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Ding ding, class is in session, yet again.
Today we'll be going over character creation!
No, put your hand down in the back, there. We haven't touched on character creation yet. Yes, we're doing champion creation, as a whole, but character creation's a little different.
So, first off, we're going to have to cover the differences between a character and a champion!
Second, we'll touch upon why having a character design built into your champion even matters, such as how they increase the fun factor, and increase skin sales.
Third, we'll go over the idea of personality, and how this can help your design.
Finally, we'll follow up with some basics on how to make a character visually appealing, so they stand out.
Part 1: While every champion's a character, not every character's a champion.
So, let's start off with "what's a character, then?", as I'm sure this is a question that's already on your lips.
A characteristic is a feature or trait someone, or something, possesses. A character, then, is a list of characteristics combined to form a whole.
This can mean things such as personality, motivations, quirks, and so on and so forth.
In the case of a champion, this will include their lore, their appearance, speech, and their abilities. Some of each of the personality, motivations, and quirks will show through in these vehicles.
From a literary perspective, a character should be distinctive, in the sense, that if you read a statement made by that character, it should be plainly obvious who's talking, even without things like voice acting or "Bob said this" to tip the reader off.
A character stands out as being very unique and distinct from others. Perhaps they're similar, in some ways, but they're never going to be identical in their portrayal of the traits they encompass.
Consider Katarina, Sion, Swain, Riven, and Darius. All of them lay claim to being, essentially, the "face of Noxus". They each stand for what makes Noxus what it is.
In each and every case, however, they show such in a different manner. Well, except for Darius and Riven; Darius's character is essentially just a male Riven, and probably shouldn't exist in the game, from a writer's perspective, since he doesn't really bring anything new, lore-wise, to the game, and is just a re-hash of old ideas.
This can be clearly seen just by comparing the two: Riven's the "poster child of the Noxian spirit", whereas Darius is described as "There is no greater symbol of Noxian might than Darius". They essentially read almost identically, except that Riven was betrayed, which isn't a very good defining point, as they're pretty much the same character, with slight variation on the circumstances that they find themselves in.
And here, we come to my point about making a character design. Hecarim and Darius are very poorly designed characters, in that they really don't provide much of anything to the game that wasn't already available. Sure, they look different, but they fail at truly defining themselves as individuals, rather than just "generic face with list of abilities".
In contrast, Varus and Sejuani actually have good character designs, in that they have a reason to exist, motivations behind why they do what they do, as well as a personality and morals with which to define them.
It's possible to just dump a list of abilities on a page, and call it a champion, but it's bland and boring to do so, with no true life and soul behind such. The player doesn't truly get into playing a cardboard cut out the same way they do a character design that truly speaks to them, as a person, rather than a player.
Anyway, there's only so much I can touch on here, without spilling into the other sections, so let's move on to those!
Part 2: Just who do you think you are!?
I'm Rene D'anclaude. Actually, no, I'm not, but if you've watched Armitage: Polymatrix, you'd get the joke ^.~
Anyway, why is a good character design important in the first place? Why does it even matter at all?
First, and foremost, strong characterization is a great way to lure players into the game. I was interested in LoL before I knew anything of it's game play, simply because it had creative and interesting characters. Annie, Blitzcrank, Tristana, Soraka and Jax, to name a few, were brilliant designs, which stood out clearly from the mundane, generic concepts that DotA:Allstars had going for it. They were bright, colourful, and highly interesting.
Having a strong character design can be what really lures someone into playing a game in the first place, and can even become a primary source of the entertainment value. Consider playing Gentleman Cho'gath, who, with the skin's new voice overs, leads to a highly amusing game. Even if you don't particularly like Cho'gath, as a champion style to play as, you can still get wrapped up in the ridiculous concept of an enormous monster in a suit and top hat.
Each player has their own individual list of traits and ideals that they enjoy. For me, I've found that Nidalee is my preferred champion, who stands for much of my own preferences. A few of my other friends have found a home in Teemo, or Rammus.
In so doing, they're far more likely to purchase skins for their favourite champion, and they're also more likely to get their preferred champion to work, no matter how much effort it takes.
If a player hates the champion they're playing, from the very design concept, they're probably not going to bother putting much effort into them, even if the play style matches their own. If, however, they feel a kinship to that character, on a fundamental level, they'll go through hell and high water to get to play them, no matter how nerfed they may become.
This is one of the grails, of sorts, of game design, and of writing in general: to grab a reader, or player's, attention, in the form of something they can relate to. Once you have their attention, they're vastly more likely to stick around.
MMORPG's get away with this by making their players attached to their characters on a deeply personal level. Sure, it's just an abstract set of numbers, but it's *THEIR* abstract set of numbers. They like the way their character looks, how it feels, and the customization they did to make it "theirs".
In LoL, we don't exactly have customization of the character itself, so much, though we do have skins, which play a similar role. As such, if someone has a character they like using, they're far more willing, on average, to blow money on making that champion something they really enjoy. Sure, the appearance is superficial, and doesn't have any real value to game play, but you know what? In the player's mind, they really don't care, because it's worth it to them.
With strong character design, you can grab new players, hold onto them, and milk them for cash. These are exactly the things a business model seeks out relentlessly, and as such, you really want to focus heavily on this.
Half the fun of the game, honestly, is in finding a champion that really speaks to you, and making them your favourite.
Don't skimp on characterization, here. Make sure you give your champion a real personality, something that really makes them stand out. Give them something to believe in, an appearance that makes them unique, and build them up to be something that the player can relate to, in some way, shape, or form.
Part 3: Hello, I'm Bob. From accounting.
Well, we've covered that having a personality is important, so how do we go about accomplishing this?
This is actually pretty tricky to pull off, and many a fledgling writer has floundered about trying to accomplish the goal of a character with a distinct personality.
Interestingly enough, I've found that there's actually a rather easy way to describe this, of which I'll just steal directly from Babylon 5. (Apologies to J. Michael Straczynski )
Well, it's evening at the time of writing this. For me. It's still 3:30 in the afternoon in California, but you know what? Only I matter! Mwahehe!
Alright, I don't matter, but whatever.
Class is in session regardless, so grab a seat and here we go!
Tonight, we're going over the joys of inspiration! Yep, this is a big one for a lot of people!
First off, we shall go over the concepts of what inspiration even is.
Second on the list, we'll discuss where to go for inspiration.
Third, we'll cover some specific stuff about how to weave your inspirations into an actual appearance, theme, personality and so on. These are more important than you may think!
Finally, we'll close with how to avoid going too far. There's a fine line between being "inspired" and "ripped off from". Be careful not to cross this one, as it's the kind of thing that can land a lawsuit on your lap in a hurry. That and it's just bad practice.
Part 1: Inspired by the retelling of a remake of the video game that was based on the memoirs of someone who swore it was a true story!
So, what exactly is inspiration?
It comes in many names, from your Muse, to the case of C4 you use to shatter writer's block. It shows up in a lot of forms, but in the end, it basically boils down to the same thing.
Inspiration is basically what you get when you take something which already exists, and adapt it to your own uses in a creative new way.
You may notice that bit about "which already exists". That's right, inspiration doesn't exist in a vacuum. Sources of inspiration are all around you, right at this very moment. It can be anything from the way a joint on one of the toys on your desk top works, a concept you saw in that movie that's sitting on your chair that you keep meaning to watch again, or it could be something as simple as the bird that keeps ramming it's face against the window as you try to work.
The whole dealie with Archimedes discovering water displacement while in the bath tub is a form of inspiration, as a historical example. The story goes that he was given the task of proving that a crown was made of 100% pure gold as was claimed, and he couldn't think of any way to prove it. While debating the thought in the bath, he noticed the water level raised as he sank into the water, and supposedly ran through the streets yelling "EUREKA!" buck naked.
The idea was that, by observing the world around him, he was able to apply a concept that was relevant to his problem at hand, and solve it.
In Aliens, as I mentioned in the "index B" version of inspiration, they used the Spider Wasp as a basis for the concept behind the Xenomorph, and based it's look off of a similar insectoid look, and it's been an icon of action/horror movies ever since!
In short, anything, and everything, around you can act as inspiration. From real life naturally existing stuff, through to historical information, or even stuff you see on TV or read in books, everything you see and touch is potentially a source of inspiration.
This is why it's so important to subject yourself to as many experiences as possible! Watch movies, read books, play games! It doesn't even matter if they're your favourite genre or not, so long as you see MORE STUFF!
The more stuff you know about, the more sources of inspiration you have to draw upon, and therefore, the better the chances that you'll be able to make something even more epic than you would have been capable of otherwise!
Heck, just look at the intro titles to each chapter I put up in each section, if nothing else! There's on average 4 per article, and probably a good 60-75% of them are direct quotes from other locations, either movies, tv shows, books, songs, or well known puns / jokes.
So, now that you know where to look for inspiration (everywhere! ), what are you going to do with it?
Ah, well that's what we're going to get into next. Hold your horses, and don't run off trying to use this information just yet. You need to first learn to temper and reforge this inspiration. It's only in a latent state, right now, and we're going to cover how to mold it from just being a carbon copy, into something that's truly unique.
We don't want you just copying a character from a movie 1 for 1. No, what we're looking for, here, is for you to turn the Battleship board game into a bloody movie. Inspiration doesn't mean "rip off", so, let's get into how to do this!
Part 2: Alright this is easy, just go northeast by south-southwest baring 374 degrees latitude, take your thirty-seventh door on the left, then a right past the pickles, behind the mayo and to the left of the custard which has probably gone slightly moldy. Seriously, you can't miss it!
Alright, alright, so inspiration is *EVERYWHERE*. That sure is helpful, isn't it?
Yeah, let's narrow that down a bit.
You're not really looking to pull ideas from just "anywhere", really, so much as you are seeking out things which help with the particular situation you're in. At any given moment, you're attempting to work on a particular problem, as that's what your brain tends to like doing, even if you hate it, personally.
Puzzles exist all over the place, and they can be as silly as "what should I have for supper?" to things directly related to your champion, like "I need an ability for my W and I have... nothing...", or you could even be in a more fundamental problem of "I want to make... stuff. I have no idea what.".
If you just sit there and stare blankly at an empty page, you're going to be sitting there for an awfully long time, stuck in the hopeless box of writer's block, and no matter how hard you stare, it's flat out not going to go away, of that I can pretty much guarantee you. Sometimes you may get an idea, but it's pretty rare.
No, your best option is to go out and find sources of inspiration to clear out the block by force.
So where do you go for a source of inspiration? Well... that depends on the problem. Right now you just went from "no inspiration", by staring at your blank sheet of paper (or monitor! ), and now have a staggering overkill of inspiration since you're now looking at the internet. Great, too much information can be even worse than none at all. At least when you had none, you knew you could do something about it, now that you've got so much junk piled up, you're not even sure where to begin!
Well, have no fear, standard problem solving procedures take effect here!
First off, identify what the problem you have is, exactly. We'll say you're making a "water" champion, for the sake of argument, because I hate it when we get these things on the forum and every bloody ability they have is "Throws water at a target, healing them or splashing them for damage". C'mon, you can do better than that, and I'll show you how.
