Theming in League - Are Things As Awesome As They Could Be ? @IronStylus

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BestBilbo

Senior Member

12-15-2012

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.

Let's see:

Marc 'Tryndamere' Merril - President/Co-Founder:'I think what really defines League of Legends from a character perspective is the diversity of characters.'

Quote:
Originally posted by Perifear

Correct ! This is great. Everyone loves certain characters, the amount of options you have are endless. Playing a true nightmare, a tricky jester, a chick riding a boar, or a scare crow - COOL.

However - from a design perspective, how distinctive from each other are the actual playstyles of these characters; could they be more living up to their theme, perhaps ?
Jeff Jew - Producer: 'As a group of creative people, we look at it and think: What can we do with this, if we can make this the most awesome it could be without any constraints, what would that be ?'

Now this is where we think stuff has gone wrong - we like to think they are not the most awesome they could be.

Take Caitlyn for example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
Currently, if you think of what a sniper is and what one would have to offer for a team, it would be periodic but powerful single-target bursts of damage from a distance--in real life, snipers are usually in charge of picking off single high-priority targets from miles away, as opposed to running and gunning down grunts on the front lines.

Caitlyn, however, trades the vastly superior range (at the cost of firing frequency, mobility, and defense) of a sniper for non-sequiturs: bear traps for area control, a high-powered net for creating gaps between her and potential threats, a line-nuke that does less damage to her intended high-priority targets at the back of a team, and a passive that encourages her to attack frequently instead of biding her time and preparing for each shot. T

he only thing truly "sniper" about her is her ultimate and her higher-than-average autoattack range (only 25 units longer than Annie's, and inferior to Kog'Maw and Tristana in the long run), and even these take a back seat to her area control and clunky harass. Looking at her splash art--staring up and down at the barrel of her rifle with all of its scopes--you wouldn't expect this sort of territorial play or rapid-fire damage.
It's a watered down version of what she could be as a sniper, and her design suffers for that.

On top of that - her most 'sniper'ish' ability - her ultimate - is an unreliable damage source, especially in later stages of the game. She also ends up being a lackluster carry because she tries to do what other carries do (high, consistent physical damage) but can't due to her lack of steroids - ie. what makes carries able to carry is that they scale very well off of items due to steroids (Tristana, Ezreal) or powerful AD-scaling abilities (Graves, Draven).

Her superior range is really only effective in lane if her opponents can't reciprocate, and then she immediately falls off because her only damage is an occasional 25% bonus on an autoattack, while carries like Tristana has a 90% attackspeed boost and Graves has a 60% boost as well as his Q and R.
That said, do you think Caitlyn could have more of a specific, sniper'ish playstyle ? We like to think so.

Now please note - we aren't trying to say Caitlyn's current kit is bad - but if she should be the 'ultimate' sniper out of all characters - why doesn't she feel like this, why isn't she the most awesome/purest sniping character she could've been ?

We feel this way. Suit yourself.

Now let's take Graves for example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Is Graves the ultimate shotgun guy currently or could he feel like this even more ?

All of his abilities are very statisfying - E'ing upto people and Q + R'ing them right in the face is very cool and feels like a true manly shotgun dude.

His W however - what does this have to do with his theme ?

'Why does it matter, Graves is still very cool, maybe you're right it doesn't nessecarily fit but it works..'
Brandon 'Ryze' Beck likes to think theme is very important however - and we most certainly agree.

Brandon 'Ryze' Beck - CEO/Co-Founder: 'Another thing that is really important to us is 'theme.' We really want characters to have a really central theme.'

Well said. Graves's theme was a guy with a big manly shotgun. Could he be a more characteristically 'shotgun-y' dude ?

Let's take a look at 'Shotguns' first:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
Shotguns are all about getting in-your-face and blasting you away with overwhelming power, about impact, about being a goddamn explosive gritty badass (they're more effective at closer ranges--at least as they exist in the world of the media, which is how most people become acquainted with shotguns--so that means you have to cut the advantage of long-range in order to maximize your firepower); injecting an element that means the complete opposite only manages to water this experience down.
Now what exactly waters his experience down as the ultimate shotgun champion ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
-His smoke screen ability: it has nothing to do with a general shotgun, and it's more of a 'trick' than something more straightforward, which is what the idea of a 'shotgun' brings.

-His Attackspeed steriod: shotguns aren't known for being 'rapid fire'. They're bursty.

If Graves would be the ultimate shotgun champion - if they would've lived up to his theme to the limit, he would be a even more manlier 100% shotgun dude.

