Are Champions As Awesome As They Could Be? @Morello @Feralpony @IronStylus @Xypherous

First Riot Post
Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

BestBilbo

Senior Member

01-22-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFeast55555 View Post
Hey, I may not be contributing much with this, but this thread is awesome. Personalized, detailed Red interaction, solid discussion, and generally positive, open attitudes. Gives me hope for both the forums and this great game. Thanks all, keep up the good work!
These comments warm my heart and make me smile - literally.

I thank You.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

BestBilbo

Senior Member

01-22-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortamor View Post
Because I lack the time to make an informed post, I'll merely give a simple opinion - DAT REMADE FITTLESTIX.

11/10 would main

Anyways, I do support this idea - why? Simple! I play DotA 2.

Now, you might ask why this matters. Well, it's simple, really. I play DotA if I want to go tryhard, I go to League if I want to have a nice, fun game without having to remember OVER NINE THOUSAND things just to play one character. These redesigns would make this so much easier.
That's exactly what we are trying to do here ! Not only do we want a champion to be extremely unique having interesting mechanics, they have to fit themetically to make it memorable and more easily to understand !

Everyone wins, you playing the character aswell as the people playing against you !


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

ItemsGuy

Senior Member

01-22-2013

I'll finish that first post later--this one's much more manageable in terms of size, haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
I think this is important to understanding some common language and other expected tropes. Varus could be an agile archer, but with the oversized bow, we were going much more for the sniper styling. Additionally, we wanted the "tortured" good guy, our literal reference material being The Crow. I think he actually selivers on that quite well, especially with the "Soul Edge" bow he has. Now, an agile archer is still an available archetype, even if it's not Varus.
Hmm...Explain to me if I'm missing anything--I'm not quite getting the point you're trying to deliver here. While I agree--his Q is spot on in terms of theming (bow) and has some great frictions to it (the same tension as drawing back a bowstring), but nothing else (except maybe his AoE, which makes sense in terms of "shooting a bunch of arrows to a location" but could be replaced with just about anything and make just as much sense) really works towards that central "sniper" styled bowman theme. His Blight stacks and Innate reward more of a rapid-fire approach (with a play rhythm of three stack -> ability -> three stack -> other ability)--as he in fact loses out if he tries to fully charge his Q when he's at his most powerful, after activating his Innate with a kill.

On top of that, it's not very readable and doesn't seem to tie into any sort of central thing. If you were going for some sort of "corruption" theming, his ult works with that--as it spreads and punishes--but nothing else does. If you were going for the bow theming (which is bland in comparison to Ashe--as she has the bonus element of that "ice" theming to shake things up), all you've got is his Q.

If you were to explain Varus in one sentence to somebody, how would you manage it? You'd have to explain every ability, because knowledge of the working of all of his abilities is required to know how to play Varus and play against him (which would be burden of knowledge--you don't want to give your players homework). Whereas with the redesign, you could simply state that he's an agile archer that will dance in and out of range to be at his most powerful, and there you go: in an instant, you know how to play Varus, and you know how to play against him.

Quote:
Brand, I think we might be using different source material, but I think both directions have validity. For the fire fantasy, I feel the E, R and passive are on the nose (and seems we agree there), but I also think the W is fantastic - a massive area-effect pillar of fire is very "burn burn burn."
Except only due to the fact that it applies his Innate--without it, it's just "AoE nuke"--nothing characteristically fire-like about it. Take the wave of fire from his redesign, though--you can't really argue that it's anything but more "burn burn burn"--as not only does it set an area of fire (as opposed to being a fleeting AoE), it burns people up. It catches, it spreads, it IS fire--or as close to it as you can get.