So, your problem is you're making a water champion, but all you can think about is that one word. "Water". Every single thing you think about comes back to water, over and over like a broken record (and I'm old enough to remember listening to music on vinyl! ), but you're stuck there and can't get out of it.
The problem isn't that you need something watery. You've already got water for that. What you need is something to go with the water to help make it more interesting.
See, a single dimensional champion simply doesn't have anything going for them. Having "Hydro the Hydromancer!" is pretty much worthless, because you're stuck with... water, water, and... oh yeah, more water.
So where can you go for the inspiration you need, now that we know we need something other than water? Well, first and foremost, consider things that are nearby the water, or are related to such. Pirates are often a good place to start, but then again, so are exotic fish.
Ever seen an angler fish? Creepy stuff! They literally have a tasty "treat" on the end of an extension of their body that hangs out in front of their face, that they treat like a fishing rod for smaller fish, then eat them when they get close. Think you could make a "bait" champion by tossing in a watery apparition of a target which creates a double of them and makes them run by at low health, luring an enemy into wasting an attack, or getting out of position to get what looks like a free kill.
How about a hermit crab? You could have a few different shells you could swap between back at base, letting you change how your champion plays with the same itemization.
What about a cuttlefish, a type of squid, capable of flashing strobe lights over it's skin in various colours literally thousands of times per second, able to practically cause a seizure in an enemy, or make them turn into a chameleon of sorts. Why not try out an ability which blinds any champions who are looking your way when you activate it?
Bam, three random fish and three new abilities, fit for making you a new and interesting champion.
To narrow down where you're going for inspiration, focus on what it is you're trying to work with.
Note that "water" isn't the only way to work with a water champion. An antipodal champion which mixes fire and water together, creating steam, could also make for some pretty awesome effects! Consider if you had a water spell that made the ground slippery, reducing movement speed or causing enemies to skid on ice, and then you lob a fireblast at it and it flash-evaporates the ice/water into steam, scorching the enemy so they're silenced!
This is just using the opposite of water, though, but there's so many other ways to work with. I had a friend (actually it was ElementSteel on the forum here) who made a crazy flying monkey pirate that had an addiction to dancing to a magic box for a D&D campaign.
That's right, D&D. Characters you've used elsewhere, in role playing, old fan fiction from high school, and so on, are all fair game! Stuff your friends have done are also valid choices. Seriously, anything you've seen in your entire life is a valid option, but try to stick to things that seem vaguely related in some way.
In another vein of thought, however, you also want to be distinctive enough that it doesn't feel like it's just more of the same.
Appearance is a tricky thing! If your champion's boring, or just doesn't stand out... well... it kinda sucks, honestly, but they won't be that much fun. If you don't have a name or mental thought of what they should look like, have no back story, and so on, then it doesn't matter how neat you think their abilities are, they're just a string of numbers, not a "character" to play as.
Half the fun of playing Cho'gath is his Gentleman skin! I swear I get more fun out of role playing as Mundo, than I do from actually playing him XD
If you stick to a single source of inspiration, it's awfully hard to get ideas which are that awesome. The more you mix and match it up, the better the chances you have of hitting on something that's unique and interesting, so long as you don't stray too far from your original source material.
See, that's the big problem, is it's possible to do "water" related stuff, and the opposite, fire, as well as things like pirates or so on, but how far is too far? Why can't you mix Lasers with Water?
Well, technically, you could, but it's a bit of a jump and it doesn't feel intuitive. If you're god's gift to character creation, you could probably pull it off, but since you're reading the guide, here, I'm going to assume that you're not, for the sake of argument.
What I would personally suggest, is staying within 2 leaps of logic from the original source material.
This means if you started with WATER, then your first jump would be PIRATE, and your second jump would be NINJA.
Alright, a shark-ninja could be pretty neat, admittedly. What else?
WATER jumps to GIANT SQUID jumps to B MOVIE MONSTER. Zomg, giant THEM ants! A swarming carpet of water ants that can rear up in a tidal wave, pushing the swarm forwards, or can dissipate and run in a variety of locations, then reform at a new spot!
Past the second jump of logic, however, it starts to get a little bit silly, as you're already outside of the realm of common sense. This starts to make things difficult to correlate back to the original design, whereas you could still backtrack Ninjas to Pirates, and make it into how the previous Ionian ninja was lost at sea when they were fighting Gangplank's father in a classic duel to the death on the high seas, only to turn out that they'd been blessed by pre-transformation Soraka before their trip, and when they were felled, knocked into the ocean floor beneath, they instead lived, and sustained themselves upon the abundance of life at the ocean floor, but as she was corrupted for cursing Warwick, it broke her blessing, and the ninja was gained part of the curse's fallout, being afflicted with the ocean life around him, turning him into a creepy ninja-landshark, and now has decided to stalk the land in search of the one who caused all these problems, only to find Gangplank, and figuring it was "Close enough", so joins the league to get at his enemy's progeny.
We're talking some really screwed up stuff here, already XD
Still, letting your mind wander like this can be just the ticket to getting you some really awesome ideas! We could give our shark-ninja some awesome throwing starfish! Tell me *THAT* isn't a pun worth implementing ^.~
The point is, wandering too far off course gets you in some really weird places, that don't really make much sense, so I personally recommend the 2-leaps of logic rule to keep things relatively on track. Anything past that just gets strange and difficult to incorporate into a design.
Part 3: We wove a weave which wrought wrenching wounds!
Yeah, you see that alliteration thing up there? That's actually where I'm going with things.
It's one thing to have inspiration, but it's quite another to turn that inspiration into something actually useful that you can implement into your champion design.
That 2-leaps-of-logic rule applies here pretty harshly, since it's hard to work your way back, once you start making some big jumps. If you keep it relatively close, as with the Water -> Pirate -> Ninja, it's not too hard to come up with horrible things like that bad throwing starfish from earlier.
Even so, this isn't enough. Okay, so he has throwing starfish. Great. That's... great. What else?
We need more than just that, we need a silhouette, a personality, a visually recognizable concept... something to make them seem like they should be how they play like!
Well, have no fear, inspiration comes to the rescue once again! That's right, it's really that versatile and can be forced to do almost anything at gunpoint ^.^
So, we have a shark ninja. Sweeeeet. Of course, a shark ninja doesn't seem very much like a ninja... what does a ninja do, anyway?
I guess a shark ninja would be sort of a samurai more than a ninja, maybe. Kelp armour? Mmm doesn't quite fit. How about coral? Ah, there we go! Build a samurai suit out of coral, with a guy with a ninja headband made from kelp, and a tridant and throwing starfish!
Alright, well that's pretty bloody distinctive, I suppose XD
Does it... look like an actual champion class though?
Ah, well, let's move on to the next section, then, and cover that in a little more detail. It's easy to get too far off track, so let's see what we can do to keep from being swept off with the current ^.^
Part 4: "The ball is going back, Smith is chasing it, it's still going back, Smith jumps, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to the infield. This is a terrible day for the Padres!" -- A San Diego Padres announcer. ~San Diego Padres Announcer
Well, now we've swung a bit off of the ninja aspect of things, and are going more with a samurai, so this suggests a bruiser, since coral armour's probably not the wisest of choices to use as a tank, as the actual samurai can attest that wood sucks against gunfire. (Just me, but I'd suggest wood wouldn't hold up too well to fireballs, either, unless you're' saturated in magic like Maokai. )
The trident gives a nice feel of being able to pull someone in, a la spear fishing, so perhaps we should consider the idea of an ability which "stabs in a straight line, and drags an enemy back". It wouldn't be as long ranged as Blitzcrank's, and we could perhaps change things up a bit where the trident could have secondary effects, but it gives us a feel of what the champion should do just based upon their appearance.
Akali "looks" like a sneaky ninja, so she does the invisibility and such quite well. Shen "looks" like he should be a big tanky guy who evades attacks or simply prevents them like a ninja would. Kennen "looks" like a Kennen, and you get the feeling you could punt him pretty far akin to a football, and, go figure, he crack-balls right into the enemy team remarkably well!
Anyway, for our shark-ninja / samurai we've got going here as an example, we really want to emphasize a personality to go with it.
Off our wanna-be lore, we came up with them being an Ex-Ionian ninja that got corrupted and has a grudge against Gangplank's family. This gives us a place to start, but we might want to also fill in a bit of that sharkyness to things too. This gives us a great number of places to pull ideas from, into building up an overall feel of the champion's personality.
Considering their fall from grace, and loss of their position, as well as the curse placed upon them, inadvertently, by Soraka, they may be of the "screw balance in all things" mindset now, and focus on charging in jaws first. (Like that Jaws reference? Yeah, you know it's a good pun when it inflicts physical pain in the form of a headache ^.~ )
So, we have that he's a bruiser, and kind of GRRR at the whole ninja ideal, as well as GRRR, mostly just in general. Okay, it's a bit generic, but we can dump in some references to his old life, some stuff about hating Vincent the Shadow, and that sort of dealie, to give him a gruff demeanor, which works well with a bruiser-type champion.
We also have a shark in coral samurai-esque armour and wielding a trident, which should give a pretty good idea that we're talking about a melee bruiser here.
Everything has to line up, as odd as that sounds, as if something's completely out of whack, it just feels... weird.
I mean, picture if you went to play Shaco, and he turned out to be a low damage support/tank hybrid. His attitude, his daggers, his face... it all cries out "I WANNA KILL YOOOUUUU". If you break that expectation that a player has, it really hurts their impressions of the character, and may actually make them dislike a champion they otherwise would have enjoyed!
Your two main options are to play up to a stereotype, or to go directly against it by flipping things 180. This sounds counterintuitive, but it works in that people now kind of expect the reverse to be true, since it's been so overdone that it's become cliche in and of itself XD
The thing is, you can't just do something way out in left field for no apparent reason! Your audience, which in this case happens to be players, has a set of expectations they have that need to be fulfilled. If you play up to those expectations, and reward them for it (the good guy wins in the end! ), they'll be satisfied. If you flip it 180 on occasion (the good guy died, by sacrificing themselves to save the world! ), they'll be happy that you're spicing things up. If you just do something strange that makes no sense (the good guy actually never existed, and it was all just a myth, and some other guy you've never heard of did all the work this whole time ), a few art students may find it awesome, and you might garner a niche cult following, but other than that, it's mostly going to be met with blank stares and people being disappointed.
Inspiration has to tie in with the end goal of everything meshing together well. By using your sources of inspiration appropriately, you can weave almost anything into something which makes sense, no matter how outlandish it is, but it's a lot easier if you play up to certain stereotypes.
On the other hand, you don't want to be "too" obvious about stereotypes. The real trick about awesome design, is you want to make the connection intuitive, without it feeling like "Oh. One of THOSE guys again...". It should make logical sense on an innate level, without being so blatantly obvious that it's been overdone to the point that it's a well known cliche.
If you stick to the 2nd jump of logic rule that I've come up with, it typically seems to keep things within the capacity to hold together before they get too far out of hand, however =3
In the end, inspiration will tie everything you have together on a fairly natural level, if you let it, so long as you keep it relatively close to home. Don't run off the deep end with your sources of inspiration, and you'll probably be fine with keeping them together when it comes to melding it into a single, unified whole ^.^
Anyway, that's it for tonight, so class dismissed!
