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Champion Creation Tips v3

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If you find the guide helpful, please upvote the original post. Normally, I don't care about upvotes, but the last time, a troll came in with like 80 smurf accounts and spam-downvoted the v2 guide into the ground.

The more upvotes it has, the harder it will be to kill, and honestly, I don't feel like re-formatting and posting this all over again.


If you need help with something, let me know, and I'll do a full write up of that category ASAP.


Well, I guess I don't need quite the same introduction I did last time, do I? Regardless, just in case anyone's curious as to why you would care to read a guide from anyone at all, let alone myself, let me cover a few quick things.

First off, guides in general, though often covering overlapping information, provide the perspective of different individuals, so each can grant new insight. In this particular guide, however, I plan to cover, well, everything. Or, at least, as close as is humanly possible.

This is intended to be the definitive, final word design document for champion creation outside of Riot itself. Of course, with my luck, their competitors will actually come read this. This issue, is in fact, a large part of the reason as to why it's being presented on this forum, rather than being turned into a wikipedia style page.

How can I make a guide like this, you may ask? How can a lowly peon like yourself be trusted to know anything at all? Well, unlike most everyone else here, I've actually spent years on character design, have been professionally trained for such, and have actually created an entire world and the characters for a game currently in production (NDA prevents me from saying more, unfortunately.)

In short, I know my way around character design exceptionally well, and while I could simply hoard this knowledge to myself, I find I rather enjoy teaching, and would like to make this information public so that everyone can get use out of it. The ideas on this forum are pretty epic at times, but often just have issues where the designer pretty much doesn't know what's wrong or why. Rather than try to aimlessly, and ineffectually, review every single champion that gets put up here forever more, it's simply easier to "teach a man to fish", in the sense of writing the most ludicrously detailed guide the world has ever seen.

To be blunt, if I write an epic guide, then you can read it, learn from it, and then make even more epic champion designs than you already could, which improves the overall quality of the forum as a whole, which in turn, grants me more interesting reading material.

I love reading about your ideas, but I'd love it more if you could make them even better than they already are. This is my way of making everyone else simply more awesome than you guys already are, so that I can be even more entertained. Yes, it's greedy, but so are all actions we take in life. This one just happens to be beneficial to a large audience is all.

How to navigate this guide:

This guide is enormous. The previous version was 35,000 words and spanned 6 filled posts to the brim. It wasn't enough. There's simply more that needs to be covered in detail, things I couldn't squeeze into the last guide, stuff I didn't think of... and so, this is going to replace it in its entirety.

The problem is, the guide is now "too" large to simply read manually, page for page, for the most part. Instead, due to this, I've decided upon a new system.

The index, here, now serves an incredibly important role. Each chapter will be listed here, in order, along with a link to the full sized article. These links are provided in the manner of quotes with a button to press to go to the original post for the quote, so you should have no issues navigating such.

The beginner's guide is in Index B, which gives a fair bit of information about each topic, but generally not more than a screen's worth, at most. For the full length articles, Index B will also have links to the dedicated posts. Most of these are currently under production right now, as each one is about 4000 - 6000 words in length, so won't be ready immediately.

Additionally, the posts are coded, which provides information, as well. 2-01 stands for page2-post1. This ensures easy access to find exactly what you're looking for, as quickly as possible, even if you don't just click the links, or if a link is somehow broken.

Anyway, I digress. This guide is intended for you, to help you better understand the complexities and inner workings of character design, with a focus on Champions in general. Please make use of this resource to help further your own ambitions and designs, so that the overall quality of the forum, as a whole, increases. After all, it's just as fun to read about your new ideas, as it is to come up with my own!

Index A


Page 1: The basics of champion design:
This section focuses primarily on how to get started, and the basic points on things such as improving your designs, and overall design philosophy of the game as a whole.

1-01: Foreword & Index A

1-02: Index B (5 posts) - Basics of Champion Design
1-07: Design Philosophy; A study in fun
1-08: Choices
1-09: Improvement and Criticism
1-10: Legibility and Presentation

Page 2 - Getting started
2-01A: Character Concept
2-01B - Inspiration
2-01C - Unique ideas (They don't exist)
2-01D - Lore
2-01E - Naming Conventions: (both names and titles!)
2-06A: Resources
2-06B - Mana
2-06C - Energy
2-06D - Rage
2-07E - New resource systems

Page 3 - What makes a champion?
3-01A: Purpose, and Specific roles
3-01B - Tank
3-01C - Support
3-01D - DPS / melee/ranged
3-01E - Assassin
3-01F - Burst mages
3-07A: Abilities
3-07B - Passives
3-07C - Actives
3-07D - Ultimates

Page 4 - Fine tuning
4-01: Flaws, holes, and gaps
4-02: Making fun abilities
4-03: Synergy
4-04A: Complex is not necessarily better
4-04B - How to simplify abilities
4-04C - Multi-Stage Abilities
4-07A: Balancing Champions and Abilities
4-07B - Numbers, and what they mean
4-07C Scaling
4-07D The whole package

Page 5 - Icing on the cake
5:01: Differences between methods of doing things, and why it matters
5-02: Things to Avoid
5-03A: Anti-patterns
5-03B - Continued
5-05: Breaking the rules
5-06: Put yourself in their shoes
5-07: Concept and 3D Art
5-08: Conclusion
5-09: About the Author
5-10: Changelog

1-07: Design Philosophy; A study in fun
This section is dedicated to understanding the concepts behind what makes a game actually fun in the first place, and how to use that knowledge to make your champion more fun as well.

1-08: Choices
There's a lot of choices in the game, from what your build order looks like, to whether to use flash to get a kill or jump a wall to escape. Here, you'll learn why choices are so important, what kinds there are, and what happens if you don't include them.

1-09: Improvement and Criticism
To get better, you're going to need external help, eventually. It can be rough to accept help, and even more so to admit when you're wrong. This part of the guide focuses not only on accepting criticism, but also how to identify when a critic, themselves, is wrong, so that you can weed out good information from the bad. This is pretty much necessary if you're looking to improve, long term.

1-10: Legibility and Presentation
Just because you wrote it, doesn't mean it's possible to read it. Here, I'll be covering the concepts behind presenting your champion in a way that's easy to read, as well as informative. Some stuff to look out for, such as clues that you haven't provided enough information, or it's not clearly defined, will also be covered.


Page 2: Getting started:

This page focuses heavily on just getting an idea, more so than even trying to build a full fledged champion.

When you get stuck, trying to even think of a good idea, or are not even sure what kind of a champion you want, this is your first stop for information.

Mostly, this section focuses on character design, long before champion design. Every champion is a character, but not all characters are champions. This will help you get a personality, a feel, and a background to your character, so that they can begin being upgraded into a full fledged champion design.

2-01A: Character Concept
A champion is more than just a bunch of numbers thrown together. Part of what makes playing a champion fun, is how unique and interesting they are, as well as their look and personality. These traits help give you ideas on how to build your design up further, and can really add to the fun factor. I'll be going over, in depth, character creation as a whole, and how important it is to your champion design.

2-01B - Inspiration
Our brains are designed to process raw information, compare it to previous memories, and spit out something that makes sense. I'll be covering things such as psychology, physiology, as well as ways to put these to use into finding new ideas and sources of inspiration to make your abilities and designs more interesting.

2-01C - Unique ideas (They don't exist)
Ever hear that there are only 20 possible movie or book plot lines in existence? Well, it's true. Everything is a variation of those basic twenty. There's no such thing as a truly "unique" idea. So long as your ability does some sort of CC, damage, heal, or affects the outcome of the game some way, it's a variation on something else. This doesn't mean you should be boring, however, or make carbon copies of other people's stuff! I'll be going into depth here on how to take an old idea, and turn it into something new, so that you can properly utilize that inspiration we were discussing in the previous chapter.

2-01D - Lore
Is lore neccesary? Technically, no. Does it help a massive amount in making a design more fun, and does it provide an enormous source of inspiration to work with? That it does, on both counts. You don't "need" lore, but trust me, it'll make things a ton easier with it around. I'll be covering how to create lore, as well as what you're really looking for in the lore you make. Keep in mind, that the purpose of this is inspiration, and if you don't have anything that can be put to use into your character design, then the lore is an absolute, total waste, and just ends up being dead weight.

2-01E - Naming Conventions: (both names and titles!)
So, why is a name important? Well, besides being the first thing that catches someone's eye on the forum, enticing them to read on further, it also gives a good idea of what kind of quality the rest of the ideas in that champion are going to be. I'll be going through great lengths to explain why some names and titles are good, and why others are not so much. There's also different standards between these two, oddly enough, and this, too, shall be discussed.

2-06A: Resources
Most champions have a resource system of some sort. The vast majority of these are mana, energy, or rage, with a few stragglers that don't use anything but cooldowns, or have strange stuff attached to them. I'll be primarily covering cooldowns in this section, and describing the reasoning behind why resources, in general, are important at all.

2-06B - Mana
Mana's the most common of the resource systems in the game, and for good reason. I'll be covering things like mana costs, what mana's intended purpose is, and how to set up your own mana costs. Warning, there's a lot of math in the main article, because mana is a lot more tricky to set up than you may expect! Don't worry, though, I'll be there to walk you through it, and break it all down into something that actually makes sense!

2-06C - Energy
The next biggest contender on the block for resource system extraordinaire, is energy. Energy, though a bit easier to work with than mana, in some ways, is a real pain in other ways to work with. It gives remarkable control, but is very complex behind the scenes. I'll be going into depth on this matter, and breaking down what energy does, why it's pretty much the polar opposite of mana, and how to apply it to your own champion.

2-06D - Rage
Rage is our final, major resource, in League of Legends. It takes up a unique niche that the other options, such as "none", "mana" or "energy", simply don't cover. Namely, this involves being weak at the start of a fight, and strong towards the end. With the one exception of Shyvanna, who only halfway fits into that category. Rage is a lot easier to work with than other resource systems, in some ways, but also requires a bit more planning to make sure it doesn't just feel tacked on. I'll go over everything you never wanted to know about rage, until you want to punch me in the face.

2-06E - New resource systems
Want to add a new resource system to your champion design? Whoa there, Kemosabe! Do you even need a new resource system, in the first place? I'll be going through why new resources get added in the first place, and explain when, and why, you would make your own. The short version of this is, if you don't understand why the current resource systems exist, don't bother even considering making a new one until you do.


Page 3: What makes a champion?:

Where the previous section dealt in making a character design, this section is designed to work with you to get you thinking about the overall purpose of your champion, and the layout of their abilities and such.

Here's where your design goes from being "just a character", into someone who actually has abilities, a role, and a purpose.

With this, you'll get yourself a nice base for your champion, and they'll start to feel a lot more rounded out than they did before.

3-01A: Purpose, and Specific roles
Here's where we get into what you want your champion to do. I'll be going through things such as their intended purpose, as well as a light overview of the primary roles that most champions fall into. There'll also be specific purposes, such as lane pushers, junglers, and so on, added in here as well, as they aren't quite full fledged roles.

3-01B - Tank
IMMA TANAK! RAWR! Alright, maybe I'm not. Sometimes. Aaaaanyway. This section will be focusing on the specific requirements and problems that tanks need to consider when being built. Just because you give them a taunt, doesn't mean they're a worthy tank, after all!

3-01C - Support
The mere term "Support", is actually pretty vague. I'll be going through a listing of what it truly means to make a support champion, and some things which aren't in the game yet will also show up, due to the limited nature of supports currently. Remember, just because you have a heal, doesn't mean you're really qualified to be a true support!

3-01D - DPS / melee/ranged/magical
Damage. Per. Second. If it's not sustainable long term, then you're not a true DPS. Here, we'll explore the idea of what a DPS champion is, as well as how they accomplish the tasks required of them. Note that not all DPS are physical, though there are only two magical DPS (Rumble and Cassiopeia) in the game at the moment. I'll be explaining how a magic DPS can even exist, among other DPS related stuff!

3-01E - Assassin
So, you've been playing Hitman all week end, and now you want an assassin, huh? No problem! I'll be going into considerable depth on what makes an assassin... an... assassin. Why, yes, I am from the Department of Redundancy Department! How'd you guess?

3-01F - Burst mages
There's some subtle differences that divide Annie, Veigar, and a number of others, from the assassins. There's also some not so subtle differences, as well. I'll be covering what a burst mage is, and how to build one in this part of the guide!

3-07A: Abilities
CRIKEY! Post #37 before we even get to work on abilities? Yep. There's a lot of stuff in advance to cover before these even make sense to start work on. Note that abilities don't exist in a vacuum, either, so just going "huh, here's a cool ability", is just not enough. Still, the idea of how abilities work, and what they truly represent, will be covered here. Things such as targeting, application, and so on, will also be mentioned.

3-07B - Passives
Just because it's passive, doesn't mean it has to have a passive effect on how you play your champion. Note that many passive abilities are truly engaging, and can really add a lot of fun to the game. I'll be covering here, the difference between a fun passive, and a not so great, boring passive, with my lovely assistants Sona and Soraka.

3-07C - Actives
These are the bulk of the abilities in the game, and they're what primarily makes your champion fun to play. I'll be spending a great deal of time and effort in both this section, and later ones, ensuring that you're capable of making a truly awesome active ability to play with.

3-07D - Ultimates
The ULTIMATE guide, must have a section on ULTIMATES. So I have decreed, and thus it is so! The Ultimate of a champion plays a pretty massive role in the overall feel of how the champion plays, if done right, but doesn't eclipse their standard abilities. I'll be covering what to do, and what to avoid, as well as why ultimates even exist in the first place, with information going all the way back to Warcraft 3, before DotA even existed.


Page 4: Fine Tuning:

Just because you have some abilities in mind, and a back story, doesn't mean your design is playable just yet. There's still an awful lot of complex, behind the scenes stuff, to go through to ensure that your champion is actually interesting, and will work well in the game.

Here, I'll be covering things such as design decisions, how to balance your abilities, and ways to take bland, boring ideas, and spice them up into something more fun to use, while still maintaining your original vision.

4-01: Flaws, holes, and gaps
Plug ALL the holes! Or, wait, what? You mean we intentionally WANT to leave gaps in our designs? Yep, it's true, if your champion "does it all", it's probably going to be pretty boring to play. Go figure. I'll be explaining how this works, and how to go about taking care of the problem before it even pops up.

4-02: Making fun abilities
While some of this was covered in the previous page, there's simply more stuff to explain. Just because an ability does a lot of damage, doesn't necessarily mean it's fun to use. In fact, the very definition of "fun" is fluid, and changes between individuals, so some ideas on how to cater to various groups will also be covered here.

4-03: Synergy
Looks like I just won another game of BULL**** BINGO! But, seriously, synergy is an overused term, and while many people say it doesn't have a meaning, it really does. In short, two or more things, which work better together, than they do alone, synergize with each other. I'll be covering how to create synergy, as well as how to avoid going overboard on synergy, as it tends to snowball, once you get good at it.

4-04A: Complex is not necessarily better
My ability shoots lightning, and fire, and whales, and godzilla clones, and rats, and makes the sky rain blood, and the rivers to boil, and and and and STUFF. Alright, calm down, just because you drop fifty effects onto an ability, doesn't mean it's any more interesting than something simple. We'll be covering, in this section, what kind of complexity you're looking for, and the signs of when things have gotten seriously out of hand.

4-04B - How to simplify abilities
Well, after that last section, you've probably just realized that you've likely got at least one ability that needs to be simplified. As such, this entire chapter is dedicated towards doing just that. I'll be showing you how to break down ideas into their base, constituent parts, and rebuild the ability, or concept, so that it keeps the same feel and idea, while ditching needless fluff that just gets in the way.

4-04C - Multi-Stage Abilities
Now that we've covered how to make something so that it doesn't spiral out of control into a fractal design, we can work on making those abilities a little bit more complex, but this time, doing it the right way. I'll be covering things such as making abilities with multiple effects, different effects depending on the target used upon, and abilities that can be used more than once, among other things. There's a lot to cover here, so be prepared for some intense study!

4-07A: Balancing Champions and Abilities
There are a lot of parts that go into making an ability, or even a champion as a whole, balanced. This gives a lot of people a lot of trouble, so it's getting broken down into four sections. The first one, here, will give some basic concepts, as well as some guidelines on how to get started.

4-07B - Numbers, and what they mean
Numbers. Numbers and math. Math and numbers. Goosebumps, yet? Don't worry, even if you suck at math, it's no problem! I'll be going into a great deal of depth here, describing things such as mathematical concepts, as well as what those pesky numbers actually represent. If you're even remotely interested in game design, or balancing your champion design, this one's pretty much mandatory.

4-07C - Scaling
One of the hardest parts of getting a champion design balanced, is to set up their scaling appropriately. Many people gloss over this part, or just throw in any number that sounds good, or even attach really weird scaling concepts to their abilities. I'll go into great detail, here, about why scaling is important, how it affects the way your build order and play style works, what different values can represent, as well as how to work with non-standard choices of scaling, such as AD, health, or armour scaling, to name a few.

4-07D - The whole package
Abilities don't exist in a vacuum, and the whole has to be considered carefully, for the individual parts to make sense. As such, I'll be covering how to evaluate the entire champion as a whole, and compare whether various segments of it need to be adjusted due to such. Giving a tank intentionally weak base armour and growth per level, for example, can work, if they have otherwise strong defensive abilities to make up for it, such as our friend Rammus shows us. Ok. Ok. Ok. Yep. Ram. Ok.


Page 5: Icing on the cake:

So, you have a fun champion, some unique abilities, and some great ideas. They've got a back story, a neat name, and you're just DYING to see them in the game to test them out!

So... why is there still another full page here?

Well, you're still going to need to go back over your design, and make sure you didn't make any severe errors that you'll have to correct. This is when you review, revise and rebuild your champion over a few times, to make them as good as they can possibly be.

From learning what the rules are, and why they exist, to how to break those very same rules and when to do so, as well as breaking down things into a more advanced level, this section is dedicated to simply perfecting an already good design, and ensuring that you know how to go about tuning it up past the point of being posted.

Of course, as with the rest of the guide, the more you follow this in each design you do, the easier a time you'll have on subsequent designs, and will be better suited to making even more awesome champions than before!

5-01: Differences between methods of doing things, and why it matters
What's the benefits and disadvantages to using a skill shot over a targeted ability? Why use bonus armour instead of damage reduction, or lowering the physical attack of an enemy? These questions are very important to think about when finalizing a design. Just because you have a desired goal in mind, doesn't mean there isn't a dozen paths you can traverse to arrive there. Some of these will be more useful than others, and some more interesting in their application, while some will just, plain, be a bad idea. I'll walk you through a fair number of examples, and describe how to identify what options you have available to you on your own, so that you can adapt these concepts to all your champions.

5-02: Things to Avoid
Pitfall was a pretty good game, back in the day, but it doesn't mean it's fun to step into a pit that could've been avoided easily. There's only so many right ways, but there's an infinite number of wrong ways to do stuff, so I obviously can't cover everything. What I can do, however, is give you a quick list of a bunch of things that people often get hung up on, and explain how to avoid them. That uhm... Pitfall comment... that didn't make me look old, right? ...Right?

5-03A: Anti-patterns
Zileas, as most of you know him, has been kind enough to give us a useful list of things that he feels are detrimental to the game, generally speaking. This is seriously "word of god" stuff, here, and important to explain in even more detail than he has covered himself. I'll be going through the entire list, one piece at a time, and providing my own thoughts and insights on the matter, as it's really important to get these covered in even more detail than has already been given. Seriously, read this chapter, and the continuation of it in the next one.

5-03B - Anti-patterns Continued
As I said, this is a big list. This is just the continuation.

5-05: Breaking the rules
Oh it's possible to break the rules, alright. Is it a good idea? Usually... no. There are exceptions, however. There are right times, and wrong times, to break the rules. To do so, first you must isolate why a rule exists, and understand it's purpose and ramifications, before you go messing around with it. I'll be covering how to do just that, so that you'll know when it really is time to break the rules, instead of just breaking stuff haphazardly, merely because you feel like it.

5-06: Put yourself in their shoes
Your design's finalized, is it? No it's not. We don't have the luxury of play testing, here, so you're going to have to do this mentally, I'm afraid. I'll be discussing how to imaginary play test a champion design, and some major areas that need to be specifically considered. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it.

5-07: Concept and 3D Art
I went to college for a year and a half to study 3D Game Animation. Since you probably don't have some tens of thousands of dollars laying around for a mere hobby, I'll try to compress some of that information down into stuff you can use.

5-08: Conclusion
There are a ton of people who brought you DotA, League of Legends, and who have contributed to making this forum an awesome place. I'd like to thank each member and group, and especially, those who are reading through this guide because you want to get better, or to maybe some day enter the gaming industry yourself. This chapter is dedicated to everyone else, but me, and will contain other resources, such as a list of links to other guides, as well as places to go to learn more about games and LoL in general. Some sites, such as LoLWiki, which I reference often in the guide, will also show up here.

5-09: About the Author
You love me! YOU REALLY LOVE ME! Alright, no, you probably don't care in the slightest, but that's fine. I actually suggest just skipping over this part, as it's truly the least useful of the entire guide to learning how to make a good champion design. XD

5-10: Changelog
There's a LOT of stuff to add to this guide. As of this moment, of writing this, only ten or so posts worth are actually completed. As I update, edit, and add new information, these will be listed here, so that I can keep track of things myself, and so that others can also see when new stuff's been added. This will be labeled in reverse chronological order, and set to my own timezone of AST (Atlantic Standard time), which is -4 hours GMT. This will let you easily just scan the top of the post, and see what new stuff has been updated recently!

"As with everything else, it's the thought that counts." - John Sheridan, Babylon 5

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1-02A: Index B - Basics of Champion Design
This is the most basic starting point of making a champion, or even a character in general. The concepts listed here are of great value and should be taken very seriously, as without these, the design is going to go flop.

These are the top rules that must be considered for your champion to be fun, and are not under debate. You can't argue these points, and can't debate them. They are flat out fact. There is no avoiding these issues. Keep them in mind on every single champion you make, and they'll help you go far.

1-07: Design Philosophy; A study in fun
There are a lot of things which make League of Legends actually fun, as a game. Many of these are going to be covered in later sections, as well as this one, but I'm going to focus on a bit of the design philosophy behind the game here.

