champions play like they should

123
Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

09-22-2012

I posted this in general chat and got very little response. Here's hoping you guys can get some more discussion brewing!

Hello everyone. I'm currently studying abroad in China and have quite a bit of spare time on my hands. Unable to play much League in China, I have decided to begin writing this series on interesting design choices that this game makes. I'll talk about everything from gameplay to lore, music to art, and perhaps even advertising.

This first week will focus in on making a champion play like their personality would have them play. This is going to be a giant wall of text and probably won't appeal to many of you but if this is your thing, pull up a chair and grab some popcorn.





In League of Legends, one is put in direct control of a single champion that is selected in the beginning of a match. The very first thing that you hear is your champion's voice saying a line that gives you a bit of insight into the personality of that character. This is significant because quite a few other games just have an announcer saying whoever was chosen. By hearing them say more than just a name, you begin to associate with them on a certain level. If, say, someone like Malphite is chosen and his gameplay was like Ashe, players would lose this connection to the character. Everything has to feel unified in some way, including gameplay. This is touched on briefly in the Riot video released a few weeks ago. The visual style, voice, and gameplay all have to match up to make a character make sense to the player. Fairly simple right?

I want to touch on a few of the finer gameplay points that many players miss. Take Draven for example. His lore builds him up to be the ultimate showoff. He was too full of himself for the military and became an executioner instead. Rather than just do things in a straightforward manner, Draven made a game of it to draw a crowd. His whole demeanor is based around him thinking he's the best there ever was. Other than Mundo, he's also the only character that says his own name upon selection. Now let's talk about his gameplay.

The way he plays focuses around his spinning axes mechanic. In order for him to maximize his potential damage, he has to be catching his axes regularly. This is both for the increased damage from the ability itself and also to keep the cooldown on blood rush refreshed. The mechanic, while interesting, is far from the most efficient way of being a ranged attack damage carry. If you want efficiency, you pick Tristana or Graves. You pick Draven, however, to be a showoff. When you make a really big play as someone like Corki, you feel pretty good. When you make a big play with Draven, you feel like a GOD. Having those moments where you flawlessly keep track of your axes while mashing the W key can cause actual bloodrush in the player. His crit animation has him throwing the axes nonchalantly between his legs. Nailing your ultimate from across the map for a kill makes you feel like an entertainer putting on a show. Simply playing Draven effectively puts you into the mindset of Draven.

This is intentional!

Developers do things like this to make you subconsciously associate with the character. Voice actor lines, artstyle, death animation, and gameplay all work together without many of you realizing it.

Let's use another example where we start with the gameplay. Orianna's primary mechanic is the relationship that she has with the Ball. All of her abilities use it in some way and require the player to be constantly mindful of its position. If the player loses track of where the ball is, Orianna is suddenly significantly less effective. She is unlike other heroes in that she requires attention to be paid to two entities operating as one; almost like a pair of dancers you might say.

I'm sure some of you are catching it now. Look at her model, she's wearing a tutu. Look at her splash art's pose. Look at the background. Read her lore. Literally everything about her character is somehow a reference to the gameplay relationship between her and the Ball. Some very smart designer thought of this and most players never take the time to notice it.

Karma (who?) is loosely the idea that 'what goes around comes back around'. Her passive is designed to do just that. All three of her main abilities have either an offensive or defensive purpose. When you use a mantra, the ability acquires the other. Balance in all things guys.

Jayce is the Defender of tomorrow, a guy that has a solution for just about every issue. He shows up and has just the right thing that you need at that moment. He also has the most utility skills of anyone else in the game.

Darius is a super ridiculous soldier who literally decapitated his commander who called for retreat. Darius' ethos is to keep moving forward to fight or die trying, absolutely never back down. Pretty fitting for a dude with literally no escape mechanics or way to disengage.


There are a ton more of these little tidbits but that's it for my first big post. Hope you enjoyed it (if anyone managed to read their way all the way through). Comments/criticism/suggestions welcome! See you all next week with a new topic


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

09-22-2012

i see the upvotes but nobody is commenting!

discussion people, i don't just want to write lectures on the subject haha


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Evolnemesis

Senior Member

09-22-2012

Yeah, they obviously do put some effort into matching a champions lore/character design and their playstyle and how their abilities feel to use. Like Karma's Yin-Yang thing for example... I think this is something you kind of have to do really in an RPG-like game, especially if you want to make each character really feel unique, but it's nice to be able to see and appreciate all those little details that go into making champs play the way they do.

I would recommend looking at Invictrix's threads in this forum about the various City-States and the champions from them... Interestingly enough, where a champ is from seems to make a big difference to their playstyle, and champs with common origins tend to have a lot of common mechanics and similarities in their play.

This all might be boring to some players, but it definitely makes lore nerds all wet; and I'm sure threads like this bring a warm and fuzzy feeling into hearts of the devs and character designers who put hard work into little nuances like that which most people never even notice.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Ophirr

Senior Member

09-22-2012

I feel conflicted about my personality now if my favorite champions are shen, rengar, draven, and karthus haha. This may explain another factor that goes into why we all have favorite champions. I simply am not a huge fan of Lee Sin, Shyvana,and Ahri, even those these are all top tier champions. Maybe for whatever reason I can't associate with them well enough.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

sonofzeal

Senior Member

09-22-2012

Well... I do think there's exceptions. Or rather, Riot seems to have set it up so that it works, but only if you build the way they expect.