YO YO YO SUP, MAH HOMIES, MAH PEEPS, MAH SUPDAWGS!?
Yeah, you can slap me if I ever say that again.
Anyway, class is in session! WOO!
So, today we're going to be covering unique ideas! Or more specifically, that they don't exist! O.o;;
I know, it's a strange concept, so bare with me!
First off, we'll have to go over the concept of what "unique" really is, before we can go much further. Start with the basics, first, after all, right?
Second, once we have that down, we can move onto the concept of why "unique" doesn't really exist as such. Specifically, this plays heavily on the whole "inspiration" dealie.
Third, there are things that haven't been done before. Sometimes... there's an awfully good reason for this. I'll be covering things like "monsterous" champions and such, healing skillshots, and so on!
Last on the list is how to make your abilities more interesting and "unique", despite that they technically aren't. This isn't about doing something "new", so much as it is about doing something that's proven to work, in a new way.
Anyway, we've got a lot to cover today, so let's get started! Labcoats on, please, because today... we do this... FOR SCIENCE!
*Cackles maniacally, and puts on goggles*
Part 1: Always remember that you are a unique snowflake. Just like every other flake out there.
Alright, so I have said, and hold to, the statement that there is no such thing as "unique".
If we consider this to be true, how can that be? Are we not all unique in our own ways? Are our champions not unique in that they differ from each other?
Before anything else, clearly we must define unique!
For the sake of argument, I'll provide my own definition, as it pertains to this matter at hand. Unique is based off the prefix "uni", as in singular. There can only be one thereof. There's nothing like it, no predecessor, no earlier version, no inspiration and no precedent. If something is truly unique, it exists outside of anything that has ever been done before.
Obviously, as we've covered in inspiration, this can't realistically occur. Everything you create, is based on something else. Everything you make, is a rehash of an old idea made new. Everything you've done, someone else did first, in some way, shape, or form.
There are no unique ideas. There are no unique champions. Everything existed before you.
This isn't a bad thing, despite what you may be thinking. It means you have previous models you can evaluate, to see how they perform, and where they can be improved upon. You have ideas and sources of inspiration that can be combined in new and interesting ways, that will lead to a far more interesting design. You have failed attempts and mistakes, trailing back to the dawn of MOBAs, that you can look back upon and go "Well, that didn't work... I wonder why?", and begin to answer that question by tackling the problem yourself.
The end goal, here, is to make a champion that is a new "mixture" of various aspects, that brings something new to this particular game, League of Legends in our case, that hasn't been provided before.
This can show up in many forms, from a new personality, new mechanics, new play style, and so on and so forth. The ideas, themselves, are not new, however. How they're put together and amalgamated into a whole, is.
The key thing this section focuses upon, is drilling into your head that you aren't trying to be a unique snowflake. You aren't trying to be "different for the sake of being different". Anything you do has to be done for a reason, and that reason invariably has to be "because it will make the game more fun". If you do something "because it's different!", and ignore the concept of it being fun... well, let's just say that there are reasons why some things haven't been done before.
This, conveniently, segues into our next part!
Part 2: Pft, I've been different since before it was cool to be different! Obviously you people are just emulating me!
There's a distinct difference between doing something new for a purpose, and doing something new just because you can. I bet you I could break every bone in my legs in 47 different places and then tie them into a fisherman's knot. I'm also reasonably sure this would be one of the stupidest things I could possibly do, and would not really provide any particular benefit to having done so.
The end goal of your champion is to be fun. Keep that in mind above all else. If you aren't having fun, then you really haven't accomplished anything.
To that end, there are only a few key things which work towards being "fun", and everything else is a variation on a theme.
One of the biggest ones, a huge primordial one which was discovered at it's core, and expanded upon back in Diablo 1 by Bill Roper and the rest of the design team at Blizzard at the time, was the simple concept of "Kill -> Reward".
Yep, really is that simple, and still in use to this day, even in LoL itself.
You kill something, and you get something for doing it. It's a simple detour down the road of "push button, receive food pellet" concept they use with labrats, but it works great on humans too, on a primal level, where your aggressive tendencies are rewarded on an instinctual level.
By being aggressive and deadly, you get a bonus for such. You kill a minion, you get a gold and exp bonus. You kill a weak enemy champion, they're a little more dangerous than a minion, so you get a bigger benefit. If you kill an overleveled fed champion who's been wrecking your entire team, you get a nice big fat reward. If you take 3-5 people to tear down Roshan or Baron Nashor, or whatever your particular game has for a "mini-boss", you get a huge bonus.
The harder the task, the bigger the reward. If you accomplish something difficult, you want to feel you were proportionately rewarded for doing so. If you got a huge reward for something easy... it gets kind of boring after awhile. You may notice that people often get bored of bot games (co-op vs AI), in that they really are pretty easy, and your reward just... doesn't match the difficulty of the task.
It's a strange thing, but getting a disproportionate reward to the effort put into something, regardless of whether it's "too little" or "too much", both have negative consequences, psychologically.
If your player doesn't feel like they truly earned the reward they were given, they'll feel guilty for accepting it, or grow bored of such as it's not a challenge. This is why you don't see a huge burly maximum level character in MMORPG's running around the level 1 starting zones mass slaughtering things for very long. They might go back out of spite, and gain some small, smug sense of satisfaction, but it quickly wears off when there's no challenge to be had.
The only reason that some players are able to feel satisfaction in butchering easy targets, is if there's some additional factor that they enjoy being added on top of it. In some people's cases, it's simply to make them feel more powerful than they are. In other cases, they simply can't have fun unless someone else isn't, and if they're not particularly good enough at playing a game so that they can do so by making the other team lose, then they begin trolling their own team wherein they don't need to have an ounce of skill to piss off a large number of people in one go.
The problem is, these are the trolls of the game that we don't actually want to cater to.
For the players that are actually playing the game for the sake of having fun, and are doing PvP because of the challenge factor, these are the ones where the difficulty needs to match the reward.
There are other factors, besides this. Just kill -> reward, is not enough. It's a nice starting place, and on an instinctive level, it works great, but it does eventually lose it's addictive properties if you don't weave in other factors to strengthen it.
Consider something such as a champion which is actually fun to play, not because they get kills, but because they simply have really fun mechanics. Draven, in particular, is pretty awesome to use, not because he's strong, though that helps, but primarily because his mechanics are actually really interesting to use.
Your purpose for doing something "new", is to capture the feel of a new form of presentation. You're not reinventing the wheel. The wheel already exists, so you're not being unique by making your wheel fancier than a standard wheel. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do so, however. Deck your wheel out with bling and polish it to a shine until it blinds people to look at it. Then you can sell seeing eye-dogs and make a profit!
...We'll pretend that made sense.
Moving right along!
Our goal here is to blend a mixture of game play elements together into something that is really more fun than the sum of the parts put into such. Mundo's pretty awesome, because he's Mundo. Even so, his kit is a little lack luster, and not nearly as enjoyable as it could be, as the only real thing he has going for him is his cleaver spam, which is pretty neat, but kind of lonely in that it's pretty much all he has, other than his personality.
To make a really fun champion, takes melding many aspects together, from their personality, to their appearance, their animations, their skill set, everything has to all incorporate into a whole that meshes together well.
As is covered in this series elsewhere, you really do want to have your entire champion concept work together as a unified whole. If you look at a champion's splash art, you should know right off the bat what to expect. You look at Graves and go "you know, I bet I know how he acts, how he talks, and how he sounds, and even how he plays." You enter the game, pick him up and... yep, he looks, talks, and sounds just right, he acts exactly like he should, and his game play is pretty much what you would expect. As a whole, he simply "works".
Personally, I hate Graves' personality, but that's just because he goes against my own preferences pretty heavily. I fully accept that, as a character design, he's a masterpiece. I hate his ultimate being so bland, and I hate his personality, but to be perfectly blunt, he's not made for me to play.
That's another major thing you're going to have to learn... being unique doesn't necessarily mean you're doing a good job. Actually, it usually means that you aren't doing a good job at all. You want to appeal to a niche market which hasn't yet been tapped into previously by the game, but at the same time, you also want to make sure that there actually is a market in the first place.
This is where we run into our third section today.
Part 3: Who cares if it isn't popular? Low sales just mean it's even more hip and underground, man!
Well, let's face it, Riot, as with every other game company out there, is out there to make a profit.
Even so, they're not there to be greedy, they're there to make a game that they, themselves, enjoy playing. They want to be like "yeah, I made this, and it is AWESOME!".
You can fully make a profit while making something that's fun at the same time! The trick is to aim for things that a larger audience will appreciate and purchase.
As such, you have various champions who will be tuned towards different individuals and groups. Some of these markets are larger than others. A lot of the most basic archtypes already exist in the game, catering to the largest audience already. Now, they're gradually aiming for targeted audiences who like the game, but just haven't quite found "their" champion yet, the one that they'd love to pour money into for skins and so on.
For me, I'm lucky; Nidalee is basically "my" champion, being a potent siege/support champion with high mobility and healing. Her personality, appearance, and everything just works well with me.
I also realize, however, that not everyone's going to love Nidalee. Some people actually like Graves, as stated before. Graves is awesome for those people, as Nidalee is awesome to me. Great! That's what you want to capture, that feeling of "this is MY champion!".
The trick is, however, that you also need to be able to make that champion interesting to enough people to pay for the labour that goes into making that champion in the first place.
Hate to break it to you, but games are not magically free. It costs money in wages, in oil to heat/cool a building, for the computers, for the software, etc etc the list goes on seemingly forever. To make a skin takes an awful lot of time and energy. To make a champion, even longer, usually. Seriously, most people on the forum here honestly believe it takes 2 weeks to create a champion.
No, no it does not. It's closer to 9 months, due to market research, play testing, modeling, animating, and so on. Many of these steps can only be done in a specific order, and can't be done until the others are completed. There's no real way to do the particle effects until you've got the animations down. You can't do the animations until the rig's finished. You can't do the rig until you have the mesh. You can't do the mesh until you have concept art, and you can't have concept art until you have a concept to make the art of in the first place.
The list of things that has to be done to make a champion, and the hours spent building them, is enormous. You're looking at literally hundreds to thousands of work hours to make a champion, and the only revenue they get to pay for that effort comes through people buying RP to spend on skins and champions.
As such, if you want something that's awesome, you need to charge a lot for it, as people discovered with the whole Pulsefire Ezreal skin. It's expensive as hell, but considering the time and effort put into it, and the low number of sales it'll generate, they're forced to price it high to recoup the losses on wages spent making him in the first place.
Here's your problem...
We're here to make something that's awesome. To make something awesome, however, you have to keep in mind that there's often a very good reason as to why something has never been done before. Being "unique" just because no one else has done it before can often mean you're doing something very stupid that may wind up placing you on the "Winner" list of the Darwin Awards, a dubious award to achieve at that.
In this case, making something that isn't particularly good at catching a player's attention doesn't really work.
There's a few examples of these kinds of things, with some major ones being things like "swarm" champions, where the champion looks like they could be just one of a larger number (ie generic soldier), or a "monster" champion.
