Please read the thread before judging, otherwise feel free to ignore.
Hey lads, I'd like to have all of you thinking as 'open-minded' as you can, we're trying to specifically tackle things that could be better, we opt for improvements.
Throughout this thread, I'll be using quotes of people working for Riot - quotes from the official 'Champion
Retrospective' video. (On youtube, Riotgamesinc channel).
Adam Murguia approves of improvements, apparently; he wants League to be the best thing out there:
Adam Murguia - Art Director: 'It does go back to us being fans of the game - we want it to be epic - we want it to be the best thing out there.'
Great, we'd like to think like this as well. Please note how we do NOT intend to sound like spoiled/arrogant little brats - we give our opinion after critically observing a few aspects of the current champion-design model Riot has been using over the course of the years.
Marc 'Tryndamere' Merril - President/Co-Founder:'I think what really defines League of Legends from a character perspective is the diversity of characters.'
Ah, yes, just the thread I was looking for!
My friend Peri here has laid out things well enough to provide for some solid discussions on the matter, but I'll kick off my involvement in this thread with a quick quote from Jesse Schell, game designer and author of The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses.
"Really, the problem is that games have only recently emerged as anything like a serious medium of expression. It will take time for the world to grow used to this idea. But we have no reason to wait. We can create games with powerful themes right now. But why? Why do this? Out of a selfish need for artistic expression? No. Because we are designers. Artistic expression is not our goal. Our goal is to create powerful experiences.
It is possible to create games that do not have themes or that have very weak themes. However if our games have unifying, resonant themes, the experiences we create will be much, much stronger.
The primary benefit of basing your design around a single theme is that all of the elements of your game will reinforce one another, since they will all be working toward a common goal. Sometimes it is best to let a theme emerge as you are creating the game. The sooner you have settled on a theme, the easier things will be for you, because you will have an easy method of deciding if something belongs in your game or not: If it reinforces the theme, it stays, but if it doesn't, it goes."
Now, while Mr. Schell here is talking about themes in the larger scale--entire games--it's still very applicable to the designing of champions (after all, what is a champion but a very small "game" within the larger game of League of Legends? Choosing your champion is simply choosing the experience you wish to have within a League match, and what are games but vessels for such experiences?), and the same rules can apply. The stronger and more unified a champion's theme, the more fulfilling playing that champion would be--even without the competitive context of LoL (making enjoying a champion less "I can use this champion to beat my opponents and win games!" and more "I really enjoy playing this champion!"--taking the joy of "winning" out of the mix to expose the true value of a champion).
Like the example I've made with such champions as Graves, does he have elements of "shotgun" in his kit? Certainly! But is he as "shotgun" as he can be? Do all the elements of his current kit lend themselves to this central theme of "shotgun"? No, his "rapid fire" is more characteristic of a revolver, and his smoke screen is more characteristic of a tear gas canister. You could say "well, he has a shotgun that was modified to act like these other guns!" (which falls into "using background information as an excuse" which is a bad sign, as it would place an even greater burden of knowledge on players as they'd have to read each champion's lore to understand how they work, instead of simply looking at their splash art and going "yeah, I've got a pretty good idea of what this guy does"), but a "modified shotgun" isn't as coherent a theme as "shotgun," just as "water with some oil and vinegar in it" isn't as pure a substance as "water."
Considering that League of Legends is home to over 100 champions, Burden of Knowledge could potentially become one of its greatest downfalls (as it's what keeps new players from picking up such games as DotA/2/HoN, and thus what will cut their lifespans down significantly--Riot prides itself in LoL's readability too, so more unified kits based around elements that are readily available to even the newest players at a glance is certainly a step in the right direction). Think of it this way: The more steps there are in between a "new player" and "fun" (such as mechanical complexity, Burden of Knowledge, etc.), the less likely they will become to reach "fun" and thus the less likely it is for them to see a reason to continue playing.
While I know this may be a daunting subject to discuss (made even more daunting by the sheer amount of text we've provided, haha), I feel that it's something that should at least be skimmed over! Whether there are some points that we make that you disagree with, or if you think there is a better way to tackle this problem, or whatever other input you may have, I 100% encourage you to leave your thoughts here!
Conversation may start off slowly, but we fully intend to tug on the sleeves of those Riot employees who have proven to be not only outstanding members of Riot Games Inc., but members of the community as well--and hopefully discussion from players will pick up as a result!
While things like the current state of Diana's viability or how item X is overpowered will always be talked about (the first page of GD is regularly overwhelmed by numerous threads on the same topic), this is something that really isn't brought up often (if ever) and showing your support for League by engaging in thoughtful discussion on matters pertaining to League of Legends as a game you've dedicated weeks, if not months or years to, is one of the biggest things as you can do as a community member.
So come on in! All thoughtful discussion will be given all the attention and respect it deserves, so feel free to disagree with us if you feel you have a solid point--and even if you agree with us, feel free to explain why!
Whereas I agree that Maokai's kit is a bunch of spells fit for a tank haphazardly stuck together, he still does thrive with area control. His saplings double as wards, yet are the highest base damage spell in the game. They simply work better as harass, especially late game when if someone walks into one placed as a ward, the saplings get outrun. His ult relies on everyone sticking together, and his passive works well in team fights when everyone's tossing spells haphazardly. So, while his kit is very "area control" and "invasive" (taking health from other "trees" (other players) much like certain kinds of tree), his kit doesn't fit, nor is it very clear. I mean, yeah, considering if you stand in his ult he's going to be doing SOMETHING and you don't want to stand in there when he does that certain something, but nothing else really is unsurprising from an angry tree other than angry saplings (that somehow explode).
One thing I totally forgot about, I used to have my 'complexity for the sake of complexity' thread. It was a misleading title as I wasn't aiming or wasn't trying to discuss complexity for the sake of complexity at all. - My bad, the thread died in peace.
That said, the thread died yet Morello did leave a comment that was very interesting:
Eep, this is super super long. To give a quick tl;dr for readers, am I correct in saying that what you aim to achieve is a stronger sense of thematic cohesion for champions, spanning from playstyle to role to artwork? With something like Vayne playing and feeling like a very cohesive 'witch hunter' (from role to playstyle to thematic tie-ins to dialogue) and something like Irelia feeling very disjointed (a young girl in control of magic flying blades as a melee bruiser rather than someone with a lot of poke / zone control / ranged harass)?
© 2014 Riot Games, Inc. All rights reserved. Riot Games, League of Legends and PvP.net are trademarks, services marks, or registered trademarks of Riot Games, Inc.