First off, LoL focuses pretty heavily on team play. DotA, HoN, and several other variations on the MOBA theme, while being "team" games, also stress the capacity for one player to completely wipe out another.

Itemization, excessively long CC, and various other things, are often used in games like DotA, to make a single unit ridiculously powerful. the basic design philosophy of these other titles, is that "If we make EVERYTHING unbalanced, then, by comparison, they're all balanced in relation to each other!".

League of Legends works a little differently, under Tom Cadwell's, and several others, guidance. As such, LoL focuses on the players having the capacity to actually interact with each other on a team scale. If one player can wipe out the entire enemy team by themselves, then is it truly a team game any longer?

While such occurrences do happen in LoL, on rare occasion, it's just that. A rare occasion. Generally, 2-3 people working together can bring down any one player with relative ease, or at the very least, force them to run back to base to recover.

Things that prevent players from actively playing a role in the game, such as excessively long crowd control (CC), tend to be used sparingly, or in small amounts, so as to not get carried away.

One thing that really has to be considered, above all else, though, is whether a game is fun. This includes the champions, the itemization, the layout of the levels, and so on and so forth.

This sounds like a strange concept, but far too often, developers get carried away with an idea they're enamoured with. It happens especially often on the forum, here, where people have this wonderful, awesome design in their heads, and then... then it turns out to be a terrible, horrible idea, yet they refuse to back down from such.

One of the first things you'll have to learn, is that you're going to have to know when to just let a bad idea die. We all have them, even the best of us.

Consider Blizzard Entertainment. Currently, they make an annual profit that many smaller countries don't. Back in the days of Warcraft 2's pre-alpha, they had a vision for the game. A dream. Something grand, that no one had ever done before.

The game was going to be situated around creating these ridiculously expensive and powerful catapults, where the teams from either side would capture and control them, using them to break through walls and demolish each other's bases. The idea, was that having this play as sort of an active form of "king of the hill" was going to be AWESOME.

In practice... it was anything but.

Time, and time again, they tried to fix it. They tweaked numbers, replaced units, adjusted concepts, over and over, for months on end. Try as they might, they eventually came to the invariable conclusion. This idea flat out sucked.

As much as they loved the idea, and as much as they wanted to put it into the game, they had to admit that, in the end, it wasn't fun. And what good, really, is a game that isn't fun?

The idea was ditched, the game play completely changed, and it went on to become the game of the year. If they had have insisted on clinging desperately to the bad idea of the horrid catapult centered game play, it would have simply flopped, and Blizzard would have been known only as a one-hit wonder, and Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and subsequently, League of Legends, would never have been made.

In a large company, it's hard to throw out a bad idea, especially after spending so many resources on it. Blizzard and Valve are two of the few willing to completely ditch an idea that just isn't up to par with their standards.

Riot... is one of the few others. How many champion designs have been tossed out before we even hear of them? We'll never know, but it's guaranteed that there have been at least a few that were dead outright, that were nearing the end of their development cycle.

We know for a fact that there's been a handful that were actually announced, and later on were ditched entirely. What we don't know, is how many more are hidden that we weren't even told about.

As we're not getting paid for this, we're not under time constraints, nor pressure, to complete a design. We can go back, ditch bad ideas, and start over, as many times as we like.

Fun is everything, in a game, and if you're not having fun, it's not worth playing, no matter how pretty the graphics are.

I'll go into specific details in the main article, but for now, simply be aware that, if a player isn't actively able to control their champion, or have it do what they want, when they want it to, then they're probably not having fun. If they don't feel like they had an impact on the outcome of a situation, they're going to get frustrated.

It's not nearly as bad to fail, with the knowledge that it was a close fight, and one or two small errors difference is all that stood between you and victory, as it is to lose outright, with no hope of even trying to contend.

One thing that Riot has learned, is that the most fun you can have, is when it's a tough, close match, and you feel like you still have a chance. Even in the worst case scenarios, all it takes is for one player to do something horrifically wrong, like a carry that gets overconfident and gets themselves killed, only to steamroll the next team fight, and push into the nexus itself. This kind of capacity to come back from near certain death is part of what gives players a sense of satisfaction.

The other part, is to be rewarded for doing a good job. More experience, more gold, more summoner levels, more runes, masteries, and champions to use. These attach players to the game just as tightly as anything else.

Note that the original Diablo game followed a simple formula: Kill -> Reward. You killed stuff, and you were rewarded for killing them. This is the most basic of concepts on the hierarchy of needs, and any other psychological breakdown of the human subconscious mind. If you do a good job, you get a reward for it.

Push button, receive food pellet. Kill player, receive gold and experience. Kill really strong player, get really big gold and experience boost. Kill someone who's been AFK all game, get only a tiny reward. Win game, get permanent reward that helps out the next game.

No matter what you do, no matter who you are, and no matter what your champion design may be, do *NOT* break that one, single tenant. EVER. If you punish a player for doing a good job, they will feel frustrated, dissatisfied, and will not enjoy the game, and in time, will quit it outright.

Always give the player the option to counteract such. Which, interestingly enough, leads us into our next section...

1-08: Choices
League of Legends is a game. This sounds kind of silly, but many people don't seem to realize that in the games industry, that a "game" involves... well... playing it. More than any other aspect of game design, the actual game play is the king of the hill.

I'm trained in professional writing and 3D artwork. Yes, plot, story, writing, flashy graphics, and so on, can be selling points. But if the game's not FUN, it doesn't matter. Story and graphics amplify an experience, but if the experience sucks, there's nothing to amplify.

The key difference between a GAME and just watching TV, is that you interact with a game, and can alter the outcome. Choices are key to game play.

If you don't have any real choice, utilize false choices, or just don't even get the option to make a choice, then you're not playing a game anymore.

Watch out for characters with excessive CC, or other lock down abilities that go to excess. If you, or the enemy, don't get to actually have an impact on the final outcome of the game, your design has failed. Flat out. No questions asked, and no redemption possible.

Choices can come in many flavours; from picking which items to buy, which order to learn skills in, how to position yourself in a fight, or when to use your abilities or interact with other champions.

These can all be affected by the champion design to some degree, so make sure you're consciously aware of such when making a champion.

A good example of a "choice", is an ability which can be used to either get you a kill, or help you escape from being killed, IE. FLASH. Yes, most people hate flash (even me), but it does provide a choice to the player. Blowing a flash to tower dive could get you first blood. Or it could get you killed when it's on cool down, because you wasted it.

Regardless, try to ensure that players have some choices to make. The more, generally, the better. Just make sure they're streamlined and able to be made in an instant, without a clunky interface. We don't want another Invoker type champion, because most of his choices were false choices, and the interface to use his spells sucked.

If you don't have a method of making the choices quickly, and spend too much time figuring out what they are, or how to actually make the choice, then it's not going to work.

LoL is a high reaction speed game, and as such, you need to be able to evaluate your surroundings at a moment's notice, and then act upon that information. If you have to fight through multiple layers of clutter to do so, something is very, very wrong.

Give a choice, but make it possible to actually make that choice quickly, and easily.

1-09: Improvement and Criticism
No matter how awesome you think you are, you need help.
I need help.
You need help.
Morello needs help.
Zileas needs help.

The point is, no one individual can see all ends. It doesn't matter how good they are. There's always something they didn't think of, or something they missed. It's not physically possible to see EVERYTHING.

As such, this is why we need peer review. In the games industry, this comes in the form of a supervisor and quality assurance team of some sort, generally. These individuals are typically given extra training and information on how to pick out the best qualities and root out the bad ideas.

We don't really have anything that counts as a supervisor on this forum, sadly. We have a few with good knowledge, such as Echoing, myself, or a few others, but no real supervisor. As such, we need to look out for each other and work with tens of reviews at a time, instead of one person with the final say.

You can, and will, make mistakes. Something that seems awesome to you, may be absolute ****. Something you felt was kinda the weakest part of your champion, may in fact hold the most potential promise to becoming epic win material.

Review each other! Not just one line **** responses like "I liked it. Please review my champion as well."

That's not a review, a review has the key purpose in mind of providing valuable information that can be used to make things better.

Unfortunately, the key thing about making things better, is that it means that it's not perfect to begin with. This means that criticism, if done right, will invariably have to point out "this is not good enough". Deal with it. Don't cry or let your poor ego die because of it. Even my ego (and it's a tiny one at that, even if I put on a good show pretending otherwise) can live with that, because it's needed to become better.

That doesn't mean that your reviews should always be scathing "everything sucks RAAAWR!". It means that you need to provide both a listing of what you liked, and what you didn't like. Explain why something worked well, you think, and go into depth as to why you believe something else is a problem.

It can't be fixed if you don't know what's wrong.

Accept that you will need to fix stuff, and it'll be easier.

At the same time, accept that not all advice is good advice. Take any review with a grain of salt. Maybe they misunderstood something (go into better detail in the ability to explain why it doesn't work that way then! This is a review which states that it's not clearly explained!), maybe they don't hold much value in something you find important. Maybe they just flat out are WRONG.

It's up to you to decide.

It's also up to you to pick and choose which advice to follow; just because they say "this is broken, but here's a solution", doesn't mean you have to use *THAT* solution, even if it *IS* broken.

Take ownership of your own stuff!

It's *YOUR* design, so make sure it stays that way! Others can help, but never let them compromise your own integrity. Keep your original vision, and don't let people ruin that. At the same time, be willing to accept bending your design so that it actually works too. If you refuse to change, you refuse to get better, and if that's the case, why are you even here looking for reviews in the first place?

Padding your ego with an "I liked it" review is nice, but it's not that helpful. The best reviews are ones that help you further the design and make it better than it already is. They may be kind, but they will sting, now and again.

Information is the best resource you have. Grab all of it you can get your hands on, and never let go.

1-10: Legibility and Presentation (Formatting so posts are readable)
This is essentially a section covering how to make yeur work readable. A big, thick, block of text, lacking punctuation and paragraphs, will be near impossible to read, regardless of how good of an idea it may be.

There are a great many ways to cover various aspects of this, and I'll go into each in detail in the larger article, such as templates, using quotes, colour and font adjustments, and so on and so forth.

Spelling and grammar do play a part, to some degree (I know, my spelling sucks, but it does make it easier to read), as do many other tiny factors as well.

Remember, if you can't read what an ability does, how are you going to tell if it's fun to use?

For a quick listing though, a good idea would be to list all the aspects of a spell and break them up by information type. Things which are constants and don't change with spell rank are generally easier to leave separated from the stuff that changes with each new rank.

You probably will also want to give a "quick explanation", and a "detailed explanation" separately. If you're confused, check the tool tips on the actual abilities in the game for a good example of how to provide the most information in the best way, or check how LoLWiki presents their information, which is probably even more effective than that in the actual game.

Make sure to also add key information and details that are needed to understand how the champion works! Things like being melee or ranged attack can make a *HUGE* difference on how a champion plays, and most people tend to skip that one.

Be clear and descriptive on things such as targeting, as well. How you aim a spell can be as important as the effects of the spell itself. Appearance and lore, while nice, aren't as big a deal, in abilities. I don't much care if it looks like a fruitcake that flies around with wings and a happy face and shoots eye lasers. Sure it makes the spell a bit more interesting, but it's not as important as knowing how long the fruitcake turret lasts, or the cool down, or if it sits where you target or instead hovers around behind you like the baby metroid did to Samus.

More information is generally better. If you're on this forum, and utter the phrase "TL: DR" and mean it, then you've just missed the whole point of champion design in the first place.

Make sure you go into as much detail as possible about how stuff works, so that it can be clear as to what it is you've actually made. Knowing the difference between how shun-po and flash targets work, can be the difference between a good ability and a bad one.

Anyway, try to be clear, and err on the side of "too much" information, as opposed to "too little"!

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1-02B: Index B - Getting started
While we now have some information on the most basic concepts of champion design, we need to go past that, now, and begin work on actually creating one. Knowing how to organize your thoughts is important, but having thoughts to organize in the first place, is also kind of useful.

2-01A: Character Concept
The easiest place to start, for most people, is character concept. I have word that Riot has changed from this approach, which they clearly originally once held, and now start with role rather than a character.

To be perfectly blunt, this explains, in large part, why the champion designs have been so ridiculously bland and boring as of late, other than Ahri, who would have been pretty clearly done using a character design before a role.

See, there's two main ways to design a champion... one states that you begin with a role and purpose to fulfill, such as a tank, or DPS, then tack on a face and story at the end. The other, suggests you start with a character design, make them interesting to begin with, and then have them naturally evolve into something that plays well by determining a role they fit well into.

It's possible to move back and forth between the two repeatedly, but starting on one end of the spectrum, or the other, will have lasting rammifications throughout the remainder of the design process.

A champion that's designed with role first in mind, will probably play a little better in the actual game. This is fine for something that's attempting to become an E-sport, if it can sustain itself solely off of the publicity of such.

One which is built from the ground up as a character, first and foremost, will simply be more interesting, be more worthy of skins, and be more attractive to play for people who aren't playing only "the top tier" champions. This is where most of your money comes from, so it's generally a good idea to cater to this group at least partially.

Ideally, you want to use both, but honestly, it's not really possible, except in rare circumstances, to truly manage to get to use both equally. The initial design will tend to bully the other out of the way, to some degree, due to the design philosophy of the primary designer for that champion.

Regardless, I come from the school of thought which states that a character design has to occur before a role can be fleshed out. This is how I've been taught, and how, as a writer, I think. The other way has advantages of its own, but I find character before role to be the most effective method, overall.

Anyway, I digress!

Before you start anything, put down the champion, and figure out their personality, their motivations, their eccentricities, and so on. If you really need help, try grabbing a Dungeons and Dragons, World of Darkness, Anima, or some other tabletop RPG system to build your character as a character concept, before turning them into a champion.

Trust me, it'll make things a dozen times easier, and in the next sections, I'll explain why.

2-01B - Inspiration
Sounds easy, doesn't it? To get an idea in your head and run with it? Of course, if you're reading this guide, you've probably realized, by now, that it really isn't that easy.

Before you can truly get your ideas on paper, or a text document, you need to first get those ideas. So where does one go to get these magical, elusive ideas?


Bad answer? Not really. Seriously, go everywhere. You're looking for TV shows, books, reality, games, movies, role playing events, and so on and so forth. Anything that has something, has the potential for there to be something interesting to work with.

Two great places to go nuts on, are Wikipedia, and TV Tropes. Sure, you'll get lost in these places for a few hours, addicted to the endless links, but they give you ideas, and these can be turned into something fun!

Consider that the iconic Xenomorph, from the ALIENS series, was inspired. This is a creature which has lasted 30 years, now, as being flat out pure awesomesauce (do not question my phrases! I'm still cool! Honest!). What was it based off of? Well, there's a wasp that lays its' eggs inside of a spider, which eats the spider from the inside out, then hatches as a wasp, killing its' host.

Creepy stuff... yet, it was the beginning of the ALIENS series, and the primary inspiration for the creation of the Xenomorph. It's built to look like an insect, and to hatch from within a living host, making it seriously unnerving stuff.

The first movie, ALIEN, was written as a horror/suspense, and most people weren't that big on biology, so didn't know about this creepy thing in nature.

So... yes, anything goes.

Ahri's based off nine-tailed fox lore, from china, japan, and korea, mostly. Her abilities and lore are all attached to such, and this is a large part of why she's so interesting, and subsequently, so much fun to play.

Annie's built more off of the idea of little kids in horror movies. Innocence turned evil is unnerving, and as a culture, we have a morbid fascination with such.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

In short, pick a number of ideas that you think are interesting, and try to fit them together into something fun.

2-01C - Unique ideas (They don't exist)
It's been said that there are only 20 possible plot lines for any story, and that everything else is a variation upon those themes.

Strangely enough, this is actually true.

There really isn't anything that's truly unique. As inspiration has to come from somewhere, anything you see today, came from inspiration elsewhere. Your television, your computer, the very concept of a house, or a chair. Each and every one of these were inspired by the creators surroundings.

As such, there is no such thing as a truly unique idea. However, it doesn't mean you can't have an inspired idea.

See, the difference that you need to learn, is that unique means it has no attachments to anything else, and is completely stand alone. To be blunt, nothing you make will be truly unique, to the point that no one's considered it before. Perhaps, it won't be considered in that particular set of ideas, with that specific twist on things, but it's not going to be truly unique.

The harder you strive to be "unique", the less interesting you really become.

Grab ideas, and mix and match them. It's through taking completely different ideas, and forcing them together at gunpoint, that you get neat new ideas that wouldn't have existed otherwise. They're not truly unique... a drunken monkey pirate that throws molotov cocktail poo at people is not really unique in any one aspect of its' design, but you have to admit, it stands out pretty plainly as being certainly different.

This does *NOT* mean to steal ideas plainly, one for one! Don't just transfer abilities from one character to another, with no variation or change. Take various ideas, and merge them together, into something more fun.

For example, an ability I was describing to someone yesterday, was the idea that Blitzcrank has a rocket fist, it reaches out and grabs someone, then brings them back. Another idea is a "leash" spell, which latches two people together. Why not make an ability where you latch onto someone, and they aren't able to walk past the leash range from your character? It gives them limited mobility, similar to Jarvan's ultimate, but would prevent things like flash or any of the thousand things that let you escape his so called "impassable terrain". Cast again to reel the enemy in to melee range? Don't cast to limit their movement, cast to move them where you want to? It's interesting, and fun, but it's not unique.

Ditch the idea of being unique, but don't blatantly steal abilities. Don't 1 for 1 transfer anything directly from DotA or HoN, Demigod, or Super Monday Night Combat. They may be in the same genre, but stuff used there simply doesn't work here, since the scaling is different, and the game play has significant differences.

Take old ideas, and turn them into something new, but don't try to avoid inspiration because it's somehow "not unique enough". No such thing; embrace your inspiration, and USE it to make something awesome and new!

2-01D - Lore
As with the rest of the character design, lore is important. Not because it really "does" anything... you can completely make a character without lore, personality, motives, or whatever, and simply dump a pile of abilities together that make sense mechanically.

The thing is, if you do that, you wouldn't get things like Gangplank, or Galio, where their abilities flat out only make sense to be put together because of their lore.

Lore gives you ideas. It gives you additional points to your character design, and it gives you inspiration on new ideas that you would not have had otherwise.

Consider Gangplank's oranges. Does it make any sense for a champion to have a built in cleanse that heals, who is otherwise a DPS? Not really, no. Sure, they should have a way to sustain, and a way to defend themselves somehow, but that seems really awkward of an idea.

But... scurvy is a nasty thing, it's painful, it's crippling, and hope you never wind up in a situation where you actually get it, because it SUCKS.

Thing is, though, a lime, or orange, and poof, you're good as new. Now, admittedly, these were originally added to their drinks... you'd get some lime juice mixed in with your rum, since it fed more people that way, and was easier to get them to eat it. The point is, however, that they took an idea from his character, as in, he's a pirate, and used that to create abilities for the champion itself.

If you want to have useful lore, that gives you ideas, make sure you answer these four following questions. Admittedly, I stole them straight up from Babylon 5, but they're good questions for character design.

Who are you?
What do you want?
Why are you here?
Where are you going?

I'll go into detail as to why each is important in the larger article. For now though, just try to answer the questions within your lore, and you'll find that the lore will tend to give you far more interesting ideas to work with later on.

A champion I reviewed yesterday, as of this writing, happened to have... none of these answered. There was no personality, no idea what they wanted, they didn't have a clue as to why they did the things they do, nor did they have a direction or goal. As such, there was nil to work with, and their lore was worthless to use for ideas to spice up their bland, boring champion.

Answer those four in their lore, and the lore will help you a great deal.

2-01E - Naming Conventions: (both names and titles!)
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.

So, too, is there symmetry, in this concept, for naming your champions, both in the name itself, and their title.

See, a name gives a few things. First off, it can give you some ideas, and perhaps a bit of inspiration. More than that, though, it can tell people that you're capable of providing something interesting, and may warrant a closer look.

Naming your bear champion "bear" is pretty bloody boring. *Coughvolibearcough*. Ever notice that shows for like 5 year olds have all the species named after themselves? The frog is named "Frog", the cat is named "Mrs. Cat", the dog's named "Mr. Dog". Unless you expect your target audience to be retarded, don't do this.

Now, that's not to say you shouldn't have some similarity in name, for you do want to be descriptive, but you don't want to be blatantly obvious, either.

A title can be a bit more blatant, because it's a direct description of the character's actions. Sivir is the Battle Mistress, because she has flat out earned that title in her lore. She's known for being pretty much the best there is at that role, and as such, it's an honourary title to denote such.

The name, however, you don't want to be quite so blatant. Calling yourself "Blaze, the fire elemental!" is just... yeah. It's pretty fail. Yes, I'm glaring harshly at Brand, right now. You can't see it, but I am.

Ideally, you want something that indirectly hints to a player what that champion does, or something of their back story. If you're making an Egyptian-themed character, an Egyptian-themed name can work quite well, so long as you stay away from the really blatantly obvious ones like the names of the most obvious gods (Ra, Hathor, Bast), and don't rely on a grade 2 education for famous figures. If you call your Egyptian character "Cleopatra", I will personally hunt you down, drive to your house, and slap your face.

Something more along the lines of Ament, or Ashai, for example, works great.

A tank may be named Caerwyn, to denote that she's of Gaelic descent for the theme, and to show she's as unmoving as a castle wall. An Egyptian character may be named Ament, to give away that portion of her lineage (I've already got dibs on Ament, go away. My name. MINE. Grrr!).

The point, is that you want to give something that fits, without being blatantly obvious about it. You don't want a mole-man named "Digger". Interesting names stand out and can be fun. Celebrity baby names where they sound like porn stars in the making, probably aren't quite so hot an idea.

Remember, if someone sees "Bob the Necromancer", they probably aren't going to expect too much higher quality on the rest of your design. And to be perfectly blunt, they're probably going to be correct in that assessment. I'm not about to go digging through the champion named "Snowflake the Ice Elemental", which means no views, no replies, no reviews, no bumps. It dies as an idea with no hope of ever being improved.

Your name really should be as interesting as your champion is. If there's a discrepancy, you've probably done something terribly wrong.

2-06A: Resources
Resource systems exist for a reason. Primarily, they exist as a way to restrict players from casting their abilities non-stop. Sometimes this is done through mana, sometimes through energy, sometimes through simple ability cool downs.