These have been specifically argued against by Morello himself, for a very good reason - it's hard to accept these as having a personality, no matter how much you try to fix that problem. If a player doesn't relate to the champion, they just... don't really get it. And if they don't get it, they don't really want to play them much, no matter how awesome their skill set is.
Urgot is borderline OP, as of the writing of this post, but he rarely gets played, not because his abilities suck, but because he's just not that interesting to play as. He's fat, he's ugly, and he's kind of bland.
People will play the champions they're attracted to. Even though Teemo's generally considered underpowered as hell right now, he's still got a ton of skins for him. Know why? Because Teemo is CUTE! Many players play Teemo simply because they like his character design. He's fun to play, and attractive in a way, and as such, people play Teemo, and buy Teemo skins, even if he sucks at tournament level play.
My point here, is that there's often very good reasons for why something's never been done before. We don't get "monster" champions, because it's hard to associate a personality to them. Some, you can get away with. Most of them, they just don't really translate all that well to a personality. Rammus gets away with it simply because he's Rammus, and people tend to make an imaginary personality for him, such as... well... this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8cSYQ9EkOQ&feature=g-all-u
Sorry for the external link, but it gives you the idea of what I mean better than I can say in words XD
Anyway, as I was saying, monstrous champions just... don't really get a personality very easily. Consider that you can be bad-ass, like Darth Vader, but that he intentionally was given the featureless mask for the express purpose of removing his humanity, and severing the connection with him on an intrinsic level. You're not supposed to actually sympathize with him, he's supposed to just be a terrifying being that has no humanity left in him.
While this is great for a villain you're supposed to fight against, it kind of sucks in terms of someone you want to play "as".
You can line up an endless horde of termogaunts in 40k, and they get kinda scary when you realize that, if you butchered a thousand of them, it'd just mean that you'd now have a wall of dead termogaunts that the next thousand would use as a ramp to leap off of to land on top of you.
The thing is... alright, so you have a thousand termogaunts, so how do you make a "champion" that stands out as the leader of all termogaunts? How do you make there be a central figure that really cries out that they are worthy as a champion of their people?
In the end, it's not that easy to do, and takes an awful lot of additional time and effort, for minimal effectiveness.
Omen suffered partially from this, among a few other issues, which is why he got canceled. He was... generic bio-monster #5,782 and didn't really look like he had a personality. Even though they went out of their way to try to give him one, he just didn't really catch on.
The end point here, is that you want to be different enough to provide a reason for your player to want to play your champion, instead of someone else's, but you don't want to be so different as to alienate them entirely.
Other issues are things like the dreaded "healing skill shot". Consider that the purpose of a skill shot is that it provides game play on both the allied, and enemy side. The caster fires a skill shot, aiming it so it either hits where the enemy is this moment, or leads them for where they will be. They use bushes, fog of war, and all sorts of tricks to land that Nidalee spear. In turn, the enemy is able to dodge out of the way, do feints, and so on to fight back against such. It's a two way street, really.
In the case of a healing skill shot... it doesn't work that way. Alright, so you fired your heal and... why would anyone ever dodge it? This is what we call a "false choice", in that it presents to you the option to do something where there's only one right answer, and it looks like there's other options, but there aren't.
The problem is compounded, in that there's no benefit to a heal being a skill shot, as there's no counter play given to the other player involved. There's fun taken away, when you miss your heal, or hit the wrong target, or if someone dies while it's in flight, but you simply don't get any additional satisfaction out of it being a skill shot, only fun taken away.
There's a dozen other reasons I could cover as to why a healing skill shot should never be added to the game, despite that it'd be "unique", but once we hit the "it simply isn't fun" wall, the discussion ends there. I don't need any further reasoning. It's a mechanic that simply adds nothing to the game and isn't enjoyable. There is zero reason to ever add it to the game. It doesn't matter what other reasons I have, because as soon as it's not fun, the skill is dead, and there is nothing that can revive it short of making it fun again, and to do that, you'd have to remove it from being a skill shot, which defeats the whole purpose as now it's not a healing skill shot anymore.
See, just because something hasn't been done before, doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it now.
Often, this is the case. An idea comes that is like "Oh wow, no one's done this before! This is going to be so UNIQUE!". Well, consider the problems with it, and try to figure out why it's never been done before. There could very well be a very potent reason, or several even, as to why it's never been done.
Remember, everything you do has to be intentional. You add something because it adds something to the game, and how fun your champion is. You don't just add stuff by spinning a wheel and picking random abilities from a list, or rolling a die to find out what to add. It may be "unique", but it doesn't mean it's fun.
In the end, your goal is to make a fun champion to play as. Make sure all of your choices are done so with the express intent of making them more fun than they already are, and never, under any circumstance, make a choice simply because it's "different", without any reason beyond that.
Part 4: You call that snowflake unique? Naw, that ain't nothin! I'll show you unique! Just... as soon as I figure out how to attach a flame thrower to a snowflake without it melting...
Alright, so nothing's unique, and most of the stuff that hasn't been done before, probably hasn't been done for a very good reason.
This certainly isn't to say that you shouldn't attempt to make your stuff more interesting, it just means you actually need to think about why and how you're going to make more interesting.
The answer to "why", is the easy one here. To make it more fun!
If it isn't going to be more fun, then you may as well stop right there.
The how part, however, is a little bit more tricky than that, due to it being such an open ended question.
Just tacking on "more stuff", rarely is the correct answer. Making an ability that deals damage, and slows, and silences, and increases attack speed if used on an ally, and damages for a flat value, and damages for a % value, and damages for both physical and magical, and also does AoE damage, and also causes the stars to align, and makes pigs fly, and and and and and STUFF.
Alright, yeah, back down there, just dumping more stuff onto a skill over and over doesn't make it better. It often just makes it convoluted and messy, and when you have similar effects overlapping, such as armour penetration and attack speed, both of which increase physical damage output, it can really start to get messy to figure out exactly how powerful it really is, when they both amplify the strength of the other's effects.
As such, you really need to wrack your brain on this! You don't want to do the same ol', same ol' that has always been done, but at the same time, you don't want to just throw stuff needlessly at the problem, either.
As I've said over and over before, you want to take direct charge of your design. Think of what you need to do before you do it, in particular. You need a way for your ranged champion to avoid getting attacked by melee? Hrm, well the obvious options are both present on Tristana; she either moves herself out of melee, or moves her enemy out of melee. Either way, they aren't in melee with her anymore.
Ashe slows or stuns an enemy, and simply walks away, while Twitch slows a target then runs away until he turns invisible and can't be caught.
There's a dozen ways to get out of melee range, from blinding an enemy so that they aren't even sure where you are to attack in the first place, to abilities which make you harder to follow, such as Anivia's wall dropping impassable terrain in between the two of you.
Regardless, the end point is that you want to isolate what options you have to do something. After you have a list made up, consider which ones haven't been done before, or see if any of them cry out to you that you could do so in a new way than has previously been done.
What about a ranged champion that puts up a wall in front of her, similar to Anivia's, but that the wall isn't impassable terrain, but instead, the wall acts like a giant trampoline or bouncer from a pinball table? As soon as that nasty bruiser dashes at you, he gets flung like a ragdoll away, if he tries to come at you from the direction of the wall, without walking around it.
Maybe the bouncer wall is a 360 degree dealie, but has a very short life expectancy, similar to a spell shield on Nocturne or Sivir, so you have to blow it either when the enemy is in the middle of their dash, or before they dash, to buy you a few seconds of them hanging around at the edge, waiting for it to drop?
This is just one example (well, a few I guess), but it's never been done before. It's still just a combonation of Aniva's wall paired with Janna's ultimate, but that's the beauty of it... it's taking things which already exist, and blending them together into something new.
No, it's not unique, but it is something that didn't exist in the game in that manner until now, and can now be used to make your champion that much more interesting to play as.
Mix and match abilities. Pull benefits from one and merge them into another like some really weird version of a bartender.
Whatever you do, don't just pull random stuff out of your head without direction or reason, though. Keep yourself focused on the task at hand; you have a champion that needs to get into combat range somehow, so find a method that they can employ that will let them do so. Your key goal there, is to ensure it's something that lets them in combat range, most likely melee.
Regardless of how you do things, ensure you're thinking about it at the time and that you're using several sources of inspiration together. After you have it figured out, simplify the ability down to it's basic components of what it needs to do. It's easy to get carried away tacking on more and more stuff, and then just being left with a big mess. Ensure that each aspect of an ability has a particular function for a particular reason.
Follow that, and you'll probably be fine =3
Anyway, for the moment, that's all I have! I hope you enjoy making your champions more fun and interesting now, without the risks of just making a mess by trying to be a trendsetter, without understanding what makes something a trend in the first place!
Good luck on your future and current designs!
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow... you can then eat drink and be merry again? No reason not to do it every day, honestly. ^.^
Anyway, class is in session once again!
Today, we're going to be discussing the wonderful world of DIDNEY WORL! That or Lore. Whichever. Same thing really, assuming you have borderline terminal brain damage.
So, what are we going to cover in specific? A few things, really! We've already covered a lot on appearance and character design, so I'm also going to drop in some stuff about making a character that's actually likeable, which begins with their background and personality. These are reflected in their lore, so this is as good of a spot as any to put them!
First, we'll go over how to make a winning personality! This actually is not as easy as you may think, due to the wide range of people who play the game!
Second, we'll touch on various aspects of how a champion should be presented (these are the 4 questions again from earlier! ) to the community.
Third, we'll then have to take a minor detour in how to write a character that integrates themselves into the existing intellectual property (LoL's current lore, essentially ), without stepping on anyone's toes or making your champion cause people to facepalm, while at the same time still making them neat =3
The last thing we'll discuss today, will be how to use your lore to add additional depth to your champion design. Much of this was covered under inspiration, but keep in mind that lore is both inspired, and inspiring; it converts your raw ideas into useful resources!
So then, let's go! TO DIDNEY WORL! I mean... oh whatever...
Part 1: "I once knew a fellow from Taiwan who attempted the same sort of reinvention and the strain eventually got the better of him... but then, he was always prone to stress. It turned out he had a Taipei personality."
"In about two minutes, I'm going to get that and roll my eyes." - D.C. Simpson, Ozzy & Millie
RAWR! I sure am scary, huh? ...What do you mean I'm not scary? I used caps and everything!
As you can see, there's a little more that goes into making a character fit the personality type you want them to fill, than simply saying they do. Even beyond that, lining their personality up with their play style can be tricky as well!
Having a character is one thing, having a cohesive character that actually makes sense to the player in a way that they intuitively accept, is a little bit more difficult to accomplish. So, here's where we go over how to ensure your design matches up and is a real winner!
Now, as of this writing, I haven't done the previous chapter "unique doesn't exist", but for the sake of argument, we'll say I have. The brief rundown of things, however, is that you can make something unique pretty easily, but most of the time, there's a pretty good reason why something hasn't been done before.