Quote:
Q's passive interaction is taking a page from our shared language in video games, Fire has been stunning (WoW, Annie) more often than not these days,
Wait wait wait (and sorry to sound snippy)--but you're saying that in order to understand that Brand will stun you, you must have played another video game that shares the same "un-learning" mechanic (forcing you to replace knowledge of real-world things with something that completely subverts it in a sloppy and mis-handled way). I hate to be the "if Timmy jumped off a bride, would you?" guy, but I'm having a hard time accepting this argument. If you could explain to me how the stun not only works in terms of readability and helps tie together Brand's central theme of "fire," I'd appreciate it--I could be misunderstanding something here, but it just doesn't make sense to me (which could tie into readability, again).

Quote:
plus it was a mechanical need. A choice of +damage vs +AOE vs +CC also creates an incomparable decision - something you don't need to always numerically compare to get when you should use what, and instead is dictated by opportunity and situational conditions - something we generally hold as desirable.
I think this is where me way disagree again--you seem to be valuing this sort of technical texture (which is satisfying for a designer) above readability and thematic unity (which is satisfying as a player--who you're designing for). While these game-play goodies can help a design be satisfying to handle, if you design solely for it, some other things can be left in the dust.

Quote:
Brand is likely a disagreement point because I feel he does do a fantastic job of delivering on a fire mage without being myopic in what he can do.
You say "myopic," but I say "defined." You see, it seems like you'd want players to play Brand because they'd be forced to choose between Crazy Nouks and CC For Dayz (which isn't really even that--Brand's best single-target combo will always be Conflag -> Fireball -> Pillar, while his best team-wide combo would be Fireball -> Conflag -> PoF -> ult--and always in quick succession, making Blaze seem more like an afterthought than a flame you want to sustain), as opposed to playing the "ultimate Pyromaniac champion"--allowing players to live the joy of setting things on fire and keeping them alight as long as possible, and playing around that sort of play-rhythm (creating situations in which you would be able to set as many people on fire as possible, and then keeping them on fire--more about managing the nature of your kit as a whole as opposed to landing different abilities in certain orders).

Quote:
And I think this type of disagreement is normal when creating - we certainly have plenty of these in the normal course of the workday! I feel the more valid critiques are things like Sion (wtf?), Nocturne (he's not an assassin!) and Shen - clear mismatches in one or more major factors. And, I also agree a few of our champions this year (Zyra, Syndra, Darius) have a cool source material area that's executed unsatisfactorily - another reason it's something I want to make sure we focus on.
Again--while we do have our agreements, I think the "validity" in the others is a bit lost in your eyes due to different mindsets. While you aim for certain ideals regarding technical depth and the more abstract play-rhythms in the vein of DotA heroes, I aim for capturing certain experiences and defining kits as much as possible--not only making it so that no two champs are vying for the same spotlight (as with the redesigns, there'd be a reason to play any one champion over the others, be it personal taste or necessity in a team comp). See the Heimer argument at the beginning of the thread--he'll never be as strong as he can be as long as he tries to be both "mage" and "inventor"; the "mage" part will mean that "inventor" will never be as satisfying and vice-versa, and while the leaked Heimer rework looked like it would be leaning more towards making him more like a mage, I want to opt to make him more like an Inventor, as it has more potential for definition and a defined, characteristic, and memorable experience every time you play him.

Quote:
It also may be that our respective ideas for the "vision" of League characters is just different. There's no one way to create appropriately, and we may just have some different ideas on what League should be, or what's important to characters. This is not to say we don't have a lot of room to improve, but some of these disagreements are difference in design preference - something I find generally healthy
I agree--it's these differences in opinion that inspire us to think more critically about the medium we're dealing with here, and we both have our own justifications.

However, I do intend to work alongside you guys as a member of the Content Design team, so maybe when I do (whether it's this summer if I land that internship, or in the future after I've finished my Game Design MFA), we'll be able to put each others' philosophies to the test.