Currently, arguably, Graves comes down to:
50% Shotgun, 25% Revolver (Rapid Fire), 25% Smoke Canister (Smoke Screen).

Now you are probably asking: Whatever, he works, Graves is fine and fun and even his smoke screen ability is !


Again - we are not saying Graves has a bad kit, currently. We are trying to say he could live up more to his theme, make his playstyle more specific and more appropriate.

'Does this mean you are saying the smoke screen ability is bad ?'

No - not at all ! The smoke screen ability is very cool and unique indeed, it just wouldn't fit a 100% manly shotgun guy, perhaps this ability would fit around a character who uses smoke primarily to terrorize and disorientate his enemies.

'I guess, but.... READ GRAVES'S LORE NEWB, he has a special shotgun modified for him !'

Very much true, this would justify his smoke screen ability on his kit right ?
Though we like to think this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
If you have to make excuses for the inclusion of an ability on a champion, it probably doesn't belong there.

What we are trying to say here is that it looks like Riot has designed a lot of kits or parts of kits out of the blue, hence the smoke screen ability. 'We haven't done this before, this could be cool' added it to Graves's kit just for the sake of him lacking some sort of utility ability.

The lore behind it just basically makes up for the 'flaw'/unlogical approach of his theme/playstyle, therefore we don't really think it belongs there as we like to think he could be more of a shotgun-dude than he already is now, while leaving the 'smoke screen' concept for another champion, as it's still a very cool ability/mechanic.
'Hmm, could you give (more) examples of 'Riot designing just a kit and adding a theme afterwards' or not living up to the theme as much as they could have ?'

Sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
This'll be tricky for champions like Maokai, as people would probably take criticism towards the thematic unity of his kit very personally due to him being a very popular character, well-known for his jungling strength and effectiveness as a supportive tank...
However, we like to think he could fit more of an 'angry tree/forest' playstyle. His current kit doesn't really fit up to this sort of idea.
'Why don't you think he does that currently ?'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
What exactly makes him significantally 'nature-ish' ? His sapling, indeed - as it can allow him to be more territorial like an angry tree would be, although it's most often used for burst damage or harass.

The rest of his abilities however, from the looks of it Riot basically said: 'Alright, we've got the sapling - cool and unique there - what more could we give to his kit to make him fit the role of a support-tank (stepping away from living up to his theme)?'

A knock-back CC ability: Not really 'nature/forrest'ish' at all. They just added some leaves/nature-particles to it, to fit. Is it good for his 'tank' role? Yes, but not for consistent theming.

A Snare ability: More 'nature/forrest'ish' as it's basically 'rooting' someone in place, however the ability doesn't work in a specefic 'nature-ish' way, yet again it's more or less an excuse: 'Yeah somehow it does make sense to use a snare, let's just simply do that'.
Is it good for his 'tank' role? Yes, but this sort of mobility is hardly something one would expect from a grumpy old stump.

A damage mitigation Ult & Passive: Passive could be argued about, healing and building it up (could be seen as growing) is nature'ish, but it's not very specific or distinctive, yet again more or less an excuse: It makes a bit off sense, let's simply do that.

His ult: I have no idea, it's just an ability they came up with an added nature particles to it - That's all. Are they good for his tank/support role?
Yes, they allow him to keep himself and his team alive for longer, but it's not done in a way that's readable or even a little relevant to his character, theming, or kit - just the role Riot decided he should fill.


Do they really capture his theme - Visually yes, gameplay wise - in our opinion: Barely.
God, we think Maokai could be so much more interesting !
'So basically you are trying to say that especially with Maokai, Riot tied the theming abilities/kit to visuals instead of the other way around: Coming up with pure nature/forest stuff and then designing abilities around these nature/forest ideas.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Exactly.
This has happened to a lot of characters in League and prevents them from reaching their limit of depth in their gameplay and prevents them from living up to their theme to the fullest.

Brand is a good example as well. Fire spreads and burns. Does Brand do this ? Sure, to some certain degree he does - His passive, his ultimate spreads and encourages to burn people with his passive before ulting, aswell as his E spreading to targets if targets are ablaze.

His Q & W however - It does not matter if these particles would look like lazers or shadow magic instead - why ?
Because the abilities do NOT specifically serve Brand as a unique 'fire-y' playstyle. Q is just a skillshot nuke - W an area of effect spell.

As said: His Q - W are abilities tied to visuals. They do not specifically make sense - they do not contribute to Brand playing a 'fire'y/burning/spreading fire' playstyle like his passive, E and ult do. His Q and W are just generic abilities with fire particles.