Let's take the example of a champion who's supposed to be a brutal looking, hulking ogre with a massive club and speaks in even more broken english than Mundo. He's a bruiser, straight up, no doubt. How do you even know this? Well... the giant club assumes damage, especially melee damage, and his personality (kinda dumb) and appearance (big hulking slab of muscles) implies heavily that he can take a beating, and dish one back out again.
It would then, of course, be rather startling to find that he uses his club as a wand, speaks 137 other languages fluently, and is a support champion that prances around in ballet shoes.
While this is highly entertaining as a one-off joke, it just... doesn't quite do what people expect. In a literary sense, that can be good, as you can lead people down one path, then have a surprise waiting for them at the end!
In terms of LoL, however, you're not trying to surprise them. You're attempting to meet their expectations. They see a big hulking brute, and they bloody well WANT a big hulking brute! They want to be chewing on skulls and the closest thing they want to come to a delicacy is the joys of popping their opponent's eyeballs like grapes.
If you fail to provide that for them, then the players aren't going to be amused, and they aren't going to flock to the champion in droves to buy it. As an off-skin? Sure! Gentleman Cho'gath is one of my favorite skins in the game, and totally worth being a legendary, as is Corporate Mundo!
That being said, however, these are skins, not the base design. Give these humourous options to players as a possibility they can actively select, not an enforced rule that makes him tilt their head and wonder WTF the designers were smoking. Especially because then you might start getting phone calls asking about where they can get some for themselves.
Anyway, you want to have everything line up.
This means the following:
Class is back in session. Time for some summer classes. I hope you're ready, since we're going to be plowing through a lot of material in a remarkably short time in the next few weeks.
Now then, today we're going to be covering naming conventions in specific.
Did you name your kid Jennifer, or Bob Junior? Is your champion design named "Larry the Pyromancer" or is your name Volibar and your bear champion somehow named Volibear?
If so, GET OUT.
No, actually you're the ones who need this the most, so get yer butts back in those chairs and start taking notes. There'll be a test afterward. Actually, there won't be, but we'll pretend there will be so that you take notes anyway.
(Actually, a quick note while I think about it: I know Volty made Volibear, rather than Volibar, and I'll be discussing this matter later, so don't worry about it.)
The points we'll be covering today will be varied and important. Yes, this is a long article over just a name alone. I know, it's strange to consider this as important, but trust me, it is.
First, as per usual, we need to define why this is even a relevant topic in the first place. What's in a name? What makes it so important for a good name for your champion, or even your child? Many people have champions who have "unnamed" or "name to be determined", so why is this practically suicide to their design? It's not just what a name is, but what we want a name to actually convey that's important here.
Second, what are some really big things to avoid? There's an awful lot of BAD names. Horrendous, terrible, awful names. There's some things that simply shouldn't be done.
Third, since we've just run through what we can't do... well that's everything! Now what do you name your champion!? Have no fear, in this section we'll be discussing what sources of inspiration there are for names, and where you can go to get some help for your little uh... problem. I mean the naming thing. Probably.
Last on the list is some specific differences between titles and names. Titles aren't quite the same as the name of a champion, but they're part of the whole dealie. "Bob the Necromancer" is about as bland as you get, though his close friend "Larry the Pyromancer" is a close second. It's not just their names that are problematic, but also their titles. We want descriptive, without being facepalm worthy, so we'll see where the differences between names and titles are!
Now then, grab a text file, or a pen and paper, or if you're one of the "Bob the Necromancer" people, you might want to break out the fingerpaints and crayons. Once you're done chewing on the crayons (I hear the red ones taste best. Don't ask how I know this), we can get started!
Part 1: So, what's in a name? A rose by any other name, may smell as sweet, but to call it "a grotesque pile of stinking garbage that makes you puke your lungs out at the slightest whiff of it" kind of makes it so people wouldn't actually want to try to smell it in the first place.
Alright, I admit I stole the title to this chapter from the short version back on page 1. What can I say? It's effective.
Regardless, the question you're all asking right now (or you should be, at least), is why am I devoting an entire section just to names?
Consider it this way... first impressions are the most important part of any relationship. On a forum like this, with your champion's name and title being your first impression... well... if it's "untitled", most people are going to assume it's unfinished, the designer hasn't got a shred of creativity, and they aren't even going to bother clicking on it. Funny, that.
If it's a bad name, like my favourite "Bob the Necromancer", once again, you've managed to show you have no creativity, and that the remainder of the post is probably going to be about as interesting as the name.
"Vash the Gunman" is as interesting as "Simon the Driller" or "Hackjob the Blatant Ripoff". You haven't shown that you're likely to have anything of value inside of the post, so why bother looking any further?
Your first job here, is to get something that's descriptive, without being blatantly obvious. Catchy, without being so trendy or cliche that it's irritating. Interesting, without trying too hard to take the spotlight. Trust me, if you dress up in drag with forty-seven and a half layers of make-up on, it's going to show, and not in a good way.
You know how in the last few articles preceding this one, virtually all of them drill the same message in over and over and over again? It's repetitive, just like that last line for a reason. It's to catch your attention and force you to realize how important it is.
Some of you may be shaking your heads in confusion at this point, which shows that I need to continue repeating myself, it would seem.
The message, simply put, is that all aspects of a champion must converge on a singular point. A bruiser has to not only have bruiser abilities, but look like a bruiser, sound like a bruiser, have the backstory of a bruiser, and the name of a bruiser. Every little tiny aspect needs to play into each other in a way that lives up to the audience's expectations, or they'll walk away feeling a little disappointed or cheated.
Now, sometimes you can get away with a bit of a bait and switch for comical purposes. Annie could have gotten away as a bruiser if they had have had the technology in place at the time to more directly control Tibbers, similar to Syllabear back in DotA: Allstars. The reason this would have worked is simply because of the point that a little girl shouldn't be thrown into life or death situations in the first place, and the sheer absurdity of it would make the audience accept it at face value due to it not just being "wrong", but so ridiculously and horribly wrong that it could be no other way.
In the case of names, you generally don't want to do this though. Breaking someone's expectations requires you to first understand how to live up to them in the first place. To have a "style" in art, you are intentionally doing something "wrong". To do something wrong intentionally, you first need to know how to do it "right" before you can do it "wrong" with purpose.
So, too, does this rule apply in naming, and the rest of your character's design. Being "bad" is easy, you just don't know how to do it right. Doing it right is difficult. Doing it so horrendously bad that it makes people laugh at the absurdity of it, however, requires a true master of the art.
I know this is repetitive, but the point I'm trying to stress so hard on you is to not go screwing around with things you don't fully understand yet. Going "oh, I don't need to know how to do it right if I just doing it wrong on purpose" doesn't work. You will fail even more miserably than you would've otherwise. This is why we get so many fail trolls in the game... they aren't trolling their teammates because they're intentionally being bad; they're trolling because they don't know how to be so good that they piss their enemies off by winning, so they piss their allies off by failing, because it's all they're capable of.
So, what do we need in a name? What are we looking for that goes "right", that will make it just... work?
Well, I'm glad you asked me, self, because it's right here in the class planner. It's almost like you planned it that way, self. Creepy, huh?
Y HALO THAR!
*Coughs* I mean, class is in session! WOO! Summer school get!
Anyway, today we'll be discussing the joys of resources!
First off, we'll be going over why resource systems even exist in the game, since without this, the remainder of this discussion can't occur.
Second, we'll cover such things as resource-less champions, AKA Garen or Katarina (d'aw such a kyuute couple! <3 ), and why they work at all.
Third, we'll be touching on how to select the "right" resource system for your champion.
Finally, well end off with tertiary resource systems, and what to avoid when implementing resources.
Anyway, let's get started!
Part 1: Mana mana bo banana autoattacks, do rei mi fa Sona... er...
Alright, so to start off with, resource systems play an important role in many games, and have for a very long time. Specifically, there have been resource systems around since long before mana even existed, and it was simply used as a generic "quantified" version of such.
So what does a resource system even do?
The primary purpose of any resource system is to restrict the capacity of a champion to spam out their abilities non-stop at full power.
There are varying methods of applying this, but in the end, all resource systems boil down to this one goal. Any "new" system you come up with which doesn't do this, isn't actually a resource system at all, as you're not managing your resources.
A few examples of alternate resource systems include things such as Rumble's heat, Karma's mantra charges, or Mundo's health. These restrict the capacity for a champion to spam their abilities non-stop, either through direct methods, such as Rumble flat out silencing a champion, preventing them from continued casting, or an indirect method such as Vlad being unable to spam his abilities endlessly without putting him low on health to the point of being easily one-shot.
Other methods are things such as the Fury system that Renekton uses, where he's able to use his abilities, however, by doing so with less than 50 rage, he's sacrificing some of their power in order to be able to spam them sooner. This allows for a player to decide whether it's worth the sacrifice or determine if they should wait a few more moments.
One of my own champions, Nemhain, uses a highly modified version of the Fury system, which is done to prevent her from being literally able to spam her abilities non-stop, due to the fact that she actually has zero cool downs, other than a standard 1.5 second global cool down between abilities.
Regardless of what you do, in the end, you want your resource system to limit the capacity for a player to unload their abilities endlessly. In some cases, this is managed purely through cool downs (as I'll discuss in part two of this article ), in other cases, an ability may have a remarkably low cool down, but uses it's resource system to prevent long term use, such as Swain or Aniva's ultimates chugging mana like hillbilly downing moonshine. (If you are a hillbilly, I would apologize, but I'm too busy staring in awe that you got the computer working by plugging it into a car propped up on cinderblocks ).
If you didn't have this restriction, Karthus could spam his ultimate all day and everyone would die horrible, horrible deaths. By introducing cool downs and a resource system, you can balance your abilities to make use of these to restrict casting so that they're not overpowered.
Note that mana restricts long term casting, but doesn't affect short term spam at all, so typically cool downs are used to mana short term spam, unless you use a increasing cost system such as the ultimates on Swain or Kassadin.
Energy tends to restrict short term burst potential, but doesn't harm long term staying power. Fury emphasizes being weak at the start of a fight, but stronger the longer it goes on.
These are the primary tools to managing your abilities so that you can make them more powerful and interesting, without them going overboard. There are, however, exceptions to the rule, and this leads us into our next section.
Part 2: Garen has no mana. Garen needs no mana!
By now, you've probably noticed that some of the champions in the game don't actually have a secondary resource system outside of cool downs on their abilities. You may ask why. You may pull your hair out, screaming incoherently with confusion. You may stalk Tom Cadwell (Zileas) and threaten to eat his pet cat if he doesn't give Katarina mana costs so she stops spinning like a top and shredding your face because you didn't think to pick someone with a stun on your team.
Regardless, the point is that some of the champions in the game simply don't have a secondary resource system, so why is that, and how do they even get away with it?
Primarily, as stated, resource systems are used to limit how often you can spam abilities. If an ability isn't particularly powerful when spammed at the maximum rate allowed by it's cool down, it doesn't really need a resource system to keep it in check.
Remember, the end goal of any resource system is to provide a second option on how fast you can spam something, other than just the cool down. If the cool down does the job just fine, you may not actually need a resource system in the first place.
In the case of each of the champions who lack a secondary resource system, they simply don't really need mana, energy, fury, or anything else. They work just fine by tweaks to how fast their cool downs are, and that's it.