The details change, but the purpose is always the same: to prevent spamming their abilities non-stop.

Choosing which resource system works best for your champion, is far more important than you may think, and designing a new one is incredibly difficult to do in such a way that it's actually useful.

Even my own designs on "new resource systems" have been problematic in the past, but they can be done.

In short, though, think carefully as to what you want your champion to do, and why you're adding a resource system at all. If you aren't sure why you're adding one, other than "tradition", then you're going to need to step back and re-evaluate why you're adding one in the first place.

Also, the answer for "I'm adding a new resource system because it's fun", is never the right answer. You add a new one because the current ones simply don't perform the role you need them to for your design to work and be fun.

2-06B Mana
Mana is a special case. It's the only resource which increases from items, and it's the only one which can directly impact the effectiveness of how your champion works. Vlad can't stack Archangel's staves, and Shen wastes some of his gold to buy a Rod of Ages, whereas Singed just adores that same Rod of Ages that Shen turned down.

The purpose of mana, however, is long term restriction. The only thing keeping you from spamming your abilities, is your cool downs. Mana, however, is used to keep you from simply spamming every time the cool down is up, allowing for shorter cool downs, as other things are used to keep a player in check.

2-06C Energy
Energy is pretty much the exact opposite of mana, in that it doesn't scale (although you can get runes and masteries to adjust it), it doesn't increase your stats otherwise, it doesn't benefit itemization, it doesn't restrict long term casting, and it does, in fact, restrict short term casting.

See, the purpose behind energy, is to allow a player to have short cool down abilities, with a high cost, that recovers quickly. Kennen, Akali, and so on, can burst really, really hard... but once their energy is gone, they're not much of a threat anymore. This doesn't affect their long term spammability if they stay in lane, so they aren't going to be forced to run back to heal at the fountain or buy mana potions.

It does, however, mean that they can't just unload every ability they have every time the cool down is up.

You'll also note, that every single champion that has energy, also has a way to reduce the rate at which they lose it by regaining some back under certain circumstances.

Shen gets energy back from hitting people with his taunt. Akali gets hers from actually triggering her ranged attack in melee. Kennen has to actually land three skills in a row before the timer's up. The others all work in various other ways, but the concept's the same.

Energy is designed to reward the player for doing their job well and playing their character properly. Miss a skill shot on Kennen, and you're penalized. Forced to back off as Akali, rather than unload in melee range, and you're penalized. This goes for all of the energy users.

You'll also notice, however, that the ultimates of champions who use alternate systems to mana pretty much never use their special resource system on their ultimate, with rare exceptions that are generally very cheap, such as Kennen.

The reasoning behind this, is that an ultimate is a big deal. It's something you want to save for the perfect moment... you don't want to blow all your regular abilities to set someone up for the perfect ultimate... and... not have any energy, rage, or whatever else left to punch it at the perfect moment.

Ultimates are special case scenarios, and are not to be screwed with in resource systems. Usually, anyway.

2-06D Rage
Rage is gaining in popularity a bit, though admittedly, pretty much every champion that uses rage seems to do so in a different manner. This does, admittedly, make it difficult to explain as to what it does, but fortunately, they all have one trait in common.

Rage has the property that it's always weaker out of combat, even on Shyvanna. The longer you're in combat, the stronger your character becomes.

This means that rage tends to only show up on champions that like to be in combat for long periods of time, namely, bruisers. They don't really burst, so much as gradually steamroll everything in their way by simply not dying.

As such, Renekton, Tryndamere, or Shyvanna, are pretty good champions to have rage on, as they want to be in combat for as long as possible.

Honestly, Olaf should also be on that list, and I've seen at least one really good conversion to rage for him in the past suggested. Mana just doesn't really make sense on him as a character, whereas rage does.

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of rage is to grow in power over time, more so than to restrict ability usage. You can generally use a rage-users abilities without rage, they just won't be at their full potential, is all.

Shyvanna's ultimate is a bit of an exception to the rule stated before, of ultimates don't rely on alternate resource systems, but honestly, she's a special case, because she technically doesn't actually use a resource system. Her abilities are pretty much all free, and rage, on her, works more like energy, in that it goes up over time, and still gets more useful out of combat. The idea, on her, is that rage is the limitation on her ultimate, but can be regained faster in combat, hence, it still performs the same purpose as rage, though not quite acting the same way.

More than anything though... DO NOT GIVE A TANK RAGE. Seriously, just don't, unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing.

See, a tank is designed to unload their power at the start of a fight, because the first 2-5 seconds are generally what determines if you win or lose a big messy 5v5 team fight. Since a rage user often needs more than 5 seconds to reach their full potential, it's not really all that good an idea to make a tank who can't perform their tanking duties at the time it's most needed.

There are, however, exceptions, to all rules, so long as you understand the reasoning behind why a rule exists. Shyvanna's ultimate and her personal rage system could be adapted to work quite well for a tank, but you'd really need to work hard around it. It can be done, however.

2-06E New resource systems
Making a new resource system should only ever be done in the situation that you need to do something that the current systems are not currently capable of doing, and can't be modified to the role desired without changing them to the point that they may as well not be that system anymore.

Also, don't let your passive just be "new resource system". You still need a passive in there as well. Many champion designers make the mistake of having a new resource system, which is explained in their passive, but their passive literally does nothing.

Mordekaiser's passive (though his is arguable as to whether it's a resource system or not), Renekton's, Rumble's, etc. They all still *DO* stuff.

Anyway, this is something that can't be easily discussed briefly, and requires a full post to explain in detail.

Short version is this: don't make a new resource system for the sake of having a new one. You flat out need to understand what the current ones do first, and verify that they are incapable of performing the role you require of them, before even considering a new system.

Note that resource systems do change, over time, however. Energy now has runes/masteries, and rage can actually regenerate instead of degenerate, thanks to Shyvanna. As such, this means that my previous design of Nemhain, has been recently converted over to rage, from her previous Bloodlust mechanic, as Rage has changed over the past year, or so, to fitting what she needs it to do, and it's no longer quite such a large, bizarre jump in functionality that it would confuse people any longer.

Nothing exists in a vacuum, so feel free to go back and change your champion designs, even their resource systems, as needed.

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1-02C: Index B - What Makes A Champion
Now that we have some ideas on the basic concept for our character, and how to get those ideas onto the paper in an orderly manner, which makes sense, we now need to get some content in there.

To do this, we're going to need an outline of what makes a champion... well... a champion.

Also, since it's not covered anywhere else in this guide, I'm going to provide a small bit here on statistics, because it certainly doesn't require a full post to cover.

First off, Statistics aren't that big a deal. Your stats are going to likely be fairly generic, as there's really not much variation. There are some differences between champions on an individual level, but for the most part, the difference on a larger scale, between roles, really isn't that big.

The easiest way to figure out your stats, is simply to go on LoLWiki, or some other site (though I do recommend LoLWiki as it lists even hidden stats), and simply check what stats there are. Glance through a few champions that are similar to your own for design and role, for example, checking out Shen, Rammus, Malphite and Cho'gath for a tank, perhaps, and then compare their stats.

There will be variations, but there are a few basic rules of thumb.

First off, determine attack range. Check other champions of the type for comparison.

Then, make sure to list your attack range. It's excessively important to learning how the entire champion plays, and most people don't bother to state whether they're ranged or melee, and it can seriously change how powerful a champion is, and how well they'll work, or how fun they'll be.

Second, compare to previous champions which are similar to your own.

Third, magic resistance rarely scales. It's generally 30+0/level, though the high point is that some champions get 30+1.25/level. There's only two, I believe, who get 30+0.75/level. In short, unless you're specifically adding resistance per level to counteract having below average defenses vs spells, don't bother providing such.

Fourth, list your stats both as the base stat, the increase per level, and the level 1 and level 18 totals. This is a tidy way of letting players know how useful they are, and bypasses the whole problem of "does 430+70 health mean they start at level 1 with 430, or 500 life?". It only takes a short moment to add this info, and it is helpful.

Fifth, don't go past minimum and maximum values, unless you really know exactly what you're doing. For example, don't make a champion with less than 300 movement speed, unless you are building the entire champion design with that stat being different in mind. Check the stats on the other champions, as stated several times now, and you'll be fine.

Sixth... there isn't a sixth. It's really that simple to come up with stats. While some people will state that "low, medium, or high" are perfectly good, and honestly they kind of are, it's generally better to specify exactly how low, or high. It's not that hard to just check LoLWiki and get a specific value, so go ahead and be a little more specific.

Anyway, that's it for stats! Onto the other stuff!

3-01A: Purpose, and Specific roles
This is something that needs to be considered carefully. In short, what do you want your champion to do? What is their overall purpose in the game?

Without this, you won't know what they need, so won't be able to give them abilities.

It's easy to slap a few abilities together, but it doesn't mean that it'll actually be playable, nor fun.

In each design, however, and every role, a champion will need to fulfill a few requirements. Ideally, you actually don't want to fill all of these with their kit, and want, instead, to leave some intentional gaps, that they have to fill with items, masteries, runes, and so on.

This concept forces players to make a choice, as to whether to cover their weak points, or emphasize their strong points.

Keep in mind that some of these requirements can't be met, in the current game, without using the champion's kit. For example, flash simply doesn't cover for a real dash on a 10 second cool down, and you'll notice that dashes/teleports have become incredibly common lately, because of such.

You simply can't replace a gap closer with an item, and summoner spells are too long of a cool down to truly plug the gap.

Anyway, list out what you need, and what you have. If you have a few holes, good! Don't give the player everything they want. They have to work for some of it, and they have to make sacrifices. If you give them everything they want, then there's no real reason in them building anything, now is there?

About the only exception to that, would be that this is limited, to a degree, on support champions, right now, due to the 0CS metagame in North America. This metagame does not exist, however, in Europe, nor in the Asian servers, so it doesn't necessitate that you flat out "need" to have such.

In general, however, bruisers and supports tend to have low scaling and high base stats, to make up for crappy itemization choices, so you'll need to keep in mind what kind of role you're looking to accomplish, before going out and designing the rest of the champion.

3-01B - Tank
A tank needs to perform a few things to be really considered a tank. As such, most of the so-called "tanks" in the game, are really just off-tanks, who are somewhere between a bruiser and a "real" tank.

First, a tank must be capable of drawing attention away from their allies. A tank that doesn't get hit, is not a tank at all. If you simply ignore the tank, then they seriously aren't tanking.

This can be covered in a number of ways, with Taunts being the most lame and pathetic excuse of a way around it. Try not to rely on taunts. It's a bad, lazy design choice. See, a taunt forces the enemy to attack you, whether they want to, or not. A properly made tank doesn't need this crutch, and simply has people attack them because they're considered to be worth attacking.

Examples include CC spam (Cho'gath silences, stuns, and slows), stacks (sadly the tank stacking item sucks, so really, only Cho'gath's ultimate makes people want to kill him for the sake of killing his stacks off), or simply being completely present and in your face constantly (such as Garen when played as a tank; he's more of an off tank, but he really does piss off ranged carries and supports, distracting them from a battle).

Second, a tank needs to survive the incoming damage. Once they have the enemy's attention, they need to survive it, otherwise, they may as well just have been a DPS, instead.

Various survival methods include shields (Shen, Jarvan, etc), armour/MR boosts (Rammus, Leona, etc), or excessively high stat boosts to survival (Cho'gath, Singed, etc).

Third, a tank needs to be at full power at the start of a fight. Most team fights are things that last like 3-10 seconds before it's determined who has won them. If a tank uses rage, for example, then they probably aren't going to be able to perform their tanking role, until it's already too late.

Fourth, initiation. Not every tank *NEEDS* to initiate, but it's generally a good idea to throw the person who has the best chance of survival into the meat grinder first.

For example, Malphite or Rammus are great for opening a fight by running right into the middle of an enemy team and grabbing their attention immediately away from anything else. While Ashe's ultimate can be used to initiate, you're not always going to have Ashe on your team, so will generally want a tank who can do it all.

Since initiation is not something that can be runed, nor itemized for, you generally want to include this into the tank's kit from the start. Note that really awesome initiations, such as Malphite's ultimate, tend to have a long cool down. Less potent ones can still be useful, however.

To be honest, that's really all a tank truly needs. To get in there, draw attention away from others, survive having that attention focused on them, and be useful when they're needed most. Other than that, you have a lot of leeway when making a tank.

3-01C - Support
The support casters have been gradually been being nerfed repeatedly over the course of the game's life. Repeatedly, heals have been nerfed into the ground, CC reduced, and generally, the last few supports haven't even really been supports (Lulu, Orianna, Karma), so much as just damage mages with some minor support capacity tacked on.

So what makes a true support, then? Well, supports are comprised of a few things.

First, a support benefits their allies, typically more than they benefit themselves. This can be done through a few methods, such as heals (being discouraged), or aura effects, or buffs, debuffs, and so on.

Regardless of how they do it, a support caster generally just isn't that effective on their own, but they're great at making someone else... better.

The second major aspect of a true support, is that they have some major way to change the outcome of a fight in an indirect manner. These typically are very powerful AoE effects, typically CC, such as Janna's knockback, Soraka's global heal, or Sona's AoE stun/dance.

These AoE ultimates are typically used to change a losing fight to a winning one under the right conditions. A spell which would temporarily remove all enemy champions in range for 3 seconds, so they can't be hurt, nor hurt others, would also apply, for a divide and conquer style of game play, though no such ability exists within the game yet.

The last aspect of a support, is lots of CC. Most supports have at least 2, or more, methods of shutting down enemies. They typically have little offensive capacity on their own, so instead, they prevent people from attacking them, and set kills up for allies.

Consider Janna, who was considered the "best" support for a very long time. She has a slow, a global haste, an AoE knockup, and an AoE knockback, making her excellent for chasing purposes. Lately, there have been so many champions added to the game with dashes and teleports, however, that she's simply not that effective in her role anymore. Where once it was near impossible to kill her, now she can just be endlessly dashed at by people like Akali or Ahri.

In short, however, supports typically benefit their allies, more than they directly perform on their own. The last few "supports" to be added, haven't really done this all that well, due to the design philosophy changing over time.

If you want a true support, keep that in mind, that true supports do not seem to be really all that desired by Riot any longer. This doesn't mean you can't have fun making one, but accept that if we had a virtually zero chance of having our stuff used before, that pretty much shoots it in the other foot, as well.

So, supports need a way to benefit their allies, harm their enemies, lock down enemies from being effective, and to severely change the outcome of a battle through indirect methods, other than just damage.

3-01D - DPS / melee/ranged/magical
DPS is a little different than some people seem to think, as became very blatantly obvious during one of the MCCC(P!) contests when half the contestants provided champion designs that couldn't do DPS.

See, a DPS is short for Damage Per Second, meaning consistent, sustained damage output over time.

A bruiser does low damage output, but survives forever, so can just keep dishing out pain and eventually pass the damage output of someone squishier who dies faster.

A burst mage unloads hard in 5 seconds or less, but runs dry afterwards.

A DPS, be it melee or ranged, pours out damage in ridiculous amounts, and if you don't focus on shutting them down hard, with your entire team, they can, and will, kill your entire team.

The requirements for a melee and ranged DPS are a bit different, but there are a few things they have in common. Primarily, they need some sort of "steroid" buff, to allow them to pour on the damage with good items. Tristana, for example, has range and attack speed, while Caitlyn has nothing so is really just an AD mage. If you consider Caitlyn to be a ranged DPS, this probably explains why you're not a higher rank, because she really isn't.

Other than that steroid buff, the only real thing they share, past that, is scaling. DPS champions tend to start off a bit weak at the start of the game, and need to be helped along. They scale, however, very nicely, and become very dangerous the more items they get. They also tend to be rather squishy, and die to focused fire pretty fast.

For melee DPS, they require 4 main things to perform their job.

1: A way to get into melee range. Without this, it doesn't matter how much damage they do, if they never actually get to attack. This usually shows up in the form of a dash, of sorts.

2: A way to stay in melee range. Just because you get there for half a second, doesn't mean you have time to unload your damage output. A burst mage, like LeBlanc, only needs to be in melee range for 2-3 seconds and she's done, same with Poppy. Master Yi has to stay there until the job's done, which means resistance to CC and able to keep others from running away.

3: A way to deal damage while in melee range. This is the steroids, which boost the effectiveness of their itemization. Example: master yi gets raw flat +X damage per hit, a chance for a second hit, and faster attack speed. These each make his melee power stronger, so if you leave him alone, he will eat you alive. Period. Fiona, however, is only good for 3 seconds, and then she's more or less out of juice, and it's possible to lock her down for those 3 seconds, meaning she's only a burst mage, not a true AD DPS.

4: A way to survive being in melee range. If you're in melee, you're getting shot by EVERYONE. At this point, you need to have some way to either avoid the damage, such as Jax's old dodge spam, or Master Yi's alpha strike, otherwise you need a way to soak the damage up somehow, even if only for a short bit, or prevent others from shooting back. Graves has a dash to avoid AoE and can blind enemies so they can't shoot back temporarily.

For ranged DPS, it's pretty similar, but a bit different, because they're not stuck in melee range.

1: A way to stay OUT of melee range. This usually is a teleport, or knock back, or some other way to keep a melee champion from eating their face off. Melee tend to be stronger, both on offense, and defense, due to having to chase targets down and getting hit by everyone. A ranged AD DPS can stay partially safely out of combat, firing at people from the sidelines.

2: A way to deal damage from range. Without some method of dealing damage consistently, they really aren't an AD DPS. This is why Ashe has never quite fully fit into this role, as she has no true steroids, other than a guaranteed critical hit at the start, and her arrow spam. She's still good, and can perform the role, kind of, but she's not really as effective as a real DPS carry like Tristana, in terms of actual damage output over time.

Honestly, that's pretty much it. A ranged DPS, tends to be pretty much braindead simple to create, and only really needs two abilities to do their job. Three, technically, with the third being a ranged attack.

So long as they can shoot at range without getting shot back at, can at least stand half a chance of escaping after the melee bruiser decides to charge their face, and can do damage while they're fighting, they are doing their job.

Ranged DPS are a bit weaker, also, because they're better at poking towers, for when both teams are crowded around a tower and scared to go near each other. This is a pretty major advantage, so it did need to be covered.

In short though, it's easy to make a ranged DPS. Give them an attack speed steroid, a ranged attack, and a dash, and you're done. Anything else past that is honestly just bonus to make them more interesting to play as. A little burst, maybe some soft CC, and perhaps some utility, and that's it.

To make a magic DPS, it's not really all that different from the melee or ranged ones, except, instead of having a steroid of some sort to boost their auto attacks, they get their auto attacks replaced with a very spammable, low cool down spell, such as how Cassiopeia can simply dish out damage at a remarkable rate, but can't really do a high burst effect.

And that... really is that. DPS are some of the easiest champions designs to make, especially since there are so many of them to use for comparison. As long as they do damage, they work. It's the champions that do really weird things, like supports, that are a pain to design, because it's hard to tell exactly how effective they really are.

3-01E - Assassin
Assassins are very similar to burst mages, in that they unload HARD. Their entire purpose is to run in, kill a target, and leave immediately after. Poppy and LeBlanc are excellent examples of this. They will simply melt the enemy ranged AD DPS, with out a care in the world, butchering them in 2-3 seconds, in most cases.

After that, their goal is to exit the area as quickly as possible.

Their primary purpose is to remove the enemy DPS, while not sacrificing a position on their own team for their own DPS.

The downside of the assassin, is that they're squishy, and they don't last very long after about the midway point of the game. Once the DPS carry can stand toe to toe with them, they don't do so hot anymore.

Then again, the other advantage of an assassin, is they excell at showing up at the worst possible moment, and fighting dirty. If you can't win a fair fight, don't fight fair.

Consider Twitch, or the old Evelynn, before she was nerfed into the ground and buried. Their power was their capacity to go unseen, and show up after a fight had already started, and simply remove one or two people in the first few seconds of confusion, then run away.

Other advantages are such that they are great for hunting down people who are nearly dead, and finishing them off.

An assassin needs the following:

1: A way to get into their range, generally melee. This is typically stealth, a teleport, or some other really fast moving method. Assassins don't have time to screw around with wading through enemies.

2: A way to unload ridiculous amounts of damage in a remarkably short period of time. Without the ability to burst a target down from full to zero, they can't perform their job.

3: A way to escape once they've removed their target. This can be as simple as Poppy's immunity to damage, or LeBlanc's teleport, or Evelynn's speed boost. Either way, once their target is dead, they want to be anywhere but at ground zero.

After that... there's really not much else left!

3-01F - Burst mages
Burst mages are very similar to assassins, in that they unload their damage output HARD, within a few seconds. After 5 seconds though, they're pretty much dry, and can't do much else.

A burst mage is a mixture of a ranged assassin, a support caster, and a bit of specialness on their own. They are rather distinctive, but tend to lack long term power output.

The burst mage needs the following, to be able to perform their role:

1: A way to deal high damage in a short period of time. This usually is due to high AP scaling on their abilities, of which 3-4 of their spells tend to do direct damage.

2: A way to deal damage over an area. While an assassin kills a single target, burst mages, such as Veigar, or Anivia, or Annie, tend to do a ton to a single target, but also love to clear out large groups, especially group fights where enemies are all bunched up together, as the burst mage is the primary method of forcing a group fight to be spread out and organized.

3: A way to CC. Be it for escape purposes, or to lock enemies in close together for their AoE damage, a burst mage typically always has some form of CC laying around, from Aniva's wall, to Veigar's event horizon, through to Annie's passive stun.

4: Some form of personal defense, which may or may not be included in their CC, depending on how potent their CC is. Veigar's got an AoE stun, that's all he needs. Annie's stun is a bit less reliable, so she also has a defensive buff. Anivia can die and get back up afterwards. Sorry for using these three so much, but they're such perfect examples =3

And that's pretty much it. Burst casters focus on unloading their damage in an area across multiple targets pretty hard, and after that, they don't much care. Their ultimate typically is the bulk of their damage output, and also sucks up a ton of mana, leaving them a bit weak afterwards.

Once their ultimate is down, a burst caster pretty much tends to just plink away with a low cool down spell that's relatively ineffective, though it may kind of still sting, to some degree.

