Champion Creation Tips v3

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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Ding ding, class is in session, yet again.

Today we'll be going over character creation!

No, put your hand down in the back, there. We haven't touched on character creation yet. Yes, we're doing champion creation, as a whole, but character creation's a little different.

So, first off, we're going to have to cover the differences between a character and a champion!

Second, we'll touch upon why having a character design built into your champion even matters, such as how they increase the fun factor, and increase skin sales.

Third, we'll go over the idea of personality, and how this can help your design.

Finally, we'll follow up with some basics on how to make a character visually appealing, so they stand out.
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Part 1: While every champion's a character, not every character's a champion.


So, let's start off with "what's a character, then?", as I'm sure this is a question that's already on your lips.

A characteristic is a feature or trait someone, or something, possesses. A character, then, is a list of characteristics combined to form a whole.

This can mean things such as personality, motivations, quirks, and so on and so forth.

In the case of a champion, this will include their lore, their appearance, speech, and their abilities. Some of each of the personality, motivations, and quirks will show through in these vehicles.

From a literary perspective, a character should be distinctive, in the sense, that if you read a statement made by that character, it should be plainly obvious who's talking, even without things like voice acting or "Bob said this" to tip the reader off.

A character stands out as being very unique and distinct from others. Perhaps they're similar, in some ways, but they're never going to be identical in their portrayal of the traits they encompass.

Consider Katarina, Sion, Swain, Riven, and Darius. All of them lay claim to being, essentially, the "face of Noxus". They each stand for what makes Noxus what it is.

In each and every case, however, they show such in a different manner. Well, except for Darius and Riven; Darius's character is essentially just a male Riven, and probably shouldn't exist in the game, from a writer's perspective, since he doesn't really bring anything new, lore-wise, to the game, and is just a re-hash of old ideas.

This can be clearly seen just by comparing the two: Riven's the "poster child of the Noxian spirit", whereas Darius is described as "There is no greater symbol of Noxian might than Darius". They essentially read almost identically, except that Riven was betrayed, which isn't a very good defining point, as they're pretty much the same character, with slight variation on the circumstances that they find themselves in.

And here, we come to my point about making a character design. Hecarim and Darius are very poorly designed characters, in that they really don't provide much of anything to the game that wasn't already available. Sure, they look different, but they fail at truly defining themselves as individuals, rather than just "generic face with list of abilities".

In contrast, Varus and Sejuani actually have good character designs, in that they have a reason to exist, motivations behind why they do what they do, as well as a personality and morals with which to define them.

It's possible to just dump a list of abilities on a page, and call it a champion, but it's bland and boring to do so, with no true life and soul behind such. The player doesn't truly get into playing a cardboard cut out the same way they do a character design that truly speaks to them, as a person, rather than a player.

Anyway, there's only so much I can touch on here, without spilling into the other sections, so let's move on to those!
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Part 2: Just who do you think you are!?

I'm Rene D'anclaude. Actually, no, I'm not, but if you've watched Armitage: Polymatrix, you'd get the joke ^.~

Anyway, why is a good character design important in the first place? Why does it even matter at all?

First, and foremost, strong characterization is a great way to lure players into the game. I was interested in LoL before I knew anything of it's game play, simply because it had creative and interesting characters. Annie, Blitzcrank, Tristana, Soraka and Jax, to name a few, were brilliant designs, which stood out clearly from the mundane, generic concepts that DotA:Allstars had going for it. They were bright, colourful, and highly interesting.

Having a strong character design can be what really lures someone into playing a game in the first place, and can even become a primary source of the entertainment value. Consider playing Gentleman Cho'gath, who, with the skin's new voice overs, leads to a highly amusing game. Even if you don't particularly like Cho'gath, as a champion style to play as, you can still get wrapped up in the ridiculous concept of an enormous monster in a suit and top hat.

Each player has their own individual list of traits and ideals that they enjoy. For me, I've found that Nidalee is my preferred champion, who stands for much of my own preferences. A few of my other friends have found a home in Teemo, or Rammus.

In so doing, they're far more likely to purchase skins for their favourite champion, and they're also more likely to get their preferred champion to work, no matter how much effort it takes.

If a player hates the champion they're playing, from the very design concept, they're probably not going to bother putting much effort into them, even if the play style matches their own. If, however, they feel a kinship to that character, on a fundamental level, they'll go through hell and high water to get to play them, no matter how nerfed they may become.

This is one of the grails, of sorts, of game design, and of writing in general: to grab a reader, or player's, attention, in the form of something they can relate to. Once you have their attention, they're vastly more likely to stick around.

MMORPG's get away with this by making their players attached to their characters on a deeply personal level. Sure, it's just an abstract set of numbers, but it's *THEIR* abstract set of numbers. They like the way their character looks, how it feels, and the customization they did to make it "theirs".

In LoL, we don't exactly have customization of the character itself, so much, though we do have skins, which play a similar role. As such, if someone has a character they like using, they're far more willing, on average, to blow money on making that champion something they really enjoy. Sure, the appearance is superficial, and doesn't have any real value to game play, but you know what? In the player's mind, they really don't care, because it's worth it to them.

With strong character design, you can grab new players, hold onto them, and milk them for cash. These are exactly the things a business model seeks out relentlessly, and as such, you really want to focus heavily on this.

Half the fun of the game, honestly, is in finding a champion that really speaks to you, and making them your favourite.

Don't skimp on characterization, here. Make sure you give your champion a real personality, something that really makes them stand out. Give them something to believe in, an appearance that makes them unique, and build them up to be something that the player can relate to, in some way, shape, or form.
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Part 3: Hello, I'm Bob. From accounting.


Well, we've covered that having a personality is important, so how do we go about accomplishing this?

This is actually pretty tricky to pull off, and many a fledgling writer has floundered about trying to accomplish the goal of a character with a distinct personality.

Interestingly enough, I've found that there's actually a rather easy way to describe this, of which I'll just steal directly from Babylon 5. (Apologies to J. Michael Straczynski )

  • Who are you?
  • What do you want?
  • Why are you here?
  • Where are you going?
Through answering these four questions, about your character, you're able to define them remarkably clearly.

Who are you?


This is a tricky question, and, as stated in the show, there's never a "right" answer to it. Who you are is a mixture of many things, but what it isn't, is a title. Someone who is a doctor, can't really answer that "I'm a doctor" in reference to this question. That's not who they are as a person, it's a title of what their job is. Maybe they could stretch it and claim to be a healer, instead of a doctor, as, at their core, their belief is that all life is sacred.

"Who are you?" is a question which encapsulates the concept of attempting to define yourself without relying on the descriptions of others.

There's a lot of things that we assume define us, when really, they are just things that happen to be true of us, without really being that which states who we are as an individual. If you rip the job, the title, the name, and all this other garbage away, what's left underneath? Who are we, when we're not doing a job, or answering to a title given to us?

For the sake of example, I'll use "Bob. From accounting." as an example. (Also, this is Thayen's description of who "definately not Blitzcrank" is =3 )

Bob, is named Bob. Did his parents know him before he was born? No, he probably got the name "Bob" before they even conceived him. "If it's a boy, we'll name him Robert, if it's a girl, Roberta." Way to go, there, parents. Woo. Go, you. Ever consider that a kid's name will be stuck with them for the rest of their lives, unless they legally change it, and that people will associate that name with who they supposedly are?

Probably not.

In this case, Bob isn't who Bob is (actually, it's Blitzcrank, but bare with me ^.~ ), it's just an arbitrary title bestowed upon him by people who didn't even know him. If I decided to call this same individual "Larry" instead of "Bob", does that change who they are, as a person? If their parents named them Larry, instead of Bob, would that have changed their entire outcome in life?

It really wouldn't have done much of anything, in 99% of cases, because your name isn't who you are.

Neither is your job, your age, or any other titles.

Cut all these away, and narrow it down to what your core ideals are. What makes you who you are? What defines you, as a person?

Many people can't answer this question of themselves, let alone for their characters. As such, it's a tough question to deal with.

For myself, as an example, I can state that I enjoy teaching others, as this immense guide can attest to. I'm not a trained teacher, but it's something that I feel "right" doing. It's a core part of who I am, to not just hoard knowledge, but to seek it out, and share it. As such, one can state that, as a part of "who I am", is that I am one who teaches.

To make a truly in depth character design, you're probably going to want about 2-3 of these points that define the character as a whole. If you can get that many, you'll be able to build up to the rest of these questions, in sequence.


What do you want?

Another nasty one. Do we really want what we think we want? Many of us, here, may think we'd love nothing more than to work in the gaming industry. Having actually worked in it, I can warn you that it's a lot of hard work, long hours, and often very monotonous. The pay is iffy, working with corporations and executives can be painful, and everyone seems to be positioned against you, from hardware vendors that make it near impossible to play test the bugs out of a game, to pirates who don't want to pay, harming sales significantly, and meaning that you might not get paid for having blown thousands of hours of work on a project.

The point is, what you think you want, may not be quite what you first expected it to be.

If, however, you know who you are, you can then derive what you want from that. In my case, I like to teach people, as was previously discussed. Do I want to be a teacher? Not really, no. The rules and restrictions go against my beliefs, and if I were working in a high school, the testing methods I'd have to employ would have no real relevance on what it was I was trying to teach. I have no interest in teaching on a formal level, so much as just providing information for others.

The fact that I have a strong preference for comprehension and understanding, over that of just raw knowledge, is another sliver of "who I am", and it tells me that "what I want" doesn't involve becoming a teacher.

So, too, in your character, can you combine these things to realize what you want.

In Riven, she wants to grow stronger, and become the best, because within her breast beats the spirit of Noxus, and the heart of a true champion.

What she found out, however, was that she didn't actually want to be the champion of the Noxus military, however, with the widespread corruption taking place in it. As such, she discovered that what she really wanted, was to change her homeland for the better, by showing them what a champion of Noxus should look like. In so doing, she found her true desire of what she really wanted.

Give your champion a goal, but make sure it coincides with who they are. Shaco's a homicidal maniac, in the truest sense of the word. He wants to kill people, and have fun doing it. It's a pretty simple goal, really, but it fits his character. The same, however, would not be true of Soraka, who instantly regretted the one, single instant in her life, when she desired harm upon another.



Why are you here?

Well, why are you? For us, it's a bit more tricky of a question, but for our champion designs, it's a bit easier.

Why are they at the League of Legends, as a champion? What purpose do they have to be there? Is it to find revenge against another champion? Perhaps it's to showcase a belief to the world? To stand up for their homeland as a protector of justice?

There's a thousand ways to go through things, but this does tend to stem, directly, from what your character wants. They may not be consciously aware of why they're present, at that moment, but they're generally pretty certain that they're doing something for a reason, and that their being here, at the Institute of War, somehow is going to further their goals.

Hecarim's lore doesn't really give him any real motivation or purpose. He has no defining personality, no concept of what he wants, and there's really no explanation as to why he's a champion in the first place. He's powerful, yes, but why was he allowed into the league? Why is he there, of his own volition? We don't know, because it's never really covered.

Yes, the Shadow Isles are creepy, and full of dead things, and the plot of the game is starting to suggest an invasion may be imminent, but to be honest, at no point does that make him anything more than a mechanical tool, with any more personality than a V2 rocket.

Ensure that your character design has a reason for why they are at the league, and you'll find it helps in other ways as well. The lore section, which I'll cover another day, can help you build their appearance, their abilities, their skins, and so on, with ease. To get the lore, their reason for "why are you here", goes a long way.

In the end, you want a champion that has a fully fleshed out reason for the things they do, and this doesn't just magically fall into place, it takes steps, one at a time, in order, to attain that.

As such, we'll move onto the final question, which is the next step in this process.



Where are you going?

I've had to ask myself this, in the past. The answer I got, at the time, was "In circles". I'd been stuck in a loop of depression, causing apathy, causing further depression, with a circular motion with no reason to do anything.

Fortunately, I'm out of that loop, now, but this is a good example of what I mean by "where are you going?".

In the champion's character design, that you're working on, you should have, by now, an idea of why they're at the league, who they are, and what they want. Now, is the time to combine these together, and to recognize that your end goal, is to determine what their end goal is, and if they're actually on the path to reaching it.

In terms of that goal, we might know what they want, for example, revenge, but is that really the direction they're headed in life? For Varus, it really isn't. He's not going to get revenge at the league, it's just to give him an excuse to kill people, occasionally from Noxus, and placate the corruption which is chewing away at his soul like a pug with a bone. Maybe not so much like a pug. It's probably less slobbery than that.

Anyway, the point is that you want to be defining not just the end goal of your champion, but to ensure that their being at the league, and the actions they're taking, are actually leading them towards that end goal. At least, in some cases, you do. Perhaps you don't actually want your character headed in that direction, and you want them intentionally making a stupid decision, that won't fix anything.

Just because they're champions of the world, and supreme experts at combat, doesn't mean they're particularly all that bright. Even the "smartest" ones are rather brain dead, at times.

As are we all.

At some point, in everyone's life, they look down and wonder "what exactly am I doing, and why am I doing it?", and realize they honestly don't actually have an answer.

Perhaps your character design is fighting in the league to find a sense of self, to help define them as who they are, as they realize they may not even be sure of that on a basic, intrinsic level, yet.

Regardless, this is up to you to decide, but make sure that you know where your champion's going, even if they don't, themselves.
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Part 4: I may be bad, but I sure do make it look good.

Well, let's say you have a character who has a neat personality, at this point, they have goals, a purpose, and are on their way to getting there!

So, why do they still look like a cardboard box with a happy face scribbled on the front?

I don't mean your art skills, it doesn't matter if you can draw them. That's nothing. The question here, is how do you know that they are who they are?

Consider Batman. Remove the face, the bat-symbol, and everything else. Just take the silhouette, with no details, of the head and shoulders.

You still know it's Batman, because... it's... Batman. Who else would it be?

A strong character design requires that it have a strong silhouette to go with it. Something that stands out as unique, that you instantly recognize, at just a glance.

Annie standing next to Tibbers is pretty bloody obvious who it is, just as Sivir's cross blade and armour style is equally distinctive.

By making a character visually striking, and unique, you manage to draw the player into recognizing them at a glance. In game play terms, this is useful to quickly determine who's on your team, or who you're fighting, and their capabilities, among other things.

Beyond just game play, however, this is also used to make your player base really want to play this champion. When I look at Tristana, and that cute, innocent smile, with an enormous cannon and realize she really just wants to merrily prance through a field of flowers, leaving craters and broken corpses in her wake, it makes me smile, and want to play as her, despite that she's really kind of sub-par these days, since the newer champions simply do her job better than she can, for the most part.

This also led to my quest to find ways to force her to be useful, and eventually ended up with the "WTF" tank Tristana build. Go figure.

The point is, if a character design is visually appealing, interesting, and draws your attention in to it, you're more likely to want to play that character, and even more so, are willing to buy those skins, which take far less time and effort to create, but provide proportionately a high amount of the income to keep the company going.

So, how do you make your design more interesting?

Inspiration! Lots thereof!

I'll be devoting an entire section to this, but for visual interest, consider having multiple aspects to work from. A "water" champion doesn't have to be a generic water elemental, with no other features. It could be a water nymph, a land shark, a diving suit, an exotic fish, or any of a thousand other things.

Don't get trapped thinking you're going to have to stick to a single concept. Kennen's a ninja. So is Akali. Shen is also a ninja, yet each have their own distinctive style and appearance. Kennen has being a yordle and a lightning master going for him, Akali's a female who dual wields an exotic weapon that many people haven't seen before, and Shen ...is... Shen.

Ah, yeah, Shen's kind of the boring one there, isn't he? He doesn't have much for a silhouette, no fancy bits on his armour that really make him stand out as special or unique, and really, he's kind of bland all around, since the only thing he has going for him is "He looks like the ninjas from Mortal Kombat!". The problem there, is that all of the ninjas from Mortal Kombat were boring in appearance, and looked exactly the same, with the only difference being a colour palette swap.

At the very least, they could've based him off Sektor, or one of the cyber-ninjas, who actually had some, slight, visual neatness to them.

Instead, Shen has "nostalgia" as his key, defining visual feature, but without Mortal Kombat, he's dull. This is primarily due to the fact that he really only has the one source of inspiration, and doesn't really expand upon it.

In the movie series ALIENS, the Xenomorph alien, an iconic appearance that stands out massively against any other villain in a movie line up, was designed off of the concept of a humanoid, matched with a type of wasp that lays eggs inside of spiders, wherein the larvae hatch and devour the spider alive from the inside out. Creepy stuff... the appearance, however, is a mixture between a human's upright stance, crossed with that of a wasp, and several other insects. This gives a unique and distinctive appearance that really stands out pretty notably, whereas if it were just "a really giant wasp", it'd have been more fit for a B movie, instead.

Mix and match sources of inspiration. Pick a few things about your character that you think would look cool, and then see if there's anything similar to that which you can use as a close comparison, and then, from that point, see if there are any additional elements that can be integrated into the design.

Consider just looking at a reference picture of what you think looks awesome, and do nothing but study it carefully for a good ten or fifteen minutes, and see if you can figure out exactly what it is that makes it so interesting. It's often a lot more subtle than you may have first thought, and something as simple as tassels on armour, or a chip in the edge of a sword's blade, can really make the design stand out a bit more than it would otherwise.

In any case, your end goal, here, is to make the character visually appealing, and that's going to be determined by your own personal tastes, so there's only so much I can do to help you out there.

My best advice I can give, really, is to just pick a few things you think are neat (Ninjas, pirates, cats! ), and meld them together into a really weird combination that stands out considerably more than any one of them would on their own.

Anyway, I haven't eaten today, so I'm headed out to the kitchen for lunch. Class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Good evening!

Well, it's evening at the time of writing this. For me. It's still 3:30 in the afternoon in California, but you know what? Only I matter! Mwahehe!

Alright, I don't matter, but whatever.

Class is in session regardless, so grab a seat and here we go!

Tonight, we're going over the joys of inspiration! Yep, this is a big one for a lot of people!

So, inspiration!

First off, we shall go over the concepts of what inspiration even is.

Second on the list, we'll discuss where to go for inspiration.

Third, we'll cover some specific stuff about how to weave your inspirations into an actual appearance, theme, personality and so on. These are more important than you may think!

Finally, we'll close with how to avoid going too far. There's a fine line between being "inspired" and "ripped off from". Be careful not to cross this one, as it's the kind of thing that can land a lawsuit on your lap in a hurry. That and it's just bad practice.
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Part 1: Inspired by the retelling of a remake of the video game that was based on the memoirs of someone who swore it was a true story!



So, what exactly is inspiration?

It comes in many names, from your Muse, to the case of C4 you use to shatter writer's block. It shows up in a lot of forms, but in the end, it basically boils down to the same thing.

Inspiration is basically what you get when you take something which already exists, and adapt it to your own uses in a creative new way.

You may notice that bit about "which already exists". That's right, inspiration doesn't exist in a vacuum. Sources of inspiration are all around you, right at this very moment. It can be anything from the way a joint on one of the toys on your desk top works, a concept you saw in that movie that's sitting on your chair that you keep meaning to watch again, or it could be something as simple as the bird that keeps ramming it's face against the window as you try to work.

The whole dealie with Archimedes discovering water displacement while in the bath tub is a form of inspiration, as a historical example. The story goes that he was given the task of proving that a crown was made of 100% pure gold as was claimed, and he couldn't think of any way to prove it. While debating the thought in the bath, he noticed the water level raised as he sank into the water, and supposedly ran through the streets yelling "EUREKA!" buck naked.

The idea was that, by observing the world around him, he was able to apply a concept that was relevant to his problem at hand, and solve it.

In Aliens, as I mentioned in the "index B" version of inspiration, they used the Spider Wasp as a basis for the concept behind the Xenomorph, and based it's look off of a similar insectoid look, and it's been an icon of action/horror movies ever since!

In short, anything, and everything, around you can act as inspiration. From real life naturally existing stuff, through to historical information, or even stuff you see on TV or read in books, everything you see and touch is potentially a source of inspiration.

This is why it's so important to subject yourself to as many experiences as possible! Watch movies, read books, play games! It doesn't even matter if they're your favourite genre or not, so long as you see MORE STUFF!

The more stuff you know about, the more sources of inspiration you have to draw upon, and therefore, the better the chances that you'll be able to make something even more epic than you would have been capable of otherwise!

Heck, just look at the intro titles to each chapter I put up in each section, if nothing else! There's on average 4 per article, and probably a good 60-75% of them are direct quotes from other locations, either movies, tv shows, books, songs, or well known puns / jokes.

So, now that you know where to look for inspiration (everywhere! ), what are you going to do with it?

Ah, well that's what we're going to get into next. Hold your horses, and don't run off trying to use this information just yet. You need to first learn to temper and reforge this inspiration. It's only in a latent state, right now, and we're going to cover how to mold it from just being a carbon copy, into something that's truly unique.