To put it in a short, simple manner... if you want to make your abilities a bit stronger and such, then find methods other than just using cool downs to limit them. If you want to make abilities that can be cast very often, once again, limit them in other ways than just the cool downs. If you're fine with having a champion with long term staying power in lane, then cool downs may be all you need.
Honestly, there's actually not much more to say, on this matter. It's really that simple!
Part 3: Eenie, meenie, mana mo! Catch a Kennen by the toe! If he ulti's let him go, and spaz uncontrollably on the ground, screaming in agony!
Alright, so you've got a champion in mind. YAY! So you're just going to give them mana and you're done ^.^
No you're not.
You're going to sit down and think about this and go "does mana actually work with what I have in mind for this champion?", or Imma SMACK you with this fish. Do you want to get fish slapped? DO YOU!? No? I didn't think so.
As previously covered, mana's intended, primarily, for allowing short term spamming of abilities, but restricting long term casting. This is more of an in-lane kind of dealie, than it is a late game thing, in most cases, as you probably won't be wandering around long term late game long enough to blow through 2,000+ mana with ease, though there are exceptions to any rule.
For the most part, however, mana is used primarily to restrict a player from just tossing a poke at the enemy every time it's up. If you do so in lane, eventually you run dry, and now you're at a major disadvantage if the enemy decides to bum rush you and slap you with that fish again.
Yeah, those red herrings hurt. Trust me. I've seen it firsthand with my own eyes, and it wasn't pretty.
Anyway, mana has it's use, but if your champion design isn't one wherein they need to be limited on their pokes in lane, then mana may not be the most ideally suited choice for you.
Keep in mind, however, that mana also exists on many items, and by removing it, you may be inadvertently harming your champion. Just how badly do you think Vlad would *LOVE* to have 1500+ AP from 5x Arch-angel's staves and a Rabadon's Deathcap? Not very much, since he has no mana, so can't benefit from this at all, which I would suggest is probably intentional, given that he'd be absurdly overpowered if he did have such.
Sometimes it's actually beneficial to intentionally take mana away from someone as a penalty, rather than as a benefit, due to such!
Regardless, we have other options! No resource system is a plausible one, if you think your champion can be held in check in a tidy manner without anything else but cool downs.
Others, such as energy, can work great if you're wanting them to be able to burst hard, then back off, in a hit and run style method.
If you're looking for a champion that will stand their ground and last through long, drawn out fights, then Fury's another nice choice to go with.
You can even make up your own resource systems as well, or use tertiary systems, such as ammo counters, to further restrict the capacity for your abilities to be spammed.
One question becomes this: Why does Teemo's ultimate have a mana cost at all, when it already has an ammo counter to limit it's power? Honestly, the answer's likely just that "it was left over from his original design which didn't have an ammo system".
You could, quite literally, ditch the mana cost on Teemo's shrooms, and it really wouldn't have all that much negative impact on him, as he'd still be limited in how often he can drop them by about the same amount as before. The only real difference, is that if he goes AD instead of AP for a build, he'll have a much harder time spamming his shrooms out, due to the harm it does to his other abilities. As such, it might actually be better to remove the mana from his shrooms, to make his AD build more viable!
No matter what you do, consider the reasoning behind why you're doing something. If you don't have an answer that truly stands on it's own merit, you probably need to rethink things through. This means that if your answer is "Well... most champions have mana", then you don't really know why your champion has mana, and are just giving them such out of some strange sense of tradition.
Everything you do with your champion should be directed and intentional. You should know why you're giving them mana, or energy, or whatever, and you should know the purpose behind what changes to these will do.
The end goal, is to give yourself more methods to tweak and adjust the balance of a champion. If you only have one value, being "on" or "off", then if "on" is too powerful, and "off" is too weak, then you're pretty much screwed, because the ability can't be fixed beyond that point.
By adding a resource system, you're directly giving yourself more tools to use in order to balance your champion out.
Darius, as much as I hate his design, balances himself through the tertiary system of his bleed effect, which is actually a good idea. It means that he can't just unload 100% of his power on someone instantly, and rather, has to build up towards that point over a few seconds.
Now, that being said, Darius has his flaws elsewhere, such as his E being more dangerous to his allies than his enemies, and that his ultimate rewards players for trolling their allies, neither of which are a good idea, but the idea of his passive is actually a very good one which has been suggested several times before in the past.
Keep in mind that Darius's bleed, just as his brother Draven's axe, are both tertiary resource systems, in that these directly affect how useful their abilities are, in addition to any mana costs or cool downs they may have.
You may be able to use things such as these to limit your champion's abilities in ways that don't require using mana or any other primary resource at all, so keep this in mind when working on your design!
Part 4: There must be the third, and last, dance - this one will last forever. ~Dream Theater
So, I've been using the term "tertiary" a lot lately, haven't I? What does it even mean?
It's pretty simple, really. Primary is "first", secondary is "second", and tertiary is "third". Yep, it really is that simple, told'ja so!
Now, what this means in game play, is that a primary resource system is generally taken care of by cool downs in League of Legends. This is a static system which controls how often you can spam your abilities, no matter how much mana or energy you have, and is the first line of defense in keeping otherwise awesome and neat abilities from becoming overpowered and uncontrollable, to the point of having to be nerfed into the ground.
Next off, we have the secondary resource systems, of which I'll be going into considerably more detail as each has it's own special nuances that need to be covered, so each will be given their own unique article, as I simply don't have the room here to cover each in nearly as much depth as is required.
Finally, we have the tertiary resource systems. These are typically pretty basic additions which just further limit spell casting beyond the basic limitations that are imposed by the primary and secondary systems.
These include things such as Draven or Olaf catching their axes to reduce the penalty of using their abilities, or Karma having to blow Mantra charges in order to get full use out of her abilities, which operate at only half their effectiveness without such.
Anything from Heimerdinger's turret ammo counter, to Ahri being able to cast her ultimate 3 times in a row, are tertiary resource systems.
In short, they're generally pretty limited, basic things, which only apply to one ability, generally. A bit more exploration of this territory has gone on, lately, as of the time of this writing, where Darius and Draven were the last two champions to be released. The fact of the matter is, however, that ammo systems, and other tertiary systems have existed since the game came out, in some way shape or form.
Note that even Shyvanna's ultimate is technically a tertiary resource system, as it controls her capacity to use her abilities to their fullest potential, and the secondary resource system, Fury, is only used to control her tertiary one, so, in an odd way, they're actually reversed in function!
Anyway, adding additional things such as this can be a nice way to control how potent your champion is.
Consider the idea of stacking debuffs, such as the Fire Lord from Warcraft 3's expansion, The Frozen Throne (interestingly enough, Zileas was the one to make this hero! ). In this, his autoattacks deal 1/2/3 additional damage on every hit, with no limitation, causing enemies to take more and more damage over time. This could very easily turn into a tertiary system similar to Darius, simply by having other abilities benefit off of the number of stacks present.
Twitch already had such when the game first was released, in that his poison stacks amplified the effects of two of his other abilities (his slow and his nuke).
Let's take Twitch, for an example, and make a change to his ultimate. Instead of just making his attacks a line AoE, let's say that he actually does spray and pray, spewing out a large number of very weak shots in a cone, applying a stack of his poison for each hit, and that they pass through enemies in the radius, similar to how Miss Fortune uses her Bullet Time. He now has an actual capacity to apply his limiting reagent rapidly to multiple targets, which would greatly change how his character works.
You don't have to make a champion using this exact method, but it does give you a rough idea of what's possible!
There's one final part, here, to cover. What not to do...
This actually isn't that hard to follow, as long as you understand why resource systems exist in the first place.
You want to limit the capacity for someone to spam their abilities, but on the other hand, you don't want to limit their capacity to use their ultimate in a clutch play. As such, you'll notice that Renekton, Viktor, virtually all the energy users, and so on, do not use their secondary resource systems when using their ultimates, and the only real reason that mana is allowed to do this, is that mana costs are long term disabling, rather than short term, so you tend to keep enough mana around to power your ultimate intentionally.
At no point should you be like "Awe my ultimate was off cool down, it was a perfect moment to hit it, and... it was greyed out!". Even Darius can use his ultimate at will, he just doesn't gain quite as much benefit off of it as such, leaving it up to the player to decide whether it's a good idea to use it at limited capacity or not.
In short, use your resources to limit how powerful a champion's abilities are, by making them choose when to use them, or restricting their capacity to do so. Ultimates are a special case scenario though, and you should be very careful about limiting the capacity to cast an ultimate, outside of it's cool down. If you give it a very low cool down, such as Akali, or Teemo, then yes, a tertiary system can be used to limit it's power, but otherwise, don't screw with ultimates.
There's a million other tiny things I could go over, I'm sure, but for the most part, this should be enough to give you a good primer on the general purpose of resource systems, and how to put them to good use!
Now then, it's supper time for me, and you're probably tired of these summer classes, so... class dismissed!
Today we'll be exploring the mysteries of the fuel injection system! I mean, mana! Yes. Mana. No fuel here. Other than for MAGIC!
Our number one question of the day we'll be going through, is exactly what is mana used for, and why's it so important? I'll cover such things as it's purpose, itemization, and so on!
The next thing to go through is mana costs, and how come they're so integral to balancing a champion. The tricky part here is that this gets really messy math-wise! As such, this will be broken into two sections, with the next section being:
Mana regeneration! Yep, mana's really just that much of a pain on subtle levels that it's going to take a whole extra section to cover how to balance mana regeneration effects!
After we've roughed our way through the nasty stuff, however, we can relax a bit, and just focus on why mana-burn abilities aren't in the game, among other things.
So, without further ado, or adon't, MANA!
Part 1: The question is, what is a mana-mana? The question is, WHO CARES!? - Statler & Waldorf, Muppets Tonight
I touched on this lightly in the previous section, but, in general, mana is a secondary resource system which is used, in tandem with cool downs normally, to limit how much a champion can use their abilities. Mana, in particular, is specialized in long term restrictive properties, rather than the short-term limitations imposed by energy.
See, mana is designed to allow you to cast as much as you want, so long as you have your cool downs up, at least in a short term scenario. Over time, however, you eventually have to hold back on spamming your abilities, so as to give your mana time to regenerate back again.
The idea, here, is to make it possible for a champion to poke repeatedly fairly hard, but to limit their capacity to just stay in lane forever. This is also a large portion of why all of the support champions in the game, currently, are mana based, as their main weakness is intended to be their long term capacity to lend their power to a lane or a fight. Soraka, for instance, can pour on the healing in a heartbeat, but it's going to drain her dry if she tries to maintain that healing by popping it every time the cool down is up, leaving her to tactically decide just how badly her laning partner, or herself, really needs that heal.
Generally, if your champion design is dedicated towards the concept of being useful in the short term, but you worry about the long term ramifications of their abilities, you dump mana on their lap to severely restrict their capacity to just go all out at all times.
Note, however, that many items in the game also affect mana and mana regeneration, as do many masteries and runes. As such, adding mana to a champion isn't a simple decision, though it's the "default" placeholder, in many people's eyes, until they see reason to do otherwise.
