be respectful.
  • Don't prevent future VGUs - This work doesn’t affect our decision making process for future VGUs, skins, or other big projects. Don’t stress if you feel a champ got cheated out of a bigger project, that won’t happen.

Recent High MMR Matchmaking Changes

For the absolute top of the ladder (we're talking the very top of Challenger), we have to make some special matchmaking considerations to ensure that they can find a match, especially during off-peak hours. In the past, we had to set this manually, which meant that it was slightly different for each region and required manual tuning region by region every season to get the right balance of match quality and queue times.

Last week we implemented a change that automated that process, which gives us several notable improvements. The main gain is that our settings can now adapt to how many ultra-high MMR players are available - so we can more tightly tune for better matches at peak hours, and when wait times would start to get insanely high at off peak, the system will adjust to make matches happen. Also, we can make sure each region is behaving similarly, and then adjust as we find improvement areas over time.

In the end we’ve reached a state where matchmaking is more optimized than it has ever been, but when we deployed the new system, our initial estimates for the correct tuning were slightly off. We had to adjust them over the first few days and are not happy that we caused some temporary pain. In the future we’re going to try and better estimate our launch tuning with new features and be faster with follow up if we need it.

We’ll continue to look for small improvements like this, and we have a pretty exciting set of matchmaking and ranked upgrades coming for the preseason!

More Preseason Info Next Time

In 2 weeks, instead of gameplay thoughts, we’ll be diving into more info about our major Item System overhaul this preseason. We’re going to talk about some of the fundamental stat changes we’re working on and break down a few goals we’ve set for each class of items (Marksmen, Fighter, Tank, etc).

Thanks again everyone for playing. Stay safe out there.