We don't want you just copying a character from a movie 1 for 1. No, what we're looking for, here, is for you to turn the Battleship board game into a bloody movie. Inspiration doesn't mean "rip off", so, let's get into how to do this!
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Part 2: Alright this is easy, just go northeast by south-southwest baring 374 degrees latitude, take your thirty-seventh door on the left, then a right past the pickles, behind the mayo and to the left of the custard which has probably gone slightly moldy. Seriously, you can't miss it!


Alright, alright, so inspiration is *EVERYWHERE*. That sure is helpful, isn't it?

No?

Yeah, let's narrow that down a bit.

You're not really looking to pull ideas from just "anywhere", really, so much as you are seeking out things which help with the particular situation you're in. At any given moment, you're attempting to work on a particular problem, as that's what your brain tends to like doing, even if you hate it, personally.

Puzzles exist all over the place, and they can be as silly as "what should I have for supper?" to things directly related to your champion, like "I need an ability for my W and I have... nothing...", or you could even be in a more fundamental problem of "I want to make... stuff. I have no idea what.".

If you just sit there and stare blankly at an empty page, you're going to be sitting there for an awfully long time, stuck in the hopeless box of writer's block, and no matter how hard you stare, it's flat out not going to go away, of that I can pretty much guarantee you. Sometimes you may get an idea, but it's pretty rare.

No, your best option is to go out and find sources of inspiration to clear out the block by force.

So where do you go for a source of inspiration? Well... that depends on the problem. Right now you just went from "no inspiration", by staring at your blank sheet of paper (or monitor! ), and now have a staggering overkill of inspiration since you're now looking at the internet. Great, too much information can be even worse than none at all. At least when you had none, you knew you could do something about it, now that you've got so much junk piled up, you're not even sure where to begin!

Well, have no fear, standard problem solving procedures take effect here!

First off, identify what the problem you have is, exactly. We'll say you're making a "water" champion, for the sake of argument, because I hate it when we get these things on the forum and every bloody ability they have is "Throws water at a target, healing them or splashing them for damage". C'mon, you can do better than that, and I'll show you how.

So, your problem is you're making a water champion, but all you can think about is that one word. "Water". Every single thing you think about comes back to water, over and over like a broken record (and I'm old enough to remember listening to music on vinyl! ), but you're stuck there and can't get out of it.

The problem isn't that you need something watery. You've already got water for that. What you need is something to go with the water to help make it more interesting.

See, a single dimensional champion simply doesn't have anything going for them. Having "Hydro the Hydromancer!" is pretty much worthless, because you're stuck with... water, water, and... oh yeah, more water.

So where can you go for the inspiration you need, now that we know we need something other than water? Well, first and foremost, consider things that are nearby the water, or are related to such. Pirates are often a good place to start, but then again, so are exotic fish.

Ever seen an angler fish? Creepy stuff! They literally have a tasty "treat" on the end of an extension of their body that hangs out in front of their face, that they treat like a fishing rod for smaller fish, then eat them when they get close. Think you could make a "bait" champion by tossing in a watery apparition of a target which creates a double of them and makes them run by at low health, luring an enemy into wasting an attack, or getting out of position to get what looks like a free kill.

How about a hermit crab? You could have a few different shells you could swap between back at base, letting you change how your champion plays with the same itemization.

What about a cuttlefish, a type of squid, capable of flashing strobe lights over it's skin in various colours literally thousands of times per second, able to practically cause a seizure in an enemy, or make them turn into a chameleon of sorts. Why not try out an ability which blinds any champions who are looking your way when you activate it?

Bam, three random fish and three new abilities, fit for making you a new and interesting champion.

To narrow down where you're going for inspiration, focus on what it is you're trying to work with.

Note that "water" isn't the only way to work with a water champion. An antipodal champion which mixes fire and water together, creating steam, could also make for some pretty awesome effects! Consider if you had a water spell that made the ground slippery, reducing movement speed or causing enemies to skid on ice, and then you lob a fireblast at it and it flash-evaporates the ice/water into steam, scorching the enemy so they're silenced!

This is just using the opposite of water, though, but there's so many other ways to work with. I had a friend (actually it was ElementSteel on the forum here) who made a crazy flying monkey pirate that had an addiction to dancing to a magic box for a D&D campaign.

That's right, D&D. Characters you've used elsewhere, in role playing, old fan fiction from high school, and so on, are all fair game! Stuff your friends have done are also valid choices. Seriously, anything you've seen in your entire life is a valid option, but try to stick to things that seem vaguely related in some way.

In another vein of thought, however, you also want to be distinctive enough that it doesn't feel like it's just more of the same.

Appearance is a tricky thing! If your champion's boring, or just doesn't stand out... well... it kinda sucks, honestly, but they won't be that much fun. If you don't have a name or mental thought of what they should look like, have no back story, and so on, then it doesn't matter how neat you think their abilities are, they're just a string of numbers, not a "character" to play as.

Half the fun of playing Cho'gath is his Gentleman skin! I swear I get more fun out of role playing as Mundo, than I do from actually playing him XD

If you stick to a single source of inspiration, it's awfully hard to get ideas which are that awesome. The more you mix and match it up, the better the chances you have of hitting on something that's unique and interesting, so long as you don't stray too far from your original source material.

See, that's the big problem, is it's possible to do "water" related stuff, and the opposite, fire, as well as things like pirates or so on, but how far is too far? Why can't you mix Lasers with Water?

Well, technically, you could, but it's a bit of a jump and it doesn't feel intuitive. If you're god's gift to character creation, you could probably pull it off, but since you're reading the guide, here, I'm going to assume that you're not, for the sake of argument.

What I would personally suggest, is staying within 2 leaps of logic from the original source material.

This means if you started with WATER, then your first jump would be PIRATE, and your second jump would be NINJA.

Alright, a shark-ninja could be pretty neat, admittedly. What else?

WATER jumps to GIANT SQUID jumps to B MOVIE MONSTER. Zomg, giant THEM ants! A swarming carpet of water ants that can rear up in a tidal wave, pushing the swarm forwards, or can dissipate and run in a variety of locations, then reform at a new spot!

Past the second jump of logic, however, it starts to get a little bit silly, as you're already outside of the realm of common sense. This starts to make things difficult to correlate back to the original design, whereas you could still backtrack Ninjas to Pirates, and make it into how the previous Ionian ninja was lost at sea when they were fighting Gangplank's father in a classic duel to the death on the high seas, only to turn out that they'd been blessed by pre-transformation Soraka before their trip, and when they were felled, knocked into the ocean floor beneath, they instead lived, and sustained themselves upon the abundance of life at the ocean floor, but as she was corrupted for cursing Warwick, it broke her blessing, and the ninja was gained part of the curse's fallout, being afflicted with the ocean life around him, turning him into a creepy ninja-landshark, and now has decided to stalk the land in search of the one who caused all these problems, only to find Gangplank, and figuring it was "Close enough", so joins the league to get at his enemy's progeny.

We're talking some really screwed up stuff here, already XD

Still, letting your mind wander like this can be just the ticket to getting you some really awesome ideas! We could give our shark-ninja some awesome throwing starfish! Tell me *THAT* isn't a pun worth implementing ^.~

The point is, wandering too far off course gets you in some really weird places, that don't really make much sense, so I personally recommend the 2-leaps of logic rule to keep things relatively on track. Anything past that just gets strange and difficult to incorporate into a design.
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Part 3: We wove a weave which wrought wrenching wounds!



Yeah, you see that alliteration thing up there? That's actually where I'm going with things.

It's one thing to have inspiration, but it's quite another to turn that inspiration into something actually useful that you can implement into your champion design.

That 2-leaps-of-logic rule applies here pretty harshly, since it's hard to work your way back, once you start making some big jumps. If you keep it relatively close, as with the Water -> Pirate -> Ninja, it's not too hard to come up with horrible things like that bad throwing starfish from earlier.

Even so, this isn't enough. Okay, so he has throwing starfish. Great. That's... great. What else?

We need more than just that, we need a silhouette, a personality, a visually recognizable concept... something to make them seem like they should be how they play like!

Well, have no fear, inspiration comes to the rescue once again! That's right, it's really that versatile and can be forced to do almost anything at gunpoint ^.^

So, we have a shark ninja. Sweeeeet. Of course, a shark ninja doesn't seem very much like a ninja... what does a ninja do, anyway?

I guess a shark ninja would be sort of a samurai more than a ninja, maybe. Kelp armour? Mmm doesn't quite fit. How about coral? Ah, there we go! Build a samurai suit out of coral, with a guy with a ninja headband made from kelp, and a tridant and throwing starfish!

Alright, well that's pretty bloody distinctive, I suppose XD

Does it... look like an actual champion class though?

Ah, well, let's move on to the next section, then, and cover that in a little more detail. It's easy to get too far off track, so let's see what we can do to keep from being swept off with the current ^.^
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Part 4: "The ball is going back, Smith is chasing it, it's still going back, Smith jumps, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to the infield. This is a terrible day for the Padres!" -- A San Diego Padres announcer. ~San Diego Padres Announcer



Well, now we've swung a bit off of the ninja aspect of things, and are going more with a samurai, so this suggests a bruiser, since coral armour's probably not the wisest of choices to use as a tank, as the actual samurai can attest that wood sucks against gunfire. (Just me, but I'd suggest wood wouldn't hold up too well to fireballs, either, unless you're' saturated in magic like Maokai. )

The trident gives a nice feel of being able to pull someone in, a la spear fishing, so perhaps we should consider the idea of an ability which "stabs in a straight line, and drags an enemy back". It wouldn't be as long ranged as Blitzcrank's, and we could perhaps change things up a bit where the trident could have secondary effects, but it gives us a feel of what the champion should do just based upon their appearance.

Akali "looks" like a sneaky ninja, so she does the invisibility and such quite well. Shen "looks" like he should be a big tanky guy who evades attacks or simply prevents them like a ninja would. Kennen "looks" like a Kennen, and you get the feeling you could punt him pretty far akin to a football, and, go figure, he crack-balls right into the enemy team remarkably well!

Anyway, for our shark-ninja / samurai we've got going here as an example, we really want to emphasize a personality to go with it.

Off our wanna-be lore, we came up with them being an Ex-Ionian ninja that got corrupted and has a grudge against Gangplank's family. This gives us a place to start, but we might want to also fill in a bit of that sharkyness to things too. This gives us a great number of places to pull ideas from, into building up an overall feel of the champion's personality.

Considering their fall from grace, and loss of their position, as well as the curse placed upon them, inadvertently, by Soraka, they may be of the "screw balance in all things" mindset now, and focus on charging in jaws first. (Like that Jaws reference? Yeah, you know it's a good pun when it inflicts physical pain in the form of a headache ^.~ )

So, we have that he's a bruiser, and kind of GRRR at the whole ninja ideal, as well as GRRR, mostly just in general. Okay, it's a bit generic, but we can dump in some references to his old life, some stuff about hating Vincent the Shadow, and that sort of dealie, to give him a gruff demeanor, which works well with a bruiser-type champion.

We also have a shark in coral samurai-esque armour and wielding a trident, which should give a pretty good idea that we're talking about a melee bruiser here.

Everything has to line up, as odd as that sounds, as if something's completely out of whack, it just feels... weird.

I mean, picture if you went to play Shaco, and he turned out to be a low damage support/tank hybrid. His attitude, his daggers, his face... it all cries out "I WANNA KILL YOOOUUUU". If you break that expectation that a player has, it really hurts their impressions of the character, and may actually make them dislike a champion they otherwise would have enjoyed!

Your two main options are to play up to a stereotype, or to go directly against it by flipping things 180. This sounds counterintuitive, but it works in that people now kind of expect the reverse to be true, since it's been so overdone that it's become cliche in and of itself XD

The thing is, you can't just do something way out in left field for no apparent reason! Your audience, which in this case happens to be players, has a set of expectations they have that need to be fulfilled. If you play up to those expectations, and reward them for it (the good guy wins in the end! ), they'll be satisfied. If you flip it 180 on occasion (the good guy died, by sacrificing themselves to save the world! ), they'll be happy that you're spicing things up. If you just do something strange that makes no sense (the good guy actually never existed, and it was all just a myth, and some other guy you've never heard of did all the work this whole time ), a few art students may find it awesome, and you might garner a niche cult following, but other than that, it's mostly going to be met with blank stares and people being disappointed.

Inspiration has to tie in with the end goal of everything meshing together well. By using your sources of inspiration appropriately, you can weave almost anything into something which makes sense, no matter how outlandish it is, but it's a lot easier if you play up to certain stereotypes.

On the other hand, you don't want to be "too" obvious about stereotypes. The real trick about awesome design, is you want to make the connection intuitive, without it feeling like "Oh. One of THOSE guys again...". It should make logical sense on an innate level, without being so blatantly obvious that it's been overdone to the point that it's a well known cliche.

If you stick to the 2nd jump of logic rule that I've come up with, it typically seems to keep things within the capacity to hold together before they get too far out of hand, however =3

In the end, inspiration will tie everything you have together on a fairly natural level, if you let it, so long as you keep it relatively close to home. Don't run off the deep end with your sources of inspiration, and you'll probably be fine with keeping them together when it comes to melding it into a single, unified whole ^.^

Anyway, that's it for tonight, so class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

YO YO YO SUP, MAH HOMIES, MAH PEEPS, MAH SUPDAWGS!?

Yeah, you can slap me if I ever say that again.

Anyway, class is in session! WOO!

So, today we're going to be covering unique ideas! Or more specifically, that they don't exist! O.o;;

I know, it's a strange concept, so bare with me!

First off, we'll have to go over the concept of what "unique" really is, before we can go much further. Start with the basics, first, after all, right?

Second, once we have that down, we can move onto the concept of why "unique" doesn't really exist as such. Specifically, this plays heavily on the whole "inspiration" dealie.

Third, there are things that haven't been done before. Sometimes... there's an awfully good reason for this. I'll be covering things like "monsterous" champions and such, healing skillshots, and so on!

Last on the list is how to make your abilities more interesting and "unique", despite that they technically aren't. This isn't about doing something "new", so much as it is about doing something that's proven to work, in a new way.

Anyway, we've got a lot to cover today, so let's get started! Labcoats on, please, because today... we do this... FOR SCIENCE!

*Cackles maniacally, and puts on goggles*
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Part
1: Always remember that you are a unique snowflake. Just like every other flake out there.



Alright, so I have said, and hold to, the statement that there is no such thing as "unique".

If we consider this to be true, how can that be? Are we not all unique in our own ways? Are our champions not unique in that they differ from each other?

Before anything else, clearly we must define unique!

For the sake of argument, I'll provide my own definition, as it pertains to this matter at hand. Unique is based off the prefix "uni", as in singular. There can only be one thereof. There's nothing like it, no predecessor, no earlier version, no inspiration and no precedent. If something is truly unique, it exists outside of anything that has ever been done before.

Obviously, as we've covered in inspiration, this can't realistically occur. Everything you create, is based on something else. Everything you make, is a rehash of an old idea made new. Everything you've done, someone else did first, in some way, shape, or form.

There are no unique ideas. There are no unique champions. Everything existed before you.

This isn't a bad thing, despite what you may be thinking. It means you have previous models you can evaluate, to see how they perform, and where they can be improved upon. You have ideas and sources of inspiration that can be combined in new and interesting ways, that will lead to a far more interesting design. You have failed attempts and mistakes, trailing back to the dawn of MOBAs, that you can look back upon and go "Well, that didn't work... I wonder why?", and begin to answer that question by tackling the problem yourself.

The end goal, here, is to make a champion that is a new "mixture" of various aspects, that brings something new to this particular game, League of Legends in our case, that hasn't been provided before.

This can show up in many forms, from a new personality, new mechanics, new play style, and so on and so forth. The ideas, themselves, are not new, however. How they're put together and amalgamated into a whole, is.

The key thing this section focuses upon, is drilling into your head that you aren't trying to be a unique snowflake. You aren't trying to be "different for the sake of being different". Anything you do has to be done for a reason, and that reason invariably has to be "because it will make the game more fun". If you do something "because it's different!", and ignore the concept of it being fun... well, let's just say that there are reasons why some things haven't been done before.

This, conveniently, segues into our next part!
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Part
2: Pft, I've been different since before it was cool to be different! Obviously you people are just emulating me!



There's a distinct difference between doing something new for a purpose, and doing something new just because you can. I bet you I could break every bone in my legs in 47 different places and then tie them into a fisherman's knot. I'm also reasonably sure this would be one of the stupidest things I could possibly do, and would not really provide any particular benefit to having done so.

The end goal of your champion is to be fun. Keep that in mind above all else. If you aren't having fun, then you really haven't accomplished anything.

To that end, there are only a few key things which work towards being "fun", and everything else is a variation on a theme.

One of the biggest ones, a huge primordial one which was discovered at it's core, and expanded upon back in Diablo 1 by Bill Roper and the rest of the design team at Blizzard at the time, was the simple concept of "Kill -> Reward".

Yep, really is that simple, and still in use to this day, even in LoL itself.

You kill something, and you get something for doing it. It's a simple detour down the road of "push button, receive food pellet" concept they use with labrats, but it works great on humans too, on a primal level, where your aggressive tendencies are rewarded on an instinctual level.

By being aggressive and deadly, you get a bonus for such. You kill a minion, you get a gold and exp bonus. You kill a weak enemy champion, they're a little more dangerous than a minion, so you get a bigger benefit. If you kill an overleveled fed champion who's been wrecking your entire team, you get a nice big fat reward. If you take 3-5 people to tear down Roshan or Baron Nashor, or whatever your particular game has for a "mini-boss", you get a huge bonus.

The harder the task, the bigger the reward. If you accomplish something difficult, you want to feel you were proportionately rewarded for doing so. If you got a huge reward for something easy... it gets kind of boring after awhile. You may notice that people often get bored of bot games (co-op vs AI), in that they really are pretty easy, and your reward just... doesn't match the difficulty of the task.

It's a strange thing, but getting a disproportionate reward to the effort put into something, regardless of whether it's "too little" or "too much", both have negative consequences, psychologically.

If your player doesn't feel like they truly earned the reward they were given, they'll feel guilty for accepting it, or grow bored of such as it's not a challenge. This is why you don't see a huge burly maximum level character in MMORPG's running around the level 1 starting zones mass slaughtering things for very long. They might go back out of spite, and gain some small, smug sense of satisfaction, but it quickly wears off when there's no challenge to be had.

The only reason that some players are able to feel satisfaction in butchering easy targets, is if there's some additional factor that they enjoy being added on top of it. In some people's cases, it's simply to make them feel more powerful than they are. In other cases, they simply can't have fun unless someone else isn't, and if they're not particularly good enough at playing a game so that they can do so by making the other team lose, then they begin trolling their own team wherein they don't need to have an ounce of skill to piss off a large number of people in one go.

The problem is, these are the trolls of the game that we don't actually want to cater to.

For the players that are actually playing the game for the sake of having fun, and are doing PvP because of the challenge factor, these are the ones where the difficulty needs to match the reward.

There are other factors, besides this. Just kill -> reward, is not enough. It's a nice starting place, and on an instinctive level, it works great, but it does eventually lose it's addictive properties if you don't weave in other factors to strengthen it.

Consider something such as a champion which is actually fun to play, not because they get kills, but because they simply have really fun mechanics. Draven, in particular, is pretty awesome to use, not because he's strong, though that helps, but primarily because his mechanics are actually really interesting to use.

Your purpose for doing something "new", is to capture the feel of a new form of presentation. You're not reinventing the wheel. The wheel already exists, so you're not being unique by making your wheel fancier than a standard wheel. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do so, however. Deck your wheel out with bling and polish it to a shine until it blinds people to look at it. Then you can sell seeing eye-dogs and make a profit!

...We'll pretend that made sense.

Moving right along!

Our goal here is to blend a mixture of game play elements together into something that is really more fun than the sum of the parts put into such. Mundo's pretty awesome, because he's Mundo. Even so, his kit is a little lack luster, and not nearly as enjoyable as it could be, as the only real thing he has going for him is his cleaver spam, which is pretty neat, but kind of lonely in that it's pretty much all he has, other than his personality.

To make a really fun champion, takes melding many aspects together, from their personality, to their appearance, their animations, their skill set, everything has to all incorporate into a whole that meshes together well.

As is covered in this series elsewhere, you really do want to have your entire champion concept work together as a unified whole. If you look at a champion's splash art, you should know right off the bat what to expect. You look at Graves and go "you know, I bet I know how he acts, how he talks, and how he sounds, and even how he plays." You enter the game, pick him up and... yep, he looks, talks, and sounds just right, he acts exactly like he should, and his game play is pretty much what you would expect. As a whole, he simply "works".

Personally, I hate Graves' personality, but that's just because he goes against my own preferences pretty heavily. I fully accept that, as a character design, he's a masterpiece. I hate his ultimate being so bland, and I hate his personality, but to be perfectly blunt, he's not made for me to play.

That's another major thing you're going to have to learn... being unique doesn't necessarily mean you're doing a good job. Actually, it usually means that you aren't doing a good job at all. You want to appeal to a niche market which hasn't yet been tapped into previously by the game, but at the same time, you also want to make sure that there actually is a market in the first place.