'Oh guess we need to give him some CC and utility, sure let's just make his Q stun targets if they are set ablaze'.
Fire doesn't stun, people. (Annie, also looking at you)
'You mentioned the use of shotguns, snipers and the behaviour of fire and nature in reality, what does this have to do with the game - this is a game for god sake, not reality !'

This is a very good and appropriate question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
Why base champions around real things? Because real things make sense. Real things are things people can become acquainted with before they even touch League of Legends.

However, this really only works if said champions perform and behave like the source material, so players don’t have to completely forget what they know about that source material in the context of LoL. In League, fire is no longer something that consumes and spreads, but burst magic damage that can sometimes stun.

Alien is no longer a stealthy pack-hunter that is at its scariest when you don’t know where it is, but a colossal gangle of spindly limbs that eats everything and fires spikes out the wazoo (despite said spikes not being present on his design).
'Wait, wait, hold on ! Kha'Zix much ? This is bullsh...'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
I know.

This article of ItemsGuy is pretty old, yet I find his logic/concept behind it a very good argument and approach of game-design. The colossal alien having a gangle of spindly limbs he is describing is Cho'Gath.

Q: Rupture (Spikes). E: Vorpal Spikes. Visually - does Cho'Gath make it obvious he's going to screw you over with his feral scream ?
Does he come off as a kind of creature that will eventually reach massive size (instead of focusing on strength in numbers - like the xenomorphs and zergs his design was based off of) Can you guess he'll be using spikes on 2 out of the 4 abilities he has ? He is somewhat spikey - yes, but it is FAR from obvious.

'Hmm, stupid argument...'

You think so ? I think Riot has approved, a few years later Riot releases Kha'Zix, uses spikes in his kit, I don't think I have to explain how his visual appearance matches with the ability.. hehe
.
Brandon 'Ryze' Beck - CEO/Co-Founder: 'Rammus the armordillo. He wears a thick shell, it's spiky........ ....... his kit is very unified, you get he is going to be able to take a lot of damage, you get is going to be able to spin all over the map and that's an example of a thematically unified character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Great !
This makes A LOT more sense than Cho'Gath, however I think you can already see it coming: Exactly, not even Rammus is in place enough.

It's very interesting how Mister Brandon 'Ryze' Beck does NOT say a single word about Rammus's taunt or ultimate in the video, is this 'just coincidence ?': It doesn't make sense. What part of Rammus makes him taunt people ?

Most importantly - what makes him shake the earth around him ???
Even funnier: They haven't tied it to visuals in-game !
Rammus basically activates his ult, you don't see him doing anything at all to make the earth shake/crumble around him, it just happens around him randomly - while he's able to just walk around. 'OK' - I guess.

Myself, I had a very hard time dealing with Mordekaiser when I started to play this game.
He is more a caricature rather than a character, seemingly poking fun at the habit of some video game characters to wear huge armor with as many spikes as possible - he even has spikes on his mace!
But in the end he barely uses the mace - at least I expected him to smash around with that mace a lot.

Turns out his abilities are rather mage-ish, his huge armour doesn't seem to fit and he creates ghosts out of the enemies he has slain ? It's not very readable and his design suffers for it.

I just didn't understand how that should flow together, it took me long time to memorize all of his abilities as they don't make sense with his appearance, if his abilities would be more realistic/appropriate to his appearance I would probably have had a way easier time
.

Let's continue with ItemsGuy's post after all the examples and explanation I've given above:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
The hulking, angry bull isn’t a rampaging mass of muscle and bad attitude that charges and gores with reckless abandon, but a big babysitter that specializes in not dying while being harmless on its own. This distinct lack of thematic coherency not only strips all players of any understanding coming into the game, but makes them tie together things that don’t make any sense in order to just keep their head above water.
Like the example I've used for Mordekaiser or the multiple examples ItemsGuy has given us: Realistic elements tied to abilities in League helps players to understand stuff more easily as it makes more sense, instead of tying huge bulks of text to abilities and tying them to visuals - This is what happens now.

'Hmmm..'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Basically what we are trying to say that Riot has tied random abilities to visuals since like.. forever (stunning fire, a lich throwing exploding skittles, an angel throwing a magic ball that slows, a magic rock wheel that steals movement speed - the list goes on).

