Ask @RiotGhostcrawler:

I'm already getting a bunch of 'flex queue is normals' and 'who cares it's only flex' comments in my ranked flex games. Are you concerned that this trend will keep happening, with people treating flex as the 'lesser' ranked queue?

In some ways, we can't really tell players how they feel about certain queues. We tried to position Flex as in between the competitive drive of pure Solo players (who feel understandably that any premades compromise competitive integrity) and normal, where there are no stakes so there is nothing really on the line. Players are going to have to decide ultimately if the niche occupied by Flex is even a large enough niche.

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Why is eusociality so rare in marine environments? I found info about a few species of shrimp, but you'd think with how successful ants have been on land that there would be some equivalent in the ocean...

I went to a talk on this topic once. I think it had something to do with the fact that terrestrial arthropods have a nearly immobile larval form and a mobile adult form, while it tends to be the opposite for marine arthropods. When you disperse your babies into the plankton, it's hard to have them come back and care for the colony.
The shrimp you mentioned are snapping shrimp and they do have a lot in common with eusocial insects, though to be honest, eusociality isn't that common on land either -- it's just that ants (and to a lesser extent bees) have been ridiculously successful as an organism design.
There is at least one eusocial mammal - the naked mole rat.

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Unless, of course, you're blatantly lying to our face and only did it to force us into flex queue because you knew noone would touch that thing otherwise. How scummy would that be?

I learned long ago that lying to players almost never works because they're smart and will figure it out, and then you look like an asshole.

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I think a good amount of the outcry about normal draft is because people (even in unaffected regions) do not trust riot's decision making. It still took an entire season to get soloq back. Deleting a queue in one region seems like the first step to deleting it entirely.

I can understand that concern, but some regions (such as Japan and Oceania) never had Normal Draft because of concerns about queue health. This is just keeping with that philosophy - in some regions there isn't a large enough population to sustain it. I know it can suck to be one of those players who did love it. I think it's like being in love with a restaurant that doesn't get much patronage that eventually shuts down.
I do think we erred in not providing more context. I understand that the message came across as "Yo, we smarty people at Riot don't like Draft, so you're not getting it either, and clearly we must love Blind, because what other choice do you have?"

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Why do you even bother to communicate with players when they respond by calling you a liar?

I just remind myself that they are only so passionate because they love the game, and sometimes individual players resort to somewhat questionable communication strategies when they feel that they aren't being heard.

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Was Ion part of Elitist Jerks before joining WoW, what's he like

I feel like his story before joining Blizzard should be his to tell. He is a good friend of mine and we enjoy going out to great restaurants. He's very smart, and very well-informed. He makes sure that he learns the details of anything that he is working on so that he can make a good decision. He cares enormously about the player experience and tries to stay in touch with what players are saying about the game. It's kind of funny because he leads design on one of the most important games in the world, but that's his first job in the industry. You're in good hands.

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Quick thoughts on plants as a game designer:Adds depth to the jungle w/o giving too much power to junglers. Main concern for me is the randomness, and how that could potentially effect competitive play. depending on the game certain plants will be more valuable than others makin it hard to balance

Thanks for the feedback.
Our hope is that the randomness falls in the general category of incomplete information. You don't know exactly when and where the plants will be just like you don't know exactly when and where the enemy will be and you have to be prepared to change your strategy as conditions change. That is randomness, but it's a different kind (and far less frustrating IMO) of randomness than when you try to do something and the game randomly decides whether you can or not. A single plant encounter should not decide the game, but over the course of many games, your being able to play around and with plants should give you an advantage over someone who does not.
But we'll certainly keep an eye on the feedback. We've already reduced the randomness quite a bit from their first PBE iteration.

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If every exp and gold source in the game suddenly gave double exp & gold, wouldn't games be faster without them being snowbally & frustrating? Faster full builds & lvl 18? Like it's 2016 who has the time/mental stamina for 40 min per game???

Hmmm. No, I expect it would make then more snowbally. Imagine a situation where player one earns 50 gold and then 30 seconds later, player two earns 50 gold. Now imagine player one earns 1000 gold. They might be able to get a kill in before player two gets their 1000 gold.
I think trying to shorten the game in general is a good goal, and I even think there might be a lot of players who would use a shortened game mode. We would just have to make sure it wasn't too snowbally or it might not be much fun.

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If being less popular is the reason behind the removal of normal draft , why woudln't you remove blind mode instead .These are some reasons 1 : Competitive matches are in draft mode 2-you get the role you want 3-No one will ever play an annoying mirrror match 4-Long queues will get shorter(part1)

I want to be clear that this was NOT a situation of "60% of players use one mode, and 40% use another, so let's wind down the second one." It was more like "95% of players use one mode and 5% use the other, which causes long queues and bad matchmaking for the very small queue." The root of the problem was really unhealthy queues in those regions.
We wanted to explain why we thought it was better just to shut off those queues rather than try and encourage players to use them, but that bit ended up causing a lot of confusion.
The text said: Normal Draft will be retired at the start of preseason for all regions except North America, Europe West, and Brazil. Our goal is to offer the fewest number of queues that give unique experiences (so we can keep queues healthy) while keeping disruption low, and in all regions except NA/EUW/BR, normal draft had very low participation. In an ideal world, we’d like to retire normal draft in all regions.
What I wish we had said was: Normal Draft will be retired at the start of preseason for all regions except North America, Europe West, and Brazil. Our goal is to offer the fewest number of queues that give unique experiences (so we can keep queues healthy) while keeping disruption low, and in all regions except NA/EUW/BR, normal draft had very low participation. We understand that Normal Blind has design problems, and we would like to make a holistic pass at Normal to provide players something that meets their needs.