This is where we run into our third section today.
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Part
3: Who cares if it isn't popular? Low sales just mean it's even more hip and underground, man!



Well, let's face it, Riot, as with every other game company out there, is out there to make a profit.

Even so, they're not there to be greedy, they're there to make a game that they, themselves, enjoy playing. They want to be like "yeah, I made this, and it is AWESOME!".

You can fully make a profit while making something that's fun at the same time! The trick is to aim for things that a larger audience will appreciate and purchase.

As such, you have various champions who will be tuned towards different individuals and groups. Some of these markets are larger than others. A lot of the most basic archtypes already exist in the game, catering to the largest audience already. Now, they're gradually aiming for targeted audiences who like the game, but just haven't quite found "their" champion yet, the one that they'd love to pour money into for skins and so on.

For me, I'm lucky; Nidalee is basically "my" champion, being a potent siege/support champion with high mobility and healing. Her personality, appearance, and everything just works well with me.

I also realize, however, that not everyone's going to love Nidalee. Some people actually like Graves, as stated before. Graves is awesome for those people, as Nidalee is awesome to me. Great! That's what you want to capture, that feeling of "this is MY champion!".

The trick is, however, that you also need to be able to make that champion interesting to enough people to pay for the labour that goes into making that champion in the first place.

Hate to break it to you, but games are not magically free. It costs money in wages, in oil to heat/cool a building, for the computers, for the software, etc etc the list goes on seemingly forever. To make a skin takes an awful lot of time and energy. To make a champion, even longer, usually. Seriously, most people on the forum here honestly believe it takes 2 weeks to create a champion.

No, no it does not. It's closer to 9 months, due to market research, play testing, modeling, animating, and so on. Many of these steps can only be done in a specific order, and can't be done until the others are completed. There's no real way to do the particle effects until you've got the animations down. You can't do the animations until the rig's finished. You can't do the rig until you have the mesh. You can't do the mesh until you have concept art, and you can't have concept art until you have a concept to make the art of in the first place.

The list of things that has to be done to make a champion, and the hours spent building them, is enormous. You're looking at literally hundreds to thousands of work hours to make a champion, and the only revenue they get to pay for that effort comes through people buying RP to spend on skins and champions.

As such, if you want something that's awesome, you need to charge a lot for it, as people discovered with the whole Pulsefire Ezreal skin. It's expensive as hell, but considering the time and effort put into it, and the low number of sales it'll generate, they're forced to price it high to recoup the losses on wages spent making him in the first place.

Here's your problem...

We're here to make something that's awesome. To make something awesome, however, you have to keep in mind that there's often a very good reason as to why something has never been done before. Being "unique" just because no one else has done it before can often mean you're doing something very stupid that may wind up placing you on the "Winner" list of the Darwin Awards, a dubious award to achieve at that.

In this case, making something that isn't particularly good at catching a player's attention doesn't really work.

There's a few examples of these kinds of things, with some major ones being things like "swarm" champions, where the champion looks like they could be just one of a larger number (ie generic soldier), or a "monster" champion.

These have been specifically argued against by Morello himself, for a very good reason - it's hard to accept these as having a personality, no matter how much you try to fix that problem. If a player doesn't relate to the champion, they just... don't really get it. And if they don't get it, they don't really want to play them much, no matter how awesome their skill set is.

Urgot is borderline OP, as of the writing of this post, but he rarely gets played, not because his abilities suck, but because he's just not that interesting to play as. He's fat, he's ugly, and he's kind of bland.

People will play the champions they're attracted to. Even though Teemo's generally considered underpowered as hell right now, he's still got a ton of skins for him. Know why? Because Teemo is CUTE! Many players play Teemo simply because they like his character design. He's fun to play, and attractive in a way, and as such, people play Teemo, and buy Teemo skins, even if he sucks at tournament level play.

My point here, is that there's often very good reasons for why something's never been done before. We don't get "monster" champions, because it's hard to associate a personality to them. Some, you can get away with. Most of them, they just don't really translate all that well to a personality. Rammus gets away with it simply because he's Rammus, and people tend to make an imaginary personality for him, such as... well... this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8cSY...eature=g-all-u

Sorry for the external link, but it gives you the idea of what I mean better than I can say in words XD

Anyway, as I was saying, monstrous champions just... don't really get a personality very easily. Consider that you can be bad-ass, like Darth Vader, but that he intentionally was given the featureless mask for the express purpose of removing his humanity, and severing the connection with him on an intrinsic level. You're not supposed to actually sympathize with him, he's supposed to just be a terrifying being that has no humanity left in him.

While this is great for a villain you're supposed to fight against, it kind of sucks in terms of someone you want to play "as".

You can line up an endless horde of termogaunts in 40k, and they get kinda scary when you realize that, if you butchered a thousand of them, it'd just mean that you'd now have a wall of dead termogaunts that the next thousand would use as a ramp to leap off of to land on top of you.

The thing is... alright, so you have a thousand termogaunts, so how do you make a "champion" that stands out as the leader of all termogaunts? How do you make there be a central figure that really cries out that they are worthy as a champion of their people?

In the end, it's not that easy to do, and takes an awful lot of additional time and effort, for minimal effectiveness.

Omen suffered partially from this, among a few other issues, which is why he got canceled. He was... generic bio-monster #5,782 and didn't really look like he had a personality. Even though they went out of their way to try to give him one, he just didn't really catch on.

The end point here, is that you want to be different enough to provide a reason for your player to want to play your champion, instead of someone else's, but you don't want to be so different as to alienate them entirely.

Other issues are things like the dreaded "healing skill shot". Consider that the purpose of a skill shot is that it provides game play on both the allied, and enemy side. The caster fires a skill shot, aiming it so it either hits where the enemy is this moment, or leads them for where they will be. They use bushes, fog of war, and all sorts of tricks to land that Nidalee spear. In turn, the enemy is able to dodge out of the way, do feints, and so on to fight back against such. It's a two way street, really.

In the case of a healing skill shot... it doesn't work that way. Alright, so you fired your heal and... why would anyone ever dodge it? This is what we call a "false choice", in that it presents to you the option to do something where there's only one right answer, and it looks like there's other options, but there aren't.

The problem is compounded, in that there's no benefit to a heal being a skill shot, as there's no counter play given to the other player involved. There's fun taken away, when you miss your heal, or hit the wrong target, or if someone dies while it's in flight, but you simply don't get any additional satisfaction out of it being a skill shot, only fun taken away.

There's a dozen other reasons I could cover as to why a healing skill shot should never be added to the game, despite that it'd be "unique", but once we hit the "it simply isn't fun" wall, the discussion ends there. I don't need any further reasoning. It's a mechanic that simply adds nothing to the game and isn't enjoyable. There is zero reason to ever add it to the game. It doesn't matter what other reasons I have, because as soon as it's not fun, the skill is dead, and there is nothing that can revive it short of making it fun again, and to do that, you'd have to remove it from being a skill shot, which defeats the whole purpose as now it's not a healing skill shot anymore.

See, just because something hasn't been done before, doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it now.

Often, this is the case. An idea comes that is like "Oh wow, no one's done this before! This is going to be so UNIQUE!". Well, consider the problems with it, and try to figure out why it's never been done before. There could very well be a very potent reason, or several even, as to why it's never been done.

Remember, everything you do has to be intentional. You add something because it adds something to the game, and how fun your champion is. You don't just add stuff by spinning a wheel and picking random abilities from a list, or rolling a die to find out what to add. It may be "unique", but it doesn't mean it's fun.

In the end, your goal is to make a fun champion to play as. Make sure all of your choices are done so with the express intent of making them more fun than they already are, and never, under any circumstance, make a choice simply because it's "different", without any reason beyond that.
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Part
4: You call that snowflake unique? Naw, that ain't nothin! I'll show you unique! Just... as soon as I figure out how to attach a flame thrower to a snowflake without it melting...



Alright, so nothing's unique, and most of the stuff that hasn't been done before, probably hasn't been done for a very good reason.

This certainly isn't to say that you shouldn't attempt to make your stuff more interesting, it just means you actually need to think about why and how you're going to make more interesting.

The answer to "why", is the easy one here. To make it more fun!

If it isn't going to be more fun, then you may as well stop right there.

The how part, however, is a little bit more tricky than that, due to it being such an open ended question.

Just tacking on "more stuff", rarely is the correct answer. Making an ability that deals damage, and slows, and silences, and increases attack speed if used on an ally, and damages for a flat value, and damages for a % value, and damages for both physical and magical, and also does AoE damage, and also causes the stars to align, and makes pigs fly, and and and and and STUFF.

Alright, yeah, back down there, just dumping more stuff onto a skill over and over doesn't make it better. It often just makes it convoluted and messy, and when you have similar effects overlapping, such as armour penetration and attack speed, both of which increase physical damage output, it can really start to get messy to figure out exactly how powerful it really is, when they both amplify the strength of the other's effects.

As such, you really need to wrack your brain on this! You don't want to do the same ol', same ol' that has always been done, but at the same time, you don't want to just throw stuff needlessly at the problem, either.

As I've said over and over before, you want to take direct charge of your design. Think of what you need to do before you do it, in particular. You need a way for your ranged champion to avoid getting attacked by melee? Hrm, well the obvious options are both present on Tristana; she either moves herself out of melee, or moves her enemy out of melee. Either way, they aren't in melee with her anymore.

Ashe slows or stuns an enemy, and simply walks away, while Twitch slows a target then runs away until he turns invisible and can't be caught.

There's a dozen ways to get out of melee range, from blinding an enemy so that they aren't even sure where you are to attack in the first place, to abilities which make you harder to follow, such as Anivia's wall dropping impassable terrain in between the two of you.

Regardless, the end point is that you want to isolate what options you have to do something. After you have a list made up, consider which ones haven't been done before, or see if any of them cry out to you that you could do so in a new way than has previously been done.

What about a ranged champion that puts up a wall in front of her, similar to Anivia's, but that the wall isn't impassable terrain, but instead, the wall acts like a giant trampoline or bouncer from a pinball table? As soon as that nasty bruiser dashes at you, he gets flung like a ragdoll away, if he tries to come at you from the direction of the wall, without walking around it.

Maybe the bouncer wall is a 360 degree dealie, but has a very short life expectancy, similar to a spell shield on Nocturne or Sivir, so you have to blow it either when the enemy is in the middle of their dash, or before they dash, to buy you a few seconds of them hanging around at the edge, waiting for it to drop?

This is just one example (well, a few I guess), but it's never been done before. It's still just a combonation of Aniva's wall paired with Janna's ultimate, but that's the beauty of it... it's taking things which already exist, and blending them together into something new.

No, it's not unique, but it is something that didn't exist in the game in that manner until now, and can now be used to make your champion that much more interesting to play as.

Mix and match abilities. Pull benefits from one and merge them into another like some really weird version of a bartender.

Whatever you do, don't just pull random stuff out of your head without direction or reason, though. Keep yourself focused on the task at hand; you have a champion that needs to get into combat range somehow, so find a method that they can employ that will let them do so. Your key goal there, is to ensure it's something that lets them in combat range, most likely melee.

Regardless of how you do things, ensure you're thinking about it at the time and that you're using several sources of inspiration together. After you have it figured out, simplify the ability down to it's basic components of what it needs to do. It's easy to get carried away tacking on more and more stuff, and then just being left with a big mess. Ensure that each aspect of an ability has a particular function for a particular reason.

Follow that, and you'll probably be fine =3

Anyway, for the moment, that's all I have! I hope you enjoy making your champions more fun and interesting now, without the risks of just making a mess by trying to be a trendsetter, without understanding what makes something a trend in the first place!

Good luck on your future and current designs!

Class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow... you can then eat drink and be merry again? No reason not to do it every day, honestly. ^.^

Anyway, class is in session once again!

Today, we're going to be discussing the wonderful world of DIDNEY WORL! That or Lore. Whichever. Same thing really, assuming you have borderline terminal brain damage.

So, what are we going to cover in specific? A few things, really! We've already covered a lot on appearance and character design, so I'm also going to drop in some stuff about making a character that's actually likeable, which begins with their background and personality. These are reflected in their lore, so this is as good of a spot as any to put them!

First, we'll go over how to make a winning personality! This actually is not as easy as you may think, due to the wide range of people who play the game!

Second, we'll touch on various aspects of how a champion should be presented (these are the 4 questions again from earlier! ) to the community.

Third, we'll then have to take a minor detour in how to write a character that integrates themselves into the existing intellectual property (LoL's current lore, essentially ), without stepping on anyone's toes or making your champion cause people to facepalm, while at the same time still making them neat =3

The last thing we'll discuss today, will be how to use your lore to add additional depth to your champion design. Much of this was covered under inspiration, but keep in mind that lore is both inspired, and inspiring; it converts your raw ideas into useful resources!

So then, let's go! TO DIDNEY WORL! I mean... oh whatever...
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Part 1: "
I once knew a fellow from Taiwan who attempted the same sort of reinvention and the strain eventually got the better of him... but then, he was always prone to stress. It turned out he had a Taipei personality."
"In about two minutes, I'm going to get that and roll my eyes." - D.C. Simpson, Ozzy & Millie



RAWR! I sure am scary, huh? ...What do you mean I'm not scary? I used caps and everything!

As you can see, there's a little more that goes into making a character fit the personality type you want them to fill, than simply saying they do. Even beyond that, lining their personality up with their play style can be tricky as well!

Having a character is one thing, having a cohesive character that actually makes sense to the player in a way that they intuitively accept, is a little bit more difficult to accomplish. So, here's where we go over how to ensure your design matches up and is a real winner!

Now, as of this writing, I haven't done the previous chapter "unique doesn't exist", but for the sake of argument, we'll say I have. The brief rundown of things, however, is that you can make something unique pretty easily, but most of the time, there's a pretty good reason why something hasn't been done before.

Let's take the example of a champion who's supposed to be a brutal looking, hulking ogre with a massive club and speaks in even more broken english than Mundo. He's a bruiser, straight up, no doubt. How do you even know this? Well... the giant club assumes damage, especially melee damage, and his personality (kinda dumb) and appearance (big hulking slab of muscles) implies heavily that he can take a beating, and dish one back out again.

It would then, of course, be rather startling to find that he uses his club as a wand, speaks 137 other languages fluently, and is a support champion that prances around in ballet shoes.

While this is highly entertaining as a one-off joke, it just... doesn't quite do what people expect. In a literary sense, that can be good, as you can lead people down one path, then have a surprise waiting for them at the end!

In terms of LoL, however, you're not trying to surprise them. You're attempting to meet their expectations. They see a big hulking brute, and they bloody well WANT a big hulking brute! They want to be chewing on skulls and the closest thing they want to come to a delicacy is the joys of popping their opponent's eyeballs like grapes.

If you fail to provide that for them, then the players aren't going to be amused, and they aren't going to flock to the champion in droves to buy it. As an off-skin? Sure! Gentleman Cho'gath is one of my favorite skins in the game, and totally worth being a legendary, as is Corporate Mundo!

That being said, however, these are skins, not the base design. Give these humourous options to players as a possibility they can actively select, not an enforced rule that makes him tilt their head and wonder WTF the designers were smoking. Especially because then you might start getting phone calls asking about where they can get some for themselves.

Anyway, you want to have everything line up.

This means the following:

  • Personality
  • Animations
  • Appearance
  • Weapon choice
  • Lore
  • Voice overs
  • Anything else you can think of!

RAWR!

...Still not scary? Guess I'll have to work on that.

In any case, the key component is to ensure that your champion's personality is consistent. If you want to make someone who's a little bit... special, then ensure that it's clearly visible.

Consider Annie. Sure she's a "cute little kid", but that also means no physical brawn either, for the most part. Additionally, she's holding onto fire, and has an evil menacing looking fiery bear in the background, which generally does a pretty good job of saying "Remember those little girls from The Shining, and of course Carrie, and a half dozen other evil kids from horror movies? Yeah, they distilled their evil into a single evil monster of a kid."

The fire shows she's a pyromancer quite well, and gives a good idea of her overall play style. She's a mage, and she fries things.

Note, especially, that you want to broaden your targeted audience to a degree as well. Everyone has their niche, but many of these are already covered. Darius, as much as I dislike his skill set, does do a really good job of "jerk of a bruiser who crushes everything underfoot". As such, you don't need generic badass bruiser #3,872 to show up. We have them already.

At the same time, don't pick "ridiculously narrow niche market that no one's likely to actually be interested in". Zileas was joking at the time (probably... it's hard to tell with him sometimes XD ) when he said the following:

Quote:
So, the blind monk one made sense. But seriously, this one is just too far out there. I get why some of you are excited, but it's just not an archetype most people 'get'. Too many twists. Spider Lady is already pretty exotic. Spider Lady with Victorian umbrella is way out there. I think it's too niche. Lots of peolpe want to be a badass martial arts monk, it's an aspirational role.

On the other hand, who wants to be an overweight balding drunk guy (Gragas)? Note that he's not that popular even though he's very fun.

Victorian umbrella spider woman is not typically a fantasy people have of who they want to be ;p

If the concept is too far out there, or isn't aspirational, it's just less popular. Spider queen has both of these issues, which is why we haven't made her.

Of course, badass spider/woman hybrid who spins you into cocoons and poisons you might be OK.


- Zileas
While the specific examples are kind of amusing, the fact of the matter is, he has a valid point. You really do want to try to grab people's attention as "whoa, there's someone I'd love to play as!".

The majority of the gamers that play LoL, here or other servers is irrelevant, tend to pick a champion they particularly like, and claim it as "theirs".

By making a new design, you need to appeal to an audience that has yet to get that nice little niche covered, but at the same time, you also want to ensure that this niche is a large enough size to actually offer descent chances of getting paid for your work.

In the champion concepts forum, here, we aren't paid, so it's less of an issue, but if you ever want to join the big leagues, then keep this concept in mind.

For Nemhain, one of my own designs, I focused heavily on the concept of a champion that had a very brutal, powerful presence, yet still remained feeling feminine and protective. We're talking like "mamma bear's pissed you looked at her cubs the wrong way, boy-o" kind of attitude, and there's enough people that can really get along with that kind of vibe she gives off, and there aren't any others in the game that really match it. The other tanks are all rather unique, but avoid the "I will END you if you so much as lay a finger on my carry!", in large part due to the issue with their cool downs typically being long, and their damage output being relatively low, for good reason.

Having decided upon the name, and personality to fit it, her skills really sort of just fell into place, as this is deriving characterization and skills from lore.

Anyway, in short, make sure you have a champion that's consistent, and that it's aimed at a niche that's large enough to support it's development cycle! Avoid rehashing old ideas which are already covered, however. Zilean is the crazy old male mage, and Warwick is the feral bloodthirsty stalker. If your champion is an identical carbon copy of the "feel" of something already in the game, you might want to branch outwards into unexplored territory =3
------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 2: "Location, location, location!"
"Your fly's undone."
"Tack presentation onto the end of that list."



So we have a great idea now, or at least, I'll assume you do. We'll say you have a nice design, a perfect niche to fill, and a champion that would just love to be out on the fields of justice! WOO!

Now then, their lore... ah, all those things I covered before? They show up here.

Yes, you have a champion, but you now want to get the real visceral feel of their personality and history to the player.

Here's the catch: you get roughly two paragraphs to do it in. Have fun!

Well, it's not too bad, because you can still pull it off pretty easily. The 4 questions I've mentioned before, ripped straight from Babylon 5, are as follows (again):


  • Who are you?
  • What do you want?
  • Why are you here?
  • Where are you going?

In a properly executed lore, your champion should have all of these questions answered in the space you're provided.

Who are they? Their name's irrelevant, as is their title. What you want is the core essence of their personality. Are they a psychotic killer like Shaco, or a battle hardened veteran as unto Garen?

What do you want? Your champion has a reason to do what they do, even if they may not be consciously aware of such. Perhaps they have a grudge they're seeking out, or maybe they're looking for answers. Twitch, in particular, wants to create a whole new race, while several of the earliest champions got summoned to the world by force and just want a way back home. No matter what, they have a purpose behind what they do, and you need to describe this clearly.

Why are you here? This is the League of Legends, and it exists for many reasons, but... why is your particular champion here? What do they actually get out of being at the league? In most cases, this is going to coincide with what they want, but sometimes it's a bit of a roundabout way of doing things. Cassiopeia wants to serve Noxus, but she's kind of not in the capacity to perform her previous role of information retrieval / city ****. As such, she's at the league to follow in her sister's footsteps (as best she can, lacking feet ^.~ ), and help her nation out in the only way she now can.

Where are you going? The idea here, is not where you are, or what you want. These usually imply where you want to be going, but it doesn't mean you actually are. Take Brand, for example. He's mostly just around for the sake of burning the hell out of anything he can reach, and would love to just fry Valoran as a whole. Unfortunately for him, he's at the league at gunpoint. As such, his desires and his reason for being at the league simply don't match up. Where he's going, is open to interpretation, he could be on a spiraling path to self destruction, or he could be on the verge of destroying the world as a whole. Regardless, we know he's headed towards the path of fire and brimstone, either way, and the league is not about to stop him, it's merely a mildly annoying delay in his plans. Your champion, also, needs to have a path they're traveling, the destination may not be what they want, but they need to be progressing beyond where they are currently.