Were not quite there yet - note that we don't want to mock Riot, we are just pointing out what we think are major flaws currently, we are trying to be as open-minded as we can be and judging from such a perspective - we think these champion concepts could be more specific, more special, more appropriate.
Ryan 'Morello' Scot - Lead Champion Designer: 'But what we really want to do - is create a good variety of champions, so that every player has a few to several champions that they are absolutely stoked about - instead of having like a whole slew of champions that people are not interested in and don't really buy into.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Thanks Morello, I was absolutely stoked about Zyra, until a few days after her release. In the end she's just more of generic burst mage - her plants are rather a visual extra and a minor bonus to her kit - she isn't specifically, primarily about a 'Plant-ish' playstyle.

She is very generic - I had expected and would've loved a more 'anticipating' 'caring' playstyle. Plants grow, you have to keep them healthy or they die.
They are an organic living thing, does Zyra capture that currently ?
She just pops seeds up and lands a nuke over them and plants instantly grow and stay a while for around, then they die very quickly.
They pop up immediately, they deal damage immediately - This is not how plants behave/work, plants are not bursty - in our opinion Zyra could've been so much more awesome.

Yet again, we think Riot just came up with her Q (Generic AoE nuke) E (Generic Snare, 'well it makes sense for her to root, let's just simply do that) and her R - It's tying random abilities to visuals
.
'This is just bull****, they are part of her entire kit and playstyle !'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
No - Just no. It's FAR from defined, far from distinctive from other mages, far from how awesome it could've been. I've played a few matches as Zyra (yes just normal games) without using A SINGLE PLANT and have got very good results.

This just more or less proves how undefined her playstyle is as 'growing and using' plants, it is far from a distinctive playstyle from other mages. Her plants are a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence about doing burst magic damage, where she could've been a sentence all about both growing plants and using them to deal her magic damage. Zyra basically boils down to:

Some random abilities tied to visiuals (nature particles), Zyra does magic damage.. Oh how can I forget: and plants !!

Instead of what she could've been:
Zyra uses plants - They do magic damage. See the difference ? She is not primarily focused around being the nature mage, she's rather 'just a mage' with a nature theme - like Maokai is just a supportive tank with a nature theme.

Pretty sad I can more or less play the ultimate Nature/plant mage without even using plants just fine - just slightly less effective.
'Still a **** argument'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Fine. Compare it to Twisted Fate, we like to think he has a more defined playstyle as a ganker as his kit makes him a natural ganker.
Now go play a few games as Twisted Fate, don't use your ultimate to gank at all, just use it to be quicker back into lane or something.

-'OMG RETADER TF NO GANG MY LINE'
-'WTF PICK TWISTED FATE BUT NOT GANKING - WHAT ?!' '
-'Hey buddy, you are supposed to gank with Twisted Fate dude - G.A.N.K !'


TF gets picked for his additional, specific strength of map presence created by his 'card master' playstyle - allowing him to stack his deck with his own aces (Sheen/Lich Bane, the right Pick-A-Card, and Stacked Deck), look at the enemy team's hand (ultimate), and then make his play - Zyra gets picked because she's rather 'just another good burst/teamfighting mage.'

People don't pick Zyra for: Well she uses plants that she can use for X strategy, what is very awesome and might help win us the game in this case, while they could've done that - they did not.
Possible argument: 'Take Annie for example - She can provide very strong ganks aswell !'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Very much true, though does Annie's kit have specific dedicated mechanics to improve strength of ganking ? No, not at all. Her stun-passive is just for the sake of giving her CC, it wasn't designed in the light 'Oh well we should give her something that'll make her roaming-power/ganks stronger.'

Ganking with Annie is part of her skill cap - It is/can be very effective but her kit doesn't obviously scream: 'Gank lanes matey !' that TF's kit does scream, and loudly.

A good Annie will gank/roam if possible, a bad Annie will not.

For TF this is a different story - yes a good TF will gank a bad one will not, but it is different: His ultimate & kit is so dedicated to a 'Ganking Mage' playstyle and thus specifically making his ganking stronger - it's more part of him, more part of his character, ganking is more of a playstyle specifically for him - it's more part of his actual kit.
This changes the mindstate from 'A good TF will gank' to 'TF is all about the ganks', hence all the people QQ'ing at you if you do not use your ultimate to gank at all.
And the list can basically go on and on; I was stoked about Xerath - supposed to be the ultimate Long Range Siege Caster - in the end he still is kinda generic and doesn't have very superior range at all - most of his abilities get outranged by others. Kinda lame for a champion who is supposed to outrange anyone.
Feedback time !