Due to the fact that there's really only one true AP DPS in the game right now, being Cassiopeia (Rumble's more of a bruiser, oddly), there's not much reason for MR and such to be available in large amounts. If you can survive the initial burst of a burst mage, they're pretty much dead, meaning tanks and bruisers tend to eat them alive. Oh noes, 2,000 damage upfront! And, that put me at half health. And you have nothing left you can do now. Nom nom time!

Get two or three burst mages together though, and the targets they unleash on will definitely feel it, without significant magic resistance, which is honestly, about the only reason MR exists in the game at all, and a large part of why it actually didn't exist in DotA. This does, however, mean that getting too many mages makes them easy to counter, as well, as if they fail to burst the enemies into the ground at the start, they've pretty much lost the fight.

In short, a burst mage is the reason why you don't just pick 5 AD melee carries. Because they will two shot your entire team if you try.

3-07A: Abilities
Finally, we're at the main part of champion design. The actual abilities themselves! There's 3 main types, but they're pretty simple in theory. I'll cover a lot more stuff about ability design in general in the full article, but for now, all you really need to know is that each champion, with only rare exceptions, have the following:

1 passive, available at champion selection. Does not need to put points into this.

3 Active abilities, which have 5 ranks each, and are typically the main build of the character.

1 ultimate, which is typically on a long cool down, with 3 ranks, and generally defines the character as a whole. Generally.

3-07B - Passives
Just because something's a passive, doesn't mean it has to be passive in game play! Consider Sona's passive, which is an excellent design, and allows the player to adjust the effect depending on who they're fighting and the situation they're in.

While a passive can perform many roles, from enhancing a champions' abilities, to providing them a way of managing their resource system, through to giving them some perk that occurs in certain situations, the passive is never anything which has points put into it, nor something which has to be directly "activated".

To be honest, though, a truly good passive still involves the player choosing to use it, such as the Sona example, or Karthus's passive. These allow the player to make a conscious decision on how to play their character, because of their passive.

A bad passive, is generally just a bland, boring, boost that does little else. Janna's +3% move speed, or Soraka's +16 magic resist, are pretty much boring as hell. Yes, they help, but they're not fun, they're not interesting, and they don't really change how the champion plays. You don't even notice they have them, for the most part.

As stated, just because it's a passive, doesn't mean it has to be passive in game play. This message brought to you by the department of redundancy department.

3-07C - Actives
A bit misleading, as often passives are included in here as well. Sometimes dual abilities exist, which have both an active, and a passive component (I rather love these myself), and some abilities actually have multiple activated functions, such as toggling between two effects, or changing effect depending on the target affected.

For the most part, though, active abilities are generally low cool down, and make up the majority of what makes a champion... well, play the way they do. Ultimates add spice, but Veigar is still Veigar without his ultimate, though perhaps a fair bit less bursty. He still plays the same, however.

Some champions this is not quite the case for, such as Akali, but for the most part, the standard 3 activated abilities are where you're really going to iron out your champion and will comprise the majority of their game play.

Try to keep from having abilities do "too much stuff". It's easy to get tempted into loading up tons and tons of abilities onto a single aspect (I'm known to do this myself... oops! ), but you really need to try to keep things simple on these. They are your bread and butter, and if it's more complex than sliced bread, you may need to rethink things.

Watch out for adding in passives into this section, as it can severely decrease game play. Toggle abilities, pure passives, steroids, and so on, tend to be useful, but they're also boring. You turn them on when you need them, or they're simply always on. These aren't exactly enjoyable to play with, with certain exceptions.

One exception, would be Silver Bolts, on Vayne. While the ability is poorly designed in most ways, the fact that it is a passive which changes how you play her significantly, is a big deal. She actively will go out of her way to get that third hit in, just to proc her Silver Bolts passive. As such, it may as well be an active ability, as she has direct control over when it gets used, and it does change her play style.

Others, like flat steroid buffs, are kind of boring, however. Why would you ever *NOT* turn on something that gives you +X damage or +X% attack speed when in combat? Unless there's a secondary effect to it, such as Graves' dash+steroid, you normally wouldn't. You just press the button when needed. This is a boring way to do things, so try to avoid it.

As much as I dislike Graves as a champion, the fact that his steroid makes you choose when to use it, and whether to save it for an escape, or to dash in for damage, is a good design decision.

If you're going to put a "passive" into the active spell slots, make sure the player has direct control over it, and that it's interesting. If all you have are 4 toggle abilities, or 4 passives, you need to start over. Period.

3-07D - Ultimates
Ultimates are big, bad, and nasty. They don't so much define a champion, however, as they do emphasize them. The ultimate gives you the capacity to really punctuate what makes that champion what it is, or to give them something unique and interesting to their game play.

For someone like Sona, her passive pretty much emphasizes her ability to be a strong support in team fights, since her healing and auras are rather weak in comparison. Normally she does relatively low powered effects on a consistent, steady pace. Crescendo gives her the option to unleash a single, big effect, all at once when it's needed most.

For a reverse case, Graves' ultimate is fail. It doesn't add to his character, his game play, it doesn't give him choices, it doesn't make him more fun. All it is, is a second generic nuke, which is almost identical to one of his active abilities already. It fails to make him more interesting, or to make his role work better.

Others are some wheres in between. Cassoipeia's ultimate seems a bit strange, but this is because she's a strange champion. She's the only current AP DPS in the game, as her damage output is remarkably high and consistent long term... as long as the enemies stand still. While it's possible to play Cass on her own, with the help of another to lock the baddies down, her ultimate gives her the option to unload on her own without help. This emphasizes her play style, and can change the tide of battle, by letting her do her job better.

In some cases, ultimates are actually quite low on cool down, and really can define a champion. Kassadin, for example, is defined, quite nicely, by his riftwalk, and Cho'gath's feast does an excellent job of making him both more tanky, and a quite effective mage, able to play up to the strengths of either of his primary roles. Technically one can even go DPS Cho'gath, with a really strange troll build, but even then, it does still help.

In any case, the ultimate of a champion can do a number of things, from making them more fun, more effective at their role, or just plain more interesting.

When you hit 6, you should be overjoyed to get it. It should really let you feel that you are now a "complete" champion, that you have all your tools at your disposal. It should never feel like Maokai's ultimate, where it's like "Meh, I guess maybe I'll get it later.". Put time and effort into making your ultimate truly enjoyable. It's the difference between an awesome champion, and a fail one, in many cases.

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1-02D: Index B - Fine Tuning

4-01: Flaws, holes, and gaps
It may sound strange, but you actually want to have gaps in your character designs, and especially in a game that needs to be balanced for actual game play.

Give the player a way to make a choice between their strengths and weaknesses. If all they have are strengths, or weaknesses, then they either have nothing to build, or too much to build, to counteract these issues.

Game play is about choices and decisions. Without access to such, the game becomes stale and boring.

Ensuring that your champion design has at least a few missing bits that they have to fill in, will let them choose whether to use their masteries, runes, items, or summoner spells to counteract such.

Keep in mind, however, to ensure that there actually is a valid choice to replace it, however. A melee champion without a gap closer is simply SOL. If they can't get into range, they're doomed to be kited forever more.

Not all aspects of game play can be covered by items, runes, masteries, and summoner spells, such as the gap closer issue listed in the paragraph above. Verify that the player actually has the option to fill that hole.

After you've verified the character can fill the hole, then decide whether they have any choice whether not to. If you give a melee champion no slows, no hastes, and no real way to stay in melee range, once they're there, their only real recourse is to build a Frozen Mallet. Nice item, but it pretty much was a false choice, and a decent excuse to use they're, there, and their, all in a single sentence, properly. Mwa.

Sorry, the writer in me was amused. ^.~

Anyway, build some flaws into your design, and make sure those flaws have a valid set of options to be overcome. Lacking for sustain is a great way. Lacking for survival is another, as there are tons of ways to sustain oneself, or to survive combat. Either way, you're opening the player up to choices, and that is nearly always something that brings fun to the game!

4-02: Making fun abilities
This is going to be a big, complex section, so the main article on page 4, post 2, will have the majority of what you need here. For now, I can give some minor pointers, but it'll only be so much in this short space, as it needs further, in depth analysis.

First off, don't repeat abilities that already exist in DotA or LoL point for point. If it's just the same ability, it's already hurting for the value of interest.

Second, ensure that the player interacts with the ability some how. A skill shot has to be aimed, a spell with a delay, such as Karthus's poke, is great for playing an aiming mini-game.

Third, you'll also want the enemies who are facing the ability to have a way to interact with such. If the baddies just flop over dead, with no recourse? Probably boring. If they get to dodge skill shots, or interact with the ability once it's used? Their frustration on losing to such won't be so bad, so long as they feel they had a way to change the outcome to some degree.

Fourth, aim for giving the player a direct choice on how they are to use an ability. Flash, although annoying, does let the player decide whether to use it offensively, or defensively. Soraka's silence/mana spam does the same thing, forcing the player to decide which is most needed at any one moment.

There's no one right way to make a "fun" ability, and even the four suggestions above probably won't all realistically fit into a single ability. You don't need to be insanely unique, as doing something old in a new and inventive way can be good.

More than anything, though, when making new abilities, try to imagine how they'll actually be used in a real game. If the ability is "click the button and globally all enemies are stunned for 5 seconds... that's not fun. No one had any way to prevent it. Even Karthus's ultimate has a delay, letting people toss out heals, pop their hourglass, or otherwise avoid the damage. There's even the hexdrinker, which can even be upgraded further, now, which can be built to counteract him.

Make certain that it adds to game play, no matter what you do. If you don't interact with the ability, at all, then it probably needs to be reworked. Note that not all passives fail at being interactive, such as Vayne's Silver Bolts, which still directly influences both the player and the enemy targeted. Hers simply fails because of the third point, in that there's literally no counter to such, short of stunning her, and champions that don't have stuns have literally zero defense.

4-03: Synergy
Many people feel synergy is difficult. Many more misuse the term, or aren't sure what it means. To the former, it's not difficult at all, and can actually be harder to avoid becoming too overly synergetic, than it is to create synergy at all. To the latter, well... let's cover that directly.

Synergy is any two things, which, when used together, are more effective than they are used separately.

Simple, yes? Consider a strong melee champion, they get a melee steroid, making them hit really hard... and a gap closer. If they just had the gap closer, they'd get into range, and then just die, as they have nothing to do once they're in range. If they only had the melee steroid, they'd never be in range in the first place, and therefore wouldn't be all that big a threat.

To make synergy, is honestly not that hard. You already have the tools to do so, from previous sections of this guide, if you've read through this far, already.

First, isolate what you want your champion to accomplish. Second, determine what they need to be capable of doing, in order to fulfill the roles you desire. Third, well, at this point you've just magically made synergy already.

That's right, at that point, so long as you have things that a champion needs, their abilities will flat out work together better than they will alone.

The trick, then, is to start cutting holes in their champion design, and making sure they're not too overly synergetic. If they can do it all, without fail, then they can't be beat, and they're boring to play as.

Synergy should come naturally, as a result of this line of reasoning. You should never need to actively force synergy, in the sense of "all my abilities play off each other!". It can be really fun and awesome when they turn out working that way (it just so happened my Nemhain character ended up this way, only partially intentionally), and if you're actively trying to do so, it can make for some really interesting design concepts, but it should never be needed to be done that way.

Don't worry about forcing synergy. It simply will happen without trying, so long as you know what you need your champion to do. Once you've got that down, then you can worry about specializing abilities to work together even better =3

4-04A: Complex is not neccesarily better
Complex can be fun. I like complex, often. On the other hand, being complex for the sake of being complex, is not fun.

Just because something's intricate, doesn't mean it needs to be, and the easiest way to make this point, is by example.

Let's make an ability. First, it targets an enemy and slows their attack speed, while removing any armour penetration effects they have for a short time. Next off, it gradually reduces their Attack Damage over time, and lowers their critical damage by 50%. Furthermore, it increases the armour and dodge % of the caster.

While some of you may immediately think this is a neat idea, and a great way to really harm an autoattacker, there's a major problem here.

It was made by the department of redundancy department.

See, the problem here is that it has 6 separate methods of reducing physical attack damage from an enemy. This is pure and blatant overkill for absolutely no reason. Why do this? Why hit them in so many different ways at once?

It doesn't actually serve a purpose, as every last effect does the same thing, except for two.

There are two separate abilities here, namely that one prevents the AD carry from attacking anyone on your team, by nerfing their damage output. The other, is it especially prevents them from harming the caster, specifically, by granting the caster a buff.

If the armour and dodge boosts were provided to their whole team, then even that distinction would be lost.

The ability might "do more stuff" and "look more complex", but when you break it down, all it does is lower the physical damage of an enemy. You don't need 6 separate effects going off at once to do that, and it just makes things cluttered, and difficult to balance, with some champions getting heavily penalized, while others are only mildly affected.

In short, however, it's not that impressive of an ability.

Being needlessly complex, for the sake of being complex, is not fun. If you want to make an ability interesting to use, and complex in how it works, take a look at Nidalee's spear. The farther away you are, the more damage it does, but the easier it is for an enemy to dodge it.

That one, simple trait, makes the ability complex to use, through changing how the player tends to interact with the ability. Players back off after casting it, and are more likely to hide in bushes, in the fog of war, or other ways to try to get more out of their spears.

The ability itself? It does damage, and more damage the farther it goes.

It's complex, but not through just tacking on more and more pointless effects, but rather, through being elegant and simple in design, but complex in usage.

You can make things more complex, easily enough, but you really need to ensure they have a reason to do so.

4-04B - How to simplify abilities
As we just covered, needlessly complex is kind of pointless. So how do you check to make sure that you didn't go overboard?

Well, our previous example is a great one, so let's go with that!

First, it targets an enemy and slows their attack speed, while removing any armour penetration effects they have for a short time. Next off, it gradually reduces their Attack Damage over time, and lowers their critical damage by 50%. Furthermore, it increases the armour and dodge % of the caster.
We have an attack speed slow (reduces target's damage), removes armour penetration (reduces target's damage), reduces attack damage specifically over time (reduces target's damage, with the addition of more needless complexity in how it works), and lowers critical damage (reduces target's damage).

Furthermore, it has bonus armour (increases caster's damage resistance), and dodge % (increases caster's damage resistance).

For 6 abilities, there's only actually 2 effects taking place, and the attack damage over time reduction is pointless, as most AD carries will kill you long before the damage reduction really becomes noticeable.

We could also blind them, reduce their damage by a %, reduce their damage by a flat value, penalize their AD ratios, if they have any, and several other things to go with it.

The point is, however, that all this is needless fluff.

Target enemy suffers -X% Attack Damage, and has their Attack Damage reduced by a further -Y% when dealing damage to the caster.

This just covered everything that the spell was capable of doing, in a short, concise manner.

Isolate what it does, determine what you want it to do as an end effect, and remove anything that has the same effect overall.

Also, check your other abilities; they don't exist in a vacuum. There's a champion on the forum here, called Kroak. Search for it, if you want, but it has 7 slow effects on a single champion. It also has an ability with several repeated effects, such as what was listed above.

Don't get carried away with making every single ability do the same thing. It's redundant, and doesn't add much to the champion as a whole.

The above example isn't a good ability. Positioning yourself for Nunu's ultimate to not be useless, however, is remarkably complex to pull off, rather than just pressing button = target nerfed 17 ways.

4-04C - Multi-form Abilities
I will confess that I absolutely love abilities with multiple functions and uses. They can present choices to the player, and can be a big deal in adding additional game play to the champion design.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the ability has to do multiple things, however. Something like Aniva's wall has a long enough cool down that she's forced to either use it to prevent a baddie from escaping, to wall one or two off from the rest of a group, or to escape with. That's three powerful uses in one ability, that only does one effect.

However, some abilities involve doing completely different things, and may have multiple stages involved. The first of these developed, was Tristana's explosive shot. She could use it as a passive, making minions explode on death, or she could fire it as a DoT + ignite effect vs healers.

The idea, originally, was that if she cast the ability, while it was off cooldown, she couldn't use the passive effect, making it actually two seperate abilities in one. That's since been changed, to keep her a little bit more useful compared to the gradual power creep of other champions, but the concept is there.

One button, two abilities.

These are complex to design, as they require careful thought. First off, does your champion really need a multi-form ability, with more than one effect? Do you absolutely require that their kit have that many abilities crammed into that small a space? Is this a conscious decision to add game play, or are you just not willing to give up two nice ideas?

The reasoning behind a multi-form ability, should really be that you are trying to provide a choice to the player. That means that it's either going to have two effects with one cool down, such as an ability that affects allies and enemies differently, a la Soraka's silence/mana gift, or you're going to need two (or more) simultaneous effects which may be counter intuitive to one another, such as how Graves has a dash that also increases attack speed, making it useful for defense, but also good for offense, or the final major option, is an ability that can be cast repeatedly for additional effects, such as any of Lee Sin's non-ultimate actives.

There are other ways to do so, but these are the most predominant ones, so I'll focus on those primarily in the main article.

For now, all you really need to know, is that if you just want the champion to do "more", then a multi-form ability is probably a bad choice. Focus, instead, on making the abilities they have be fitting for their role. You have 5 abilities to work with, including the passive and ultimate. The passive can be very potent if thought about carefully, and the ultimate doesn't necessarily have to have an insanely long cool down, as Kassadin has shown a few other champions.

Aim for these multi-form abilities only when they're needed to improve game play. If you aren't making the player choose something, then it's not really needed, likely. A lot of recent champions added to the league have these sorts of abilities inherently built into them, and some of the designers may have forgotten this rule. This is where that power creep is coming from; champions are now getting 6-7 abilities on average per champion, instead of the previous 5, due to multi-form abilities running rampant. The designers may be consciously thinking of the ramifications of having more than the normal amount, but it's hard to tell if this is the case or not, without sitting in on their meetings.

4-07A: Balancing Champions and Abilities
There are a lot of aspects to balance, but first and foremost, the basics.

Abilities that simply are another champion's ability, but better, or worse, are not really a good idea in general. Note that, in the section below called "The Whole Package", I'll be going into detail as to how the entire champion has to be considered when making a design. This specifically makes copy/pasting more difficult, and less of a fit, generally, than just making a new ability from scratch.

Avoid having a champion that does "everything", with no reason to build anything in particular, and equally avoid having a champion that has large gaps in their design that prevent them from performing their role due to the lack of itemization. A melee DPS with no method of gap closer is, put bluntly, a bad design. This is why Olaf will never be considered as good as Sion. It doesn't matter how much more damage Olaf does, if he never gets the chance to attack. Olaf's ultimate gives him the capacity to stay in range, once he's there, quite nicely, but he has no way to get there in the first place, and there are no items in the game which can correct that issue.

Primarily, focus on ensuring that, with items, masteries, runes, and summoner spells, that your champion will be able to perform their role adequately. Don't rely on summoner spells like flash to cover major flaws though. They have excessively long cooldowns, and are not capable of truly replacing a lower cool down built directly into the champion itself.

Avoid abilities that provide both defense and offense at the same time. Ones which make you choose between them are great, such as putting a shield on an ally, or damaging an enemy, depending on the target afflicted. Ones which give you everything at the same time, with no drawback, such as Vlad's passive, are a pain to balance, and mess the champion up royally for itemization, since it means the player no longer requires thinking about which choices are to be made.

If you get to the end of your design, and look at it, and ask yourself "Should I build items so they're a glass cannon, or a tank?", and the answer is "Yes.", then you have more work to do still.

4-07B - Numbers, and what they mean
This is going to take up a ton of space to fully explain, so you're probably going to need the full article if you're really interested.
For the moment, here's the basic concept:

A number, in and of itself, is neither balanced, nor unbalanced, or even something that means anything. 5 is not "balanced", as 5 can mean lots of things. 5 health? 5 damage? 5 seconds of stun? It can range pretty far and mean much, so numbers aren't even the issue, honestly.

What is the issue, is what the numbers represent. A 5 health doesn't mean much, other than that it's a "small" amount of health. The mere statement that it's a small, or low value, means more than the fact that you gave it an actual number.

As such, numbers aren't so much specific things, as they are stand ins for concepts.

Wanting "high damage per second", is different from wanting "high burst damage". An ability with low cool down, and moderate damage, can have higher overall damage over time, than one which has high damage, but a long cool down. These are the kinds of concepts that numbers represent, and by thinking about the idea behind what you want a number to do, rather than just trying to tack on the number itself, you'll find it gets significantly easier to work with.

Since this is going to take a huge amount of space to explain in any more detail at all, I'll leave off here, for now.

4-07C - Scaling
Scaling is an important part of champion design, as it relates to how they become more useful over time than they were at the start of the game. Sometimes this comes through levels, through items, and other times through various other statistical changes in their properties.

How a champion scales, is probably more important than their basic statistics, oddly enough, as it directly influences their itemization.

Consider how Malzahar has really quite high scaling. His ultimate's a 1.5, two of his abilities are 0.8, and he has another which does % damage of a quite remarkable increase.

Because of this high scaling, if he focuses heavily on an Ability Power build, he'll be doing 2-3 times the damage per cast as normal, making him far more efficient mana-wise, and also more useful at unloading everything he has on a target up front.

For someone like Ahri, her scaling is quite low, AP wise, in that she hits multiple targets at a time, so her damage tends to be spread out, over multiple hits, and over a few people at once. She still loves AP, but she also loves things like cool down reduction and magic penetration more, as, point for point, they will have a proportionately higher effect on her than on Malzahar, when compared to just boosting raw AP and nothing else.

For a champion that has low scaling, typically their basic statistics are high, so, in the case of most tanks and bruisers, such as Malphite, or Leona, they tend to do pretty potent up front damage with just their basic abilities alone, without need of scaling.

Having multiple scaling points, can be similar to the low scaling, in that, if a champion scales well individually per ability, but that scaling is all over the place... well, consider one ability that scales off AP, one off mana, one off AD, and one off health. No matter what you build, you're only going to get two of those to any decent degree, making it so that their other abilities are weaker overall.

This means that you don't have to worry to the same level that a champion that has 4 abilities that all scale off of AP does, in a way. It's not physically possible, with only 6 item slots, to maximize all of these wide spread scaling abilities, meaning they're weaker than they really seem.

Consider a champion that has four abilities that all scale off AP. You have to now total up each of those abilities together, and combine the total AP scaling, to make something fair.