Overall, by taking these questions into account, I've found it works great as a structure for providing the details of a champion's life. It gives you the feel for them, why they're at the league, and what their hopes and dreams are. By doing so, you get a feel for who your champion really is, and it can be this knowledge and understanding that anchors a player to that champion.

I personally love Nidalee's design as a character. I like her story, I like her skillset, and I like how she thinks and acts. She's my personal "go to girl" for when I want to play someone and I'm not sure who =3

She's also the champion I own the most skins for, and have no issues with blowing more money on if new skins show up. She's fun to play, and meshes well with my own personality and play style.

Ensure your players can get a good feel for who your champion is, so that they can really latch onto them and go "That's it, I *NEED* this champion!".

Not everyone will like every champion, but for your targeted niche, you really want to ensure that the people who would want to play them, are going to have the champion catch their eye, and then reward them for looking into things further.
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Part 3: "Supreme Intergalactic Ruler of Everything Nob, Commander of Microsol Super Fleet Alpha, Leader of Everyone, Master of All, Well-Liked by animals." - Commander Nob, Tyrian 2000, Dread-not level data cube




Alright, let me be blunt, you have a champion. A champion is a step above the ordinary citizen or human being. Or Yordle. Whatever.

The thing is, a champion is simply "better" than regular people. You really do want to stress that they really are JUST THAT AWESOME.

On the other hand... you don't want to make them "so awesome" that they're "more awesome than anything else the world has seen".

You want your champion to be roughly the same power level, in their lore, as other champions already in the league. If they're supposedly stronger, give a reason to knock them down a notch.

It's pretty easy to get carried away with Mary-Sue-ism, a literary term, which basically means your character is way too strong for what they should be, and infallible. These standards are centered around the standards of the world that they exist within, however.

As stated, your champion should be just that: a champion. There's no real reason why Orianna was added to the league originally, and she died for a reason (because she flat out sucked). The remake of her into a robot didn't make a great deal of sense, and it's new addition to the league makes even less sense than she did. In short, she's kind of just... there.

On the other hand, you don't want to take the other path, the Mary-Sue (or Marty-Stu) character, by making your champion "just like this other character, BUT BETTER IN EVERY WAY!"

No.

Stop right there and cut that out right now. You want a champion, not a god/dess. They're powerful compared to regular people, but they aren't to be described as the most powerful being in existence.

This will actively turn many people off from playing them, to the point that they just don't feel fun, or don't generate the sales they should. If you get an instant gut reaction that makes you feel "this might be going a little bit too far", then you've probably already hit that line running, and accelerated, rather than slowed down. We're very poor judges of our own creations, so it's hard to say for certain, but be careful.

In any case, try to keep in mind other lore that's already presented as well. Darius, though a neatly designed concept as a character... basically steps all over Riven's toes, as she already filled his exact same position in the game. Hecarim takes the really bad path of harming a strong opponent to show how bad-ass he is, by making someone who knows no fear, be afraid. (Ie: A top of the line, hand picked "finest" soldiers Demacia had to offer)

If you're going to show how awesome your champion is, do *NOT* under any circumstance pull stuff like Hecarim did. It's bad writing, and it hurts to read like pre-teen fanfiction. Worf, in particular, got this treatment far too often on Star Trek: TNG, where any "strong" enemy faced would beat up "the big strong guy" to show off how bad-ass they were. Doing so really means that Worf just wasn't that much of a measuring stick, however, because pretty much everyone beat him in a fight.

If you cross the line, even once, it's hazardous, as it sets a dangerous precedent. Sometimes it can be pulled off with style and flair, but to be perfectly blunt, you need to be an expert, top notch writer to get away with it. The chances of anyone reading this being so, is virtually nil, because there's only about a hundred of them on the planet alive right now with that level of skill as it's one of the most difficult things to do properly in writing, without it turning sour in the process. Pulling something like that off is the work of a true master, and yet it's done so often it's become cliche. Take my advice, please, and avoid this XD

Anyway, the end point, is that you want to pick things out about the world to tie your character to it. Locations which exist, champions which may know them, political events they may be intertwined with. While it's possible to "pull" a champion from an outside source, such as the original few summoned monsters, you may notice we haven't gotten any since the game was released, that weren't directly related to the original group.

Renekton is tied to Nasus, and... and... yeah, the rest are from Runeterra.

The point is that you might be able to link in someone that's related to the plotline of say... Morganna and Kayle's war, but you'd have to step carefully to pull it off. This isn't a bad thing, as it's not that difficult, it just requires paying attention is all, via being consciously aware of the pitfalls you could run into.

Avoid anything along the lines of a champion who is overly tied into the world, however. If they know 37 members of the league, on a first name basis, and their lore has them being best buddies with literally everyone, you've probably gone way too far.

I'd suggest, honestly, one location, and one champion, no more, until you're used to how far you can push those boundaries.

The idea is that you want your champion to exist within the world that already has been built, but you don't want the world to suddenly start orbiting them.
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Part 4: My muse is speaking to me, shame it's all Greek to me. Curse you, Μοῦσαι!




Alright, so you've gotten some ideas for your lore, great! Now, how's about we ensure that this lore is actually useful.

Ah, what's that? Useful lore? Yeah, lore is another source of inspiration for your champion. Strange? I suppose it's a little bit circular reasoning to consider that your champion just inspired itself, but it actually makes sense in a twisted sort of way.

See, everything you do plays off everything else you do. Each time you take an action, or write something down, then what you just wrote will reflect off of the previous things you'd written and may give you additional thoughts into those things that were already given.

Consider the example of a generic webcomic. There's a bazillion of them out there, now, so take your pick. Personally, I'm going to go with S.S.D.D. but I can assure you that virtually all of them will work, from Ozzy & Millie to Sluggy Freelance.

In virtually all of these webcomics, the same principle exists. You start off with a few character designs, and very little plot line, and blow the first hundred or so comics just testing out art styles and getting used to the characters themselves. After awhile, however, if the comic actually catches on, the stuff that was written later on is attempted to make a story or plot, and generally, they'll do so in such a way that the previous information provided now has greater meaning, even though you're pretty certain it didn't at the time of the original writing.

The fact of the matter is, your own work will inspire itself, as strange as that is to wrap your head around. Due to this fact, however, this means that your lore becomes an integral part of making a champion that is awesome to play as and fun to use.

That previous statement may sound redundant, but keep in mind that it's possible to have a champion design that's not much fun to use on a mechanical level, but which is just dripping with awe inspiring personality. Conversely, it's also possible to design something which is mechanically interesting, but with all the personality of a brick wall painted black.

Good song, but not very effective in terms of making a player enjoy the character.

Unless it's Darth Vader. He was given the whole black motif and mask specifically to make him less human, and therefore harder to relate to. That same trait made him the badass that he was, in that he really seemed that much more creepy when you couldn't really quite relate to him until the very end.

Anyway, that's just an exception to the rule! They do exist from time to time, you know.

The point I was getting at, however, was that your character's mechanics and personality are two different things. People can have a blast playing a boring champion mechanics-wise, but which just is "fun" in the sense that it's a psychological joyride. Trust me, Mundo would be awesome, no matter how boring he was to play, simply because he's Mundo. The reverse is also true.

Ideally, you want to match both of these things together, as they play off each other and strengthen both. Something that irks you, but has good aspects, will often let you tolerate the bad parts to get the good stuff. If it's just flat out golden all around, however, that's the stuff the real golden egg is made out of.

All of these champions you see on the forum, who don't even have a name, or title, and no lore, while technically they might be playable on a mechanical level, to be perfectly blunt, they're not half as awesome as they could have been if they really had some real kick to their personality to go with it.

So, we use lore, among other things, to enhance how a champion feels to play. Artwork and skins are other useful resources that work well with this.

Well then, how do we leash our lore into actually helping? I've been talking about it for at least a page now, and haven't even touched on it! Well... first I had to get it into your heads how important lore is, since too many people brush it off and ignore it entirely!

You have a few things that can really make or break your champion's lore. The first and foremost, I've covered already, being the four questions up above. No big deal. But now we want stuff that specifically gives us things to work with as a champion, which will enhance their appearance, personality or game mechanics.

Let's take an example here, and start with that.

Ahri is based off asian mythology based around the concept of a 9-tailed spirit fox. There's a few different versions, from kitsune to youkai, with traits varying between their origins, but in the end, they do have some relatively similar traits between each other.

One of the biggest, is that the kitsune, regardless of the specific myth, feeds on the spiritual energy of men. Or their livers. Or their semen. All of these things have been used to hold "spiritual essence" in myths all over the world, so it's not really surprising. They're basically vampires, in that way.

By working the story of Ahri being one of these vampiric creatures, it gives a key feature of her kit: her spell vamp, and excessively potent capacity to stay in lane for long periods of time so long as she has mana.

This ability, I guarantee you, originated with her basic lore, and then got converted into her kit, then, once it'd been solidified as part of her ability list, then, in turn, got finalized into her lore as an actual occurrence in her history.

Note that it goes back and forth. Lore, to ability, to lore again. Back and forth, it's never a single order, if you're doing a good job. Everything you do reflects off of itself and mirrors it's own self. If your abilities and lore aren't continually evolving and shifting based on each other, then you're almost guaranteed to be doing it wrong.

Normally a champion design, or any character design, for that matter, goes in passes. You create each aspect in turn, but then you go back to square one, and using the things that you came up with during your first pass, you apply new features on the second. Then you go back for a third pass, and add more tiny details that popped into your head while working on it previously. Over and over, this slowly builds up like a sculpture, where you discover more and more minor traits.

For making your lore work for you, you're going to have to utilize the idea of your lore affecting your abilities, which in turn affect your lore, which then affects your abilities again. It's like calculus, in some ways, or trying to stare into two mirrors facing each other. Eventually you get to a point where it's essentially a null value, or small enough that it may as well not matter any longer, though where that point lands, is a personal thing, of which I can't tell you.

Regardless, the layer passes are required for you to get anywhere at all.

Next off, you still need to set it up so that your lore actually has useful information!

We have the four questions, which gives us some information, but it doesn't give us much else to work with. What about their weapon? What do they use? Is it something special and interesting? Is it a unique weapon, hand-forged just for them, or is it something passed down through the generations of their family line? Something as simple as this can give you ideas for neat little tricks or concepts that a specially crafted weapon can do, or at the very least, can get you thinking carefully about how it works, which can give you some neat ideas on what kind of abilities it could use.

Their history before the league can also be highly important! What did they do beforehand? Did they fight in an arena, making them adept at 1v1 battles? Perhaps they used to be a pirate, but are now reformed, and have renounced their previous ways, yet still have a few tricks up their sleeves from the good ol' days. Try to identify something about their past that can be used to explain an ability that they already have.

Note especially, that just because you have an ability, doesn't mean it has to stay that way. I'm reasonably sure that Swain didn't originally revolve around having a laser bird along for the ride, but I would suggest, instead, that his basic concept of "fires a beam that slows" was probably just something that came from his hand at first. Once he started to develop a stronger personality, with the whole raven motif going on, they probably decided that the CC he needed would be an awesome pun on "Quoth the raven, nevermore!", and so, nevermove was born, likely despite that it would've been a stun otherwise, given that it's very similar to Cho'gath's knock up effect.

By adding points to the appearance or lore, you can then backtrack and make an ability look different, or, by simply adding onto it in this manner, you may also find it worth it to make it work differently, as was probably the case with Swain.

What else can you add? Lots of things, really. And by lots of things, I mean "more than I can cover in this one post, and more than you could fit into your lore anyway".

Do they have relatives or acquaintances, friends, tutors or so on that they may have learned from? Did your champion receive some sort of scar or injury which affects them in a negative way, such as Swain's poorly set leg after he broke it, Lee Sin's eyes, or Teemo's face? I mean Trundles face! Honest!

Another great example, is the MCCC a few months ago about a Noxian support who relied on the Noxus way of life, where the strong are made stronger, and the weak are culled. In this way, the Noxian support couldn't use any heals of any kind, as this would be aiding weakness.

Grabbing something like this is a great way to emphasize your champion's personality, and really cement their play style more than they may have been otherwise.

Regardless, if your lore doesn't tell us anything about what they can do, or why they're around, or who they're working for, then it's pretty much just dead weight, and you've wasted a perfectly good space in your character's design which could have improved their kit and fun factor dramatically.

As such, the next time you want to release a champion, without any lore, and call it done, go over to a mirror and slap yourself in the face, and tell yourself you're not done until you've beaten a frozen pig carcass with your bare fist, and that carcass is the lore, and your fist is your brain, so GET TO IT!

Since you have lore to write, I'll let you go do that now.

Class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Class is back in session. Time for some summer classes. I hope you're ready, since we're going to be plowing through a lot of material in a remarkably short time in the next few weeks.

Now then, today we're going to be covering naming conventions in specific.

Did you name your kid Jennifer, or Bob Junior? Is your champion design named "Larry the Pyromancer" or is your name Volibar and your bear champion somehow named Volibear?

If so, GET OUT.

No, actually you're the ones who need this the most, so get yer butts back in those chairs and start taking notes. There'll be a test afterward. Actually, there won't be, but we'll pretend there will be so that you take notes anyway.

(Actually, a quick note while I think about it: I know Volty made Volibear, rather than Volibar, and I'll be discussing this matter later, so don't worry about it.)

The points we'll be covering today will be varied and important. Yes, this is a long article over just a name alone. I know, it's strange to consider this as important, but trust me, it is.

First, as per usual, we need to define why this is even a relevant topic in the first place. What's in a name? What makes it so important for a good name for your champion, or even your child? Many people have champions who have "unnamed" or "name to be determined", so why is this practically suicide to their design? It's not just what a name is, but what we want a name to actually convey that's important here.

Second, what are some really big things to avoid? There's an awful lot of BAD names. Horrendous, terrible, awful names. There's some things that simply shouldn't be done.

Third, since we've just run through what we can't do... well that's everything! Now what do you name your champion!? Have no fear, in this section we'll be discussing what sources of inspiration there are for names, and where you can go to get some help for your little uh... problem. I mean the naming thing. Probably.

Last on the list is some specific differences between titles and names. Titles aren't quite the same as the name of a champion, but they're part of the whole dealie. "Bob the Necromancer" is about as bland as you get, though his close friend "Larry the Pyromancer" is a close second. It's not just their names that are problematic, but also their titles. We want descriptive, without being facepalm worthy, so we'll see where the differences between names and titles are!

Now then, grab a text file, or a pen and paper, or if you're one of the "Bob the Necromancer" people, you might want to break out the fingerpaints and crayons. Once you're done chewing on the crayons (I hear the red ones taste best. Don't ask how I know this), we can get started!
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Part 1: So, what's in a name? A rose by any other name, may smell as sweet, but to call it "a grotesque pile of stinking garbage that makes you puke your lungs out at the slightest whiff of it" kind of makes it so people wouldn't actually want to try to smell it in the first place.




Alright, I admit I stole the title to this chapter from the short version back on page 1. What can I say? It's effective.

Regardless, the question you're all asking right now (or you should be, at least), is why am I devoting an entire section just to names?

Consider it this way... first impressions are the most important part of any relationship. On a forum like this, with your champion's name and title being your first impression... well... if it's "untitled", most people are going to assume it's unfinished, the designer hasn't got a shred of creativity, and they aren't even going to bother clicking on it. Funny, that.

If it's a bad name, like my favourite "Bob the Necromancer", once again, you've managed to show you have no creativity, and that the remainder of the post is probably going to be about as interesting as the name.

"Vash the Gunman" is as interesting as "Simon the Driller" or "Hackjob the Blatant Ripoff". You haven't shown that you're likely to have anything of value inside of the post, so why bother looking any further?

Your first job here, is to get something that's descriptive, without being blatantly obvious. Catchy, without being so trendy or cliche that it's irritating. Interesting, without trying too hard to take the spotlight. Trust me, if you dress up in drag with forty-seven and a half layers of make-up on, it's going to show, and not in a good way.

You know how in the last few articles preceding this one, virtually all of them drill the same message in over and over and over again? It's repetitive, just like that last line for a reason. It's to catch your attention and force you to realize how important it is.

Some of you may be shaking your heads in confusion at this point, which shows that I need to continue repeating myself, it would seem.

The message, simply put, is that all aspects of a champion must converge on a singular point. A bruiser has to not only have bruiser abilities, but look like a bruiser, sound like a bruiser, have the backstory of a bruiser, and the name of a bruiser. Every little tiny aspect needs to play into each other in a way that lives up to the audience's expectations, or they'll walk away feeling a little disappointed or cheated.

Now, sometimes you can get away with a bit of a bait and switch for comical purposes. Annie could have gotten away as a bruiser if they had have had the technology in place at the time to more directly control Tibbers, similar to Syllabear back in DotA: Allstars. The reason this would have worked is simply because of the point that a little girl shouldn't be thrown into life or death situations in the first place, and the sheer absurdity of it would make the audience accept it at face value due to it not just being "wrong", but so ridiculously and horribly wrong that it could be no other way.

In the case of names, you generally don't want to do this though. Breaking someone's expectations requires you to first understand how to live up to them in the first place. To have a "style" in art, you are intentionally doing something "wrong". To do something wrong intentionally, you first need to know how to do it "right" before you can do it "wrong" with purpose.

So, too, does this rule apply in naming, and the rest of your character's design. Being "bad" is easy, you just don't know how to do it right. Doing it right is difficult. Doing it so horrendously bad that it makes people laugh at the absurdity of it, however, requires a true master of the art.

I know this is repetitive, but the point I'm trying to stress so hard on you is to not go screwing around with things you don't fully understand yet. Going "oh, I don't need to know how to do it right if I just doing it wrong on purpose" doesn't work. You will fail even more miserably than you would've otherwise. This is why we get so many fail trolls in the game... they aren't trolling their teammates because they're intentionally being bad; they're trolling because they don't know how to be so good that they piss their enemies off by winning, so they piss their allies off by failing, because it's all they're capable of.

So, what do we need in a name? What are we looking for that goes "right", that will make it just... work?

Well, I'm glad you asked me, self, because it's right here in the class planner. It's almost like you planned it that way, self. Creepy, huh?

  • Unique name; can't be the same, or almost similar, to anything else in the game currently.
  • Possible to pronounce. Xjblorkgrwabbwle is unique, but try saying it aloud.
  • Fits with the champion's character. This means their backstory, their appearance, and so on just has to "mesh" well together.
  • Provides a feel of what the character's theme is, without being too blatantly obvious about it.
  • Just sounds "nice". The definition of "nice" changes based upon the targeted audience for that champion's personality.

So, what does each of these mean?

Unique name: Riven's in the game so Raven can't be. It's just too similar in appearance and sound, which makes it difficult to tell who you're talking about.

More than just that, however, you also need to take into account shortened forms of names. I've used the name Nogitsune before in places, and never took into account, until in use, that I'd be shortened to "Nog" or "Noggy", which just sounds... weird. Regardless, this means that since Vladimir is in the game, you can't name your character Vladoff, since it gets weird when calling Vlad MIA, and then you have to ask which one, since it didn't tell you anything.

This "unique" part also means no stealing names from blatantly obvious locations. Naming your champion "Vash" or any other popular anime or game name is a big no-no. Furthermore, well known gods like Ares or Vulcan just don't work, either.

Now, that being said, grabbing a rather remote and unused name that most people won't have ever heard about before? Sure! There's thousands and millions of cool and awesome sounding names out there that no one's ever going to use otherwise ^.^

Pronunciation: If you can't say it out loud, it's awfully hard to call out an MIA over skype, or to get all that attached to Gbdludwlpv when you're not even sure how to say their name.

Part of this is ease of use, but another part is just attachment. If they're going to like the character, buy skins, that kinda thing, then they want to be able to chat about their favourite champion in idle conversation with friends, or even to just get the feel of them for themselves.

Anything which makes it harder to relate to your champion, such as a name that's not physically possible to pronounce, is problematic. Just ask Sony, who made their name specifically so that it could be easily pronounced in both Japanese and English. I know it may take a few hammer hits to the forehead to do so, but try to think like you work in marketing for a moment. Hopefully the concussion is only minor and you won't end up working there after making your champion's name.

Characterization: So if Annie were named Cho'gath, well... yeah, it just doesn't work. In the same way, Nasus just couldn't be named Fancypants McGee, for the obvious reason that every fangirl out there would be upset at the implication that he actually needs to wear pants. ...I've said too much again, haven't I?

Anyway, the point here, is that you want to make your champion's name fit them well. Graves just sounds like a stubble ridden jerk of a guy who you'd meet in a back alley. His face lives up well to such, as does his personality. As much as I don't personally care for Graves, as I've said before, he's a masterpiece in having all aspects of his design work together well in terms of characterization. I'm not his target audience, but I can guarantee you that his target audience will find him near perfect of a match to what they were expecting.