Removing mana can severely alter how a champion plays, as well as completely altering their itemization options. You'll note that virtually all tanks, all supports, and nearly all mages use mana as their secondary resource system, in addition to cool downs, and it's pretty hard to break them out of this.
For most AD based champions, bruisers, and hybrids, there's an awful lot more leeway than there has been traditionally, with itemization being shifted over time to limit how much mana bonuses there are on items, and limiting the need of mana throughout the game.
For example, when LoL was first released, mana costs were often nearly double what they are today, but mana regeneration and maximum mana options were significantly more potent as well to compensate. Since that time, mana's been stripped off many items, and many others now have AP on them without any mana at all.
In any case, mana is still a mainstay of the game, but that doesn't mean it should be tossed around lightly! It's probably the harshest mistress of all the secondary resource systems to balance properly, as strange as that may sound!
Part 2: Manna from Heaven; An excellent source of magical nutrition! Mana potions are high in calories though, so please do not overuse unless actively participating in the arcane arts.
So, mana's pretty good stuff, it's got lots of itemization options, it's a simple number to dictate how much it drains per cast, and it's pretty much as basic as it gets, right?
Well... no. No it's not.
Out of all of the resource systems currently in the game, mana's the trickiest of all to balance the numbers on correctly, since you're not just balancing off of the total value + rate of gain, such as Energy or Fury, which are static values (mostly; energy gets a little leeway on regeneration rates ), but rather, you're balancing against the entire mana bar, which is a variable which changes based on various champions, items, and abilities. Mana costs on abilities also have the nasty habit of changing as you rank up an ability, making it even more of a pain to balance around!
Fear not, puny mortal, for I, SUPERKAT, am here to rescue you from the endless abyss and quagmire that is mana costs! DUN DUN DAH DUNNNN!
...Yeah, that was pretty lame.
Anyway, mana's pretty tricky, since you need to assume the rate at which a champion is going to itemize for mana, as well as their regeneration rate. Even a tiny increase in mana cost can go a long way to screwing up the champion's ability as a whole!
First, we'll use an example ability, which we'll be adjusting throughout this article, to show the various effects that even subtle tweaks can have long term.
Q: Mana Bolt
Welcome, welcome, take a seat!
Yeah, you know who you are.
You can stand.
Anyway, for everyone else, class is in session!
Today, we'll be covering energy! No, not the Energy=Mass(speed of light) squared type energy, but rather, NINJA ENERGY!
Oh, and Lee Sin. I guess he's there too. Monks, ninjas, whatever. Same thing right? That's what Gangplank keeps telling me. Then again, he seems to find an excuse to call everyone a ninja, even Amumu. I haven't quite figured that one out yet, but whatever. Must be pirate logic.
First off, we'll discuss what energy is, and why it's different from mana!
Second, we're going to go through the concept behind energy regeneration in combat via procedurally generated events (procs).
Next, we'll cover how to balance energy procs so as to make the champion design fun.
Finally, we'll.... we'll... hrm. Course syllabus... *flips through pages* Nope, looks like that's pretty much it. Well then, I guess we may as well get started, then!
Part 1: Energy = Milk Chocolate Square
RAWR! Eeeenergy! I have lots of it today, being the third article I'm working on ^.^
That being said, what is energy, anyway?
Well, let's take a look!
Mana is a secondary resource system, same as energy, but unlike mana, energy is dedicated towards emphasizing short term burst capacity and hit/run attacks, rather than long term restrictions on casting.
All energy users (at least, to date, as of the time of this writing) have 200 maximum energy (runes/masteries can increase this slightly), and regenerate 10 energy per second (also capable of being increased via runes/masteries). Note that no item currently in the game is capable of adjusting energy in any way, shape, or form.
This means that all energy users are capable of regenerating the entire energy pool back every 20 seconds, under worst case scenario conditions. Under best case scenarios, you're looking at 16.165 energy per second, which can refill a 210 large energy bar in just a sliver under 13 seconds.
Honestly, this is mostly a moot point. The point of energy, is that you have a relatively small, more or less fixed, maximum value to work with. Abilities tend to cost a significantly high amount, generally 40-100 per cast, but also have a method of which the energy will be restored under certain conditions, which coincide with performing the role a champion is designed to do.
For example, Akali is a melee champion, and though her Mark of the Assassin can be used at semi-long range as a poke, it's inefficient to do so, and only provides half of it's benefit by using it as such. By running into melee and actually striking her target with an auto-attack, she not only triggers the mark for the other half of the damage, but also is given back a portion of the energy cost, rewarding her for playing her champion properly.
Shen gets energy back for hitting people with his skill-shot taunt, Kennen's energy mechanism relates to managing to get a full 3 stack of his passive on any given target, and Lee Sin is rewarded for staggering his abilities out in between auto-attacks, emphasizing his hybrid spell-caster/melee nature.
In each case, the costs of an ability are prohibitively high to spam, and instead, it's through using these mechanics to restore energy that an energy-based champion is able to stay in combat for an extended period of time, and make full use of their skill set.
Where mana was a royal pain to balance, due to many factors, energy's actually pretty simple to balance in comparison. When mana dictated long term restrictions, energy hops in with harsh short term restrictions, but no long term restrictions at all, outside of 20 seconds. Mana has itemization issues, energy finds itemization to be irrelevant to it's acquisition. Mana has longer cool downs, while energy promotes short cool downs with high costs.
The two are pretty much polar opposites in every way, other than the fact that they're both secondary resource systems that supplement a cool down system already being in place.
Part 2: Imma stab you so hard, you'll wish I didn't stab you so hard!
So, now that we've got the basics down, let's see about toying around with the energy procs!
First off, I'll list all the current ones to give you an idea of how they currently work!
I mean, class is in session! =D
Today we'll be covering Fury / Rage, so make sure you have your GRRR'ness ready!
If you're having problems getting a good rage going, supplemental material can be found here for the purposes of the class: http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/funny-cat-pictures-lolcats-mittens-the-destroyer.jpg (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/redirect.php?do=verify&redirect_url=http%3A%2F%2Ficanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F04%2Ffunny-cat-pictures-lolcats-mittens-the-destroyer.jpg)
Anyway, Fury is a modified version of the "Rage" system which WoW uses (almost a direct rip with virtually no changes, honestly), and I wouldn't be surprised, in the slightest, if WoW got theirs from somewhere else before even that.
They're more or less interchangeable, honestly, so if I say rage or fury, just assume they're the same thing, even though LoL calls it Fury XD
First off, we'll be covering what fury is, and what it's good for.
Second, we then shall go over the current methods of rage in the game, costs, and so on (it's a ton easier than even energy! I KNOW! It's weird! )
Third, we'll cover what kind of situations would be a good choice for fury over mana or energy.
Finally, we'll discuss alternate ways to use Fury, and how to get it to work in your benefit!
So, put on your angry face, and RAGE OUT WITH ME! RAAAAAAAWR!
Part 1: What do you mean "wrath" isn't a virtue?
Alright, so what is this whole "Fury" thing anyway?
To put it simply, Fury is a secondary resource system similar to mana. It's used to limit your capacity to spam spells.
To put it a little bit less simply, Fury is specifically focused on limiting the capacity to spam spells early on in a fight, but is great for allowing spells to be used repeatedly within a fight.
Specifically, all Fury champions (to date anyway, though yours could be different! ) have a maximum fury of 100. As the champion uses their auto-attack, they gain additional Fury, which can then be spent, either like mana/energy to cast a spell or ability, or in some cases, can be used to enhance spells which already exist, but doesn't limit casting otherwise, such as seen in Renekton.
Under the default "normal" scenario, Fury gradually decreases over time, when out of combat. Fury's a bit weird, as resources go, however, in that it doesn't fully work the same way on any champion that has it. For Renekton and Tryndamere, Fury goes down over time. For Shyvanna, Fury goes up when out of combat. For the "average" case scenario, we'll assume that Shyvanna's a special case, and that normally Fury decreases out of combat =3
The idea, here, is that you (normally! ) don't want a player to have a great deal of power stored up at the end of a fight, and then simply run around waiting to unload. Rather, Fury's strength is in a protracted battle. The longer it drags on, the stronger that champion gets.
Mana and energy both benefit people spamming all their abilities off at the very start of a fight, and then waiting on cooldowns, whereas Fury gives a benefit where, after everyone else has run dry, the Fury user is still capable of dishing out the hurt, and if they didn't die in the first spamfest, then Fury will gradually overtake the others.
As such, you'll notice that all three of the current Fury users are melee, with two being bruisers, and the third also being good at lasting in combat for more than a few seconds. Normally, Fury's best on a champion who isn't known for being remarkably high DPS, but just does constant damage over time, and you can't really put them down. They have "presence" of a sort, where you simply recognize they exist, because they're always in your face, and just. Won't. Stop.
Fury's great for many bruisers, as it plays up to their strengths, and honestly, I would have probably have made Darius into a Fury champion, rather than a mana one. This didn't happen though, so no big deal.
Olaf would have made for an obvious Fury based champion as well, just like how Udyr could also be converted over to Fury with remarkably little issue.
In short, if you have a champion that you want to be using melee swings constantly, and they want to be in the enemy's face, but a bit weak early on in a fight, but great for a long term battle, then Fury's probably going to be an ideal choice!
Ah, but tanks... yeah, tanks don't do Fury so well, despite what you may be thinking.
Yeah, you were, weren't you? I figured as much.
Fury's a nice benefit long term, but note that a tank generally needs to unload hard at the start of a fight. Their job is to initiate and begin a fight, whereas Fury's typically very weak at the start of a fight. There are ways around this, but I'll cover that a bit later, in adapting Fury to personal use.
Part 2: I said "Shrink? I wanna kill. I mean... I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead, burnt bodies. I mean, kill. Kill! Kill! KILL!" And I started jumping up and down yelling "Kill! Kill!", and he started jumping up and down with me, and we was both jumping up and down yelling "Kill! Kill!", and the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, and said "You're our boy." ~Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant
So how, exactly, does Fury work in the game as is?
To be honest, that's a bit more complex of a question than you may first suspect. Fury's pretty weird, in that everyone who uses it has a different take on how it works.
Renekton was the original Fury user, and his version had it where he had no costs on any of his abilities, but his auto-attacks would generate Fury. Once he had over 50 or more Fury stored up, his next non-ultimate ability would automatically drain 50 Fury and enhance the effectiveness of the ability used.
In this method, Renekton uses Fury as a tertiary style resource system, in that it doesn't actually prevent him from casting his abilities, but merely enhances their effectiveness. Stranger still, is that he skips over having a secondary system entirely. Strange stuff!
Note that Renekton also has multiple ways to gain Fury since he blows through it so quickly. As such, his abilities tend to each deal damage, and by doing so, also provide him with additional Fury. His ultimate also causes him to generate 5 Fury per second while active.
Next off, we have Tryndamere, who was the second one to be given Fury. Originally, Tryndamere was designed where he gained benefits the lower on health he was from his passive, and his stacking heal and damage, was based off of an 8 stacking buff. The Fury remake made it significantly easier to see his overall power level, without having to mouse over the icon, or squint at a tiny number which was hard to read. Given that he's supposed to stay in combat for awhile, especially while jungling, it worked quite well, though came with some minor complications, such as it taking longer to stack up to full power than previously.