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"We want to remove it in regions where the queue is unpopular among players, which makes the experience bad for players who do use it." I am from one of those regions. You are discriminating LAS even more with this. I had less than 5 minutes of queue time. Dont lie, the queue was fine

It isn't a lie. We took a hard look at how many players were using it and what their experience is like. I can't comment on your personal experience - it sounds like the queue worked well for you. But overall available evidence suggests it was causing problems for players in those regions because participation was so low.

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Listen to your community this time. You are making the same mistake than with SoloQ. It takes no effort or resources to leave Normal Draft as it is, STOP TRYING TO TELL US HOW TO PLAY THE GAME. Leave the queue up, dont play deaf again this Season...

I said this on Reddit, but I think a more fair comparison is Dominion. Dominion had a very small, but very loyal player base. That is the same situation as Normal Draft in regions like Latin America or Europe North. We understand that this decision causes pain to those players (just as the Dominion decision did), and we are sorry about that, but we still think it is the right thing for the game.
You can't be all things to all people and run a successful live game, and that sometimes means shutting down features or in this case queues that have just proven to be really unpopular.

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Heard you wanna remove Normal Draft. Notifying you that it's the only thing worth logging in league for nowadays and that the moment you remove it, me and at least 8 friends are gone for good.

We want to remove it in regions where the queue is unpopular among players, which makes the experience bad for players who do use it.
Long term, we think that Draft and Blind have problems so we want to redo what Normal looks like. I wish that is what the messaging had said. But we haven't made those changes yet, so it feels premature to talk about them too much. We only added the long term note because we felt it provided some context for why it felt fine to shut the queue off in unhealthy regions, but TBH I deeply regret that messaging.

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Hi Greg, when you guys decide to remove a queue, shouldn't Riot already have the fully featured alternatives? You don't want us to play a champion for the first time in ranked but don't give us a queue where we can consistently get the role we need.

Bently Wong
At a purely theoretical, at the level of I can just wave my magic wand and solve things, then yes I totally agree.
But in the world or reality, we were facing a situation where Normal Draft was a poorly used queue in some regions of the world, such as Latin America. Given that situation, we could have dropped a bunch of other work to try and improve Normal Draft, but that didn't feel like the right choice, given that A) there is a lot of other stuff we think players want from us, and B) we don't think the Normal Draft experience is so awesome that we need to go through extraordinary messages to defend it.
If I could redo the messaging all over again, I'd say:
Hey, Normal Draft is really unpopular in some regions. This leads to long queues and poor matchmaking. For now, we are just going to turn those queues off in affected regions. If you used Normal Draft, we apologize for your losing it, but you can use the new Ranked Flex or the old Normal Blind (where most players in your region played Normal). Long term, we would like to offer a single queue for Normal. This queue will hopefully provide the best parts of Draft and Blind. For example, the position selection part of Ranked seems worth considering. However, Blind is cool because it is very fast. Topics like whether Bans or essential or whether mirror matches are good or bad is something we need to explore.

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You know, people probably wouldn't be as mad about losing Normal Draft if it were possible to report people in champion select. One of the big reasons people hate Blind Pick is the total anarchy and absence of civility.

I feel like there are three reasons players like Blind:
1) It's fast.
2) The champ you want to play can't get banned.
3) It may just be tradition.
If we can improve the champ select portion of Blind (and maybe we just call it Normal then?) everyone would be happy?
And to be clear, the only people "losing Normal Draft" soon are regions where it was already very unpopular. NA for example is not losing it anytime soon.

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What would be some design goals of the Vanguard and Diver updates

Vanguards are intended to have reliable initiation, especially AE, and tankiness, but at a cost of burst and really kill potential in general. We have some champs (say Sejuani) who feel like they are half-Vanguard and half-Diver, and we sort of need to commit to one or the other.*
Divers also have good initiation, but with more of a single-target focus. We have some who do too much AE, and others who are too tanky, which just makes them better Juggernauts than actual Juggernauts. As an example, Wukong is arguably a Diver or Skirmisher, but his ult feels more like a Vanguard. He needs to make up his mind.
* - Strictly speaking, I'm fine if we have some champs that cross boundaries or hybridize a couple of roles, but A) they still need to have some exploitable weaknesses - it's not okay to be good at everything, and B) we need to make sure we are good at nailing the iconic champions for each class before we get too crazy about breaking rules.

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Do the team working on a champion all help come up with abilities or is it mostly all the champ designer? There's got to be a lot of great ideas that get thrown from all sides right?

It's very much a group effort, but in terms of design, the main designer on that champion is the person who is deciding next steps, again with a ton of consultation from the rest of the team and other designers. So anyone on the champ team, or really anyone playtesting that champ, or possibly even anyone at Riot can propose which restaurant the group should drive to, but it's that designer who is driving the car.

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