Cop a Feel: Alright, maybe I'm using that term inappropriately. Actually, I know I am, but I couldn't help myself ^.~

Overall, you want your name to reflect your character's "feel". Veigar just... "sounds evil", in an... adorable not-evil-at-all-really-but-pretends-to-be-really-hard sort of way. You can almost feel the crackball hyperactivity dripping off of Kennen's name.

Even so, these aren't blatantly obvious. Vladimir is... boring. Yes, it suggests "vampire", but it does so by beating you over the head with it. It just pushes the concept way too hard, and doesn't work because of such. It's what we call "too obvious for it's own good".

A tank named Brick doesn't work. A tank named Caerwyn (my name, you can't use it >=O I've already got a champion in production named that XD ) however, does, as anyone who knows the name's definition (white fortress from Caer + Gwynn in Gaelic) will recognize that it's implying a tank, without being really blatantly obvious about it.

Cassiopeia was a Queen in Greek mythology who was more than a little bit vain, going on about how ridiculously beautiful she and her daughter was. She flat out said she and her daughter were more beautiful than the nereids, and Poseidon got... well... pissy and punished her harshly and permanently for it. Kind of like... Cassiopeia in the game, though in a different manner.

The idea is, you want to hint towards something about your character that makes them "feel" right, without being so obvious that it hurts to look at.

It sounds nice: This sounds simple but... well, people come up with horrible things all the time. For an example, I'll grab one off the front page as of the time of writing this.

Arachansi - "Arach" pretty much flat out says "I couldn't think of a good spider name", but past that, it just doesn't flow off the tongue well at all. A soft vowel to start, followed by a hard k sound, followed immediately by attempting to slide into a soft consonant at the end.

Conflicting sounds can sometimes work, but generally you want to try to keep a name to keep a feel throughout it the whole way.

Ahri, Annie, Anivia, Amumu and Ashe all have fairly nice names that just slide right out because they're consistent in their flow.

While Akali and Alistar finalize the A's in the game, you'll find they still are easy to say; Ah-kal-ee can be seen that the stressed syllable is the hard consonant in the middle, where it starts in the middle, spikes up, then eases back down.

Al-iss-sstar has the s merge between the second and third syllables, forcing them to flow together into almost a 2 syllable word, despite it's technically 3. You also get the inverse of Akali, where it starts high, dips low, then finishes on a high note. It just flows well.

Ahr-ahk-ann-see feels disjointed in comparison, starting mid, going high, then back middle, then low, leaving it kind of a weird flop at the end. You also get the feeling that it should almost be two separate words.

This is something that's difficult to describe without blowing an entire english lesson on things, so I'll put it in an easier way: say the name out loud. If it feels a bit awkward, or just "wrong", even if you can't figure out why, don't use it. There's a thousand little tiny things that our minds pick up on that we aren't consciously aware of, but which irk us in tiny, small ways. You want to limit as many of these as possible, even if you're not sure where they're coming from.

If a name just "feels wrong", but you can't for the life of you figure out why... scrap it and try again, because it's going to bother other people as well, guaranteed, and the fact that they can't place what it is that bothers them about it, is just going to annoy them even more. So long as that nagging doubt is in their mind, it's going to make it that much harder to have fun playing the character.

Anyway, let's get onto the things to avoid in a name, so that we can start working more in depth on where to do things right!
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Part 2: Hello. I'm Bob. From accounting.




The Bob from accounting joke's been going on for awhile, and to reiterate to those who may have missed it, it's what Thayen has decided to call "Definitely not Blitzcrank". The joke being that it's so blatantly bland and generic that it just stands out like a sore thumb as feeling "false".

Most of the problems with names are actually pretty similar to this, honestly, so let's start digging into the list of things not to do.

  • No overused names. This sounds simple, but you'd be amazed how many people do this. Unless your name is Jenn, Pat, or some other name where you got stuck being known as "Jenn H." or "Jenn 3" due to having 2-4 people all in the same class named the same thing. I figure pretty much all of us have run into people who have this problem at some point in our lives, even if it's not us personally. If you've heard it before as a friend's name, or casual conversation? It's already in the trash.

  • Avoid overly obvious names. Brand's name for a pyromancer is... borderline. Morte, as a name for an undead character? No. No no no no no. This also includes NOT naming your bruiser/thug "Vinny" or other Italian gangster name.

  • Just say "no" to words with obvious meaning. This is closely related to the above, but a bit more broad spectrum. Talon doesn't necessarily mean he uses claws, but it's cheezy and just doesn't work that well. Avoid anyone named Razor or Lightning, or anything else similar.

  • Names that mean nothing can work, but not that often. A name defines who someone is, and virtually all names in use have some relation to meaning something. Just making up a name off the top of your head probably won't fit right. Pick a random champion in the game... they'll have a reference to SOMETHING. I picked Anivia at random, because I was curious. Nivea, "Snow white" in latin. Next, I went with Hecarim... ended up being an anagram of Chimera.

  • Naming things after yourself is just bad form. If your name is Zileas, you don't get to name your champion Zilean. Your CO-WORKERS, however, are perfectly free to do so out of respect! You just can't do it yourself. If you're friends with someone on here? Sure, name your new champion after them if it seems appropriate! Just... don't name it after yourself. That's just kinda smug and arrogant.

And... yeah. Yeah, that's actually pretty much it. There's not many ways to screw up names, since it's such a broad subject, oddly enough. Almost anything works, so long as you maintain a few key points in doing things right. Naming conventions are remarkably open and unorthodox, so don't be afraid to get creative ^.^
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Part 3: We're doin' it right on the wrong side of town! ~April Wine




So, there's really not that many ways to make a "bad" name, but how do we make a particularly "good" name?

You got a taste for this in Part 1, but we can do better than that, right?

There's actually a lot of great resources for names, and you already got a few hints at these previously.

Notice a few of the previous examples mentioned... Anivia's based off a latin word, Caerwyn's based off of a Gaelic name comprised of two base words, Hecarim's based off of an anagram, and Volibear's based off of a co-worker's name.

You have plenty of sources of inspiration for names, as you do for everything else in your creative works, the trick is mostly finding something that fits, sounds nice, and isn't quite so blatantly obvious.

A pyromancer with "pyro" ANYTHING in the name is not going to work. Now, that being said, Google is the most powerful tool you have access to. Train up your Google-foo, and kick that writer's block in half! ...Too much? Yeah, yeah I thought so... oh well.

So, the first thing I did, was type into google the following: fire in different languages

I come across this site here... http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...2110833AAcmFvp

Fire:

Spanish - Fuego (fwEh-go)
Italian - Fuoco (fwoo-okoh)
French - Feu (fuh)
Portuguese- Fogo (foh-go)
German - Feuer
Japanese - 火 Hi (hee)
Chinese Mandarin - 火 Huo (hoa)
Hebrew - אששה Eshshah (esh-shaw)
Greek -φωτιά Fotia (foh-tee-ah)
Source(s):

Native Spanish-speaker
French Student
Kanjisymbol.net
nciku.com
google.com
larousse dictionnaire
Hebrew Lexicon (studylight.org)


Not only did they list a number of languages which list "fire", but they also were so helpful as to list a number of sources which they got this information from! How wonderful!

Now, notice something odd about these? Fuego, Fuoco, Fogo, Feuer, Feu... all the latin based languages seem to have the same base root, and from which "fire" arose.

Brand is "just" different enough of a name that it works, but only barely. It's still a little too obvious for my tastes, but at the same point, Feuer sounds way too close to Führer, which is probably not a good idea to go with that one.

Of the list, they're not that interesting, but we can go farther with this. A simple search for "Names that mean fire", minus the quotation marks (quotes in google denote that it will look for that EXACT phrase and ignore anything that's close but not quite perfect), brings up http://www.20000-names.com/fire_names_hot_names.htm

Look at the description of this one in particular:

McKenna: Irish and Scottish surname transferred to forename use, from an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Cionaodha, meaning "son of Cionaodh," hence "born of fire."

Aodh is shown earlier to mean fire, and Cion would be born thereof. It's twisted into an anglicized format, and then changed again from a surname to a forename.

See how silly the amount of effort we can go into just to make a name? All this came from... "aodh", or fire, and instead we get McKenna.

This kind of thing tells us that, you know... with a little more information, we could make our own name.

Nic a', in Gaelic, is "daughter of", instead of "son of", so we could change this quickly to Nic a' Kenna, or even blur the two together into Nikenna. From there, you could make minor alterations to make it sound better, same as most any other name in history has had happen, as even seen in the McKenna example (It's even shortened from MacKenna of all things... 1 letter! ).

This is just an example, but you can find examples all over the place, of how names are twisted and wrought from all sorts of other words.

Here's one of the best tools in most cases, though considering how "fire" is overused, it probably won't be so useful in this one case, sadly.

http://thesaurus.com/

There's baby names, thesaurus, dictionaries, and other languages to work with. Personally, I'm thinking... if I made a pyromancer, I'd want to work it within the lore of my other characters I've made for LoL. Caerwyn and Nemhain are both gaelic gnoll based female champions. A pyromancer here would be likely on the same line of reasoning. Gaelic's a bit of an odd one since it's a group of languages, similar to how latin languages are grouped together, so there's manx, irish, scottish, welsh, and a few other gaelic variations.

A bit of searching around in google and I come across this... aile, in Manx, is fire. It's a nice ending to a name, but doesn't fit on it's own.

Saorsa, or freedom, pronounced Saer-sha, blends quite nicely into aile, however. Saorsaile won't be pronounced in the way it would in irelend or scotland, but that's fine, as we literally just made it up a few seconds ago, so it's not like anyone's going to find it by searching for it. A few might recognize it, but they'll fortunately be in the minority ^.~

Go ahead, do a search in google for Saorsaile. You'll find ONE example of it, which means... apparently it's just random gibberish. It's a rather long list of... I guess words, but there's no real explanation for what they are.

The point is, we now have a name that means "fire", or more specifically, freedom fire. Sort of like how you get things like the phrase "a blaze of glory".

Most likely it'll be pronounced by most people as Say-or-sal, which although not really technically "correct", it still actually sounds kind of nice to the ear, I find.

The end point is, we just created a name out of mixing and matching a number of concepts together.

You don't have to do THAT much work... if you want to simplify things, look for these for inspiration on a much quicker scale:

  • Baby name meanings
  • Languages other than your own (works regardless of region ^.~ )
  • Thesaurus
  • God/Goddesses of cultures that you rarely hear about
  • Disease names
  • Random google searches


There's some weird stuff on that list, but... wait waitwaitwaitwaaaaaaaait. Disease names? DA FAQ!?

Yep, you can pull inspiration from literally almost anywhere. I even named a character Ataxiana once, based off the mental illness Ataxia. She was more than a little crazy, and it worked and sounded great ^.^

The point is, you have at your fingertips the most information that any generation has ever had before. The internet is swelling in size at an astronomical rate, and more and more resources like this are flooding it daily. Anything from the name of a dish of food, to a scientist who focused on a particular field of study can work, and you have the capacity to find any of these things with ease.

The trick then, becomes honestly sorting through all the bad names that just don't quite work, to find, or stitch together, something that does work nicely.

In the end, you have so many options open to you that you're going to get overwhelmed. Pick a theme that fits and stick to it, is my best suggestion.

For myself, the vast majority of my character names are obscure and unknown minor gods/goddesses, occasionally with variations on the spelling to sound a little better.

Pick a culture that fits your champion. Nasus and Renekton are from egypt, so any champion from their homeworld should be similar, while Leona and Pantheon are greek/roman, so those from their area should also be similar. Kayle/Morganna are Irish, and the gnoll race I'm working on slowly is a mixture of scottish and irish blended together, which I'm sure would get me lynched ^.~

The point is, you want your champion's name to fit with those of the others in that area already. If you have an Ionian champion, their name's probably going to sound Asian in some way, shape, or form. Try not to deviate too much from this as it's really jarring if you do.

Other than that, you have the tools you need at your disposal, so go use them! =3
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Part 4: "Yes, I'm the Grand High Supreme Mistress of Environmental Engineering for the entirety of the Stockholme Estate."
"So... you're the head maid."
"I just said that."




So, there's such a thing as going overboard on a title as well, as we just saw from the title of this section. Fortunately for us, titles are specifically meant to actually denote what someone does, so it's pretty hard to screw them up compared to names.

Leona is "the lion", in female form, so more specifically, "The Lioness". She's aggressive and protects her young, or in this case, she's a highly aggressive tanky support who takes care of her carry in lane by butchering the enemy and teaching them how to hunt ^.~

The name's nice, and describes her personality well, without giving too much away. "The Radiant Dawn" of her title, however, pretty much flat out says "I'm a sun worshiper!" in about as blatant terms as one can possibly manage.

The rules for the naming convention change a bit for titles, as you can see. A name should give an idea of the character's personality, saying "who they are", but without being right up in your face about it.

Their title, however, you can be pretty upfront with. "The Necromancer" still sucks, flat out, because it's too bland. Alright, sure you're a necromancer, but... what do you specialize in? Are you a necromancer who prefers skeletons or zombies? Are you yourself a lich/ess or some other form of undead yourself? What is it you DO, other than "dead stuff"?

Karthus is "The Deathsinger", while Yorick is "The Gravedigger". Sure it says what they do, but it's not just generic necromancer. Admittedly, gravedigger's kind of bland, only halfway thought through, and should probably be changed, but who are we kidding? That describes Yorick's entire design quite nicely as is.

Sorry for the cheap shot there, Yorick, but you really were released long before you were ready, sadly. I'll look forwards to your rework, but I'm sad I bought you. It's possible to be effective, while still being boring as hell.

Anyway, the point I'm getting to, is the title is generally "what this champion does". I don't care that Brand is "The Burning Vengeance", but honestly, this is basically calling your champion "Fire, the Fiery Fire!". Really now, is that honestly ALL he has going for him is fire? Problematic, perhaps you should work on the personality a bit more, then.

Sometimes you can do a play on a theme, implying something reverse of what's truly there in a name, such as how Tristana means "sad", due to it being a variation of Tristan, but she's giddy as all heck.

For a title, you can't really pull the same hijinks. You want something descriptive of what they do, without any wordplay or tricks or misleading concepts. Your end goal here, is to ensure that the player knows exactly what your champion DOES.

Make it blatant and clear, but try to keep it from being bland at the same time.

And... yeah, actually that's pretty much it, oddly enough.

Names and titles are pretty major parts of how you get your foot in the door. It's how people on the forum look at your design and go "Huh, that sounds neat...", and it's how a champion in the game makes you just look at their name and go "I want to learn more about this one!".

It's your first hint at what they do, and it's how you capture their attention immediately, paired with their splash art / icon.

If these line up, and look kinda neat... someone'll click on them out of curiousity.

If it's just "No name as of yet, I'm bad at names", then you probably won't get much of anything for attention.

Now then, it's hot outside, and I want ice cream.

Class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Y HALO THAR!

*Coughs* I mean, class is in session! WOO! Summer school get!

Anyway, today we'll be discussing the joys of resources!

First off, we'll be going over why resource systems even exist in the game, since without this, the remainder of this discussion can't occur.

Second, we'll cover such things as resource-less champions, AKA Garen or Katarina (d'aw such a kyuute couple! <3 ), and why they work at all.

Third, we'll be touching on how to select the "right" resource system for your champion.

Finally, well end off with tertiary resource systems, and what to avoid when implementing resources.

Anyway, let's get started!
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Part 1: Mana mana bo banana autoattacks, do rei mi fa Sona... er...




Alright, so to start off with, resource systems play an important role in many games, and have for a very long time. Specifically, there have been resource systems around since long before mana even existed, and it was simply used as a generic "quantified" version of such.

So what does a resource system even do?

The primary purpose of any resource system is to restrict the capacity of a champion to spam out their abilities non-stop at full power.

There are varying methods of applying this, but in the end, all resource systems boil down to this one goal. Any "new" system you come up with which doesn't do this, isn't actually a resource system at all, as you're not managing your resources.

A few examples of alternate resource systems include things such as Rumble's heat, Karma's mantra charges, or Mundo's health. These restrict the capacity for a champion to spam their abilities non-stop, either through direct methods, such as Rumble flat out silencing a champion, preventing them from continued casting, or an indirect method such as Vlad being unable to spam his abilities endlessly without putting him low on health to the point of being easily one-shot.

Other methods are things such as the Fury system that Renekton uses, where he's able to use his abilities, however, by doing so with less than 50 rage, he's sacrificing some of their power in order to be able to spam them sooner. This allows for a player to decide whether it's worth the sacrifice or determine if they should wait a few more moments.

One of my own champions, Nemhain, uses a highly modified version of the Fury system, which is done to prevent her from being literally able to spam her abilities non-stop, due to the fact that she actually has zero cool downs, other than a standard 1.5 second global cool down between abilities.

Regardless of what you do, in the end, you want your resource system to limit the capacity for a player to unload their abilities endlessly. In some cases, this is managed purely through cool downs (as I'll discuss in part two of this article ), in other cases, an ability may have a remarkably low cool down, but uses it's resource system to prevent long term use, such as Swain or Aniva's ultimates chugging mana like hillbilly downing moonshine. (If you are a hillbilly, I would apologize, but I'm too busy staring in awe that you got the computer working by plugging it into a car propped up on cinderblocks ).

If you didn't have this restriction, Karthus could spam his ultimate all day and everyone would die horrible, horrible deaths. By introducing cool downs and a resource system, you can balance your abilities to make use of these to restrict casting so that they're not overpowered.

Note that mana restricts long term casting, but doesn't affect short term spam at all, so typically cool downs are used to mana short term spam, unless you use a increasing cost system such as the ultimates on Swain or Kassadin.

Energy tends to restrict short term burst potential, but doesn't harm long term staying power. Fury emphasizes being weak at the start of a fight, but stronger the longer it goes on.

These are the primary tools to managing your abilities so that you can make them more powerful and interesting, without them going overboard. There are, however, exceptions to the rule, and this leads us into our next section.
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Part 2: Garen has no mana. Garen needs no mana!




By now, you've probably noticed that some of the champions in the game don't actually have a secondary resource system outside of cool downs on their abilities. You may ask why. You may pull your hair out, screaming incoherently with confusion. You may stalk Tom Cadwell (Zileas) and threaten to eat his pet cat if he doesn't give Katarina mana costs so she stops spinning like a top and shredding your face because you didn't think to pick someone with a stun on your team.

Regardless, the point is that some of the champions in the game simply don't have a secondary resource system, so why is that, and how do they even get away with it?

Primarily, as stated, resource systems are used to limit how often you can spam abilities. If an ability isn't particularly powerful when spammed at the maximum rate allowed by it's cool down, it doesn't really need a resource system to keep it in check.

Remember, the end goal of any resource system is to provide a second option on how fast you can spam something, other than just the cool down. If the cool down does the job just fine, you may not actually need a resource system in the first place.

In the case of each of the champions who lack a secondary resource system, they simply don't really need mana, energy, fury, or anything else. They work just fine by tweaks to how fast their cool downs are, and that's it.

To put it in a short, simple manner... if you want to make your abilities a bit stronger and such, then find methods other than just using cool downs to limit them. If you want to make abilities that can be cast very often, once again, limit them in other ways than just the cool downs. If you're fine with having a champion with long term staying power in lane, then cool downs may be all you need.

Honestly, there's actually not much more to say, on this matter. It's really that simple!
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Part 3: Eenie, meenie, mana mo! Catch a Kennen by the toe! If he ulti's let him go, and spaz uncontrollably on the ground, screaming in agony!




Alright, so you've got a champion in mind. YAY! So you're just going to give them mana and you're done ^.^

No.

No you're not.

You're going to sit down and think about this and go "does mana actually work with what I have in mind for this champion?", or Imma SMACK you with this fish. Do you want to get fish slapped? DO YOU!? No? I didn't think so.

As previously covered, mana's intended, primarily, for allowing short term spamming of abilities, but restricting long term casting. This is more of an in-lane kind of dealie, than it is a late game thing, in most cases, as you probably won't be wandering around long term late game long enough to blow through 2,000+ mana with ease, though there are exceptions to any rule.

For the most part, however, mana is used primarily to restrict a player from just tossing a poke at the enemy every time it's up. If you do so in lane, eventually you run dry, and now you're at a major disadvantage if the enemy decides to bum rush you and slap you with that fish again.

Yeah, those red herrings hurt. Trust me. I've seen it firsthand with my own eyes, and it wasn't pretty.

Anyway, mana has it's use, but if your champion design isn't one wherein they need to be limited on their pokes in lane, then mana may not be the most ideally suited choice for you.

Keep in mind, however, that mana also exists on many items, and by removing it, you may be inadvertently harming your champion. Just how badly do you think Vlad would *LOVE* to have 1500+ AP from 5x Arch-angel's staves and a Rabadon's Deathcap? Not very much, since he has no mana, so can't benefit from this at all, which I would suggest is probably intentional, given that he'd be absurdly overpowered if he did have such.

Sometimes it's actually beneficial to intentionally take mana away from someone as a penalty, rather than as a benefit, due to such!

Regardless, we have other options! No resource system is a plausible one, if you think your champion can be held in check in a tidy manner without anything else but cool downs.