Tryndamere's Fury works a bit differently than Renekton's, in that he only has a single ability which actually uses Fury. Rather, he gains Fury, using it as a passive steroid effect, where he gets stronger the longer he stays in combat, and he can choose to trade off that firepower for healing to let him live, instead.
Once again, Fury does not prevent Tryndamere from casting his heal early, and instead simply drains all of his Fury to amplify it's effects.
Finally, we have Shyvanna, who practically doesn't use Fury at all, instead using it only on her ultimate, and rather than gradually losing it while out of combat, she generates Fury constantly in small amounts. This is used solely as a restrictive method of preventing her from casting her ultimate early, and allows her ultimate to not have a cool down value at all.
In each case, the champion is rewarded for attacking in combat for an extended duration; even Shyvanna is able to artificially extend the duration of her ultimate, keeping her more powerful for the duration of a battle by continually attacking.
As you can see, however, Fury's the least... stable, I suppose, of all of the secondary (or tertiary) resource systems. All things considered, it's kind of fitting, however! Fury's designed around benefiting champions who stay in combat for extended durations, and this affects each champion considerably differently, far more so than you get by just being able to unload early on, or doing hit and run effects. As such, Fury is pretty much manually re-built from the ground up around each new champion that uses it. The basic concepts are always there (100 maximum Fury, gains fury on attack, benefits from being in combat with auto-attacks), but past that, the specifics need to be adjusted on a champion by champion basis.
Part 3: "I am the right hand of vengeance, and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth. I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me." ~Susan Ivannova, Babylon 5
So, since we've determined that Fury's a little bit of a special case to work with, and requires some tweaks, we'll need to go about seeing how to convert it for use for your particular champion. Before that, however, first off we need to see when and where to use Fury. Jax probably wouldn't work that well with Fury, but Olaf would. Understanding these nuances is required, since we first need to tell whether your champion should even consider using Fury, before we try to get it work with them. If it won't work by default, either the champion will need an overhaul to make it work, or Fury will have to be left out, in favour of another resource system entirely.
So, here's a quick reference sheet to determine whether Fury's a right fit for your champion!
Zho, mien prettiez... yuu kome too zee moar invormayshun aboot ze rezorz zyzteemz yez?
Great, that means I can drop this ridiculous accent.
Also, coincidentally, class is in sessions! Also coincidentally, the class just happens to be about making your own "new" resource systems. Go figure!
So, since we've covered all the major resource systems in the game in detail, one by one, what's left? Making new ones? Ah, now that's the trick. Normally you don't actually want to do this... but... invariably it's going to happen eventually anyway, so let's make sure we're doing it for the right reasons, and in the right way!
First off, we need to cover what resource systems actually are before we go breaking them or making new ones.
Second, we also need to know when's a good time to actually make a new resource system in the first place.
Third, in the process of making one, we need to identify what it needs to do that the current systems aren't capable of performing adequately on their own.
Finally, we'll also need to discuss tertiary systems which can be used to further enhance a design without stomping on the toes of primary and secondary systems in place, since they work a bit weird usually, but are a great place to start learning.
Part 1: PEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEWPEW! That's the sound my guy makes because he doesn't have resources to stop him from spamming mind lasers. And rockets. Oh and MIND ROCKETS. AND MIND ROCKET HEALING LASERS LIKE DISCIPLINE PRIESTS!
As I've covered in the other sections, but these may've been skipped over to get to this one part... resources are used to slow down or prevent abusive use of your abilities so that they don't get out of hand. These come in three main flavours:
1: Primary resource systems are a hard restriction on how fast you can spam an ability in the short term. This is, in virtually all circumstances, taken care of by cool down in LoL. There are a few exceptions, but generally cool downs are your first line of defense to prevent an ability from getting way too strong.Teemo's mushroom ammunition is a primary resource system which limits his capacity to spam mushrooms out, similar to cool down, but allows him to do so in short bursts. If your primary resource system isn't ready, you're not casting anything.
2: Secondary resource systems, such as mana, energy, fury, heat, and so on, all exist for the purpose of limiting the power behind the abilities in some way, shape, or form. Some prevent long term spamming, others limit short term burst, or limit power at the start of a fight. Most of your "new" resource systems end up being of the secondary variety. Rumble's Heat system is a secondary resource which lets him either do big burst in one go, or sustained damage over time, but not both at once without overheating. Secondary systems tend to allow a bit of leeway in casting, where you can cast a few different abilities, but typically have limitations on how many can be cast in a certain timeframe, rather than on an individual basis.
3: Tertiary resource systems come into play when primary and secondary methods just don't cut it, and you still need some alternative method of limiting the strength of an ability beyond that. Darius's bleed is an example of a tertiary system, wherein his cooldowns and mana costs aren't really the primary limitation on his ultimate. Sure he can cast it, but he probably doesn't want to until he's got a few stacks up. In general, a tertiary system lets you cast your abilities even without it... you just might not particularly want to without it.
Now, that being said, you generally don't want to screw around with primary resource systems until you really know the game inside and out. Cooldowns are one of the easiest ways to control the strength of an ability, and most people don't fully understand just what the difference between an 8 second cooldown and a 9 second cooldown is. It's almost the same, so who cares, just say 10 seconds, right? Problem is, that level of understanding isn't enough to ditch cooldowns entirely, so if you're not really sure about this, avoid it entirely. No ammo systems until you master cooldowns.
Next off, is the secondary resources. This is what most of you probably think of when you hear "new resource system!". You probably assume it's something to replace mana entirely. In some cases, this is true, in others, it may not be. You probably have an idea for something to replace mana though, so I'll work with that as the assumption here. This'll be covered in detail in a moment, so just keep reading.
Tertiary systems are probably the safest things to change in LoL's overarching framework without breaking everything into tiny pieces in the process. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, where it's gone horribly, horribly wrong... but for the most part it tends to hold true. Before you start replacing the first two, I'd honestly suggest getting used to tertiary systems and adjusting your champion's abilities either on a small scale, or individually utilizing tertiary resources to get used to resource management. It's a great way to learn, and the damage is relatively minor and easy to fix if something goes wrong, since you still have other systems to back you up as a safety net.
Part 2: Pft, mana's overrated. Just ask Katarina.
So, you want to break free of the chains of tyranny and make your own resource system! For the sake of argument, I'll assume you mean "secondary resource system", because that covers about 95% of the cases on this forum.
No, seriously, why do you even want a new resource system?
If the answer is anything along the lines of "It'll get more views" or "it sounds cool" or "I don't like mana", then you've already basically said "I don't need a new resource system and this is a really bad idea".
Seriously, don't go screwing around with new resources until you understand why the old ones exist. The only, absolutely *ONLY* reason why a new resource should be introduced at all, EVER, is because the current systems simply aren't capable of performing the task you need them to accomplish without such heavy retooling that they aren't even recognizable any longer.
In my case... it actually took me awhile to figure this out myself, and I've only kind of gotten the hang of it within the past two years or so. Go ahead and check back on some of my older designs... they're left for dead because they were really bad ideas that didn't work out. In several of these situations, it was due to attempting, and failing, to add a new secondary resource without sitting down to fully consider exactly what I was doing. Sure they were a neat idea, but they weren't necessary, and it led to the design's downfall almost from the very start.
Here's the main things that are already taken of by the current resources:
MANA: Spam spells all day long, as long as you have mana for it. This is a long term solution to prevent early game domination when mana's scarce, such as the laning phaze, or during a base siege later on in the game. You can cast all your abilities easily, but over time, eventually you'll run dry, and will likely need to return to base to refuel, pulling you out of combat. The idea, is to allow short term casting to go unhindered, other than by cool downs, but that long term casting is problematic.
ENERGY: ALL the burst! But... well, that's the thing, you can unload fast, but run dry fast too. Cooldowns for energy users are typically very short, as their restriction is more so in the limitation on staying in combat for more than 5-10 seconds. They're great up front, and can do hit and runs, with none of the long term issues mana has, as they'll be back to full power in 20 seconds tops, but... they can't stay in combat for very long at a time generally without making very careful use of their energy restoration factors from proc'ing certain events.
FURY: Infinite long term staying power, but takes awhile to ramp up to speed. This is ideal for bruisers and champions that are going to be in combat for awhile, but who you may not want to be particularly strong at the first few seconds of combat.
These three systems cover virtually all of the main things you could need for a secondary resource system to do.
Note, however, that key word "virtually". There are... exceptions.
In the case of my Nemhain character, she needed to be capable of a zero-cooldown system, of which none of the options available at the time were capable of, as there was no such thing as a zero-cooldown champion in the game. After she was written up, however, Shyvana was added to the mix, who provided a decent enough approximation to her Bloodthirst system that I was able to convert her over to fury, as it was now capable of doing the job I needed it to do.
These specific gaps do exist, but they're very rare. We have short term / late fight restriction, long term restriction, and early fight restriction. There's not too many holes left uncovered. As such, I can't go through a full list of examples for "when this happens, make a new resource system!".
It's really a judgement call, honestly, and one which needs to be updated as new patches come out. Aradia, for instance, could probably use to be converted over to the Heat system that Rumble has, since it serves a very similar function to her own Void Shards system. Rumble didn't exist when she was added, and thematically it doesn't quite work, but I could probably make her system much more similar to heat, and get more or less the same effect.
Anyway, the point is, "when is the right time to make a new resource system" comes down to this point, and this point only:
Nothing in the game that already exists is capable of making your champion play the way you want them to.
It's really that simple. If you have something particular in mind you're trying to accomplish, and the game doesn't have anything that lets you do that... then make a new resource system. As stated, however, there aren't too many holes left uncovered at the moment, and as new champions are released, those holes will slowly be plugged up, one by one.
It's exceptionally rare that a new resource system is required, so think about it very, very carefully, as to whether you can't mangle mana, energy or fury into doing the job for you first.
Part 3: I want a pony and ice cream and a unicorn to go with my pony so the pony's not lonely and oh I also want some lasers because everything's better with lasers kind of like BBQ's, and we should have one of those too but we should keep it away from the pony and the unicorn, oh and the ice cream too, because I don't want melted ice cream, but we could BBQ the lasers because they're already hot but they aren't BBQ'd so maybe BBQ lasers would taste better somehow.
Alright, alright, so you want it all, I got it. You're certain you want a new resource system. Great! So... what do you want it to do?
Note that bit at the top which states that the purpose of resources is to limit the power of a champion's abilities so that they are able to be kept under control? Yeah. That means you need to know what it is that's failing to be kept under control by the current systems.
Before you do ANYTHING with a new resource system, your first task is to write out your goals for the system. You need a list of key details that it has to be capable of performing. There's probably going to be at least a little overlap with the current systems, but so long as it's mostly a bunch of holes that the others aren't filling, then you're good to move onto the next step.
Here, we now go over the parts that don't work, and say "well, we need it to do X... so how do we actually make it do X?".
I'll use Nemhain as an example, and my reasoning behind why I did the things I did, so you can see why it worked out that way.
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