Sunday, September 11, 2011

The New IP System--How Did it Really Affect You?

By now it's common knowledge that Riot is a soulless, greedy corporation intent on sucking our wallets dry. The most obvious evidence for this is that Riot continually releases 6300-IP champions, and nerfed our IP gains to boot, so that the poor playerbase is forced to spend their hard-earned money on overpriced champions just so they don't fall behind.

Have I accurately captured the QQer's mindset? All right, moving on.

I see this complaint over and over and over again. It's tremendously frustrating. Today I'm going to focus on one aspect of this: the change to the IP system. Players lament the loss of 120 IP for 25 minutes of game time. They claim to have lost the ability to earn 6300 IP in two weeks, which puts them hopelessly behind in buying the latest 6300 champion.

But is that really what happened?

Boring Numbers Time

Average game time under old system: 35 minutes. The source for this, a TREMENDOUS number of games archived in Lolbase, has unfortunately been lost, as Lolbase has become defunct. So you'll have to take my word for it.

IP at 25 minutes: 118/62, avg. 3.6 IP/min
IP at 35 minutes: 110/68, avg. 2.55 IP/min
IP at 45 minutes or longer: 102/72, avg. 1.93 IP/min (or less)

Average game time under new system: ??? (I conjecture 30 minutes due to 20 minute surrender change)

IP at 20 minutes: 71/46, avg. 2.92 IP/min (this needs to be checked, I don't have the numbers)
IP at 25 minutes: 76/51, avg. 2.55 IP/min
IP at 30 minutes: 88/58, avg. 2.43 IP/min
IP at 35 minutes: 98/65, avg. 2.33 IP/min
IP at 45 minutes: 121/80, avg. 2.23 IP/min
IP at 55 minutes or longer: 145/93, avg. 2.16 IP/min (or less)

Explanation of Boring Numbers

The IP/minute is much, much flatter under the new system. At the old average of 35 minutes, IP/minute has declined; however, shorter game times due to 20-minute surrender imply IP/min is higher than the 35-minute number under the new system. So the nerf is at most 7% in terms of pure game time, and is almost certainly less. It could be argued that out-of-game time reduces the benefit of playing many shorter games for IP, but this argument is coming from the same people who lament the loss of 118 IP for 25-minute games under the old system, so I'm not sure how to respond.

Now consider the addition of guaranteed FWotD through Co-op. So a casual player who plays a couple of games a day can get FWotD in 15 minutes despite losing his PvP games. The gain from this depends on how many games you play per day, but anyone who's playing enough for this not to balance out the losses in IP/min doesn't have to worry about having enough IP.

An example game is provided below to show that the graph I'm basing these numbers on accurately represents actual game results. Additional examples can be provided on request. If you have an example of your own, feel free to post the screenshot. If you have a counterexample, feel free to post the screenshot. Merely posting "I only got 40 IP for my last 60-minute win!!!" does not count as a counterexample.


I have never taken the complaints about IP seriously. IP does its job: it introduces new players to the game for free (even more so with the price reductions), allows serious players to get competitive without paying money--but does not allow players to acquire the entire game for free. But even were IP QQers to have a legitimate argument, innumerate arguments like "Riot nerfed our IP gains, I can't afford this game anymore!" would cause me to dismiss them out of hand.

If I have a complaint about the store, it's the price of RP. I might have spent money on this game long ago, except I'm not willing to buy $10 in RP, buy only one 6300 champion (two if they're on sale), and have RP left over that I paid for but can't use. The game makes me want to buy from Riot, but the store stops me every time. This is bad for business, Riot. Fix it.


After getting multiple responses on this subject, I have to add one thing: Because long games can stretch up to an hour, players need to budget an hour of free time for their last game, no matter how long it actually takes. What matters in that case is the IP/game rather than the IP/minute, so the nerf actually shows here. However, the people to whom this most apply are the people who are squeezing in 1-2 games per day, and those are the people who benefit most from guaranteed FWotD through Co-op v. AI, so in my opinion it balances out.

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