Others, such as energy, can work great if you're wanting them to be able to burst hard, then back off, in a hit and run style method.

If you're looking for a champion that will stand their ground and last through long, drawn out fights, then Fury's another nice choice to go with.

You can even make up your own resource systems as well, or use tertiary systems, such as ammo counters, to further restrict the capacity for your abilities to be spammed.

One question becomes this: Why does Teemo's ultimate have a mana cost at all, when it already has an ammo counter to limit it's power? Honestly, the answer's likely just that "it was left over from his original design which didn't have an ammo system".

You could, quite literally, ditch the mana cost on Teemo's shrooms, and it really wouldn't have all that much negative impact on him, as he'd still be limited in how often he can drop them by about the same amount as before. The only real difference, is that if he goes AD instead of AP for a build, he'll have a much harder time spamming his shrooms out, due to the harm it does to his other abilities. As such, it might actually be better to remove the mana from his shrooms, to make his AD build more viable!

No matter what you do, consider the reasoning behind why you're doing something. If you don't have an answer that truly stands on it's own merit, you probably need to rethink things through. This means that if your answer is "Well... most champions have mana", then you don't really know why your champion has mana, and are just giving them such out of some strange sense of tradition.

Everything you do with your champion should be directed and intentional. You should know why you're giving them mana, or energy, or whatever, and you should know the purpose behind what changes to these will do.

The end goal, is to give yourself more methods to tweak and adjust the balance of a champion. If you only have one value, being "on" or "off", then if "on" is too powerful, and "off" is too weak, then you're pretty much screwed, because the ability can't be fixed beyond that point.

By adding a resource system, you're directly giving yourself more tools to use in order to balance your champion out.

Darius, as much as I hate his design, balances himself through the tertiary system of his bleed effect, which is actually a good idea. It means that he can't just unload 100% of his power on someone instantly, and rather, has to build up towards that point over a few seconds.

Now, that being said, Darius has his flaws elsewhere, such as his E being more dangerous to his allies than his enemies, and that his ultimate rewards players for trolling their allies, neither of which are a good idea, but the idea of his passive is actually a very good one which has been suggested several times before in the past.

Keep in mind that Darius's bleed, just as his brother Draven's axe, are both tertiary resource systems, in that these directly affect how useful their abilities are, in addition to any mana costs or cool downs they may have.

You may be able to use things such as these to limit your champion's abilities in ways that don't require using mana or any other primary resource at all, so keep this in mind when working on your design!
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Part 4: There must be the third, and last, dance - this one will last forever. ~Dream Theate
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So, I've been using the term "tertiary" a lot lately, haven't I? What does it even mean?

It's pretty simple, really. Primary is "first", secondary is "second", and tertiary is "third". Yep, it really is that simple, told'ja so!

Now, what this means in game play, is that a primary resource system is generally taken care of by cool downs in League of Legends. This is a static system which controls how often you can spam your abilities, no matter how much mana or energy you have, and is the first line of defense in keeping otherwise awesome and neat abilities from becoming overpowered and uncontrollable, to the point of having to be nerfed into the ground.

Next off, we have the secondary resource systems, of which I'll be going into considerably more detail as each has it's own special nuances that need to be covered, so each will be given their own unique article, as I simply don't have the room here to cover each in nearly as much depth as is required.

Finally, we have the tertiary resource systems. These are typically pretty basic additions which just further limit spell casting beyond the basic limitations that are imposed by the primary and secondary systems.

These include things such as Draven or Olaf catching their axes to reduce the penalty of using their abilities, or Karma having to blow Mantra charges in order to get full use out of her abilities, which operate at only half their effectiveness without such.

Anything from Heimerdinger's turret ammo counter, to Ahri being able to cast her ultimate 3 times in a row, are tertiary resource systems.

In short, they're generally pretty limited, basic things, which only apply to one ability, generally. A bit more exploration of this territory has gone on, lately, as of the time of this writing, where Darius and Draven were the last two champions to be released. The fact of the matter is, however, that ammo systems, and other tertiary systems have existed since the game came out, in some way shape or form.

Note that even Shyvanna's ultimate is technically a tertiary resource system, as it controls her capacity to use her abilities to their fullest potential, and the secondary resource system, Fury, is only used to control her tertiary one, so, in an odd way, they're actually reversed in function!

Anyway, adding additional things such as this can be a nice way to control how potent your champion is.

Consider the idea of stacking debuffs, such as the Fire Lord from Warcraft 3's expansion, The Frozen Throne (interestingly enough, Zileas was the one to make this hero! ). In this, his autoattacks deal 1/2/3 additional damage on every hit, with no limitation, causing enemies to take more and more damage over time. This could very easily turn into a tertiary system similar to Darius, simply by having other abilities benefit off of the number of stacks present.

Twitch already had such when the game first was released, in that his poison stacks amplified the effects of two of his other abilities (his slow and his nuke).

Let's take Twitch, for an example, and make a change to his ultimate. Instead of just making his attacks a line AoE, let's say that he actually does spray and pray, spewing out a large number of very weak shots in a cone, applying a stack of his poison for each hit, and that they pass through enemies in the radius, similar to how Miss Fortune uses her Bullet Time. He now has an actual capacity to apply his limiting reagent rapidly to multiple targets, which would greatly change how his character works.

You don't have to make a champion using this exact method, but it does give you a rough idea of what's possible!



There's one final part, here, to cover. What not to do...

This actually isn't that hard to follow, as long as you understand why resource systems exist in the first place.

You want to limit the capacity for someone to spam their abilities, but on the other hand, you don't want to limit their capacity to use their ultimate in a clutch play. As such, you'll notice that Renekton, Viktor, virtually all the energy users, and so on, do not use their secondary resource systems when using their ultimates, and the only real reason that mana is allowed to do this, is that mana costs are long term disabling, rather than short term, so you tend to keep enough mana around to power your ultimate intentionally.

At no point should you be like "Awe my ultimate was off cool down, it was a perfect moment to hit it, and... it was greyed out!". Even Darius can use his ultimate at will, he just doesn't gain quite as much benefit off of it as such, leaving it up to the player to decide whether it's a good idea to use it at limited capacity or not.

In short, use your resources to limit how powerful a champion's abilities are, by making them choose when to use them, or restricting their capacity to do so. Ultimates are a special case scenario though, and you should be very careful about limiting the capacity to cast an ultimate, outside of it's cool down. If you give it a very low cool down, such as Akali, or Teemo, then yes, a tertiary system can be used to limit it's power, but otherwise, don't screw with ultimates.

There's a million other tiny things I could go over, I'm sure, but for the most part, this should be enough to give you a good primer on the general purpose of resource systems, and how to put them to good use!

Now then, it's supper time for me, and you're probably tired of these summer classes, so... class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Today we'll be exploring the mysteries of the fuel injection system! I mean, mana! Yes. Mana. No fuel here. Other than for MAGIC!

Our number one question of the day we'll be going through, is exactly what is mana used for, and why's it so important? I'll cover such things as it's purpose, itemization, and so on!

The next thing to go through is mana costs, and how come they're so integral to balancing a champion. The tricky part here is that this gets really messy math-wise! As such, this will be broken into two sections, with the next section being:

Mana regeneration! Yep, mana's really just that much of a pain on subtle levels that it's going to take a whole extra section to cover how to balance mana regeneration effects!

After we've roughed our way through the nasty stuff, however, we can relax a bit, and just focus on why mana-burn abilities aren't in the game, among other things.

So, without further ado, or adon't, MANA!
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Part 1: The question is, what is a mana-mana? The question is, WHO CARES!? - Statler & Waldorf, Muppets Tonight




I touched on this lightly in the previous section, but, in general, mana is a secondary resource system which is used, in tandem with cool downs normally, to limit how much a champion can use their abilities. Mana, in particular, is specialized in long term restrictive properties, rather than the short-term limitations imposed by energy.

See, mana is designed to allow you to cast as much as you want, so long as you have your cool downs up, at least in a short term scenario. Over time, however, you eventually have to hold back on spamming your abilities, so as to give your mana time to regenerate back again.

The idea, here, is to make it possible for a champion to poke repeatedly fairly hard, but to limit their capacity to just stay in lane forever. This is also a large portion of why all of the support champions in the game, currently, are mana based, as their main weakness is intended to be their long term capacity to lend their power to a lane or a fight. Soraka, for instance, can pour on the healing in a heartbeat, but it's going to drain her dry if she tries to maintain that healing by popping it every time the cool down is up, leaving her to tactically decide just how badly her laning partner, or herself, really needs that heal.

Generally, if your champion design is dedicated towards the concept of being useful in the short term, but you worry about the long term ramifications of their abilities, you dump mana on their lap to severely restrict their capacity to just go all out at all times.

Note, however, that many items in the game also affect mana and mana regeneration, as do many masteries and runes. As such, adding mana to a champion isn't a simple decision, though it's the "default" placeholder, in many people's eyes, until they see reason to do otherwise.

Removing mana can severely alter how a champion plays, as well as completely altering their itemization options. You'll note that virtually all tanks, all supports, and nearly all mages use mana as their secondary resource system, in addition to cool downs, and it's pretty hard to break them out of this.

For most AD based champions, bruisers, and hybrids, there's an awful lot more leeway than there has been traditionally, with itemization being shifted over time to limit how much mana bonuses there are on items, and limiting the need of mana throughout the game.

For example, when LoL was first released, mana costs were often nearly double what they are today, but mana regeneration and maximum mana options were significantly more potent as well to compensate. Since that time, mana's been stripped off many items, and many others now have AP on them without any mana at all.

In any case, mana is still a mainstay of the game, but that doesn't mean it should be tossed around lightly! It's probably the harshest mistress of all the secondary resource systems to balance properly, as strange as that may sound!
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Part 2: Manna from Heaven; An excellent source of magical nutrition! Mana potions are high in calories though, so please do not overuse unless actively participating in the arcane arts.




So, mana's pretty good stuff, it's got lots of itemization options, it's a simple number to dictate how much it drains per cast, and it's pretty much as basic as it gets, right?

Well... no. No it's not.

Out of all of the resource systems currently in the game, mana's the trickiest of all to balance the numbers on correctly, since you're not just balancing off of the total value + rate of gain, such as Energy or Fury, which are static values (mostly; energy gets a little leeway on regeneration rates ), but rather, you're balancing against the entire mana bar, which is a variable which changes based on various champions, items, and abilities. Mana costs on abilities also have the nasty habit of changing as you rank up an ability, making it even more of a pain to balance around!

Fear not, puny mortal, for I, SUPERKAT, am here to rescue you from the endless abyss and quagmire that is mana costs! DUN DUN DAH DUNNNN!

...Yeah, that was pretty lame.

Anyway, mana's pretty tricky, since you need to assume the rate at which a champion is going to itemize for mana, as well as their regeneration rate. Even a tiny increase in mana cost can go a long way to screwing up the champion's ability as a whole!

First, we'll use an example ability, which we'll be adjusting throughout this article, to show the various effects that even subtle tweaks can have long term.

Q: Mana Bolt

Quote:
Deals 60 / 120 / 180 / 240 / 300 damage
Mana cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65/ 70
Cool down: 10 seconds
This is a super generic lame ability so that we have basic numbers to work with. I wouldn't want to see anything this generic in the actual game, so don't think I'm endorsing such on your champions! >=O

The point, is that this is a nice, easy to use design for experimental purposes as we'll see now.

This ability deals (N*R)/CD damage per second, where N = the numerical coefficient of the ability, R = the rank of the spell, and CD = the cool down.

It also drains (MB+(ML*R))/CD mana per second, where MB = base mana cost, ML = mana increase per rank, R = the rank of the spell, and CD = the cool down.

Additionally, the damage output per mana is equal to (D/M), where D is the output of the first equation, and M is the actual mana cost of the spell, or (N*R)/(MB+(ML*R)).

I'll be going into numbers and what the represent later on, in another chapter, but for now, just focus on the concept that numbers mean nothing, except for what they represent. Think about this not as a math problem, so much as comparing how the various aspects of the spell interact with each other.

All we're really discussing, is that at rank 5, it does 300 damage, and costs 70 mana to cast. This can be seen by taking the (N*R)/(MB+(ML*R)) equation and filling it in with easy numbers (60*5) / (45+(5*5)), or 300 / 70. (Note at rank 1, it comes out to 45 + 5 for the mana cost, which is why it's 45, not 5! ).

This means that at rank 1, you're pouring in 50 mana to get 60 damage, which is only 1.2 damage per mana. It's inefficient, but it drains mana pretty slowly, so it's not that big a deal. At rank 5, you get 300 damage for 70 mana, or 4.29 mana per damage, which is a huge increase!

Now, let's add a 1.0 AP coefficient, which basically means for every 100 ability power you get, you do 100 more damage!

At rank 1, this turns into 160 damage for 50 mana, and rank 5 this is 400 damage for 70 mana, so 3.2 and 5.71 mana to damage ratios. The 1st rank is still better, but it's not nearly as obvious as it once was, and at first glance, someone may not necessarily guess it correctly anymore if their math skills aren't that hot.

If we ramp it up further, to 600 AP, you now get 660 damage for 50 mana, or 13.2 damage per mana, while that same 600 AP only gives 900 damage for 70 mana at rank 5, or 12.85 damage per mana.

As can be seen, mana coefficients begin to make things a little messy at times, and when you start throwing in things like mana regeneration, it turns far, far messier than you might at first begin to imagine.

The issue isn't so much in the mana per cast, as we've been discussing, for this is only a primer course to get you used to thinking about the numbers in terms of what they represent.

Sure, if you have 500 mana, and it costs 50 per cast, you can get, theoretically, 10 casts of 60 damage, or 600 damage for 500 mana. In reality, mana is constantly regenerating, which means this isn't an accurate value any longer, and so... we have to go deeper!
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Part 3: If quantum physics doesn't confuse you, then you don't understand it. ~Niels Bohr (The same rule applies to Mana regeneration! ~Katsuni )




So, if this hurt your head to look at so far, you're going to be screaming within the next few minutes. Sorry, but them's the breaks. Mana sucks to work with at a developer's level!

Thus far, all I've covered is the basic concept of how to compare your damage to the mana costs, but in reality, that's not what we're really looking at. Mana is constantly regenerating, and it's value over time, due to being a resource system dedicated to long-term restrictions on casting, is when it really begins to rear it's ugly face as being a pain to work with.

Here's what we're really interested in: (cMT / (MsLR)*CD)
cMT = character Mana Total
NMsLR = Net Mana (spammed) Loss Rate
GMsLR = Gross Mana (spammed) Loss Rate

GMsLR = (MB+(ML*R)) * CD
NMsLR = (cMR*CD) - ((MB+(ML*R)) / CD) * CD

Quote:
cMR = value of character mana regen per second (negative values = loss)
I = item mana regeneration
P = % modifiers to mana regen (which would be a separate formulate to combine all % modifiers together)
B = Base mana regen on the champion
V = Per level increase of mana regen on the champion
L = Level of the champion
C = Cooldown of the spell in seconds
M = Mana cost for the spell

cMR = (( I + B + (V * L) ) * P) - (M / C)
Ow. WTF.

No, seriously. WTF is all that!?

Ah, it's the description of how many times you can cast a spell before you run out of mana. Wow. Messy!

Alright, to simplify things, essentially what we need, is how fast you regenerate mana (cMR), and how much mana you go through by casting every single time your spell's off cool down (GMsLR), as well as your maximum mana (cMT). This will tell us how many casts you can get in a row before you run dry.

If we assume you have 500 mana, and regenerate we'll say... 15mp/5, then we're halfway done already!

We can simply plug these numbers into our equation, since we know what they stand for, and we get:

500 / (((15/5)*10) - (50/10)*10)) = 500 / inverse(30 - 50) = 500 / 20 = 25

In short, since we regenerate 3 mana per second, over the 10 second cool down of the spell, and drain 5 mana per second, over the 10 second cool down of the spell, so lose 20 mana per cast. With 500 maximum mana, this means in 25 casts, we'll run out of mana. This equation can be simplified further, but I'm leaving it expanded so that it makes more sense.

If we took the same equation, and used the 5th rank of the spell, replacing the 50 with a 70, we get:
500 / (((15/5)*10) - (70/10)*10)) = 500 / inverse(30 - 70) = 500 / 40 = 12.5

Wait, wait. By changing it from 50 mana per cast to 70 mana per cast, only a tiny 40% increase in mana cost, the amount of casts we get is cut in half? That's nuts!

The problem is, we're not comparing total mana costs, we're comparing the rate at which you blow through mana to the rate at which you get mana back.

This means that, if we gain 30 mana back in 10 seconds, then what we're really testing is the 50 mana spent in those 10 seconds, compared to 30, or 70 compared to 30. This means 50-30 and 70-30, respectively, so at a mere 40% increase in mana cost, we're losing mana 100% faster.

If you make the cool down even a tiny bit faster, or increase the mana cost a fraction of the total amount, it makes a severe change on how fast you drain mana.

To make things even more complex, you also have to start comparing all of your abilities together at any given level if they all have scaling mana costs! If your Q alone drains 20 mana total per cast faster than you regenerate, and you start spamming your W, which takes another 70 to cast, you now have a total of 70+70 - 30, so are losing 110 mana per second, and this adds up remarkably fast.

Mana regeneration items, especially a chalice / grail, will help a great deal to mitigate how badly you run out of mana, but if you're going to be using mana in your champion, you seriously have to consider the rate at which you blow through mana over time, compared to how much mana regeneration you're likely to have at that level.

This is what I meant by mana being the most complex of all the secondary resource systems to work with, since you have so many additional variables running around. Your maximum mana can be affected by your level, your runes, your masteries, and your items, as can your mana regeneration, and your mana drain can be drawn by what order you rank your spells in, especially if they get a lower cool down *AND* a higher mana cost with each rank, turning it into a compounding issue that spirals quickly out of control.

Seriously, balancing out the mana costs of a champion can take more time than designing the champion's basic ability list, and for most of the people on this forum, setting up mana costs will probably take more time than you have spent on your champion in total so far.

Of course, you could always just dump in random values and go "pft, close enough", but honestly, you probably weren't even considering the mana drain versus mana regeneration until you read this, so it really probably isn't close enough.

Note that even so much as a tiny difference like 5 mana extra and 1 second faster cool down per level, can completely shatter any remote pretense of equilibrium you may have had in your abilities. Toss in more than one ability draining mana at a time, and it becomes a nightmare fast.
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Part 4: I scream, you scream, we all scream WHEN MANABURNED ZOMG IT BURNS PUT IT OUT PUT IT OUT AYIEEEEEE!




Whew! Well enough of THAT!

Alright you've earned a rest. Mostly. There's still some tricky stuff to go over, but fortunately, in comparison to the last bit, this is a cake walk!

Mana burn is a commonly questioned issue, as to why it exists in DotA and doesn't existin LoL.

To put it bluntly... DotA is pretty fail for game balance. Most of the stuff I've covered here, they haven't even vaguely considered, and by simply reading through the guide (assuming you have been going through it in order) to this point, you already have a better understanding of game mechanics than they do.

In the DotA realm, balance is achieved through imbalance. By making everything universally overpowered, therefore nothing is overpowered. At least, that's the theory, but in reality, it doesn't actually work.

Toss out terms like "anti-fun", because they don't mean anything where we're going. (Actually, they do, but I'm not covering that for about 15 more chapters or so).

Mana burn causes a core issue with the very basic premise behind a resource system in the first place.

Mana exists for the sake, as we covered earlier in this article, to restrict long term casting, while not hampering short term casting prowess. Mana burn completely screws this up by frying large amounts of mana from the player, meaning their resource system no longer functions as intended, as now it's been turned from a long term restriction, into an immediate one.

The downside, is that the only way to counteract mana burn, is to get ridiculously excessive mana regeneration to regain the mana that was just burned away back so you can continue casting, but at this point, you've just screwed up the balance of the entire game, because if one champion gets a strong mana burn item, there has to be an even stronger mana regeneration item available to counter it, and, once you have an item that insanely good at regenerating mana floating around, there's nothing to stop people from getting it even when the mana burner isn't around, thus trashing any benefit you may have once had by balancing mana as a whole based around long term casting restrictions.

In short, mana burn screws up the whole game's balance, and it's not fixable once it exists.

If mana burn exists in LoL at a strong enough level to even matter, then mana costs are essentially rendered pointless. There's no way to fix this as they are mutually occurring situations. One causes the other, and all it takes is one champion and one item to counter said champion, to trash the mess we just went through in trying to make our mana costs balanced, and considering how much of a bloody headache it was to do that, I don't think anyone wants to toss all that hard work out the window.

Even if you were willing to sacrifice that, you're still left with the fact that the new mana regeneration principles have just defeated the purpose of mana in the first place if there's no mana burner in the game.

You could, theoretically, make an item which reduces mana burn effects by a remarkably large amount, say 50% or more, but at that point, you literally have just added an item which has 0 effect on the game, other than to directly hard-counter a single champion's ability.

As such, there will never be a strong mana burn in LoL, because the people in charge, such as Morello and Zileas, are well aware of just how complex this situation is, and that there can be no fix to it once it's let into the game even once, as the only counter play possible breaks mana at a fundamental level.