Thread One: We explain why more unique playstyles could be awesome and how they are not nessecarily OP - Just different.

If you wanted to leave feedback how more specific playstyles would be OP - Read that thread.

Thread Two: We explain why not only we would like these more unique/dedicated playstyles, we also suggest why we might need them.

If you wanted to leave feedback such as - 'Well I don't want these changes, we don't need them !' please read that thread.

Thread Three, this thread: We explain how more unique playstyles could be done by living up more to the original concept of the champion. We suggest tying realistic elements to abilities and then to visuals makes sense - It's easier for people to understand - easier to pick up.

That said, you might ask yourself - Who is 'ItemsGuy' ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
I'm going for an MFA in Interactive Design/Game Development at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and have taken multiple courses regarding character design *especially for video games*
Who am I ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Myself - I come from EUW, I play on ~1600-1700 Elo on my main 'Perifear'. I had similar thoughts as ItemsGuy and after we've bumped into each other I 'have learned a lot'.

Been working together on these threads ever since.
'Well you aren't suggesting anything ! You just basically say Graves, Caitlyn and stuff are bad and could be better, yet you don't suggest anything !'

Saved that for last, ItemsGuy has been working on redesigns the past 4 months - being a big part of his portfolio.

His redesigns concerning the champions we've specifically have mentioned in this thread:

-Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover
-Graves, the Outlaw
-Maokai, the Twisted Treant
-Brand, the Burning Vengeance
-Zyra, Rise of the Thorns

Please note: All of the cooldowns, ranges, ratio's, base damage numbers are all ENTIRELY subjective - ItemsGuy approves of the fact they might need to be changed for balance.
Also this:


Quote:
Originally posted by ItemsGuy
I propose both a way to delay this oversaturation (Mentioned in thread two), and a way to keep players sated once champion production does have to stop in order to preserve League of Legends’s accessibility and structural integrity.

Considering the nature of these solutions, however, they would most likely have to take place outside of League of Legends, as they involve changes so great that they would more than likely create a great upset within the playerbase should they happen to the game that players are familiar with—like renovating a house while a family is still living in it. For now, we will call this game LoL 2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perifear
Not saying LoL 2 should be immediately worked on - first of all we would like to hear your opinion on the arguments we've come up with and what Riot has to say about that.

Thank you for reading, please keep the discussion constructive ! If you are going to drop a comment here and just say 'No no but Brand already fire playstyle' or 'Zyra already plant playstyle' we will ignore you. Unless you have a solid counterargument regarding how the current kits of the champions capture their original theme better than the redesigns of ItemsGuy, the only thing you are doing is just observating/repeating the fact of how they work currently, which we are very well aware of:

'We are not saying the current kits of the champions are bad - we are saying they could live up more to their theme, creating a more appropriate character and a more dynamic, dedicated, and unique playstyle enriching the player's experience'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy
The value of a playstyle can be measured by how much the player is encouraged to think like the character they’re playing through the aforementioned coherency within the kit as well as its thematic unity and how distinct that method of thought is—because the more distinct it is, the more room it creates for counterplay, and the more counterplay there is in a game, the more fun and fresh each game will be.
It's not just about creating a more dynamic game (creating more flavors of the same role, such as siege/poke mage or high-mobility ambush mage or set-up and turtle mage), but about enriching the player's experience. Playing a champion shouldn't simply be having access to 5 (or 9) abilities for 20-50 minutes, it should be stepping into a champion's shoes and romping around for a while.
@IronStylus: We personally have invited you to the discussion because I like to believe you are an open-minded guy that likes to participate in a discussion if it's constructive and the subject discussion-worthy. Please feel free to help us out.

Thank you guys,

Perifear & ItemsGuy

EDIT: So TLDR ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphine View Post
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)?
I'm just going to leave this smiley here:

Please do NOT comment now how Irelia is a good champion or not - if you haven't read the OP - Morphine just gave a very solid summary. We give all explanations and arguments to 'why' in all of our threads.
It's a very sensitive subject therefore we've choosen to give it all our love and input, long threads as a result.


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BestBilbo

Senior Member

12-15-2012

-Reserved for potential FAQ.


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ItemsGuy

Senior Member

12-15-2012

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.


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ItemsGuy

Senior Member

12-15-2012

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!


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BestBilbo

Senior Member

12-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy View Post
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.
Specifically that marked in Bold - I hadn't even come up with this myself. I got how tying lore to inappropraite/unlogical kit designs would sound very stupid though I did not realize this causes another problem entirely:

The burden of knowledge you mention.