Anyway, I digress. The point I'm trying to make here, is that a high base stat, and low scaling, tends to mean players will generally not build "glass cannon", as there's little incentive to do so. This implies, instead, that they'll generally build quite tanky, relying on their base damage over time, rather than bursting an enemy down.

The opposite, however, is also true. High scaling often encourages a "glass cannon" approach, such as one where the player is encouraged to make the most out of their scaling. This is where "carries" tend to lie, because they can pour high amounts of gold into themselves, to take a low base damage build, and convert it to a very potent one end game.

Keep in mind, as well, that some stats are linked, in the itemization of the game. AP can benefit off mana, due to the arch-angel's staff being a mainstay. Mana also occurs on virtually every tank item, so a tank without mana has to be balanced around the knowledge that they will be paying extra money for stats they can't use. You can do so, but you must consider this fact carefully.

To design the scaling of your champion, first off determine what you want them to do, and at which point in the game you want them to be at their strongest. Early, mid, or late game. Mages tend to be at their strongest mid game, anti-carries and supports, such as Caitlyn or Soraka, early game, and carries are at their best late game.

Once you've decided when they need to be at their peak, then consider which kind of scaling suits them best, in terms of whether it should be "high" or "low", as well as their base stats and abilities without itemization.

After that, you can start messing around with which stats they specifically scale off of. You can't really just go "I want them to scale well late game!" and then make them scale off health, since it's so easy to get health early on in the game, and after you're sitting on about 3000 health mid-game, you rarely get more past that point.

Overall, scaling is highly important, and very tricky, especially since it's affected by factors outside of the stat that is listed. Giving Vlad AP scaling, but no mana, is a notable issue, as well as giving Volibear a mix of stats that scale poorly off each other. Items like the Hextech Gunblade have to be considered when making a hybrid such as Akali, or Ezreal, and you also need to weigh in how effective the masteries are. Note that masteries can boost AP by a %, but AD by only a flat value, and this is a considerable difference.

Scaling's a huge part of what makes a player build certain items over others, and it's a huge part of what makes that champion useful at different stages in the game. Put extra thought into this, rather than just slapping down whatever seems "good enough". It affects far more than most people realize.

4-07D - The whole package
Champions and abilities don't exist in a vacuum. This is a point which many players and champion designers have significant issues with. Some abilities are, quite simply put, flat out better than others.

Why is this the case? Why would one ability be so much better than another?

Let's consider someone like Leona. She's got a stun, an immobilize, and another stun/severe slow. This gives her plenty of ways to continually prevent someone from simply walking away, so making each of these a bit weaker is important.

If we made each and every one of those disables at the strength of someone else? Let's say... 1.5 seconds is a normal stun, 3 seconds for an immobilize, and 2.5 for an ultimate stun? Well, you just rooted someone in place for 7 seconds straight. With cool down reduction, she'd probably be able to cast two of those again by the time the chain was done, for another 4.5, so you're looking at about 11.5 seconds of being stuck standing still, in place.

Obviously, you have to keep track of the other abilities she has. A continuous stun lock from alternating abilities with low cool downs is far too potent for LoL's game play. Sure, in DotA, you could do this, but that's more so because DotA doesn't have cool down reduction (other than the refresher orb), and is heavily biased towards individual heroes being significantly overpowered, with the idea that if everyone is overpowered, then everyone must be equally balanced in comparison to each other, as well.

Consider having a champion with a 33/33/33 mixture of physical/true/magical damage, similar to pre-revision Irelia. No matter what you build in defense, you're still going to eat 2/3rds of the damage, unless you dedicate your entire build to tanking, and give up every shred of damage output you could have had otherwise.

That's obviously not practical for any sort of damage dealer to do, so you're stuck with someone who now hard counters half the champions in the game, with no real recourse by them.

If you give a champion a mixture of things, such as a mixture of scaling, sure, the individual scaling might be fine, an ability that does 300 damage and +0.9 AP ratio is great, at least in theory. Except for the fact that all four of their abilities do the same thing... meaning they can unload thousands of burst damage into a target almost instantly.

When building anything, you have to consider everything that affects it. Internally, this means comparing your abilities against each other, and considering how they'll work when used together. Externally, this means also considering things like items, or other champions helping out in a team fight, or ganking situation.

Many people don't take in the big picture when considering how their champion works, and may make horrible mistakes due to such.

At the same time, don't get lost being "unable to see the trees through the forest", either. It's just as easy to get lost in the big picture, that you lose sight of the smaller parts that combine to make the whole.

"No single rain drop thinks it is to blame for the flood."

This is an interesting quote, which holds very true. It's very rare that anyone thinks their one ability is OP. In fact, it probably isn't, in and of itself. When you compare the other abilities that go with it, however, it probably is. This requires minor tweaks on a small scale to correct, and they aren't often the obvious tweaks you may first expect.

Remind me to tell you guys the tale of the Death Knights and the Night Elf Archers in the full article ^.~

Anyway, though I know it's difficult to do, try to consider the items which can change how a champion works (a melee champion with no way to stay in melee is almost guaranteed to get a frozen mallet), or how their own abilities play off each other. If you can do this, then the chances are that your designs, in general, will take a leap and bound forwards in quality. ^.^

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1-02E: Index B - Icing on the Cake

5:01: Differences between methods of doing things, and why it matters
Let's start with an example. A little odd, but bare with me here.

You want to reduce the enemy's physical damage output, so how do you do it? Do you give yourself an armour buff, an armour aura, or reduce their attack damage?

These three things, are only three of a multitude of ways to reduce an enemy's physical damage, but they have a very distinctive point in value between each other. The armour buff reduces the damage that any enemy does to you, and yourself only. The aura reduces the damage that anyone deals to any of your allies, physically. The reduction in attack damage reduces the damage that the individual enemy deals to anyone, regardless of who.

Understanding this kind of a distinction is important, as that kind of a slight nuance, is often what differentiates a well balanced design, from a messy one.

Consider a few similar examples.

A spell with high damage, and long cooldown, one with small damage and small cooldown, and one which deals damage over time.

The first one is good burst, able to unload and kill someone instantly, before they get the chance to fight back, a la Annie, or LeBlanc. Generally, the sustained damage here is pretty fail, and anything which survives the first round of burst, is probably going to kill them.

The second is strong sustained damage, able to continually pour out damage over time, if an enemy sticks around to get hit. This discourages them from long term fights, and doesn't work so well against a burst fighter, like the one above, but can be more useful over the course of an extended fight. Cassiopeia and most AD carries tend to fall under this category. Typically, the damage here is considerably higher, over time, to make up for the fact that they may die before they get the chance to deal their damage.

The final one, is Malzahar, able to unload fast on a target, then leave, before they fight back. This has the advantage of the middle one, able to output higher than average damage over time, but also the advantage of the first, of being able to unload quickly. The downside, is that, unlike the first, which can instagib someone before they can shoot back, the DoT effect means that enemies are still attacking during that time, and can kill you in return. It also means they can be healed during that time, potentially negating the benefits entirely.

Regardless of the details, these three methods still do "damage", but they do so in a variety of ways. Mana's good for long term restriction, but leaves only cool downs to prevent short term spam. Energy's unlimited for long term sustained effects, but limits short term burst capacity.

To truly make a great champion design, you're going to need to understand these concepts inside out. Consider what it is you want to do, and the methodology in which you're actually going about accomplishing such. Often, the method of applying something, is as important as that which you apply in the first place.

In the first example, based on defenses, most champions need some sort of way to survive getting attacked, and virtually every champion in the game has some method of survival. Some of these do so by simply moving out of range so they can't get attacked, such as Tristana. Others do so by taking the blows. Further, still, some disable enemies from shooting back, like any champion with a silence can do.

By now, I must have drilled into your head to "figure out what you want to do before attempting to do it". Beyond that point, however, now I want you to think about "how do I want to accomplish this goal?". The details in how you do something, are often just as important as what it is that was done in the first place.

"Lots of damage!" is one thing, but it doesn't really specify how you want to apply that damage. Why are you even using physical damage, in the first place? Note that most champions have significantly more armour than they do magic resistance, and that it's far easier to counter. Why not make an AP carry? Why not a physical mage? There's a lot of things which can affect how stuff works.

As stated before, nothing is "unique". There are no truly unique abilites in the game, only variations on how to apply an end result.

How about you make a physical mage, that deals physical damage, and instead of relying on cool down reduction, they reduce the cooldown of their abilities based on their attack speed?

I can think of a few reasons why not, as it means they'd be both capable of autoattacks as well as spells, unlike designs such as Garen, Caitlynn, or Urgot. It'd also make them far more potent against towers, of which physical mages are typically very weak against.

The itemization would change entirely, and the design would really require intensive thought on how to get it to work, and would bring with it a whole slew of problems that need to be worked on, which otherwise wouldn't even be a problem in the first place.

Originality, comes at the cost of needing to consider things that others have not had to before. In the case of a ranged tank, you'll find that it comes loaded with so many additional issues and problems by default, that you'll spend all your time negating these problems, rather than working on the design, and by the time you're finished fixing them, you'll end up with something which may as well have been a melee tank in the first place, as you'll have gained nothing from it.

The primary source of being original, however, is to simply do something that has been done before, but in a new and interesting way which it has not been done. Even if you do make a ranged tank, it's still, quite literally, a tank. The only thing that makes it any more interesting than any other tank out there, is the fact that it's ranged, which is merely the method of applying being a tank being different, not the tankyness itself.

In the end, this can be the defining point, of what makes your champion so much more fun than any other. Focus on how your champion does something, more so than what they do, at this point, and you'll find that you can spice up the life of your dry, boring abilities, by simply making minor changes, much of the time!

5-02: Things to Avoid
There are a thousand ways to do things right, and an infinite number of ways to do things wrong. This seems like there's lots of good ideas out there, and there are, but they really are still drowned out by the bad ideas.

This is going to be in point form, for the moment, as there's a lot of stuff to avoid. I'll go into far more detail later on, in the main article.

- Not having a role, or not knowing what your champion is supposed to do

- Being highly repetitive, with abilities being very similar to one another, in theme, purpose, or function, such as 5 water spells, with no real variation

- Getting offended or upset, personally, when someone says something you did was a bad idea; sometimes it really is, and we can't objectively evaluate our own thoughts

- Failing to compare your abilities, stats, or champion as a whole, against closely related champions already in the game (I highly recommend using LoLWiki for this; it's far more detailed and accurate than the official site, go figure)

- Trying to change basic elements of the game without thinking about why they are that particular way. Seriously, break rules after you understand why they're there. If you're not sure, don't touch it.

- Getting carried away with synergy, or abilities that do "too much stuff". Once you start to understand how to build a champion through setting roles and required aspects, it's easy to fall into the trap of giving them way too much stuff. Be extra careful if you have more than 5 abilities total.

- Spamming out champion designs. This should be a labour of love, of dedication, and of quality. Nurture and fawn over your creations, revise and edit them, build them up to be truly grand and epic. Be willing to go back every month or three and check up on them, sometimes they haven't aged so well, and new stuff you've learned in that time needs to be updated into the design.

- ESPECIALLY avoid anything that removes game play! Long duration, spammable stuns, or other abilities which remove the capacity for the opposing team to counter them are BAD. Double check to make sure that your abilities all have a realistic counter.

- Trying to "balance" a champion by giving it drawbacks. If the only reason your champion gives you a penalty, is because it's overpowered, then the penalty isn't going to fix that. You can design a champion centered around a penalty, such as abnormally low movement speed, but you truly need to take this into very careful consideration when making them.

- Luck. Just in general. In a game like this, winning a fight should be due, as much as possible, to the skill of the players involved, and not just a toss of the coin. If your champion relies heavily on luck, you're almost guaranteed going to need to do a massive overhaul.

- Poor user interface. FFXI had this issue, where you fought the interface more than the actual enemies themselves. Don't make an invoker style champion which is a pain to control and use. If it takes more than 2 buttons or clicks to use a spell, you've done something terribly, terribly wrong.

- Putting limitations on an ultimate for when it can be used. I don't mean a cooldown, but things like "can only be used at under 50% health" and such. An ultimate is designed to be a powerful tool, used at just the right moment. If you are forbidden from casting during that moment, you've completely missed the point of having an ultimate in the first place.

- Scaling damage off defensive stats, or vice versa. This makes it hard to control the power level of the champion, and will invariably lead to them being nerfed into the ground, such as Evelynn, pre-remake Jax, and Vlad.

- Purely passive abilities. Even Vayne and Cho'gath interact with how their "passive" abilities work, and can use them in an actual fight intentionally.

- Following everything someone else said without question. Critics are just that, and nothing more. We review each other's stuff by presenting our own ideas and opinions on such. We can be wrong. We can misunderstand. We can simply not see what the original designer had in mind. More than anything else, take control of your design, and change it how you see fit. Suggestions are only that; if you agree, then go ahead, but if you don't, and find the explanation doesn't satisfy you... try asking them directly about it. Never just follow every single thing someone tells you without thinking.

5-03A: Anti-patterns
Tom Cadwell, more commonly known around here as Zileas, made a list awhile ago of what he called "anti-patterns". Essentially, this is a list of things that don't really make sense, in terms of game play, and tend to lead to the game being less fun with their inclusion.

For the index version, I'm just going to copy/paste what he had to say. In the in depth, full article, I'll be responding to each in turn, as well as adding my own.
Power Without Gameplay
This is when we give a big benefit in a way that players don't find satisfying or don't notice. The classic example of this is team benefit Auras. In general, other players don't value the aura you give them very much, and you don't value it much either -- even though auras can win games. As a REALLY general example, I would say that players value a +50 armor aura only about twice as much as a +10 armor aura... Even though +50 is 5x better. Another example would be comparing a +10 damage aura to a skill that every 10 seconds gives flaming weapons that make +30 damage to all teammates next attack (with fire and explosions!). I am pretty sure that most players are WAY more excited about the fiery weapons buff, even though the strength is lower overall.

The problem with using a "power without gameplay" mechanic is that you tend to have to 'over-buff' the mechanic and create a game balance problem before people appreciate it. As a result, we tend to keep Auras weak, and/or avoid them altogether, and/or pair them on an active/passive where the active is very strong and satisfying, so that the passive is more strategic around character choice. For example, Sona's auras are all quite weak -- because at weak values they ARE appreciated properly.

Burden of Knowledge
This is a VERY common pattern amongst hardcore novice game designers. This pattern is when you do a complex mechanic that creates gameplay -- ONLY IF the victim understands what is going on. Rupture is a great example -- with Rupture in DOTA, you receive a DOT that triggers if you, the victim, choose to move. However, you have no way of knowing this is happening unless someone tells you or unless you read up on it online... So the initial response is extreme frustration. We believe that giving the victim counter gameplay is VERY fun -- but that we should not place a 'burden of knowledge' on them figuring out what that gameplay might be. That's why we like Dark Binding and Black Shield (both of which have bait and/or 'dodge' counter gameplay that is VERY obvious), but not Rupture, which is not obvious.

In a sense, ALL abilities have some burden of knowledge, but some have _a lot more_ -- the ones that force the opponent to know about a specific interaction to 'enjoy' the gameplay have it worst.

Good particle work and sound -- good 'salesmanship' -- will reduce burden of knowledge (but not eliminate it). We still would not do Rupture as is in LoL ever, but I would say that the HON version of Rupture, with it's really distinct sound effect when you move, greatly reduces the burden of knowledge on it.

In summary, all mechanics have some burden of knowledge, and as game designers, we seek to design skills in a way that gives us a lot of gameplay, for not too much burden of knowledge. If we get a lot more gameplay from something, we are willing to take on more burden of knowledge -- but for a given mechanic, we want to have as little burden of knowledge as possible.

Unclear Optimization
This is a more subtle one. when players KNOW they've used a spell optimally, they feel really good. An example is disintegrate on Annie. When you kill a target and get the mana back, you know that you used it optimally, and this makes the game more fun. On the other hand, some mechanics are so convoluted, or have so many contrary effects, that it is not possible to 'off the cuff' analyze if you played optimally, so you tend not to be satisfied. A good example of this is Proudmoore's ult in DOTA where he drops a ship. The ship hits the target a bit in the future, dealing a bunch of damage and some stun to enemies. Allies on the other hand get damage resistance and bonus move speed, but damage mitigated comes up later. Very complicated! And almost impossible to know if you have used it optimally -- do you really want your squishies getting into the AOE? Maybe! Maybe not... It's really hard to know that you've used this skill optimally and feel that you made a 'clutch' play, because it's so hard to tell, and there are so many considerations you have to make. On the other hand, with Ashe's skill shot, if you hit the guy who was weak and running, you know you did it right... You also know you did it right if you slowed their entire team... Ditto on Ezreal's skill shot.

Use Pattern Mis-matches Surrounding Gameplay
I won't go into too much detail on this, but the simple example is giving a melee DPS ability to a ranged DPS character -- the use pattern on that is to force move to melee, then use. This does not feel good, and should be avoided. I'm sure you are all thinking -- but WoW mages are ranged, and they have all these melee abilities! Well... Frost Nova is an escape, and the various AEs are fit around a _comprehensive_ different mage playstyle that no longer is truly 'ranged' and is mechanically supported across the board by Blizzard -- so the rules don't apply there ;p

Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-Fun
Anti-fun is the negative experience your opponents feel when you do something that prevents them from 'playing their game' or doing activities they consider fun. While everything useful you can do as a player is likely to cause SOME anti-fun in your opponents, it only becomes a design issue when the 'anti-fun' created on your use of a mechanic is greater than your fun in using the mechanic. Dark Binding is VERY favorable on this measurement, because opponents get clutch dodges just like you get clutch hits, so it might actually create fun on both sides, instead of fun on one and weak anti-fun on another. On the other hand, a strong mana burn is NOT desirable -- if you drain someone to 0 you feel kinda good, and they feel TERRIBLE -- so the anti-fun is exceeded by the fun. This is important because the goal of the game is for players to have fun, so designers should seek abilities that result in a net increase of fun in the game. Basic design theory, yes?

Conflicted Purpose
This one is not a super strong anti-pattern, but sometimes it's there. A good example of this would be a 500 damage nuke that slows enemy attack speed by 50% for 10 seconds (as opposed to say, 20%), on a 20 second cooldown. At 50%, this is a strong combat initiation disable... but at 500 damage it's a great finisher on someone who is running... but you also want to use it early to get the disable -- even though you won't have it avail by the end of combat usually to finish. This makes players queasy about using the ability much like in the optimization case, but it's a slightly different problem. If the ability exists for too many different purposes on an explicit basis, it becomes confusing. this is different from something like blink which can be used for many purposes, but has a clear basic purpose -- in that place, players tend to just feel creative instead.

This one is bad. This is essentially when one ability you have diminishes the effectiveness of another in a frustrating manner. Some examples:
- Giving a character a 'break-on-damage' CC with a DOT (yes, warlocks have this, but they tuned it to make it not anti-combo much at all)
- With Warriors in WoW -- they need to get rage by taking damage so that they can use abilities and gain threat -- but parry and dodge, which are key to staying alive, make them lose out on critical early fight rage. So, by gearing as a better tank, you become a worse tank in another dimension -- anti combo!
- With old warrior talent trees in WoW, revenge would give you a stun -- but stunned enemies cannot hit you and cause rage gain... So this talent actually reduced your tanking capability a lot in some sense! Anti-combo!

False Choice -- Deceptive Wrong Choice
This is when you present the player with one or more choices that appear to be valid, but one of the choices is just flat wrong. An example of this is an ability we had in early stages recently. It was a wall like Karthus' wall, but if you ran into it, it did damage to you, and then knocked you towards the caster. In almost every case, this is a false choice -- because you just shoudln't go there ever. If it was possible for the character to do a knockback to send you into the wall, it wouldn't be as bad. Anyhow, there's no reason to give players a choice that is just plain bad -- the Tomb of Horrors (original module) is defined by false choices -- like the room with three treasure chests, all of which have no treasure and lethal traps.

False Choice -- Ineffective Choice
Similar to above, except when you give what appears to be an interesting choice that is then completely unrewarding, or ineffective at the promised action. An older version of Swain's lazer bird had this failing... Because the slow was so large, you could never run away in time to de-leash and break the spell and reduce damage, and in cases you did, you'd just dodge 20% of the damage at a big cost of movement and DPS -- so running was just an ineffective choice.

Or We Could **** the Player!!1111oneoneone
This is where you straight up screw over the player, usually with dramatic flair, or maybe just try to make the player feel crappy in a way that isn't contributing to the fun of the game. These range in severity, but examples usually are spawned because the designer is a pretentious wanker who likes to show what a smart dude he is and how stupid the player is. I do not respect designers who engage in this pattern intentionally, and encourage any design lead out there to immediately fire any of your staff that does. I do understand that it can happen inadvertently, and that you might cause some of this stress on purpose in an RPG for character development.. And of course, I love you WoW team despite the 'playing vs' experience of Rogue and Warlock, as you DO have the best classes of any MMO, and they look even better in Cataclysm.... But, on Bayonetta, did the developers really think the stone award was a good idea? But I digress...

Very Severe: The original tomb of horrors D&D module is the worst in existence. Good examples are the orb of annihilation that doesnt look like one and instakills you and all your gear if you touch it, and the three treasure chests where each has no loot and deadly traps and no clues that this is the case.

Severe: There's a popular wc3 map in China where you enter a bonus round, and have a 2% chance of just straight up dying rather than getting cool loot.

Situationally Moderate:Horrify + fear kiting from a competent warlock who outgears you in WoW. Guess what? You die before getting to react, while watching it in slow motion!

Mild: Stone award in Bayonetta. So... you barely get through the level for the first time, then get laughed at by the game with a lame statue of the comic relief character, and a mocking laugh. Please -- maybe a bronze award and a 500 pt bonus might be more appropriate? The player might have worked VERY hard to get through the level, espec on normal and higher difficulties.

Skills are tools. Players count on them to do a job. When a skill is highly unreliable, we have to overpower it to make it 'satisfying enough'. Let me give you an example: Let's say Kayle's targeted invulnerability ult had a 95% chance of working, and a 5% chance of doing nothing when cast. We'd have to make it a LOT stronger to make it 'good enough' because you could not rely upon it... and it would be a lot less fun. Random abilities have this problem on reliability -- they tend to be a lot less satisfying, so you have to overpower them a lot more. Small amounts of randomness can add excitement and drama, but it has a lot of downsides. There are other examples of non-reliability, but randomness is the most obvious one. Abilities that require peculiar situations to do their jobs tend to run into the same problems, such as Tryndamere's shout that only slows when targets are facing away from him.