This doesn't even count in that a flat mana burn is brutal to low mana users such as an AD carry, who typically has mana but no mana items and low costs, if it's to harm an actual mage. If you have 500 max mana, and the caster has 2,000, then you're going to be affected 400% stronger than the mage is.

Unless, of course, you use a % based mana drain, but once again, an AD champion simply doesn't have the regeneration to get such back, whereas the caster will likely have some sort of mana regeneration item to help them out by default.

This isn't even taking into account the issues related to "anti-fun", where you gain little fun from mana burning someone, but it SUCKS for the person getting mana burned. It's remarkably disproportionate down side to the afflicted player, in relation to the benefit to the casting player, which is another reason why it's a bad idea.

As such... no mana burn. Sorry guys, but it's not getting added to the game, and there's some remarkably strong reasons for why.

You could have a spell which strips someone of their mana for a short term... and then returns it... but uhm, why not just use silence, instead, which has the exact same effect?

Regardless, mana burn bad. Very bad. GRRR!

Anyway, I think that's actually it, for mana! Surprising, I know!

You're probably all clutching your heads in pain from the math parts, so I'mma just let you go for the day.

Class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Welcome, welcome, take a seat!

EXCEPT YOU.

Yeah, you know who you are.

You can stand.

HRMPH.

Anyway, for everyone else, class is in session!

Today, we'll be covering energy! No, not the Energy=Mass(speed of light) squared type energy, but rather, NINJA ENERGY!

Oh, and Lee Sin. I guess he's there too. Monks, ninjas, whatever. Same thing right? That's what Gangplank keeps telling me. Then again, he seems to find an excuse to call everyone a ninja, even Amumu. I haven't quite figured that one out yet, but whatever. Must be pirate logic.

First off, we'll discuss what energy is, and why it's different from mana!

Second, we're going to go through the concept behind energy regeneration in combat via procedurally generated events (procs).

Next, we'll cover how to balance energy procs so as to make the champion design fun.

Finally, we'll.... we'll... hrm. Course syllabus... *flips through pages* Nope, looks like that's pretty much it. Well then, I guess we may as well get started, then!
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Part 1: Energy = Milk Chocolate Square




RAWR! Eeeenergy! I have lots of it today, being the third article I'm working on ^.^

That being said, what is energy, anyway?

Well, let's take a look!

Mana is a secondary resource system, same as energy, but unlike mana, energy is dedicated towards emphasizing short term burst capacity and hit/run attacks, rather than long term restrictions on casting.

All energy users (at least, to date, as of the time of this writing) have 200 maximum energy (runes/masteries can increase this slightly), and regenerate 10 energy per second (also capable of being increased via runes/masteries). Note that no item currently in the game is capable of adjusting energy in any way, shape, or form.

This means that all energy users are capable of regenerating the entire energy pool back every 20 seconds, under worst case scenario conditions. Under best case scenarios, you're looking at 16.165 energy per second, which can refill a 210 large energy bar in just a sliver under 13 seconds.

Honestly, this is mostly a moot point. The point of energy, is that you have a relatively small, more or less fixed, maximum value to work with. Abilities tend to cost a significantly high amount, generally 40-100 per cast, but also have a method of which the energy will be restored under certain conditions, which coincide with performing the role a champion is designed to do.

For example, Akali is a melee champion, and though her Mark of the Assassin can be used at semi-long range as a poke, it's inefficient to do so, and only provides half of it's benefit by using it as such. By running into melee and actually striking her target with an auto-attack, she not only triggers the mark for the other half of the damage, but also is given back a portion of the energy cost, rewarding her for playing her champion properly.

Shen gets energy back for hitting people with his skill-shot taunt, Kennen's energy mechanism relates to managing to get a full 3 stack of his passive on any given target, and Lee Sin is rewarded for staggering his abilities out in between auto-attacks, emphasizing his hybrid spell-caster/melee nature.

In each case, the costs of an ability are prohibitively high to spam, and instead, it's through using these mechanics to restore energy that an energy-based champion is able to stay in combat for an extended period of time, and make full use of their skill set.

Where mana was a royal pain to balance, due to many factors, energy's actually pretty simple to balance in comparison. When mana dictated long term restrictions, energy hops in with harsh short term restrictions, but no long term restrictions at all, outside of 20 seconds. Mana has itemization issues, energy finds itemization to be irrelevant to it's acquisition. Mana has longer cool downs, while energy promotes short cool downs with high costs.

The two are pretty much polar opposites in every way, other than the fact that they're both secondary resource systems that supplement a cool down system already being in place.
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Part 2: Imma stab you so hard, you'll wish I didn't stab you so hard!




So, now that we've got the basics down, let's see about toying around with the energy procs!

First off, I'll list all the current ones to give you an idea of how they currently work!

Shen:

Quote:
Ki Strike
(Innate): Every 9 seconds, Shen's next attack will deal bonus magic damage equal to 4 + (6 × level) + (10% of his bonus health). Whenever Shen hits an enemy unit with a basic attack, the cooldown is reduced by 1.5 seconds. Shen restores 10 / 20 / 30 energy when he Ki Strikes.
Quote:
Shadow Dash
(Active): Shen dashes to a target location, dealing magic damage and taunting enemy champions he collides with. Shen gains 40 energy per enemy champion he collides with while dashing, and has 50% physical damage reduction from taunted targets.
Shen, being both a jungler, and a tank, is the only champion with two separate methods of proc'ing his energy restoration effect. One is an auto-attack benefit for while he's jungling, and the other benefits him directly when he manages to taunt an enemy champion, with additional benefits based on how good his skill shot's aim was at hitting multiple targets.

Shen's ultimate does not use energy at all, and uses no tertiary system to manage it's costs, instead relying on a cool down of 180 / 150 / 120 to keep it balanced.

Akali:
Quote:
Mark of the Assassin
(Active): Akali throws her kama at a target enemy, dealing magic damage and marking the target for 6 seconds. Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will consume the mark dealing the same magic damage again and restore energy.
  • Cost: 60 energy
  • Range: 600
  • Energy Restored: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35
  • Cooldown: 6 / 5.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4 seconds
For Akali, she's a melee assassin who leaps into melee range and tears into a target with remarkably high physical + magical damage. By actually triggering her Mark of the Assassin, Akali is given a large portion of the energy she spent on it back.

Akali's ultimate does not use Energy at all, and instead uses an ammo-based tertiary system.


Kennen:
Quote:
Mark of the Storm
(Innate): Kennen's abilities add Marks of the Storm to opponents which last for 8 seconds. An opponent is stunned for 1 second upon receiving 3 Marks of the Storm, and Kennen receives 25 energy. If the stun applied more than once within 7 seconds, it has a diminished effect so it will only stun for approximately 0.5 seconds.
As Kennen is designed around spamming targets with multiple spell hits, being the "mage" of the energy users, his energy restoration occurs when he strikes a target with multiple hits.

Kennen's ultimate is the only one of the energy users to use any energy at all, at the rate of 50/45/40, and even then, this is likely only because he's the most likely of all the energy users to have runes and masteries to increase his maximum or regeneration rates.


Lee Sin:
Quote:
Flurry
(Innate):
After Lee Sin uses an ability, his next 2 autoattacks within 3 seconds gain 40% attack speed and return 15 energy each.
Lee Sin is a combination melee/caster, and every single one of his non-ultimate abilities has two parts: a primary hit, and a secondary hit that makes use of the primary hit's effect or amplifies it. In this manner, he's intended to strike with his primary attack, then sink in two autoattacks, and follow up with the secondary hit. This allows him to maintain his energy levels practically indefinitely, so long as he continually ensures proper timing on his abilities and weaves in auto-attacks appropriately in between each cast.

Lee Sin's ultimate has no energy cost, and doesn't use any tertiary method of limiting it's power, instead relying solely on a 90 / 75 / 60 second cool down to keep it balanced.



As can be seen, in every single energy-using champion in the game, energy is rewarded through the player using their champion properly, and their ultimate either doesn't use energy (for 3/4 of the champions), or uses a very minimal amount of energy (for Kennen, who will have the highest maximum or regeneration rates of all of the energy users due to being the only mage).

If you are considering making a champion with energy, it's actually pretty easy to lay out, all things considered. Figure out what your champion is supposed to do in their role, and reward them for doing it!

Is this section short? Sure is! Energy's got NOTHING on mana in terms of difficulty curve to learn to use it!

Managing mana costs on a developer's level is like pulling teeth, but energy's actually pretty intuitive to use! I'd actually recommend starting out with making a champion using energy, over one that uses mana, if you're new to champion design, because of this.
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Part 3: How many ninjas does it take to change a light bulb? Honestly, we're not sure, they just mysteriously seem to change themselves whenever we aren't looking...




Managing the energy costs and proc values on energy based champions is a lot like doing so on mana champions, but... oh gawd, get off the roof! YOU HAVE A REASON TO LIVE!

Anyway, before I was interrupted, I was saying it's easier to do it with energy champions by a large margin, since you can pretty much work with 200 energy and 10 regeneration per second as a base line, without needing to worry about nearly as many intricacies.

Also, unlike mana, you're not looking for a "perfect breaking even with X items and Y skills", so much as you actively want the player to run out of energy fairly fast. Fortunately, this isn't too hard to figure out how quickly it'll happen, considering how few variables there are in play.

Rather than go through the complex equations listed in the mana section, the energy section is pretty tame in comparison, so I'll just list it in a rather brief manner.

Max energy / ((energy cost / cool down) + (energy regeneration rate * cool down)) = seconds until out of energy.

This is actually remarkably easy, since we know max energy is, by default, 200, and the energy regeneration rate is 10/second, in almost all situations, as most of the energy users don't use max energy nor energy regen runes/masteries, other than, perhaps, the +10 energy mastery.

As such, the only thing you really need to consider is the cost of your ability, and the cool down! It's really almost that simple!

Note that I said "almost", rather than "just". That almost does come back to bite you, at times.

For the most part, you will actually want abilities which drain you from 200 to roughly 0 within a single rotation of casts. For Shen, he goes through 230 energy in one go, assuming he doesn't get any back from hitting a taunt or an auto-attack proc. Akali costs from 200 to 180, depending on spell ranks. Kennen costs 260 (or 210 without his ultimate), and Lee Sin costs 150 / 240, if he doesn't bother to autoattack at all.

The amount of drain is based primarily off of how fast they're likely to spam their abilities. In Lee Sin's case, he's probably going to get in two melee hits in between casts, so will cost 50, then get 30 back from two hits, then 30, then get 30 back, constantly alternating like this on his abilities, so that he doesn't really go down any.

In Kennen's case, he tends to grab some extra max energy, so he can burst hard, especially because his ultimate, though it costs 40 to 50 to cast, also happens to restore a good chunk of energy back, as well, if it's used in a team fight, giving up to 50 / 75 / 125 energy in return to a mere 50 / 45 / 40 cost.

Regardless, energy is far less picky than mana is, since the whole idea is to run out of energy quickly, and restore it using abilities.

Ideally, you want to run out of energy, almost exactly, in the time it will take you to use all of your abilities once. Toss in a method of getting energy back fairly quickly, preferably enough to get another two extra hits in, if you count in regeneration, and you're pretty much done.

Since there's no itemization to worry about, balancing energy costs is a thousand times easier than mana.

Now, that isn't to say that you shouldn't wrack your brain over getting it balanced "just right", but for the most part, it's probably possible to get your energy costs done in a fraction of the time it takes to do mana costs.

Consider how shen costs 230 to do all his abilities once, but that he gets 40 back for hitting a target with his taunt, and 30 back, at max level, for his passive. As long as he does either of these, he's good to go.

Akali has 200 total for her costs, but honestly, she's likely to be spamming her Q every 4 seconds to get that hefty +35 energy bonus, on top of the 40 energy from regeneration, so you can pretty much just view her energy regeneration as being more or less doubled, so long as she's in melee still. Toss in that her E is spammable, but her W isn't, and there you go, she only has two abilities to worry about for the most part, and so long as she's attacking, they pretty much balance out.

There's some variation, but for the most part, you really just need to figure out your costs based off one round of attacks, and factor in the assumption that your champion will gain their bonus energy restoration back by doing their job properly, to sustain them at more or less a break-even point.

And that's... pretty much that. There's really not much more to say that I didn't cover in the mana section. Balancing energy costs really is that much easier than balancing mana costs.

Alright, well, looks like we're done!

Class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

ROAR! >=O

I mean, class is in session! =D

Today we'll be covering Fury / Rage, so make sure you have your GRRR'ness ready!

If you're having problems getting a good rage going, supplemental material can be found here for the purposes of the class: http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/funny-cat-pictures-lolcats-mittens-the-destroyer.jpg

Anyway, Fury is a modified version of the "Rage" system which WoW uses (almost a direct rip with virtually no changes, honestly), and I wouldn't be surprised, in the slightest, if WoW got theirs from somewhere else before even that.

They're more or less interchangeable, honestly, so if I say rage or fury, just assume they're the same thing, even though LoL calls it Fury XD

Aaaaanyway!

First off, we'll be covering what fury is, and what it's good for.

Second, we then shall go over the current methods of rage in the game, costs, and so on (it's a ton easier than even energy! I KNOW! It's weird! )

Third, we'll cover what kind of situations would be a good choice for fury over mana or energy.

Finally, we'll discuss alternate ways to use Fury, and how to get it to work in your benefit!

So, put on your angry face, and RAGE OUT WITH ME! RAAAAAAAWR!
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Part 1: What do you mean "wrath" isn't a virtue?




Alright, so what is this whole "Fury" thing anyway?

To put it simply, Fury is a secondary resource system similar to mana. It's used to limit your capacity to spam spells.

To put it a little bit less simply, Fury is specifically focused on limiting the capacity to spam spells early on in a fight, but is great for allowing spells to be used repeatedly within a fight.

Specifically, all Fury champions (to date anyway, though yours could be different! ) have a maximum fury of 100. As the champion uses their auto-attack, they gain additional Fury, which can then be spent, either like mana/energy to cast a spell or ability, or in some cases, can be used to enhance spells which already exist, but doesn't limit casting otherwise, such as seen in Renekton.

Under the default "normal" scenario, Fury gradually decreases over time, when out of combat. Fury's a bit weird, as resources go, however, in that it doesn't fully work the same way on any champion that has it. For Renekton and Tryndamere, Fury goes down over time. For Shyvanna, Fury goes up when out of combat. For the "average" case scenario, we'll assume that Shyvanna's a special case, and that normally Fury decreases out of combat =3

The idea, here, is that you (normally! ) don't want a player to have a great deal of power stored up at the end of a fight, and then simply run around waiting to unload. Rather, Fury's strength is in a protracted battle. The longer it drags on, the stronger that champion gets.

Mana and energy both benefit people spamming all their abilities off at the very start of a fight, and then waiting on cooldowns, whereas Fury gives a benefit where, after everyone else has run dry, the Fury user is still capable of dishing out the hurt, and if they didn't die in the first spamfest, then Fury will gradually overtake the others.

As such, you'll notice that all three of the current Fury users are melee, with two being bruisers, and the third also being good at lasting in combat for more than a few seconds. Normally, Fury's best on a champion who isn't known for being remarkably high DPS, but just does constant damage over time, and you can't really put them down. They have "presence" of a sort, where you simply recognize they exist, because they're always in your face, and just. Won't. Stop.

Fury's great for many bruisers, as it plays up to their strengths, and honestly, I would have probably have made Darius into a Fury champion, rather than a mana one. This didn't happen though, so no big deal.

Olaf would have made for an obvious Fury based champion as well, just like how Udyr could also be converted over to Fury with remarkably little issue.

In short, if you have a champion that you want to be using melee swings constantly, and they want to be in the enemy's face, but a bit weak early on in a fight, but great for a long term battle, then Fury's probably going to be an ideal choice!

Ah, but tanks... yeah, tanks don't do Fury so well, despite what you may be thinking.

Yeah, you were, weren't you? I figured as much.

Fury's a nice benefit long term, but note that a tank generally needs to unload hard at the start of a fight. Their job is to initiate and begin a fight, whereas Fury's typically very weak at the start of a fight. There are ways around this, but I'll cover that a bit later, in adapting Fury to personal use.
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Part 2: I said "Shrink? I wanna kill. I mean... I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead, burnt bodies. I mean, kill. Kill! Kill! KILL!" And I started jumping up and down yelling "Kill! Kill!", and he started jumping up and down with me, and we was both jumping up and down yelling "Kill! Kill!", and the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, and said "You're our boy." ~Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant




So how, exactly, does Fury work in the game as is?

To be honest, that's a bit more complex of a question than you may first suspect. Fury's pretty weird, in that everyone who uses it has a different take on how it works.

Renekton was the original Fury user, and his version had it where he had no costs on any of his abilities, but his auto-attacks would generate Fury. Once he had over 50 or more Fury stored up, his next non-ultimate ability would automatically drain 50 Fury and enhance the effectiveness of the ability used.

In this method, Renekton uses Fury as a tertiary style resource system, in that it doesn't actually prevent him from casting his abilities, but merely enhances their effectiveness. Stranger still, is that he skips over having a secondary system entirely. Strange stuff!

Note that Renekton also has multiple ways to gain Fury since he blows through it so quickly. As such, his abilities tend to each deal damage, and by doing so, also provide him with additional Fury. His ultimate also causes him to generate 5 Fury per second while active.

Next off, we have Tryndamere, who was the second one to be given Fury. Originally, Tryndamere was designed where he gained benefits the lower on health he was from his passive, and his stacking heal and damage, was based off of an 8 stacking buff. The Fury remake made it significantly easier to see his overall power level, without having to mouse over the icon, or squint at a tiny number which was hard to read. Given that he's supposed to stay in combat for awhile, especially while jungling, it worked quite well, though came with some minor complications, such as it taking longer to stack up to full power than previously.

Tryndamere's Fury works a bit differently than Renekton's, in that he only has a single ability which actually uses Fury. Rather, he gains Fury, using it as a passive steroid effect, where he gets stronger the longer he stays in combat, and he can choose to trade off that firepower for healing to let him live, instead.

Once again, Fury does not prevent Tryndamere from casting his heal early, and instead simply drains all of his Fury to amplify it's effects.

Finally, we have Shyvanna, who practically doesn't use Fury at all, instead using it only on her ultimate, and rather than gradually losing it while out of combat, she generates Fury constantly in small amounts. This is used solely as a restrictive method of preventing her from casting her ultimate early, and allows her ultimate to not have a cool down value at all.

In each case, the champion is rewarded for attacking in combat for an extended duration; even Shyvanna is able to artificially extend the duration of her ultimate, keeping her more powerful for the duration of a battle by continually attacking.

As you can see, however, Fury's the least... stable, I suppose, of all of the secondary (or tertiary) resource systems. All things considered, it's kind of fitting, however! Fury's designed around benefiting champions who stay in combat for extended durations, and this affects each champion considerably differently, far more so than you get by just being able to unload early on, or doing hit and run effects. As such, Fury is pretty much manually re-built from the ground up around each new champion that uses it. The basic concepts are always there (100 maximum Fury, gains fury on attack, benefits from being in combat with auto-attacks), but past that, the specifics need to be adjusted on a champion by champion basis.
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Part 3: "I am the right hand of vengeance, and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth. I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me." ~Susan Ivannova, Babylon 5




So, since we've determined that Fury's a little bit of a special case to work with, and requires some tweaks, we'll need to go about seeing how to convert it for use for your particular champion. Before that, however, first off we need to see when and where to use Fury. Jax probably wouldn't work that well with Fury, but Olaf would. Understanding these nuances is required, since we first need to tell whether your champion should even consider using Fury, before we try to get it work with them. If it won't work by default, either the champion will need an overhaul to make it work, or Fury will have to be left out, in favour of another resource system entirely.

So, here's a quick reference sheet to determine whether Fury's a right fit for your champion!

  • Needs to be in combat for an extended time to "ramp up" in power.
  • Emphasis on surviving long enough to make use of Fury.
  • Doesn't require much for burst casting capacity.
  • Preferably minimal hard CC.
  • Absolutely requires auto-attacking as a primary method of their effectiveness.
  • Especially beneficial if the champion gains value from attack speed increases.
  • Should be able to rely solely on cool downs with Fury as an added bonus.
Now, if you were to give something like Fury to Darius, it probably wouldn't work out so well, in his current state, due to the fact that he mostly just gets a few stacks of his passive on a target, and then has no real further reason to continue attacking. One could argue the concept of applying 5 rage per target hit by his Q's blade, but honestly, it wouldn't quite work in line with his design, as a whole, due to his kit discouraging attack speed items considerably on him. If he had have been built from the ground up, using Fury? Then yeah, he'd be perfect for it.

If you're trying to make a tank to be a Fury user, keep in mind that a core aspect of tank gameplay, is that they absolutely must have full access to their power at the start of a fight in almost no time flat. There are ways around this, such as in my Nemhain design, as an example, but it requires careful thought to get it to work right, and it took me literally over a year of tweaks and adjustments to get her able to use Fury effectively.