Thanks for clearing that up :)


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ItemsGuy

Senior Member

12-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by BestBilbo View Post
Specifically that marked in Bold - I hadn't even come up with this myself. I got how tying lore to inappropraite/unlogical kit designs would sound very stupid though I did not realize this causes another problem entirely:

The burden of knowledge you mention.

Thanks for clearing that up
While lore and League Judgments/JoJ (rest in peace ;_;7) are some of my favorite parts of LoL, that sort of background material should act to flesh out characters and follow the rule of "if it gets in the way of the theme, scrap it"--not act as an "explanation" for a disjointed theme/kit/playstyle--such as Diana's lore enforcing the fact that she's a "100% committing assassin"--many of her abilities need to be explained in order to be understood, unlike the "Rengar's a hunter and he's going to hunt you" aspect of Rengar's character--which essentially require players to not only read her lore, but understand the core of her character (which doesn't really have anything to do with any sort of "moon" theming) if they want to even have an idea of how she plays before either A) buying her and trying her out, B) sitting through a 10-minute-long video that may or may not include some horrible misinformation (building Infinity Edge on Blitzcrank), or C) getting wrecked by her repeatedly in-game.


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LightningAcorns

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Senior Member

12-15-2012

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).


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ItemsGuy

Senior Member

12-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by LightningAcorns View Post
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).
Yeah, I get what you're saying--while they (ult, saplings) do create shades of a "territorial" playstyle, which is coherent with his theme in a more abstract (and less noticeable) sense, they don't do it in a readably "tree-like" way--Maokai himself is fairly mobile (due to his gap-closing root) and his strongest spell strays away from intrinsic power (not only is it long-range, it's disjointed from Maokai himself--taking away from a "solid" feel which is important on champions like Malphite and Sejuani, whose ranged aspects get in the way of coherency). His Innate, snare, and ult are poor in terms of readability as well, and his Arcane Smash just feels out-of-place.

And, while his saplings and ult do lend themselves to a territorial playstyle, there is very little "tree" or "forest" about these abilities! They're a means to an end, though, but they help his case only in name. Using my redesign as an example, his "territorial" nature could be expanded upon, developed, and made characteristically "Maokai" if it encouraged less of a mobile playstyle (very little about Maokai is different in this regard--he's still encouraged to have the "well I have these abilities and I'm supposed to use them on the right person at the right time" mindset, as opposed to a more "this is MY forest" way of thinking--and thus, acting and reacting), and rewarded Maokai more for establishing his presence by making him incredibly difficult to get past.


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BestBilbo

Senior Member

12-17-2012

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:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
I think we define skill floor and ceiling differently. Let me talk about that;

Skill floor refers to a minimum amount of skill needed to play the character and not just die and feed all the time. This is not attached to skill ceiling!

Skill ceiling is the amount of additional power/optimization/success you can receive through skill and practice. We like increasing this on many champions.

Many champions can easily have their skill cap increased via a "less is more" design, which not only keeps in line with clean and sensible, but adds skill. In the Diana example, what if the skillshot had 1/2 the cooldown and 1/2 the movement speed? That would increase skillcap, but also would leave skill floor near where it is.

Right now, I'm working with the designers to use these types of levels to increase skill ceiling without making your first game with a character be all WTF. Some champions will be more normalized (different players want different things, so we're never going to make a all Oriannas), but there's some easy wins. I'd also like to do some changes on existing champions to bring this out, though everyone will get mad when I do :P
This is entirely what we are trying to do with the changes we suggest.

We want to create more depth for champions, more of a specific, unique playstyle, while keeping the 'playability' of the champion on a similar level.

The changes will make the game harder indirectly as champions will be able to pull off more things as they are individually more different from eachother, thus increasing their skillcap, not even touching or barely touching their skill floor.

How ? By making champions more specifically living up to their initial theme, concept and playstyle, that in combination with tying realistic elements to abilities: This helps a even more 'newb-friendlier' environment and helps the players master the game even more quickly: All the things champions can do make sense, rather than having to tie huge bulks of text - abilities as they are known right now - to visuals.

Funny how Morello even mentions how he'd like to do this himself yet he would understand the changes would be drastic and might cause people getting mad as they might not like the reworked champion anymore, therefore we suggest the changes we ask for probably are more appropriate for something we like to call 'LoL 2' for now.

That said, feel free to discuss lads, I believe there are a lot of questions that could use alot of answers from Riot and opinions from the community.


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Morphine

Senior Member

12-17-2012

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)?


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