I hope you stick around, though! I really want to take everything I can out of this learning opportunity, as it's not every day you get to have a one-on-one (or two-on-one) with the head of the design team of League of Legends. :y


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

BombingLegend

Member

01-22-2013

can we get a TL;DR version of the above


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Mädchen

Senior Member

01-22-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
I think this is important to understanding some common language and other expected tropes. Varus could be an agile archer, but with the oversized bow, we were going much more for the sniper styling. Additionally, we wanted the "tortured" good guy, our literal reference material being The Crow. I think he actually selivers on that quite well, especially with the "Soul Edge" bow he has. Now, an agile archer is still an available archetype, even if it's not Varus.

Brand, I think we might be using different source material, but I think both directions have validity. For the fire fantasy, I feel the E, R and passive are on the nose (and seems we agree there), but I also think the W is fantastic - a massive area-effect pillar of fire is very "burn burn burn."

Q's passive interaction is taking a page from our shared language in video games, Fire has been stunning (WoW, Annie) more often than not these days, plus it was a mechanical need. A choice of +damage vs +AOE vs +CC also creates an incomparable decision - something you don't need to always numerically compare to get when you should use what, and instead is dictated by opportunity and situational conditions - something we generally hold as desirable. Brand is likely a disagreement point because I feel he does do a fantastic job of delivering on a fire mage without being myopic in what he can do.

And I think this type of disagreement is normal when creating - we certainly have plenty of these in the normal course of the workday! I feel the more valid critiques are things like Sion (wtf?), Nocturne (he's not an assassin!) and Shen - clear mismatches in one or more major factors. And, I also agree a few of our champions this year (Zyra, Syndra, Darius) have a cool source material area that's executed unsatisfactorily - another reason it's something I want to make sure we focus on.

It also may be that our respective ideas for the "vision" of League characters is just different. There's no one way to create appropriately, and we may just have some different ideas on what League should be, or what's important to characters. This is not to say we don't have a lot of room to improve, but some of these disagreements are difference in design preference - something I find generally healthy
A (not that) quick aside with regards to Darius. As something of a classical lore junkie, (JoJ correspondent, frequent roleplayer, bio analysis) his bio generally seems to deliver on a lot of what I'd consider to be what I want in a hero's backstory. Clear, readable position in the LoL universe, motivations and thematic stylings, while also allowing for much depth and interpretation without muddying his core characteristics. A clear, understandable character who rewards deeper thinking into his motivations without damaging his overall theme, and in fact enriching it. Much debate has been had over Darius's relationship with Draven and Swain, for example.

Although obviously not as major a concern as the theming described, i.e. linking the model+splash+other art assets to the more nuts-and-bolts mechanics of a kit and making it feel cohesive and selling the "fantasy" of the character, I feel that Lore as an actual point of discussion here is a bit under-represented.

Morello, I'm not sure if you're much of a Lore guy, but how do you feel about the Lore bios and how they affect the champions that are released? In much the same way you described, there was some strangeness with, say, Zyra and Syndra in comparison to Draven and Darius, who were both gems from a Lore standpoint, Darius's problematic showing on the Fields themselves notwithstanding. I won't heckle you about the (loooong awaited) lore reworks purportedly in the pipes, but do you feel that there's enough lore given for each character to give those inclined enough material with which to deepen their link to the character?

The link between champion's kits and their visuals is obviously vital, but often the more unusual, skeletal framework that comes with a real, working bio can mean a lot, both to the player and in the design process.

I realize this isn't super-concise or clearly-bulleted as far as questions go, but I'm curious to see if you just have any thoughts on the matter, since, alas, the Lore forums are in something of a vacuum, with only the occasional AMA to liven things up, from a Red standpoint.