5-03B - Anti-Patterns Continued
This section is huge, and going to take up at least two posts worth. As such, this is simply an extra slot, continuing on about Anti-patterns.

5-05: Breaking the rules
Rules are made to be broken! At least, that's how the saying goes. In reality, it's not really true. Rules are designed to be followed, which is why they're rules in the first place.

There are, however, exceptions to any rule. You can't just go in and wildly ignore rules just because you're trying to be "different", but rather, first you must understand why a rule exists. Once you comprehend the reasoning behind why it's there, then, and only then, do you stand a chance of being able to bend or break that rule.

As an example, I'll use a convenient one from reality, rather than the game. This is technically unlawful, but it proves a point very well.

There is a rule, specifically, a law, which states that one must cross a street at the crosswalk. This rule exists for the purpose of the safety of all parties involved, and to greatly minimize the risk of people being injured.

The problem with this, is that the crosswalks are all at really unsafe locations, typically at the corner of an intersection. These areas have 4, and in this weirdly designed town, sometimes more (I've seen 6-way and 7-way stops around here O.o; ), or more directions traffic can come from. By crossing at the crosswalk, you subject yourself to a wide number of possible ways to get hit or injured. The reason for the crosswalk being here, is convenience, rather than safety.

If one is to move a little further down one of the roads, then this weird 7 directions ot get hit from, is narrowed to just... 2. It's easier, and safer to keep track of this, and the amount of traffic is now considerably less than it had been.

This is not advised to be done on busy side streets, nor near areas with blind turns, or sketchy traffic.

Only through comprehending why the rule was put in place, and by evaluating the specific situation at that time, can you determine if it's a good idea to break that rule or not.

For the most part, 90% or more of situations, follow the rules. They exist for a reason. Don't be afraid to bend a rule that is counteracting itself, however. Follow the spirit of the rule, not the letter of the rule. If the letter of the rule directly contradicts the spirit of it, then feel free to adjust such until they are in line properly again.

5-06: Put yourself in their shoes
This is one of the hardest things to do, for most people, but it's a major, finalizing point of any champion design.

Take your champion, and imagine your favourite character fighting them. Who wins? How do they work with or against each other? Is it possible to defend against their attacks, or do anything to harm them?

Surprisingly often, people don't even think to ask this question. One champion design I saw awhile back, literally had the capacity to stun lock an entire team for 9.5 seconds, and had a shield, similar to Sivir's, except that it could eat 5 spells up at once, and could be maintained indefinitely. There's no champion in the game that could break through that shield, making it impossible to win that fight, even with 2-3 people.

The point here, is to consider a variety of situations in which your champion is likely to be put into during the course of a regular game, and determine the likely hood of defeating them, or being able to survive with them, realistically.

Below, are two lists, to help you out here.

Playing as your champion:
- Jungling
- Being counter-jungled
- Laning (additionally, which lane do you fit best in?)
- Farming a large minion wave of about 20 minions
- 1v1 fight vs a bruiser (high defenses, low offense, but can sustain themselves over time)
- 1v1 fight vs a mage (high burst, weak after their burst runs out, tend to have at least 1 hard CC)
- 1v1 fight vs a DPS (high sustained damage, low health)
- Being ganked by 2-3 people
- Team fights
- Sieging an enemy base

Playing against your champion:

- Laning
- 1v1 fight as a ranged squishy, be they a mage, dps, or support
- 1v1 fight as a bruiser or tank, trying to get into range of them
- Team fights
- Escaping if they're chasing you
- How do you gank them?
- How do you deny them from feeding massive amounts of exp and gold?

5-07: Concept and 3D Art
I can't give too much information here in such a small space, so I simply direct you towards the full article.

5-08: Conclusion
There's a lot of guides, and a lot of help out there. Not just resources that I've made, but everyone on the forum who has helped out!

Merylindra's list of guides is currently the most complete list of allt he resources you have available at your fingertips, and can be found here: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=1833829

For all the people who are willing to review each others stuff, are willing to help each other improve, give encouragement, and better ourselves as a group, you have my thanks!

The full article will provide specific thanks to individuals, such as Stexe, Echoing, Thayen, Merylindra, and many more. Through your actions and efforts, we're making this a better, and more fun place, and you have my thanks, especially when dealing with people who consider any freely offered help to just be "arrogance".

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this game, especially the staff at Riot Games for making League of Legends itself, Blizzard Entertainment for making Warcraft III, of which DotA was built upon, and all the mods and so on, such as DotA, Aeon of Strife, and other projects which led up to the creation of League of Legends in the first place!

5-09: About the Author
Wouldn't you like to know?

No, probably not. Still, if you're really that interested, I'll have my information posted in the main article here. It's just stuff about me, so honestly, it's not that important, but if you're really that curious, it's there.

5-10: Changelog
This is primarily going to be an entire post just detailing when new sections are completed or updated.

It's not that important either, to anyone but myself, or others who are really concerned over technical matters and historical accuracy.

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Class is in session. Sit at your desks, prepare to take notes, and don't forget to leave the instructor an apple. I also accept apples in the forms of pies, strudels, and $20 bills.

Now then, let's start off here!

Today, we'll be covering... lessee... according to this, we'll be covering Design Philosophy.

There's a few major parts to design philosophy, so we'll be covering the following.

First off, we'll discuss the genre of MOBA games, and why they present entertainment value in the first place.

Second, we'll then delve into the idea of the exertion of vital powers upon others. IE: why people like to win.

Third, we'll briefly touch on what happens when a player feels like they aren't included in the game, for one reason, or another, and why this is bad. Included, also, in this section, will be the idea of anti-fun.

Finally, we'll cover the concept of changing the design based on new information. This sounds pretty obvious, but it really doesn't happen nearly as often as it should, for a variety of reasons, which will also be covered.
Part 1: Moba moba, bo boba fett, banana-nana fo phobia, me mi mobius, mobas!

That's right, I just ruined your childhood. It's alright though, because we're going to be making a better one for generations to come!

The MOBA genre, originated, as far as can be told, back in the days of StarCraft, in the Aeon of Strife map. The idea hasn't really changed much, since then, other than getting a face lift, or a little bit of Botox now and then to fix up the wrinkles.

Interesting Fun Fact: Botox stands for Botulinum toxin. This is a naturally occurring substance, and is the most toxic substance known on the planet. Roughly 4kg, or about 8.8lbs, would be enough to kill every single person on the planet. Think about that the next time you want to get your wrinkles smoothed out, or when someone says "all natural is good for you" ^.~
Now then, the basic idea of the genre is actually an evolution of tower defense maps, wherein waves of NPC (non-player character) monsters throw themselves against your base, and you build towers to defend against them.

In the MOBA variation, thereof, there are two equal sides which are continually throwing equally strong forces against each other, locked in a perpetual stale-mate. At least, that's the theory. slight variations in terrain and travel times, however, leads to the Purple team, if left alone long enough, to win in LoL every game, hence the term "nerf purple caster minions".

These two sides clash endlessly, with no real end in sight, however, is the point. DotA uses this concept, as does every other one in the genre. Sometimes there are more than two teams, but the end result is always the same: a stalemate.

This is where champions and heroes come in. That's you, the player character.

The two teams get a number of players to help out in the fight to destroy the world tree, or the nexus, or the glazed MacGuffin. Whatever. These champions start off relatively weak, and over the course of the game, grow in strength, until they're able to butcher the generic, low level minions, with ease, and kill the enemy base.

Note that I state, specifically, to kill the enemy base.

Many people still haven't grasped this fact, but the whole point of a MOBA is building demolition. It doesn't matter, honestly, how many kills you get, if your nexus is dead.

To that end, everything is balanced around that assumption. Killing Baron Nashor, in LoL, for example, is a benefit in that it gives your team gold for items, health/mana regen for sustained assaults on a base, and generally just makes it easier to kill the enemy base.

Killing a player isn't really worth much, other than the fact that it does three main things:

1: It grants the killing player(s) additional resources (experience and gold) to better kill the enemy players and base with.

2: It significantly slows down the enemy team. In DotA, you lose gold when you die. In LoL, you just stay dead for a long time, is all.

3: It buys you time to further your end goal of destroying their base.

Note that number three, on this list, is in bold for a reason. If you're losing the game, but manage to ace their entire team, it means there's no one left to defend against you. I've had a number of games where one side was losing, then one person does something which is a bad idea, such as being overconfident, and having the carry try to attack the entire enemy team solo, gets CC'd into the ground, and dies. At this point, it's a 4v5 fight, without a carry on one side, and it turns into a 0v4 when the base fight occurs. The team with people still standing push hard, and kill the enemy base with no one to hold them back.

If you don't make use of the time granted to you by an ace, you're wasting it. Running back to base to heal is pointless when you know full well that there won't be anyone alive to shoot you for the next 60+ seconds, which means you have no reason to return to heal or shop. That's the time you bought to push and kill their base with, where they won't be defending it, and it doesn't matter how weak you are.

Everything comes down to killing the enemy base, before they kill yours. Killing a player only benefits your end goal of killing their base, and nothing more, really.

Many players don't realize that point, but as a champion designer, you have to be acutely aware of this concept. Even if you're building a champion with the express intent of killing other players, the point, in the end, is that you're killing those players to open up their base to attack. If you design a champion who can kill a player's champion, then either that champion you made has to be able to kill their base, on their own, such as Master Yi, or they'll have to kill the enemy team so thoroughly that the enemy won't be able to contend with your team in a fight, so that, even though your champion sucks at killing a base, the person on your team who doesn't suck at it, will still be alive, due to your tank, your support keeping them alive, or your assassin having killed the enemy carry so they couldn't kill yours in turn.

The fun in this kind of match up, comes from a few things.

First off, there's a lot of strategic decisions in play. In ranked games, you get to ban champions, and pick them in groupings of 1-2-2-2-2-1, where first pick gets one champion of choice, and second pick gets two to make up for only having one. The idea is that this is a strategic choice on which champions counter the ones the enemy team played. Vayne counters high health targets and squishies, anyone with sustained healing counters Vayne, ignite counters healers. On and on it goes. Anything that can lead to a long term strategy, such as itemization or countering an enemy, are considered to be strategic.

Adjustments to how many bans there are, in relation to how many champions there are, are a big deal, especially if certain champion types have few new choices. There have been dozens of new damage champions added to the game, but only a handful of tanks and supports, and these have been, for the most part, lackluster compared to the originals. Tweaking the number of bans directly affects the choices in this matter, as it's possible to completely ban all supports from a game, if both teams are insistent upon the concept. As such, strategic elements must be very carefully monitored, as a tiny adjustment can make a huge change in game play.

The tactical game play is another important part of why it's so much fun. Being able to plot ambushes, ganks, counter jungling, back doors, and so on, are all important tactical maneuvers that are part of the game. Note that when Riot removed the Fortify summoner spell, they were directly adjusting the value of back dooring, and this had to be taken into account when making that decision.

Tactics are generally short term, spur of the moment decisions, which grant one a particular advantage at that moment in time. Doing one gank is a tactical operation. Building your entire team composition around ganking, with the express intent of crushing the enemy team very early on, and pushing for an early win before their carries can feed up, is a strategy.

Anyway, these two things are very important to how fun the game is. Other factors, such as progressing in leveling, and team work, are other major components of why the game's fun. There's a thousand things, but some stand out more than others, as can be seen below.
Part 2: You fight, fight without ever winning, but never, ever, win, win without a fight. - Rush, Resist

So, what makes a game like LoL so fun, and so frustrating, at the same time?

The same thing that exists in any competitively natured game. Winning.

More than that, is winning on even terms. This sounds a little silly to many people out there, who simply want to "win", but honestly, this is mostly due to these individuals not having thought it through all that clearly, yet.

Consider the "game" Progress Quest. You press a few buttons at the start of the "game", to create a completely 100% arbitrary and meaningless character, and then it goes off and plays the game by itself, with no further interaction from the "player" at all. Literally, there is no game play to the so called "game". You watch the numbers go up, and have no interaction with them at all.

So where's the fun in that?

Admittedly, it's kind of amusing, but only on an idle scale, and not something to really "do". Even if you were to "win" at a game like this, there's no real challenge. No effort, no purpose, you'll never truly get a sense of satisfaction at having defeated a difficult task or problem.

In a non-competitive game, such as Co-op vs AI, there's a set difficulty. That difficulty doesn't really change, and once you can surpass it, you will pretty much always surpass it, other than in rare circumstances, such as getting a bunch of new players when you're playing around with a ridiculous joke build, like AP Caitlynn.

In a competitive game, since you're fighting other people, you always have to be at the top of your game, since the enemy team is an unknown quantity. They may be better than you, or they may be worse. They scale with your own capabilities, due to ELO rankings, and will generally give you a good run for your money.

See, a bot is only a bot. No matter how good you make a bot, it's limited to being as good as it was programmed, and can never surpass that point. A player can learn to be just as good as you are, so no matter how good you think you are, there's some one out there who can match you toe to toe, every time.

A close game, where you have to fight for every scrap of advantage to win, is what puts a player on the edge of their seat. This increases a lot of the capabilities of the body, triggering a large set of advantages which were designed primarily for survival purposes. Heightened reflexes, greater peripheral vision, and so on, all contribute to your capacity to make the correct decision quickly.

Getting into a game that really puts you on the edge, is where the real fun of the game lies, and this is achieved through having the teams be as close to equal in power as possible. When you're being trounced, there's no fun in a losing battle that it feels like you're not having an impact on the outcome at all. On the other hand, winning with nary lifting a finger is kind of bland as well. The smurf/twink players out there, who make new level 1 summoner accounts, and kill newbies, really aren't that fun to play as. I've helped out a low level friend, but to be honest, it's boring. When you can rip through the entire enemy team, without even paying attention, why bother?

As such, you want to ensure that your designs for your champions are as balanced as possible. People often go "don't judge numbers, just judge concepts!".

What generally makes a champion OP or UP, isn't really their numbers, so much as their capacity to do a number of roles entirely too well. If you gave Master Yi a root, along with the rest of his abilities, he'd be flat out overpowered. It doesn't matter if the root is "fair" at only 2 seconds duration, which is below average for a root, especially compared to Ryze and Morganna's 3 second roots. He'd simply be too powerful because of everything else he can do.

Your design has to be one that can be fair to play against. If they're too strong, they're boring to play as, after the first few initial wins go through. If they're too weak, they're just as boring to play against, because they're not a challenge to beat.

It's all an intricate balancing act, as the end goal, is to win a tough fight, that took everything you had. If they were barely worth the effort, it's just kinda "meh", and if you didn't stand a chance from the start, it's still "meh".

So, this segues nicely into our next section...
Part 3: Evelynn, I heard some of the other champions saying you were good for free gold and exp, but don't worry! I stood up for you, and told them you were good for nothing!

Just because you win or lose, doesn't mean it wasn't a fun game. If it was a close, tight match, that's where it really mattered most.

So what happens when you get stuck in a situation where it feels like you have no options?

We've all been there, at one point, or another, where we go back and think about what could have been done differently to have prevented the situation, and come to the realization that we literally did nothing wrong, and it was a fluke, blind luck, a glitch, or some other situation in which we flat out could do nothing to prevent it.

League of Legends has a philosophy of attempting to reduce these situations as much as possible. To any attack, there is generally a counterargument in kind. Physical damage gets armour, magical damage gets magic resist, stuns get tenacity and a veil, or cleanse/quicksilver sash. Even Vayne's silver bolts are countered through lifesteal or healing, which is why my tank Sona build slaughters Vayne 1v1 to many a Vayne player's chagrin.

The point of the matter, is that to every action, there must be the capacity for that action to be nullified, or at least lessened to a degree in which it matters.

Armour gets countered by armour penetration if it's overly stacked, the same scenario on the magical side of things. Carries are countered by stunlocking them down or using burst mages to one shot them. Mages are countered with bruisers who can shrug off the initial damage, who are killed by carries that are protected by a tank long enough to do their damage.

In the end, any action must be able to be countered somehow.

So... what if you have something that can't be countered?

Consider a powerful mana burn effect. Let's say it does 500 points of mana damage, and 1/2 of that mana is dealt as damage. Sure, it's only a 250 damage burst, but against a non-mage, it's brutal. Fiora suddenly becomes horrified that she's now close to 100% useless, and Annie finds that she can't just cast Tibbers 3 seconds later, like a silence would, but now has to leave the battle entirely, since she was sitting at half mana to begin with.

This kind of overwhelming attack strength with no real counter is not allowed in the game, because it's just not fun.

Stunlocks are a problematic area in here, because they're counter intuitive.

See, a stun is needed to interrupt players, and for some champions, like Tryndamere, it's literally the only real counter they have. Go ahead, stack 400 armour and see if Tryndy really cares. I've done it, and trust me, it barely annoys him, because he just kills the rest of your team instead, and if they all go heavy armour based, he just counters all of it with a single item, and your damage output is nil because of all that wasted itemization.

There needs to be things like stun locking in the game, but on the other hand... this also leads to the issue that a player who gets stunlocked really has no recourse, except to build against it, such as merc treads and a QSS, or a Banshee's Veil. Even then, it's sketchy sometimes.

How much stun lock is permitted into the game? It's obviously needed, but it's not particularly fun.

Killing someone who couldn't defend themselves, no matter what they did, is entertainment only for psychopaths, and doesn't really provide a challenge worthy of recognition. Getting killed without a hope of escape, no matter what you do, is also pretty boring, especially if it's on a low enough cool down that there's no way to prevent it.

Things like Veigar's ultimate are broken, in that they don't really show why the damage was increased, nor do they have an obvious counter. "Counter this ability by turning your AP carry into a tank instead, thus negating your entire job" is not a valid counter to employ.

While he makes for a good counter-pick in champion selection, in terms of the actual game itself, it just doesn't work like it should.

Several of the older designs suffer from mistakes, such as these, which have been slowly been phased out of the game, but some do still linger, while it's decided what to do about them.

Completely reworking Tryndamere to not have his ultimate would, indeed, fix the issue of needing to stun lock him, but would leave him far too vulnerable to that very same stun lock, which would also need to be fixed. And considering there are other champions, who rely on being stun locked, it would just lead to more problems than it would fix, and would take months of repairs to contain the collateral damage, while hemorrhaging players in the mean time who are upset, as they wait for a fix.

Eve already got this treatment, and that's only because they needed her removed from the game temporarily while fixing the stealth system. Unfortunately, after her nerf, but before the stealth remake was done, the person working on the stealth remake left Riot, leaving them with their hands tied for far longer than intended.

Anything which can't be adequately defended against is, simply put, not fun. A player must always be given the opportunity to at least TRY to escape. They may not always make it, but they have to feel like there was that chance. This will be covered in more depth in section 1-08: Choices.

This idea of abilities or effects which are "not fun", or, as Zileas put it, "Anti-fun", must be considered and weighed carefully.

The benefits of the fun added to the game, through an ability being introduced, must outweigh the amount of fun removed from the game in the process. In the case of a strong mana burn, or an instant-kill ability, neither is capable of doing this. A great deal of fun is lost, but only minimal is returned.

If we give someone an insta-gib attack, which instantly kills a player, regardless of all other factors, it doesn't really matter what the limitations on that ability are, anymore. That ability is now only going to provide a minor boost of fun to the attacking player, as it's like swatting flies. It gets boring fast, and is more of a nuisance, than entertainment, after the first few moments. For the enemy player, on the receiving end, it just flat out sucks.

As such, it can't be considered a fun ability.

Making abilities which are really strong, but have severe difficulties in hitting, or which just have disadvantages piled heavily on top of them, really aren't that interesting.

Consider a spell that does say... instant kill! But wait! It's alright, because it fires only in a straight line, and travels very, very, slowly, and is easy to miss!

But... that means that it's kind of boring, because it either is useless, because it never hits, or it's overpowered, if it does hit. There's too big a gap there.

For something like Nidalee's spear, the idea of something which is weak to start, but the harder it is to hit with, the more useful it becomes, ends up being a mixture of skill for both players involved, as they have to play against each other. The damage does sting, a great deal, but on the other hand, it's a risk vs reward. An enemy player has an easier time to dodge, if it'll do more damage. This leads to increased game play for both players, as they are actively working with each other, and the consequences of failing on either side, while notable, aren't without capacity to minimize the effects.

Nidalee has a low cooldown already, and can lower it further, still. Enemies can get some magic resistance, or get a banshee's veil, to eat the first one when it comes sailing out of the fog of war from the jungle. Either way, it's able to be negated, to a degree.

Make sure that any abilities you add to your champion have a way to be interacted with by an enemy. Make absolutely sure that you avoid adding in abilities that are severely penalizing, with no hope of escape. Compare how fun something is, to how much it sucks to be shot at by it. If you would hate to face off against your champion, then you probably need to make some adjustments on the design.
Part 4: I do not like green eggs and ham!

Sometimes you're wrong. It happens to all of us, even the "greats". Stephen Hawking was absolutely certain that the universe would go into reverse and get sucked back together again in a neat, orderly concept, such as a tea cup falling off a table, shattering, then playing backwards and going back to a tea cup again. It was too complex, however, and the coefficients of some of the constants of the universe meant that it wouldn't have the gravitational force to pull itself back together, but the idea was neat. Shame it didn't work out, however.

No one gets through life without screwing up. We're going to break something, eventually, no matter what we do. We're going to have some awe inspiring idea, that will turn heads, and then someone's going to poke a hole in it, and it's going to deflate like a blow up do...er... I wasn't saying anything.

Moving along, the point is that stuff will go wrong, or we'll get new information, or something will change, and we'll have to change ourselves, and our designs, to compensate.

What works one day, may not work the next. My own champion design, Nemhain, used to use a new resource system I'd dubbed "BloodThirst". At the time, there were no other systems in the game which could do what I needed it to do. Since that time, Shyvanna was released, and Tryndamere got an overhaul to rage, and the rage system, with some tweaks, is now able to be force fit to work the way I wanted it to from the start, but wasn't capable of, back then.

The game slowly changes over time, and so, too, must you and your champions change along with it.