Take Dr Mundo for example. Base health? Poor. Base regen? Poor. Base damage? Poor. Pencil-necked Irelia is tougher and hits harder. All Mundo's tankiness comes from his itemization - he doesn't benefit from AP, and gets less out of AD than many, and his passive and ult reward building lots of hp and defences. So Mundo generally ends up building lots of tanky items, and as a result he's tanky. But only if you build him that way. His actual base attributes aren't actually tanky at all, it's merely that his kit steers you to building in that direction.

Or take Teemo. Is it too much to ask that a champion with "Swift" in his title would have a movespeed above 300? Late-game, when his W is levelled, he's fast... but that's generally the lowest-priority skill, so he spends most of the game relatively slow.

On the other hand, there's a lot of good ones too. Xin Zhao's "BE A MAN" shtick is awesome. Rumble, too, encourages you to press ALL THE BUTTONS! Lulu is unpredictable and quirky, with abilities that don't work like anyone else's. Poppy is a combat pragmatist badass with a very direct style. I suppose the only reason the ones above bother me is because there's so much else that's so good. When nine out of ten are great fits, it feels odd when suddenly something doesn't live up to what you expected it to be.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Evolnemesis

Senior Member

09-22-2012

Well, Teemo has a very good movespeed buff though, leveling it late even makes sense... how much scouting can you really do in lane? It's later in the game in largescale teamfights or when he is jungling/roaming when his movespeed ability really shines and when it is most important (for lane, he has huge slows, a blind, poison, etc... he's pretty well set in the trading damage department in a lane situation, and you don't really want to be chasing him by charging right at him anyway). If anything his slightly lower base movement speed kind of helps taunt people into wanting to chase him more (LOOK! I'M SLOWING DOWN... you can catch me! Come on, I'm RIGHT HERE...)

Mundo has a LOT of sustain which comes from his kit that really does enhance his defenses and helps him survive early despite him not having a lot of innate tankiness (kind of like why Heimer's defense/health bar is shown almost all the way to the top in his description despite probably being the squishiest champ in the entire game... he regenerates constantly...) This might not translate to tankiness in fights, but it certainly makes him hard to defeat in lane when a lot of champs are trying to harass him to low health and he regenerates a large chunk of their poke damage in between every one of their cooldowns... It also helps mundo keep a higher health bar when he's jungling.

I think this all makes sense for Mundo, he should be relatively squishy without gear, he's wearing nothing but a shreds of a lab coat and hulk shorts... I don't see any armor on him, he's a guy who regenerates quickly with drugs, in fact his whole kit revolves around regeneration and using health as a resource... He even LIKES to get hurt and gets damage from it... it would actually make LESS sense if it was much harder to apply damage to him in the first place or if he traded damage better... he needs SOMETHING to regenerate (what good is the power to grow back an arm if nothing can ever cut off the arm in the first place?), also his regeneration really does scale very well with defensive items.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

09-22-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
Well... I do think there's exceptions. Or rather, Riot seems to have set it up so that it works, but only if you build the way they expect.

Take Dr Mundo for example. Base health? Poor. Base regen? Poor. Base damage? Poor. Pencil-necked Irelia is tougher and hits harder. All Mundo's tankiness comes from his itemization - he doesn't benefit from AP, and gets less out of AD than many, and his passive and ult reward building lots of hp and defences. So Mundo generally ends up building lots of tanky items, and as a result he's tanky. But only if you build him that way. His actual base attributes aren't actually tanky at all, it's merely that his kit steers you to building in that direction.

Or take Teemo. Is it too much to ask that a champion with "Swift" in his title would have a movespeed above 300? Late-game, when his W is levelled, he's fast... but that's generally the lowest-priority skill, so he spends most of the game relatively slow.

On the other hand, there's a lot of good ones too. Xin Zhao's "BE A MAN" shtick is awesome. Rumble, too, encourages you to press ALL THE BUTTONS! Lulu is unpredictable and quirky, with abilities that don't work like anyone else's. Poppy is a combat pragmatist badass with a very direct style. I suppose the only reason the ones above bother me is because there's so much else that's so good. When nine out of ten are great fits, it feels odd when suddenly something doesn't live up to what you expected it to be.

well i feel like the ones you mentioned are due to other factors. teemo may have a slow base movespeed but, as evolnemesis mentioned, the fact that his 'move quick' even exists is enough reason to still classify him as 'swift'. if, say, he was base movespeed 320 and still had that ability, he would be "Teemo, the Uncatchable Scout"

with mundo, his entire gameplay revolves around brinksmanship. this is to say that a good mundo fights and is most effective when hovering at low health. this mechanic is meant to give him an 'incredible hulk'-esque feel. you don't like him when he's angry. you can't just take a character and understand them as only part of their kit. his low base stats are to compensate for his ridiculous steroids and massive health regeneration. it also just incentivizes building him in certain ways that would make sense for the character. mundo want get bigger, mundo health bigger.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

09-23-2012

so, anyone have any suggestions for what i should write for this week? like should i do a more detailed analysis of one (or a few) champions or should i zero in on various gameplay mechanics that let themselves to characterization?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

09-23-2012

bump?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

ISiefer

Senior Member

09-27-2012

I also agreed with sonofzeal that there was some exceptions but I can't seem to think of any at the moment. I think they really did a good job with most of their roster.

Maybe Swain? His combo requires some setup but for a tactician he really wades into the middle of combat as an unstoppable tank a lot. Maybe Syndra? But then, she did get some buffs.


123