EDIT: a particular note I feel is worth keeping an eye on is that "readable position in the LoL universe". Often-times, I found myself having trouble really getting into a fantasy with Syndra and Zyra (who are now apparently my go-to punching bags) were that they were so bizarre in the LoL universe: they didn't feel like they could interact with anything, they're just sort of there, (in one case literally) floating around without any reasons for interacting with anyone outside of the Fields of Justice. Not every character needs to be linked to other Champions, as can be evidenced by unusual characters like Shaco, but when they're implied to just kind of exist, without really being thought to have anything to work towards, it gets tricky. Sure, Syndra has her "take over Ionia" thing, but goals like that are too grandiose to really take seriously, in a bio format. Characters need something to do in their off hours. Even Brand is locked in a cell, which is at least an explanation.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Morello

Lead Designer

01-22-2013
7 of 22 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceruse View Post
Gameplay wise, I personally find Syndra amazingly fun, but if I understand correctly you find the ''power overwhelming'' + ''I'll prove to them that they were wrong to bind me'' themes to be executed unsatisfactorily?

Would you be so kind as to explain a bit on that if you have the time and if you don't mind? I'm curious to understand better your point of view.
Sure - I think she doesn't have all the visual and audio queues to sell the fantasy cleanly. The lines and lore make sense, but it's not full-fledged or clear enough.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Morello

Lead Designer

01-22-2013
8 of 22 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by YamiBelgarath View Post
I don't think you actually have different ideas of what it should be, or even what is important. The difference is Riot is focusing more on interesting mechanics, trying to make characters who play well, whereas ItemsGuy is focusing on role playing, on making characters where when you play, you actually feel like you are in the shoes of the person you are playing as. I think that these are things that should be connected- you cannot have one successfully without the other. Unfortunately, neither of these are complete- you have to have a full set of character creation tools, to make more Dravens and similar. You have to create a character, find them a place in the world and understand their reactions with other characters, figure out the thematic mechanics that make the character feel right, and then work out 4 interesting abilities based on that. If you skip any one step (obvious examples are mentioned throughout the thread, from Syndra to Lee Sin to Anivia), the whole thing goes slightly amiss. It doesn't have to make the champion bad- there are many players who will gladly swear by any of the above. But optimizing the champion, making the best, pretty much (in my opinion) making more of the caliber of Draven, requires using all the steps well.
Agreed on this - it's a difference in prioritization likely, though I think the argument is we can have both more consistently.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Slarg232

Senior Member

01-22-2013

So since everyone agrees that Sion is such a bad example of theme with abilities, can we expect his remake to be Soon (TM) or Not So Soon (TM)?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

YamiBelgarath

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

01-22-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdchen View Post
A (not that) quick aside with regards to Darius. As something of a classical lore junkie, (JoJ correspondent, frequent roleplayer, bio analysis) his bio generally seems to deliver on a lot of what I'd consider to be what I want in a hero's backstory. Clear, readable position in the LoL universe, motivations and thematic stylings, while also allowing for much depth and interpretation without muddying his core characteristics. A clear, understandable character who rewards deeper thinking into his motivations without damaging his overall theme, and in fact enriching it. Much debate has been had over Darius's relationship with Draven and Swain, for example.

Although obviously not as major a concern as the theming described, i.e. linking the model+splash+other art assets to the more nuts-and-bolts mechanics of a kit and making it feel cohesive and selling the "fantasy" of the character, I feel that Lore as an actual point of discussion here is a bit under-represented.

Morello, I'm not sure if you're much of a Lore guy, but how do you feel about the Lore bios and how they affect the champions that are released? In much the same way you described, there was some strangeness with, say, Zyra and Syndra in comparison to Draven and Darius, who were both gems from a Lore standpoint, Darius's problematic showing on the Fields themselves notwithstanding. I won't heckle you about the (loooong awaited) lore reworks purportedly in the pipes, but do you feel that there's enough lore given for each character to give those inclined enough material with which to deepen their link to the character?

The link between champion's kits and their visuals is obviously vital, but often the more unusual, skeletal framework that comes with a real, working bio can mean a lot, both to the player and in the design process.