When LoL was first released, there were a great deal more mana regeneration items in the game, and they were significantly stronger, at the time, for relatively low cost. Energy and rage didn't exist yet, since every single rage and energy user have been released after the game came out, except for Tryndamere, who used to use health instead.

As such, mana used to be very expensive to cast, and you could only use a few spells before running dry, and then you would use high mana regen items to gain it all back again. This was kind of a mixture between the current mana and energy systems, and honestly, it kind of failed at both concepts pretty badly.

These days, mana works a bit differently, since there are other options to it to go around, other than "mana" and "cool downs only".

This means champions like Katarina have had to be adjusted, but still need further tweaks to make up for a change in how the game plays. It also means that many of the older mages have been undergoing significant remakes over time.

Mana users can't regenerate mana like they once did, and champions that lose health tend to keep it lost to compensate.

This also means, however, that support champions are no longer as valuable as they once were. Heals are less valuable these days, due to the decision to make damage last a bit more permanently in a fight, and the concept of having a long duration "siege" team, designed to whittle down another team from long range over time, has been diminished greatly.

As such, you have to consider these things when going through your champion design. Some people still suggest new "healer" champions, but the problem is, healers are intentionally being removed, bit by bit, because they harm the current design decision to make damage permanent. As such, you'll notice that the last few "support" champions have been pretty much just magic damage dealers, who happen to have slight support abilities tacked on. Lulu, Orianna, and Karma, are all pretty much damage mages, which do sub-par damage, but have some above average crowd control effects to counteract such.

The old support champions of the days of yore, such as Soraka and Janna, have had it pretty rough, lately. They don't really do much for damage, their CC capacity just isn't enough to make up for the higher overall mobility in the game these days, and their sustain capacity has been continually beaten down.

This isn't to say that the champions are BAD, it's just that the game's current incarnation is not the same as it used to be, when they were originally developed. This does mean, however, that they are going to have to undergo an entire rework, from the ground up, to truly be worth playing any longer. Giving Soraka a bit more damage on Starcall, although nice, doesn't fix the fact that three of her abilities are less than half as effective as they once were, while other champions have been getting stronger, she's only been getting weaker.

Riot will tend to these things in time, but it does take time. Reworking an old champion requires the skills of a designer to pull them apart and build them from the ground up. The team which usually does balance tweaks after a champion's out, tend to be more dedicated towards adjustments and tweaks on designs already in place, with focus on balance, rather than on creating a new concept, so aren't generally set up for large scale revisions of that nature.

Unfortunately, a champion, once released, gets most of it's sales early on. There's less incentive to rework an old design, unless it's getting an appearance update, that may draw in additional revenue from skin sales.

We are fortunate, in that we don't have the "must do this project first, because it makes more money" sitting over our head. If we want to work on a design, and sit on it for a year, fussing over it, then we're able to. This means you can keep tweaking and adjusting your design to fit into the current game as you please.

Even so, there are decisions made which need to be understood before you can change your champion.

For that, I personally advise going into the game, and checking their videos, as the patch previews hold a wealth of information as to why they're making the changes they are. The game is ever changing, and while people tend to toss out the term "meta-game" to mean almost anything, there is a distinctive set of phases through which it evolves over time.

I can provide the current ideals of the game as it is right now, but that's pointless, as, in a few months, anything written here will no longer be valid. Instead, pay attention to the patch notes, and consider why they would do something. If you see a consistent trend, such as the current one of health regeneration, life steal, spell vamp, and healing spells all being continually nerfed, then it generally means there's an over arcing reason behind why such is occurring.

Watch for these trends, and then consider what this new concept suggests.

Right now, that means that support champions won't be doing much healing, so any new support design would be best off avoiding healing almost entirely, and instead focus on the CC aspect of their design. Kind of like... Lulu. Funny how that translates into exactly what the logical line of reasoning would suggest.

Anyway, the point is to watch the shifting trends of the game as it evolves over time, and think about what it lacks in it's new incarnation, that you can plug the hole with, and you'll find that there are some neat ways to go about doing so!

As always, have fun in making your champion, but if you want to make something that would be truly awesome to play, consider where the game is right now, rather than a year or two ago. Don't forget to go back and update old, favoured ideas that have fallen to the wayside, either! Some of them still have life in them, and a little touch up every few months can be just what they need to stay current, and fun!

Well, that being said, it looks like we're out of time, and character count. Class dismissed!

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Class is once again in session. Today's topic is... choices!

Let's start with a little light humour, shall we?

A texan and a rabbi are sitting next to each other on an airplane when the stewardess approaches them. She asks if they would like anything to drink during the flight. The texan asks for a whiskey, which the stewardess promptly retrieves and hands to him, and then turns to the rabbi, asking if he would like anything for himself. The rabbi states that he would sooner be ravaged by indecently clad women of a questionable origin than let alcohol touch his lips. The texan hands the stewardess back his drink and goes "Yehaw! I didn't know there was a choice!"

Anyway, we'll be covering choices today, and the following will need to be addressed.

First, we need to identify what a choice actually is, and why they're important. This sounds pretty easy, but it's actually a lot more complex than you might think.

Second, we'll be covering what ways we have to "create" a choice for a player to make.

Third, we shall then learn about what kinds of common choices there are in the game.

Finally, I'll go over how to avoid making "false choices", as they really do screw with the game.
Part 1: So, what is a choice?
So, before we go any farther, let me point out that there are choices all around us. Some of those choices are obvious, some not so apparent, some pleasing, others the kind that you'd really rather not make.

Each and every situation in life, you have a choice. You may not like the options presented to you, but you have a choice, always. Sometimes, just the mere action of refusing to make a choice, is still a choice, as you did, after all, still choose to not make one.

That brings us to how this affects game play. A game is, by definition, something which you interact with, in order to alter the final outcome, in a way that is enjoyable to the player. A TV show is not, in most cases, able to be classified as a game, as the viewer has no real control over the outcome.

So what ties choices and game play together? It's pretty simple, really. Any time a player interacts with something, they are making a choice. If Morganna tosses a skill shot at you, you have the choice to dodge it, to eat the hit instead of another player who's more likely to die will get caught, and you have the option, in some cases, to turn on a shield to absorb the blow, such as a Banshee's Veil, or Sivir or Nocturne's shields, and it's possible to also use abilities such as Gangplank's Remove Scurvy, Cleanse, or a Quicksilver Sash.

As long as you are able to alter the outcome in some way, shape, or form, then you have made a choice to interact with that ability or champion.

Note, however, that I specified that you have to be able to alter the outcome in some way, shape, or form. If you have an ability that stuns for 2 seconds, but if it's prevented by a shield, or is cleansed off, it stuns for 3 seconds, instead, then you have achieved "choice" in the way that a person reading a book has a "choice" to turn the page of the book, to continue the story. It doesn't really affect the outcome, or anything about it.

As such, true choices are the key to game play. They are what allows a player to actually play the game.

False choices, however, are not really choices at all. In the above example, you're given a choice as to whether to cleanse off the ability, or not. In reality, it's not really a true choice, as the outcome is the same, either way. These false choices are a bane to players, as it only frustrates them into thinking they had some way to alter the outcome, and they never, truly did. Sometimes a pseudo-effect can work, but generally, you want to avoid it, because these false choices don't really add anything to the game, nor the player's interaction with said game.

So, what kind of choices are there in the game? Lots, really. More than you probably might imagine possible.

Consider a lot of things, here. Let's say that the support has been shut down hard, no turrets have fallen, your team has not gotten a single dragon kill, but your carry is doing well on champion kills, so has a bit of extra gold to throw around. That carry can choose to expend a portion of their gold to help out the support in warding up the dragon so it's not lost, yet again, or they can choose to hoard their gold, and hope that the extra 75-150 is going to make the difference between getting their bloodthirster early or not.

Some don't consider it a real choice, and will simply state that it's the support's role to ward, but in all honesty, sometimes they need help, as we all do, in varying ways. A good player will be able to realize that the game has not gone well for their support so far, and can use that information to more accurately weigh in the pros and cons of that decision. A poor quality player may never notice anything outside of their lane, and may not even realize the choice was there in the first place, because they haven't been thinking about the wider ranges of options in the game, outside of their own little world.

How about itemization? That's another choice. Some players have the mistaken idea that they need a full build every game to look identical. If this were the case, it wouldn't truly be a choice in the first place. Would it truly be a good idea to build identically when facing a team that's heavy on bruisers, as it is to build for a game when you're fighting all AoE mages? It really does require an adjustment to how one plays the game, and there are several ways to go about doing such, since there are multiple ways to survive various forms of damage.

There are choices in how you want to itemize, such as for damage, or survival, but even then, there are also choices on how to go about itemizing for that specialization. Just because you go glass cannon, doesn't mean you go glass cannon exactly the same way as someone else who plays that same champion might.

Anything in the game which adjusts how you play, has presented a choice to the player. Anything which alters how one thinks, is also presenting a choice.

Let's consider that the enemy team is doing excessively well, and has been going around with 3-4 people doing endless ganks on your team. It now becomes a significant choice to even go past your tower, at all. That sense of fear and dread that you're going to get killed changes the weight of what may have otherwise once been a simple decision.

Note that I've mentioned the idea of weighing decisions several times now. Even things which are "obvious", are still decisions, and the only reason they're obvious, is the circumstances leading up to that decision are very heavily favouring a single option out of the choices presented. There still is, however, a choice to be made, and it's still possible to make the wrong choice, or at least, a less than ideal one.

There are many factors that go into making any particular decision, and our brains are designed to be able to process large amounts of information quickly, and then act upon it in short order. That whole "fight vs flight" response, is still a choice to be made. True, most of that choice is made via chemical imbalances pushing you to go one way or the other, but once you're aware of that fact, you can take control of it and consciously make the decision to overrule what your body has decided upon already.

Anyway, the point I'm getting at here, is that there are typically a large number of inputs that go into setting up the circumstances surrounding a decision to be made. Often, we may not see some of these circumstances. If you've not been keeping up map awareness, you may not realize that the enemy team has been doing team ganks, and might not take that into account when making the decision to leave your turret to push a lane, as an example.

In the end, we can't truly add real choices to the game, as such, as the vast majority of those choices already exist. The choice to build atmogs on Lux is always present, it just doesn't make any real sense to bother doing so. The choice to sit at the fountain from the first minute of the game and talk about popcorn kernels is also there, but once again, it's kind of a silly thing to do, so most people don't even consider it.

What you can do, as a champion designer, is you can bring choices that are otherwise braindead obvious to the foreground, by adjusting just how obvious they really are.

Why is atmogs a bad idea on Lux, after all? Well, she doesn't really benefit much from the attack damage, nor the crit, and she gains more damage and survival from AP, so why would she build damage or stack health? The choice is always present, but she's decided not to do so, simply because it doesn't provide any real tangible benefit. The player has made this decision pretty much subconsciously, because it's so blatantly obvious of an answer that it doesn't require kicking the brain into high gear to fully crunch down on the options and weigh in which is the better option.

Let's take Nidalee instead. She's actually got some pretty good offtank potential, and atmogs has become a semi respectable choice for her build, as it lets her live for pretty much as long as she feels like it, while still providing descent effectiveness damage-wise.

It's a tough decision, however, since she gains a lot of benefit from going heavier on the AP side of things. The player now needs to weigh in what the other team is using, in order to properly gauge whether this is really a good idea to go atmogs or not now.

No choice was ever truly "made" available, however, in either Lux, nor Nidalee's cases. The same choice has always been present for both, but one of them has additional circumstances which adjusts how obvious that choice is to work with.

We, as champion designers, work with choices on a regular basis. Giving your champion high scaling off AP encourages that champion to build AP. Giving them a few abilities that can also scale off AD, however, makes them debate whether they want an AP build, a hybrid, or a full on AD build. Perhaps they'll end up with a strange build like Blitzcrank, or Udyr.

You don't, as a designer, have the capacity to introduce a real choice. That choice is always dormant, laying there in wait. What you can do, however, is tweak the circumstances surrounding that choice, so that the player has to actively debate as to what they feel the correct answer to that choice actually is.
Part 2: You can choose from phantom fears, or kindness that will kill. I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose free will. - Rush, Freewill

Shame, then, that free will doesn't exist.What we believe to be free will, is that we get the option to make our decisions based on our own preferences. Thing is, those choices can be slanted and adjusted by subtle machinations and tweaks to the factors which go into a choice in the first place.

You lead people like you lead a sheep; you make the sheeple think that they choose the destination.
Alright, the choices are always there, but they're generally made on an instinctual level by the player, with no real interaction with the game itself. What we need to do, is to find a way to adjust the parameters that their brain is considering, so that it's not so obvious a decision that it may as well not be a choice in the first place.

There are a great number of ways to go about doing this, but the easiest way to do so, is to just identify a choice that's blatantly obvious to begin with, determine which things affect the end decision, namely, the pros and cons, and then tweak these until they're not so heavily slanted to one side or the other.

Let's start out with an example here. We'll have a character that's bland, and boring. No abilities, average stats across the board.

What do we do with him? No idea. The choices are infinite at this point, there's actually TOO MANY choices, to the point that there's so many, that it just becomes white noise, and it doesn't feel like there's any choice at all.

So, we need to find a way to make this bland champion get a few choices that are more obvious than others. We'll drop his base health a bit, nerf the armour a touch, but increase the AD growth and attack speed a bit.

We've now presented the player with something to work with. They've now determined that they're not going to play this as an AP champion, nor a tank, but rather, as an AD carry. This tiny adjustment has allowed us to "create" a pre-determined choice.

The choice to go AP is still there, technically, since an AP build can still be pretty descent against towers, even without any AP scaling abilities, it just is a pretty bad decision to do so, is all.

The point is, we now have a champion that is an AD carry, due to the tweaks we made, as we've now passively made that decision for the player. They see him as an AD carry, and their decisions from this point out, will be slanted towards that idea.

This narrows the problem from being "infinite possibilities" to "AD only possibilities", which at least gives us something to work with.

Our next thing we can work with, is to isolate the ways we can make an AD carry.

What do we want them to do? Attack really fast? Do lots of damage in one big hit? How are they going to apply that damage? Are they even going to want to be in melee in the first place?

Let's give them an attack range of 600. Alright, now it's pretty obvious they don't want to be in melee range, probably, and furthermore, it means they can now poke people and back off, who have shorter range than they do. This implies, to the player, that they're not going to want attack speed, so much, if they're going to be running in to take one poke, and back off.

As such, we want to make that a choice. Let's give them an ability that benefits them from being in range for several hits in a row. Every time they attack, they do an additional 3/6/9/12/15 bonus damage per hit, stacking up to 5 times, and wears off after 3 seconds without attacking.

For their passive, we'll set it up so that if they haven't attacked an enemy champion for at least 5 seconds, then their next attack will automatically critically hit.

By adding only two abilities, we now have a champion that may want to do hit and runs, but they have the option to instead stick around for awhile too. The player now has to debate whether they want to just run in and poke a player, then back out, or if they want to hang around, and put themselves at additional risk of retaliation.

Congratulations, we have just created a choice in a player's mind. That choice had always been present, the entire time, but we have isolated the infinite white noise of possibilities down to a concrete decision that can go one way, or the other. It's up to the player, now, to decide how they want to make use of this champion.

While you can't make a decision, quite clearly, you can bring a decision that was one sided before, to the foreground, by adjusting the factors that go into that decision, until the answer is no longer obvious, and requires taking active consideration.

This, is the nature of choice, and the greatest tool we have in instilling game play into our champion designs.
Part 3: So what decisions can I really make?

Lots, to be honest!

Sure, they're artificial constructs, and don't really exist, with the vast majority of them being made for you on a subconscious level, where you will never get to actively participate in the matter, but they are there.

In League of Legends, there are a lot of decisions, but we only have access to so many from a design perspective. We can't instill fear in a player, nor can we instill confidence. These are up to the enemy team, and their allies, as well as their own situation at that moment, to provide such.

We can, however, give them a few obvious choices, by presenting them with choices that don't have an obvious answer. When the answer's obvious, they don't really regard it as a choice in the first place. When it makes them think, that's when they really feel like they have an impact on what happens.

So, let's take a look at them, shall we?

Itemization's a big one! Consider a champion like Malzahar, where every ability he has, has a pretty high AP scaling ratio! (Except his passive, which actually scales off AD, amusingly enough. AD Malz is fun to play vs bot games, but I wouldn't suggest it in a real game XD )

The high AP scaling means that the player will generally want to build lots of AP items. Since he's got low life, but needs to stick around an enemy player for a few seconds to let his abilities take effect, however, they may also want to build some defenses to go with that AP, so he now has a choice in how to build his items.

For someone like Yorick, who scales off total AD, bonus AD, AP, and health, this means that it's hard to decide, fully, what to build him as.

A champion with high scaling of a particular stat, is likely to build for that stat, while one that has multiple stats, or low scaling, is more likely to just build tanky, as they don't gain much benefit from going glass cannon.

As such, itemization is a great way to give the player some choices, as they have all sorts of ways to affect their game with it, such as covering up holes in their design (such as a frozen mallet on a melee with no chasing potential), or amplifying things they already do well (AP on a high AP scaling burst caster).

Other options include the following!

- Attack range adjusts how players act in lane, and in team fights

- Spell range can alter when they use their abilities

- Scaling heavily influences how a player itemizes their champion

- Defensive abilities can make players more confident, sometimes to the point of being suicidal (Vlad in particular)

- Steroids can significantly alter how well a character likes to autoattack

- Mixing ratios and benefits can lead to players going for hybrid, or other strange builds

- CC can reduce the choices an enemy player can make, so be careful about overusing these!

- Multi-form abilities, such as ones that have different effects whether they hit an ally or an enemy, can greatly change how a player uses them and when

- Skill shots involve timing, positioning, and numerous other factors, which can lead to interesting game play choices. Take Nidalee's spear, as a perfect example!

- Forcing a player to use an ability as either an offensive, or defensive tool, and refusing to let them use it for both at the same time, can really make them debate when and how to use their abilities

There are hundreds more choices around, but these should get you at least started down the path!
Part 4: We come in to the world and take our chances. Fate is just the weight of circumstances. That's the way that lady luck dances. Roll the bones! - Rush, Roll The Bones (Rush ROCKS! <3 )

So, we have choices. Great. We've also covered that choices are permanent fixtures, that we can't really remove or avoid, and only the circumstances can be adjusted.

That leads us to something I'd mentioned earlier. False choices.

If every choice, is in fact a choice, even ones that are obvious, then what exactly is a so-called "false choice" in the first place?

Well... let's say you have an ability, where if you stand still, you die to the champion killing you. If you run away, the ability kills you instead. Yes, this is from the Bloodseeker from DotA.

This is a false choice, in that it presents several options to the player, but all of them are bad choices, yet it makes out some of the potential decisions to be made, to look superior to others, when they really aren't.

That thing I said awhile back about letting the sheeple think they make their own choices? Yeah, if you screw around with their heads by showing them that they really didn't have a say in the matter, but you made them think they did? They get a little pissy over that, and then they start to realize how little control they have over the rest of the game.

Pull stunts like that too often, and they decide that the best decision is just to stop playing entirely.

It's fine to jerk their chain, and make decisions for them behind their backs, but you can never, ever, play your hand and show them upfront that they were being led by the nose the whole time.

As with magic, game play is created through leading people around, but keeping the intricate complexities hidden out of their sight. A good magician never reveals their secrets flat out because of the fact that, once you've revealed your secret, all the magic is lost. It just... dies somehow.

If you explain to a player that they haven't really been controlling their destiny this whole time, and that their entire gaming history is a lie? They're going to get upset, and they're going to feel betrayed, or just depressed. Either way, none of this is good for business, and you don't want that kind of stuff going on.

Even my explaining this to you, is a very risky thing, on my part. You aren't supposed to know how little control you have over the game, nor your own lives, as a whole. It's what we call "blissfully ignorant" for a reason.

If you want to take the plunge into being the one pulling the strings, instead of the marionette dancing on the other end, though, you're going to have to come to grips with this reality of the world we live in, and of game design as a whole.

Writers toy with your emotions by placing a situation that elicits the response they want to invoke, such as happiness, sadness, fear, or anger, among other things. A champion designer does the same thing, but in a different way.

When you're making your champion, you have a list of ways you want your champion to be played. You have an item build in your head, and ideas behind what you think is the "right" way to play them.

If a player breaks those little rules you made, and plays them differently, you have to go in and either accept that as an answer, providing such as a valid form of play, or you're going to have to dismantle their capacity to play the champion in that manner.

Either way, you're toying with false choices, in that the player is always assumed that they are going to make a certain choice in favour of the decision that you, yourself, would have made in their place.

Technically, all choices are false, in something as readily controllable as game design, but the ones that really stand out are the problem cases. Those choices that you make, and you feel immediately after that sense of "GRRRR it didn't matter what I did, I was screwed either way from the start!".

Those are your big problems. Avoid them at all costs.

When you design a champion, you have to keep in mind that there are certain situations they're going to get themselves into, such as team fights, or being chased when they're at low health. You have to plan around these eventualities, and give them a shred of hope of escape, or at the very least, let them think they had some capacity to change the outcome there.

If you box them in, and limit them, they will notice, and they're not going to be pleased.

In writing, you learn that people have expectations, in their mind. They expect that the good guys will win in the end. That love will always triumph. That they can aspire to something greater than they are. If you provide them with these, they don't honestly much care, to a degree, how you go about providing such. They like to feel "right".

The key to writing a mystery novel, is not to dangle a mystery in front of someone's face, and withhold the information from them so they can't tell whodunit. It's to feed them tiny clues, a little bit at a time, to let them figure it out on their own, and then reveal it blatantly at the end, so they feel happy that they got it right.

The same thing exists in game design, and champion design as well.

A player wants to feel that, if they build themselves to specifically counter a particular enemy on the other team, that they will be able to defeat that enemy in a 1 on 1 fight. Things like Vayne's Silver Bolts, contradict that belief.

Yes, most of her damage is physical, but even if you build massive amounts of armour, the true damage still bleeds through with remarkable effect, despite your best efforts. You can't build health, you can't build armour, and you can't build magic resistance.

This is why Vayne leaves a bad taste in people's mouths after fighting her. She's not OP, and she's quite fun to play as, and against, except that her Silver Bolts taste like ashes, because, even if you win, it still feels inherently wrong.