In short, anything you see on that list is "optional", as you can apply case-specific exceptions, but to be perfectly honest, if there are more than 2 on the list that are giving you problems, it's almost guaranteed that Fury is a bad idea to use in that situation.

Preferably, you wouldn't really want a champion to be particularly against any of them, but this is unlikely to occur. Renekton doesn't have much reason to get attack speed, Shyvanna fails at the "ramping up in power" concept, and Tryndamere has issues with survival in that, even with his ultimate providing, he's only around for a relatively short time before he's focused into the ground, meaning he really needs the +Fury from his ultimate to really make any use of Fury in general at times.

In each case, the particular champions have their problems with what rage emphasizes, but, also in each case, is there a method of dealing with the problem.

Renekton gains Fury through his ultimate and his abilities generate large amounts to supplement his limited attack speed. Shyvanna bypasses her issue entirely by using Fury only on her ultimate, and allowing Fury to be generated over time, rather than lost outside of combat. Tryndamere is able to sit on at least a bit of Fury at pretty much all times, due to jungling and his abilities being free, his mobility with his spin-2-win, and can live for a pretty good time, by AD melee carry standards, via his ultimate.

Regardless, as I stated, be cautious about using Fury if you're lacking more than 2 on the list. More than that, and you'll be spending all your time pulling your hair out by trying to force your champion to work with Rage, rather than implementing an intuitive fix. You could probably force a champion to use Fury, even if not a single one of the things on the list were covered by your basic design, but honestly, at that point you've wasted so much time and effort, as well as devoted a massive amount of their kit, towards just making them able to use Fury at all, and haven't even started on making them actually fun yet.

As such, steer clear of Fury in that case if at all possible, unless you're especially stubborn XD
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Part 4: Nobody's going to help you, you've just got to stand up alone, and dig in your heels, and see how it feels to raise a little hell of your own! ~Trooper




Alright, so we've come to the conclusion that you really think Fury's a good choice for your champion at this point. Great!

So, how do we go about customizing it to fit your particular champion? Ah, now that's the trick, isn't it?

Let's take a look at that list again!
  • Needs to be in combat for an extended time to "ramp up" in power.
  • Emphasis on surviving long enough to make use of Fury.
  • Doesn't require much for burst casting capacity.
  • Preferably minimal hard CC.
  • Absolutely requires auto-attacking as a primary method of their effectiveness.
  • Especially beneficial if the champion gains value from attack speed increases.
  • Should be able to rely solely on cool downs with Fury as an added bonus.
As covered, the chances are almost guaranteed that you're going to have an issue with *SOMETHING* on this list with your design. Probably 1-2 aspects, honestly. That's not so much of a problem, though, in that you can probably work within the boundaries of this.

In this particular list, Nemhain, my own champion, fails on the "ramping up" and again on the whole cool downs issue... mostly because she doesn't actually HAVE any cool downs.

As this is only two issues, however, no big deal. We can work around that.

In the case of my design, I used other mechanics to allow her to get to her full potential faster, and made some tweaks to the Fury system to allow it to do what I needed it to do.

First off, she's a tank, so she can't wait around all day to build up 100 Fury before she's useful. By that time, her whole team would be laying on the floor, dead, and while that might be useful, to a degree, in her particular case... it's not a very good thing for a tank to have.

As such, I added in the "Bloodied" tertiary resource system which allows her to gain the vast majority of her power immediately in a fight, just by hitting a target in melee once. This still means she'll be a bit weak when she first enters combat, but she'll be able to ramp up to the majority of her power almost immediately on at least 1-2 targets, which is all she really needs.

Tossing in Fury regenerating and granting her a benefit off CDR items as a tank's more likely to have CDR than attack speed items, and she's golden.

For the second issue, this gets a bit more tricky, but this is also why I chose Fury for her in the first place. Nemhain actually doesn't have any cool downs on any of her abilities, and instead relies on a second tertiary system, where she can only attack any given target with an ability occasionally. As such, while she can spam her Q 5 times in a row if she wants to, she can't spam the same target 5 times in a row.

Even so, this means she can still spam her abilities, and as such, I specifically made the change to Fury, which made it work closer to Shyvanna's version, in that she has to have the Fury necessary to cast a spell, unlike Renekton and Tryndamere's versions. This makes Fury act a lot more like some weird, twisted hybridization of Energy and Fury combined. Probably because that's pretty much what it is in her case XD

Your own design will have to account for issues such as these, however.

If you have an issue with needing to have power early on, take a page from the Shyvanna book. If you have problems with attack speed not being viable on your design, then hit Renekton up for some pointers. If you have problems with dying out prematurely, talk to Ashe about it, as I think she's far more of an expert on dealing with Tryndamere's little problem than he is. Or you could just ask Sejuani, as it's pretty obvious he's cheating on Ashe with her sister, anyway.

*Coughs*

Aaaanyway.

The point is, identify the challenges that your own champion holds, and then come up with a work around. Sometimes this may involve changing how Fury works to a degree. Other times it may involve adding in a tertiary resource system, or just giving them a buff. Nemhain's technically pretty fail at attack speed since she can't itemize for it very well with tanking items, so instead she gets an AS buff to compensate.

It all comes down to troubleshooting, in the end. Isolate the issue, find the root cause that's making the issue present itself, and then come up with a fix.

As each individual champion design brings with it their own individual problems, you're going to kind of have to work on this on your own to a degree. Peer review's a pretty major component of trying to work with the challenges that Fury has, so make sure you check with friends and other people on the forum!

In any case, the only real other issue is setting up your Fury Costs, since I haven't covered that yet. Oh wait, Renekton's Fury costs are all a flat 50, and both Tryndamere and Shyvanna drain their bars entirely since they both have only one ability which uses Fury! Well that was easy!

Unless you're forcing Fury to act in a manner similar to mana/energy costs, it's no big deal. If you do, however, do so, go up to the energy section, in the post directly above this one, and all the same rules apply there as they would here.

And there we go. Congrats, you now know how to RAGE OUT like a true barbarian!

Now go! GO FORTH MY PRETTIES AND KILL! KILL KILL KILL!

I mean, class dismissed!


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Katsuni

Senior Member

05-07-2012

Zho, mien prettiez... yuu kome too zee moar invormayshun aboot ze rezorz zyzteemz yez?

Great, that means I can drop this ridiculous accent.

Also, coincidentally, class is in sessions! Also coincidentally, the class just happens to be about making your own "new" resource systems. Go figure!

So, since we've covered all the major resource systems in the game in detail, one by one, what's left? Making new ones? Ah, now that's the trick. Normally you don't actually want to do this... but... invariably it's going to happen eventually anyway, so let's make sure we're doing it for the right reasons, and in the right way!

First off, we need to cover what resource systems actually are before we go breaking them or making new ones.

Second, we also need to know when's a good time to actually make a new resource system in the first place.

Third, in the process of making one, we need to identify what it needs to do that the current systems aren't capable of performing adequately on their own.

Finally, we'll also need to discuss tertiary systems which can be used to further enhance a design without stomping on the toes of primary and secondary systems in place, since they work a bit weird usually, but are a great place to start learning.
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Part
1: PEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEW! That's the sound my guy makes because he doesn't have resources to stop him from spamming mind lasers. And rockets. Oh and MIND ROCKETS. AND MIND ROCKET HEALING LASERS LIKE DISCIPLINE PRIESTS!



As I've covered in the other sections, but these may've been skipped over to get to this one part... resources are used to slow down or prevent abusive use of your abilities so that they don't get out of hand. These come in three main flavours:

1: Primary resource systems are a hard restriction on how fast you can spam an ability in the short term. This is, in virtually all circumstances, taken care of by cool down in LoL. There are a few exceptions, but generally cool downs are your first line of defense to prevent an ability from getting way too strong.Teemo's mushroom ammunition is a primary resource system which limits his capacity to spam mushrooms out, similar to cool down, but allows him to do so in short bursts. If your primary resource system isn't ready, you're not casting anything.

2: Secondary resource systems, such as mana, energy, fury, heat, and so on, all exist for the purpose of limiting the power behind the abilities in some way, shape, or form. Some prevent long term spamming, others limit short term burst, or limit power at the start of a fight. Most of your "new" resource systems end up being of the secondary variety. Rumble's Heat system is a secondary resource which lets him either do big burst in one go, or sustained damage over time, but not both at once without overheating. Secondary systems tend to allow a bit of leeway in casting, where you can cast a few different abilities, but typically have limitations on how many can be cast in a certain timeframe, rather than on an individual basis.

3: Tertiary resource systems come into play when primary and secondary methods just don't cut it, and you still need some alternative method of limiting the strength of an ability beyond that. Darius's bleed is an example of a tertiary system, wherein his cooldowns and mana costs aren't really the primary limitation on his ultimate. Sure he can cast it, but he probably doesn't want to until he's got a few stacks up. In general, a tertiary system lets you cast your abilities even without it... you just might not particularly want to without it.

Now, that being said, you generally don't want to screw around with primary resource systems until you really know the game inside and out. Cooldowns are one of the easiest ways to control the strength of an ability, and most people don't fully understand just what the difference between an 8 second cooldown and a 9 second cooldown is. It's almost the same, so who cares, just say 10 seconds, right? Problem is, that level of understanding isn't enough to ditch cooldowns entirely, so if you're not really sure about this, avoid it entirely. No ammo systems until you master cooldowns.

Next off, is the secondary resources. This is what most of you probably think of when you hear "new resource system!". You probably assume it's something to replace mana entirely. In some cases, this is true, in others, it may not be. You probably have an idea for something to replace mana though, so I'll work with that as the assumption here. This'll be covered in detail in a moment, so just keep reading.

Tertiary systems are probably the safest things to change in LoL's overarching framework without breaking everything into tiny pieces in the process. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, where it's gone horribly, horribly wrong... but for the most part it tends to hold true. Before you start replacing the first two, I'd honestly suggest getting used to tertiary systems and adjusting your champion's abilities either on a small scale, or individually utilizing tertiary resources to get used to resource management. It's a great way to learn, and the damage is relatively minor and easy to fix if something goes wrong, since you still have other systems to back you up as a safety net.
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Part
2: Pft, mana's overrated. Just ask Katarina.



So, you want to break free of the chains of tyranny and make your own resource system! For the sake of argument, I'll assume you mean "secondary resource system", because that covers about 95% of the cases on this forum.

Well... why?

No, seriously, why do you even want a new resource system?

If the answer is anything along the lines of "It'll get more views" or "it sounds cool" or "I don't like mana", then you've already basically said "I don't need a new resource system and this is a really bad idea".

Seriously, don't go screwing around with new resources until you understand why the old ones exist. The only, absolutely *ONLY* reason why a new resource should be introduced at all, EVER, is because the current systems simply aren't capable of performing the task you need them to accomplish without such heavy retooling that they aren't even recognizable any longer.

In my case... it actually took me awhile to figure this out myself, and I've only kind of gotten the hang of it within the past two years or so. Go ahead and check back on some of my older designs... they're left for dead because they were really bad ideas that didn't work out. In several of these situations, it was due to attempting, and failing, to add a new secondary resource without sitting down to fully consider exactly what I was doing. Sure they were a neat idea, but they weren't necessary, and it led to the design's downfall almost from the very start.

Here's the main things that are already taken of by the current resources:

MANA: Spam spells all day long, as long as you have mana for it. This is a long term solution to prevent early game domination when mana's scarce, such as the laning phaze, or during a base siege later on in the game. You can cast all your abilities easily, but over time, eventually you'll run dry, and will likely need to return to base to refuel, pulling you out of combat. The idea, is to allow short term casting to go unhindered, other than by cool downs, but that long term casting is problematic.

ENERGY: ALL the burst! But... well, that's the thing, you can unload fast, but run dry fast too. Cooldowns for energy users are typically very short, as their restriction is more so in the limitation on staying in combat for more than 5-10 seconds. They're great up front, and can do hit and runs, with none of the long term issues mana has, as they'll be back to full power in 20 seconds tops, but... they can't stay in combat for very long at a time generally without making very careful use of their energy restoration factors from proc'ing certain events.

FURY: Infinite long term staying power, but takes awhile to ramp up to speed. This is ideal for bruisers and champions that are going to be in combat for awhile, but who you may not want to be particularly strong at the first few seconds of combat.



These three systems cover virtually all of the main things you could need for a secondary resource system to do.

Note, however, that key word "virtually". There are... exceptions.

In the case of my Nemhain character, she needed to be capable of a zero-cooldown system, of which none of the options available at the time were capable of, as there was no such thing as a zero-cooldown champion in the game. After she was written up, however, Shyvana was added to the mix, who provided a decent enough approximation to her Bloodthirst system that I was able to convert her over to fury, as it was now capable of doing the job I needed it to do.

These specific gaps do exist, but they're very rare. We have short term / late fight restriction, long term restriction, and early fight restriction. There's not too many holes left uncovered. As such, I can't go through a full list of examples for "when this happens, make a new resource system!".

It's really a judgement call, honestly, and one which needs to be updated as new patches come out. Aradia, for instance, could probably use to be converted over to the Heat system that Rumble has, since it serves a very similar function to her own Void Shards system. Rumble didn't exist when she was added, and thematically it doesn't quite work, but I could probably make her system much more similar to heat, and get more or less the same effect.

Anyway, the point is, "when is the right time to make a new resource system" comes down to this point, and this point only:

Nothing in the game that already exists is capable of making your champion play the way you want them to.

It's really that simple. If you have something particular in mind you're trying to accomplish, and the game doesn't have anything that lets you do that... then make a new resource system. As stated, however, there aren't too many holes left uncovered at the moment, and as new champions are released, those holes will slowly be plugged up, one by one.

It's exceptionally rare that a new resource system is required, so think about it very, very carefully, as to whether you can't mangle mana, energy or fury into doing the job for you first.
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Part
3: I want a pony and ice cream and a unicorn to go with my pony so the pony's not lonely and oh I also want some lasers because everything's better with lasers kind of like BBQ's, and we should have one of those too but we should keep it away from the pony and the unicorn, oh and the ice cream too, because I don't want melted ice cream, but we could BBQ the lasers because they're already hot but they aren't BBQ'd so maybe BBQ lasers would taste better somehow.



Alright, alright, so you want it all, I got it. You're certain you want a new resource system. Great! So... what do you want it to do?

Note that bit at the top which states that the purpose of resources is to limit the power of a champion's abilities so that they are able to be kept under control? Yeah. That means you need to know what it is that's failing to be kept under control by the current systems.

Before you do ANYTHING with a new resource system, your first task is to write out your goals for the system. You need a list of key details that it has to be capable of performing. There's probably going to be at least a little overlap with the current systems, but so long as it's mostly a bunch of holes that the others aren't filling, then you're good to move onto the next step.

Here, we now go over the parts that don't work, and say "well, we need it to do X... so how do we actually make it do X?".

I'll use Nemhain as an example, and my reasoning behind why I did the things I did, so you can see why it worked out that way.

  • Needs to be at full power at the start of a team fight (energy)
  • Needs to allow spamming of abilities rapid fire (energy, mana)
  • Needs to allow for long term casting of abilities over time (mana, fury)
  • Needs to restrict burst capacity (energy, fury)
  • Needs to be able to recover during combat, after already having utilized burst (fury)


In the game at the time, none of the resource systems present were capable of doing all of those things together. Energy and Fury both had some good points, but neither was realistically capable of performing all of it.

So... I merged the two together into a weird amalgamation which I branded as Bloodthirst.

At the time, it worked fine, and fixed all of my problems I was having. Or, well some of them anyway. The resource issue-ones =3

There were some other problems which required the introduction of a tertiary system on top of that, but it worked out well.

These days, the game's changed, and she now uses a heavily modified version of Fury.

Get yourself a list like the one above, and cover each one carefully. Ensure you consider which of the current resources in the game is closest in relation to what you want to do.

Note that "changing from light to dark spells" is not a secondary resource system, and it shouldn't replace mana at all. If anything, it should be a "stance", similar to Nidalee's cougar form.

Also note, that your passive still needs to have an effect beyond "just" explaining the resource system. A new resource system should be explained in the passive, and the passive should relate to it somehow, but you need an actual real passive in there too, somewhere.

Anyway, I could go on about this for hours, but it'd be mostly just going in circles. The key points you need to understand, are really as simple as stated above. Figure out what you need to do, why the current options don't work, and tailor a new one based on a list of things it has to accomplish. If another system works fine already, there's no need for a new one. If the new system fails to do what you need it to, then you have to start over.

There's really not much more to say, oddly enough!
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Part 4: 011011010110010101101111011101112 There's 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand this is a binary joke, those who don't, and those who know it's actually a tertiary joke.
~ Source Unknown



You probably came here looking for how to make a new secondary resource system. You probably also left here realizing you didn't actually need a new secondary resource system in the first place. Fortunately for you, I'm going to fill you in on tertiary resource systems so that you don't leave here empty handed.

Tertiary systems are used usually to modify a singular ability, or to adjust how abilities work as a whole. Consider Brand's passive... that's a tertiary system because it affects how all of his other abilities work depending on which one he cast first, but it doesn't really harm his ability to cast his other abilities, it just modifies how they work. Same thing with Darius's passive.

Orianna's ball is another form of a tertiary system, in that all of her abilities are limited by the placement of where her ball happens to be at the time, not her own body.

"Tertiary" really just means "third", in the way that secondary means "second". For the sake of argument here, however, it applies to anything which does not directly prevent you from casting your abilities, but which indirectly changes whether you'd actually want to cast your abilities in the first place or not.

The original fury system on Renekton is actually a tertiary system, except for the fact that he doesn't actually have a secondary system, oddly enough. Using common sense, one would think that 1st and 3rd with no 2nd would mean the 3rd is actually the second, but we don't do common sense around these here parts ^.~

The point of the matter, is that these are things which let you enhance abilities which are already present in unique and interesting ways.

Take something as simple as Vladimir's Tides of Blood. This ability has a tertiary system built into it where every time he casts it, it gets stronger, but drains more of his secondary resource (in his case, it's health being used as if it were mana). This affects, indirectly, how useful the spell is, and when and how often he wants to cast it without directly preventing him from doing so, such as his primary (cool down) and secondary (life bar) resources do.

If you really want to make a champion that's interesting to play, try messing around with the concept of tertiary resource systems, and you'll find they often hold the key to making your abilities more fun. From Anivia's chill effects, to Nasus's Siphoning Strike, they already exist all over the game. These are the primary methods of tweaking abilities to be more fun than they would be otherwise.

Far too often on this forum I see people provide ideas that are just "more numbers". Alright, yay, so your ability not only does damage, but it also slows... why not make it so that instead of slowing, each ability your champion has does something to affect the next one cast? The Q causes the next ability to slow, the W causes the next to silence, the E causes the damage to do true damage instead of magical, and the R makes it stun.

I don't know, it's just an example, and I'm not sure how that would have to play out in an actual champion, because I don't know their full skill set, but the concept of having their abilities affect each other based on the casting order is one which can be played with significantly more than it has been so far to the date of this writing.

Honestly, there's a lot of options out there, from singular abilities being affected, through to an entire kit based around a concept. Darius and Draven have both used tertiary effects to make their gameplay more interesting than they would have been otherwise, though admittedly Draven did so in a far more effective implementation, but that's how it goes.

Not every tertiary system's going to turn out to be a masterpiece, but it's almost guaranteed to make your abilities and champion a bit more interesting than it had been previously.

The real beauty of this, is that a tertiary system doesn't overwrite or prevent primary and secondary resources generally, meaning that if something goes wrong and an ability's far too strong, you generally don't need to do heavy handed changes, as it's easier to fine tune the tweaks.

Note that tertiary systems generally give a "benefit", in a way... primary and secondary systems are usually pretty obvious in that they say "without us, you can't cast your spells AT ALL". In the tertiary world, they LOOK like they're giving a benefit. This isn't really the case, it just looks that way for the psychological implication. They didn't do a very good job covering it up with Renekton, admittedly, though.

Instead, abilities with a tertiary resource are moreso "supposed" to be cast with the resource present, giving them their full effectiveness. Without it, you "can" still cast them... like yeah, you *COULD* cast Anivia's Frostbite on a target that isn't chilled... but why would you? There's nothing stopping you, other than your own desire to get the full effectiveness out of your spell.

Done right, the player feels that it's their choice to cast the ability. They feel happy when they catch Draven's spinning axe, and it enhances their abilities or resets their cooldowns. They feel kind of meh, however, when they want to cast an ability on Renekton and they don't have the fury for it, and it just ends up feeling wasted to do so.

Be careful to ensure that the player feels like it's their choice to cast an ability when it's limited in power, and that they're somehow getting a "benefit" for using their tertiary resource, instead of being penalized for casting it early.

In any case, work with the tertiary resources to make your champion designs more interesting. Trust me, they go a long way towards making them more fun and interesting, without just relying on generic buffs or number boosts, and it's a lot safer and easier to work with than completely replacing primary or secondary resources.

As for me, I'm hungry, and there's some hot dogs that need munching on!

Class dismissed!


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