I realize this isn't super-concise or clearly-bulleted as far as questions go, but I'm curious to see if you just have any thoughts on the matter, since, alas, the Lore forums are in something of a vacuum, with only the occasional AMA to liven things up, from a Red standpoint.
The trick with lore is that Riot is currently years behind- the original Runeterra which supported the first 50 odd champions is not really functional right now, since nothing has been published to explain all these odd additions. It's one of the reasons Riot is starting to hide behind tropes instead of actually giving champions a reason to exist (with obvious exceptions like Zed). I mean...they are literally just pulling things out of the jungle and inventing civilizations to explain characters, instead of building on the reasonably interesting and well formed societies that already existed.

I think the Shadow Isles is a good example of the bizarre method Riot is using to generate story. They don't have to explain why things are there, just come up with ghost stories. Many of them even have interesting tales- Thresh the cager, Elise the spider priestess, Yorick the ghost keeper....but they don't build the story. You can't DO anything with them...they just exist. Riot needs to build- use skins, sales, new lores, updated old judgments- whatever they want, there are lots of options. Make societies, explain how characters interact, who cares about whom. They can make 50 more characters if they want to, but if they don't interact the characters, it's just going to feel more like Super Smash Bros, and less like a world being decided with every match.

That's another thing I've noticed- the matches are completely ignored. There are what, like a million odd matches that occur every day, each of which means something to someone in Runeterra, and none of it is addressed. We had the brilliance of the Noxus/Ionia match...and then it went stone cold silent. Nothing- not even a peep. We never hear what we're doing means. That really hurts the role play aspect- I think. There should be more show matches, at least- let people sign up as a character to role play in tournaments and stuff. Riot doesn't have to sponsor this stuff- but making a precedent by creating one wouldn't hurt.

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm referring to champions along the lines of Fizz, Kha'zix, Rengar, Zyra. Also: yes, Kha and Rengar have a connection...but that doesn't stop them being relevant to the rest of the world. I mean, what does Rengar do when he's not at the Institute? What, really, do any of the assorted beasts and abominations and such do? Does Rengar live off in some forested area far away and then just get summoned? Is he trying to kill Kha? What is he doing about it? How are Graves and TF doing, anyways? We know Graves hates TF, and then that is suddenly the end of it. What about Shy? Is she trying to get the dragons to accept her again? Hasn't it occurred yet to Noxus that since the dragons hate Shyvana so much for being different, maybe they can join forces? And what are Swain and Darius up to, anyways? It seems like Riot has been raising questions and creating possibilities for a really long time...but we never see it go anywhere.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Morello

Lead Designer

01-22-2013
9 of 22 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItemsGuy View Post
Snip
You make some definitely good points thematically - I agree on the Brand W thing. I think, though, it does come down to a priority difference. Not just to me as a designer, but to Riot Games as a company.

Because the medium we're using to deliver characters is a core, PC, PvP game, the important driving force becomes mechanics. Other media (and indeed many games!) need not prioritize mechanics as heavily - the reason we made the decisions to make Brand less fiery was mechanical, and I'd make that decision again today (though I think the W could benefit from the burning area if it wasn't strictly unsatisfying or better than other persistent AOE's).

When I compare this to class design on GW2, the entire focus was different - and I think that work was (and, should be) more focused on theme and feel. It also results in other priority differences there, such as VFX cleanliness, mechanical fidelity, and storytelling. I think all these things are always values that you need to look at, but something has to be "more important." If everything's important, then nothing's important.

I think some examples you give are clear wins - Yorick, who lacks both thematically and mechanically, is representative of the biggest win potentials here.

I generally agree with what you're saying, I just prioritize these things differently because of the type of game League of Legends is overall. I don't think we ever want to sacrifice mechanical strength (including play pattern analysis, decision trees, etc) for thematic wins, but instead, see how we can do more of both correctly, like Draven or Vi do.

EDIT: This is a cool discussion I rarely get to have on forums