Yes, yes, you're the great puppeteer, and have come to make a champion design that is the CC master of the world. They can lock down an entire enemy team for a week straight, as their stuns last longer than the cooldowns, and they have no mana costs to speak of.

You know what? Ditch that line of reasoning immediately, if you have it.

Game/Dungeon Masters, in particular, in tabletop RPGs come across this "puppet master" mindset with startling frequency, and it backfires every time.

Your goal, as a game developer, is not to create an impossible situation for a player, and then laugh at them because they're stuck in it. Of course they're stuck in it, you didn't give them a way out. Some game developers have sadly fallen for this trap, and made games where they want the player to lose. Badly.

This isn't in your job description. Your job is to make something that's fun to play as, not something that's ungodly powerful.

Any champion you design which has overwhelming power, that you think would be fun to play as... consider the flip side of the coin. Would it be fun to play against them? Do you even have a choice as to whether you can fight back?

If the answer is no, you've dun gone screwed up big time boy-o, and it's time to take a step back, and reevaluate the design in general, as well as your motives for designing such.

Any time you provide a player with a choice to make, you also have to give them a valid option in there as well. Sure, there's an infinite number of choices all around them, but if you're going to shove one in their face, by making it not obvious what the correct answer is, you then are obligated to make sure that there is a correct answer, and that the correct answer makes sense.

Trick questions aren't cute, and they aren't funny. They piss players off, and with good reason. You just stomped all over their little belief that the world is an organized, sensible place, where selecting the right answer involves getting a cookie, and the wrong answer gets a trip through electroshock.

Once you start screwing with their expectations, they're going to hate you for it. And if it persists long enough, they're simply going to get up, and walk away.

The harsh truth of the world, is that an awful lot of it probably doesn't have any higher meaning or purpose. Our brains go through great lengths to create order out of chaos, however, and we have individuals who spend their entire lives trying to structure answers towards the goal of placating the masses so that they don't panic via the realization that the light at the end of the tunnel, may in fact just be an oncoming train. Your job, in creating a character, is part of this, as you are distracting them from real life, by giving them a vent for frustrations, as well as a place to relax and enjoy themselves.

Work with your players, and provide them with the tools they require to make the correct decision in any choice you present to them. Don't play tricks, and don't jerk them around. This doesn't necessarily mean tell them outright what the answer is, either, but it does mean that you can't just lie flat out to their face.

In the final analysis, your job is to make their game fun. If your champion design isn't fun, and the problem is that the choices you've given them to allow them to interact with the game, are all false choices, then you have failed in that task, and need to go back and clean things up pronto.

Class dismissed!

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Class is in session for the day, boys and girls, as well as those of indiscriminate gender. Also, potted plants. Just in case one of them is reading this. It'd suck to get sued for being a plantist.

Anyway, today we're discussing a few things, and all of them relate to Improvement and Criticism.

First, we'll cover why criticism is needed in the first place.

Second, we'll go over how to accept it, when it's needed.

Third, we'll attend to how to understand whether it's good criticism or bad.

Fourth, how to put that criticism into your champion design to actually make them better.

Fifth, and last, we'll cover how to be a good critic yourself.
Part 1: "And while I'm composing it, I'm also reviewing it. It's my policy never to read my reviews." - Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D., The Yellow Submarine

Everyone's a critic. Thing is, we actually need critics, strangely enough. Many artists absolutely hate such things, others don't understand why they exist, and some just don't get the concept in general.

So why do we even need critics in the first place? Well, the answer's actually pretty simple. We, as a species, are designed in such a way that we typically assume that our own ideas are good ones. We're biased towards stuff we've come up with, since we tend to only see the reasons behind why we did them in the first place, and aren't particularly good at seeing the things we missed, otherwise we would not have missed them in the first place.

A critic, is someone who evaluates your work and verifies whether it's really all that good or not. Varying critics will look at things from varying angles. No one person can see all ends, so critics will rarely agree on specific points. Critics are still human, however, so they still make mistakes. They may misinterpret something, they may misunderstand, they may not know the reasons behind why something was done, or may fail to grasp an important point which is needed to be understood for the work being evaluated to make sense.

In something like a more standardized job with a clearly structured hierarchy, such as a game development company, you'll have supervisors, quality assurance, play testing, peer review, and many other forms of criticism which will ensure that the finalized design is as high quality as it can possibly be. The lack thereof, in things such as disorganized indie development games, higher end jobs where there are no real performance evaluations, or this forum, you're stuck with just critics, who often times aren't really all that well versed in what it is they're trying to review, and this makes it very difficult to truly improve oneself.

The point of a critic is always the same, however. Their job is to identify areas for improvement, and commentate on such, so that others are able to determine the value of the work being evaluated. Sometimes the audience of a critique is the audience that the work itself is intended for, other times the critique is the author of the work.

Either way, at no point is your goal in a critique to attack, harass, or attempt to upset the author, nor is it to sugar-coat problems, nor to boost the individual's ego.

Criticism exists for the sole purpose of having another person's point of view and perspective, who can identify issues which the original designer, or team, were not capable of identifying themselves. Whether this is to warn off audiences from viewing a bad movie, or to provide the designer with the information required to improve upon the design before a live audience sees their work, is pretty much arbitrary, as the only thing that really changes, is the way the end criticism is presented, but not the content thereof.

If you don't learn from the criticism provided, you aren't making use of a valuable tool that could have improved the quality of your own work.

If you get to the point that you absolutely refuse to even consider that you might be wrong, and just assume that any criticism is lacking a constructive angle, then the chances are you're narcissistic, and should probably be seeing a doctor about it, instead of reading this guide.

If, however, you accept that criticism can be a useful tool for improvement, then you're at least on the right path to making your designs better than they already are.

Keep in mind, that even harsh criticism, can still be valuable. Consider those individuals who complain on a forum. They gripe, moan, complain, etc, etc. Many others tell them to shut up and just be happy with what they have.

Guess which side I prefer in that?

The same side every decent game company is on. The side of the whiners.

Wait, what? Why!?

Well, think of it this way... "I liked it", is a nice little boost to the ego, but it doesn't do much to help improve the game as a whole. If someone complains, they have a gripe, and that means you may have a problem that needs to be fixed. If they complain, they also tend to be very specific in their complaints, and typically will point out exactly what it is that bothers them, which gives you plenty of information on how to identify if it really is an issue that needs addressed, as well as getting a feel for the community as a whole, as most people don't relate their opinions on anything, except when they're upset.

We complain when we're frustrated, but tend to stay silent when we're appeased. Rarely do we say thank you, as a people, when we're happy, and even if we do, it's typically in a very vague sense. If you felt the need to send a message to Riot about League of Legends, what would you say?

Most likely, you'd state that you love the game and are happy with it, and to keep up the good job, but there's one or two minor things that bother you, and you'd probably list them off.

As can be seen, the "nice" part of the review was pretty much useless from a developer's point of view, in terms of being able to improve upon their design. The "mean" part of the review was actually quite useful in isolating and containing problems before they got any larger, by at least identifying where they were, and giving a direction for the development team to focus their attentions upon.

As such, any time someone gets upset at people complaining, and does the fanboy dealie of getting mad and yelling at those who are complaining, it makes me facepalm. Seriously, our species is designed to try to improve our current standing. If something's good, it means it can be made better, into something great. By chipping away at the minor issues one at a time, you can transform it from just "good" into something "truly great". If you just accept it as "good enough", there's no improvement, and nothing ever gets better.

For those of you, who are reading this, and ascribe to the fanboy mentality of "It's fine so stop complaining!", seriously, just stop. You're actually harming the company you profess to love so much.

Criticism is a necessary part of the development cycle, and without it, we'll never get anywhere beyond that which we can see from our own, limited, perspective.
Part 2: "I turn on the tube and what do I see? A whole lotta people cryin' "Don't blame me"" - The Eagles

So, now that we've established that criticism is required to foster a healthy design from infancy, through to finalized product, what do we do about that pesky little ego inside your head demanding that you smack the critic in the face and suggesting you tell them to bugger off?

Well... that's a little more tricky. It's an emotional response, and to be perfectly blunt, emotional responses are difficult to reason with, because they aren't exactly reasonable. The only real way to deal with this, that I've personally found, is to drown it in facts and hope the whiny little ego chokes to death on a sea of proof to the contrary.

Yes, honourable judge, I murdered my ego. It had it coming, though.

As a writer, and an artist, I can't afford the luxury of just assuming my work is top notch. Of course it isn't. At least, not yet, anyway. Anything I make is going to be flawed, broken, and need significant adjustments and improvement.

Once I became consciously aware of the fact that I'm not perfect, at that moment, I opened up the door to attain that very goal. The whole dealie of "Accepting that I know nothing" being the best place to start learning is, in fact, quite true.

To become defensive is natural, as we don't like to be viewed as less than perfect.

You need to break down this fantasy world, where you can do no wrong, and accept that we are, as a species, flawed, and that every single thing that we attempt to do, will also be infected by those flaws, and turn out flawed as well.

That doesn't mean that our works can't become flawless, but it does mean that, in order to cause that, you have to start getting rid of the flaws that cropped up in the design, and to do that, you need to first identify where the flaws are.

We suck at seeing our own flaws. We concentrate on things that aren't even problematic, and often become paranoid about things that are all in our heads. The real problems we have, we usually don't even know about. The ones we chastise ourselves over, are typically meaningless junk that is imaginary in the first place.

This, is why we need outside help. Objective criticism allows us to see the truth behind what our designs and creations really are. Without this, we'll never be able to figure out where the problems are to begin working on fixing them.

Sure, on rare occasion, we'll stumble across a problem, or we'll get a break of divine inspiration, but for the most part, this just doesn't happen all that often, and even if it does, we won't necessarily have any idea of what the solution is, or even where to begin patching it up.

Just because you know something's broken, doesn't mean you know how to fix it.

If my sink starts spewing blood up to the ceiling, I'm not even going to be sure whether I should be calling a plumber, or an exorcist, let alone where to begin fixing it by myself.

Alright, creepy imagery, I know, but it does fit. XD

The point is, if you want to get better, you need to beat your ego into submission, and let the critics do their job.

The first thing to do, is admit that you're not perfect. No one is. I may claim I am, frequently, at that, but I know better than to believe practically anything that comes out of my own mouth.

Next off, you're going to have to sit down, and consider that the critics *MAY* have a point. Note that I'm stressing the term "may", using AOLspeak methods, of which, I'm admittedly a little ashamed over, but it's important to stress that word on a very specific level. They may not. They may be completely, flat out, WRONG. The next section will cover how to identify whether they are, or not, but for now, accepting that they might be right, is a big deal.

The stage after this, is to evaluate whether they are right or not. This may sound like it doesn't involve your ego, but it really does, as it'll try to lie to you, and tell you they're fools, out to ruin your glorious plans for conquest and subjugation of the entire human race under your control. Make sure to smack it in the face if it's telling you to become a dictator, but otherwise, shove it out of the way temporarily, and see about trying to note their points, one at a time, and attempt to objectively analyze them as if it were someone else's design, rather than your own, so that your pesky ego doesn't get in the way.

Finally, once you've determined that you may actually be wrong, rather that get indignant about it, instead just tell yourself that, you know what? If you fix that problem, then you won't be wrong anymore. So long as you're wrong, that tarnish shall remain, and as soon as you fix it, you really are that much closer to perfection. This makes the ego grudgingly accept that it'll work with you, even if you do have it at gunpoint the whole time.

Well, whatever works. As long as you're able to fix your problems, you're farther ahead than most people XD

Part 3: "It doesn't matter if they're right. If they're right for the wrong reasons, then they're still wrong, no matter how right they may be." - Katsuni (actually this is part of a friend's comic after he quoted me on it XD )

The next issue we have, is identifying good criticism, from bad criticism. This can be tricky to do, as we just covered that we suck at identifying our own flaws, so we can't really trust our own judgement about our own stuff.

The nice part here, however, is we're pretty good at picking up on the flaws of people other than our own selves. This means that the trick is to identify where the critic went wrong, rather than to try to consider your own material. If you spend all your time and effort trying to ascertain if they're right, you're going to find yourself staring at an impossible task before you.

It can't really be done.

So... break their argument, and prove them wrong. Identify each part of what they say, and see if you can find issue with their logic. As you chip away at their argument, notify them of such and inform them of what you're doing. The idea here, is to get continual feedback and discussion on the matter.

You really need to stress, here, that you're attempting to do this in an objective manner, in order to ensure that the highest quality of your work can be attained, and that you're not trying to just discredit them. Technically, you are trying to break their work, but it's not for the purpose of breaking them as a person, or to try to make their work wrong, so much as to see which parts you can't break, which will leave these as things that are probably true.

It's a strange method, but it does work remarkably well. Our brains are great at finding flaws in the work of others, but suck at finding the flaws in our own. Equally, we suck at telling when someone's actually right, and it's only when we go over what we said, that we run into the logical fallacies and other errors in judgement and reasoning.

We break things. We're really, remarkably, good at doing it, too.

So... play up to your strengths, and break their argument about your design, in every way you can do so.

Converse with them while doing so, toss ideas back and forth, ask for clarification, and debate the matter. When you finish this, and have found every tiny way you can damage their argument as possible, what is left, is the closest thing that you, I, or anyone else, will ever come to the absolute, unvarnished truth.

Once you have that, then you can tell what truly needs to be fixed.

If you can just wander through their argument, poking holes in it willy-nilly, and there's very little holding it up, then it's probably not going to be of much use to the design you have.

Keep in mind, however, that only the points that the person brings up matter. If you bring up their history, their personal ideals, or attempt anything in close approximation to an Ad Hominem attack, then you really aren't dealing with the flaws in their argument, but the flaws in them as a person.

If you're attacking the person, rather than the statement, you're doing it wrong. It doesn't matter if they're an idiot, or wrong 99% of the time, or if you hate them. Focus on the statements they make. Maybe they are wrong 99% of the time, but this could be that singular 1% of the time that they're right.

If it turns out that your only complaints are against them, and not about what they said, then, while you may still continue to dislike them as a person, the fact is, they're still right, so long as yeu can find nothing wrong with what they actually said.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this kind of debate isn't to break down an opponent, so much as to tear apart their argument until nothing is left of it but the truth. It's the whole "Sculpt an elephant by simply removing from the stone slab anything that doesn't look like an elephant" method, and it works remarkably well in a situation such as this.

Just make sure that ego of yours doesn't attack the person, instead of the statements. I stress that again, as it's a common failing, and you won't learn anything by doing so.
Part 4: I thought I was wrong, once, but I was mistaken.

Alright, let's say that we've gotten to the point where you accept that the critic is right, and you have a problem. So what do you do about it?

Some critics will actually provide suggestions on how to go about fixing the issue, so that you have at least a vague idea of one method of overcoming a problem. To be honest, there's typically many ways to avoid the current issue, and the offering given, may not be the best method, as it may trip up on other areas in the process.

In the final analysis, it is truly your design, and no one can take that away from you. You can't just let everyone walk in on your design and screw with it. If they say you need to do one particular solution to fix it, ignore them. Unless, of course, they're a supervisor or producer. The supervisor probably has a reason for why they're suggesting a particular method, and they probably know more than you do on the subject. The producer is probably wrong, but they hold the paychecks, so suck it up, and what ever you do, don't tell them they're an idiot, even if you're only being honest. Especially if you're being honest. They really hate that.

Anyway, since we don't have supervisors, nor producers here, in this forum, we're going to go with just ignoring them, for now.

You have a goal in mind for your design. A purpose, a feel, a play style which you, personally, enjoy. We tend to make things we would, ourselves, like to play. As such, another person's solution may simply not mesh with your desired goal, and may ruin your design, in your own eyes.

Don't let them get in your way. They can be right that something's broken, and they may be right that their solution may be able to bypass the issue neatly, but you know what? They may also be wrong that their solution is the correct one, for you, to fix it.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, and the cat doesn't have to like any of them. I say this, reluctantly, as I rather lurve kitties, but the saying still stands in the purpose it holds.

Let us say that, yes, the critic gave a way to fix the problem, but you really don't like the way that's suggested. No problem. There's a ton of other ways to go about fixing it.

See, for any problem, there are multiple ways to correct such. Some may work better than others. Some may create more problems indirectly in their application. Some may make more problems than they're really worth. Some you may not even notice, or realize exist, but it doesn't mean they're not there.

We always have a choice. Any time someone says "there's no choice", they're just trying to placate themselves before they do something they don't want to do. Of course there's a choice! It's just... the choice may not be a particularly pleasant one. There's a near infinite number of ways you can go about handling any situation, it may just be that of that near infinite number, all of them kind of suck, in one way, or another, and one of them may just suck a little less than the rest. You still have a choice, though.

In this situation, we have an advantage, in that there's no immediate reprisal or ramifications for making a choice. If we break something else in the process of fixing the current problem, no big deal! We can just move on to fixing that issue afterwards, and if it's one we're consciously aware of breaking, all the better! It means we don't need to go through that messy process of dealing with a critic again to fix it, and we probably already have a few ideas on how to go about repairing the collateral damage that occurred.

Anyway, the whole point of this entire section, is that you know more, than your critic does, at least, about what you want. Unless you're me. I have no clue what I want most of the time, but that doesn't seem to stop me from doing stupid things in the attempt of finding out XD

Regardless, you have the option to agree that there's a problem with your design, but you also have the option to disagree on the best method of fixing that problem. Take charge of your design, and own it as yours! You have an obligation to yourself to make something that you, yourself, would love to play.

The critics don't know your mind inside out. They may think they do, but there's a significant difference between actually knowing, and thinking you know.

Your champion is just that: your champion, so don't let anyone make it into something you don't like anymore. Perhaps their suggestion on a way to fix things is a good one, and you like the idea they presented. Maybe you think it flat out sucks, because it goes completely against the whole purpose you had in mind from the start of what you wanted that champion design to accomplish.

Either way, make sure that the only reason you change your champion, or any other design you work on in life, is because you want to change it that way.

With, of course, the previous exceptions of supervisors and producers. Durn them corporate hierarchies! *Shakefist@*
Part 5: No. No I'm afraid everything's wrong. Including this statement. Everything has to go.

So, since we need critics, and you've received the benefits from having such, it's probably a nice idea to return the favour in such a way that you help the community further, yourself.

After all, if you are a good critic, then others will learn to be good critics in kind, and will therefore be able to provide you with better criticism than you had before, right?

So, since that's settled, let's work on becoming a good critic!

A nice critic pads the ego with platitudes such as "I liked it", or "Good job!". While these are nice, and that encouragement can give the designer the strength they need to carry on, in and of themselves, they're pretty much worthless towards making a better design as a whole.

A good critic, is one who provides useful information that can be applied towards making the basic design better than it already is. Ideally, a good critic will do so in a kind way, that will encourage the designer to want to revise their champion design, but that's a secondary concern to the primary one of simply having useful information.

Criticism, by the very definition thereof, involves criticizing. Who would'a thunk? This means, however, that at some point, you're going to have to criticize a bad decision, or point out a flaw or error.

The trick, is to do so in a positive way.

Actually, let me take a few steps back here, and we'll go over the process from the start.

First off, you're going to find a design that could use some work. Hehe... yeah, see that's every design out there. Even the ones in the game, produced by Riot Games themselves, still need work. Art is never "finished", it simply runs out of time, budget, or patience.

Next, you're going to decide that you want to help out, either because you like the idea, and want to see it improved upon to be even more fun, or because you hate it, and want to see it turned into something that doesn't suck.

Note that I said "help out", not "attack". Your goal in a review is to lend your personal expertise and aid towards bettering the design beyond where it currently stands for quality. If the only reason you're commenting, is to make them feel better, to get reviews for yourself, or to harm their ego, then back out immediately.

That thing I said earlier, about being right for the wrong reasons, still applies here. If you go in with the wrong attitude, you can, and will, ruin the work you set out to do. To review with malicious intent on the mind, will corrupt the work and leave the review as far less useful than it really should have been. To review with benevolence, will allow the design to bloom into a beautiful flower. Or a duck. Or maybe a boot. I dunno.

Anyway, you want to begin your review with a good mindset. If you go into a review in a bad mood, you're just going to vent your frustrations of the moment upon the designer and discourage them from working further. Friends don't let friends be pissy and review. We shoot them first, then cannibalize the corpse as zombies.

So, let's say you're in a good mood, want to help, and are now reviewing a champion.


Now, how do we go about reviewing this thing? Ah, that's a bit more tricky, now, isn't it?

First off, do a once over of the design. Check for things that jump out at you immediately as problematic. This could be lore, stats, abilities that work ridiculously well together, typos, it doesn't' matter, to be honest. So long as you find some stuff that's broken, that's a good place to start. Not everyone's able to do in depth break downs that will provide a whole new set of revelations about design as a whole, though if you finish reading this entire guide, you'll probably have a lot more ammunition to work with on that side of things.

Anyway, you've got some problems. Alright, that's great and all, but now you also need some good stuff, too. What? Good stuff? Yep! Pick out some things that you actually LIKE about the design! Perhaps an ability you think is really cool, maybe their lore has something awesome in it, who knows? More over, who cares? It really doesn't matter, just find some stuff that's good. We'll cover this shortly, as to why.

Your next step is to begin detailing the issues of what is a problem with the design in question. Make sure you're through, and that you give explanations for why you believe that these are problems. Just saying "this is wrong", but not explaining why it's wrong, won't really give them much idea as to where the problem is, which makes it pretty hard to fix it.

This is your opportunity to be a bit of a braggart. By going into detail about why something's wrong, you get to show off that big brain of yours. Oooh yeah, baby, so hot. It's soooo biiiiig. *Cough*. I didn't say that.

Erm... yeah. So, the point here is that you want to take this opportunity to really go into significant detail as to why something's a problem in the first place. The more information they have, the better their chances of being able to correct the issue.

Now that you've explained what's wrong, you want to explain what's right.

People are odd, and tend to hang on the last thing that was said to them. If you end on a downer note, they go kinda meh, and aren't that interested in doing anything to fix things. If you end on the positive side of things, they tend to cheer up, and are willing to put additional effort into revising the problems that were just identified.

That means it's time to break out the arsenal of good stuff you found earlier. Give them examples of why certain things made you smile, or grabbed your interest.

By providing a list of what they did right, they'll have a basis to work from of what their problems should end up looking like eventually. Sure, a doctor can tell you when something looks infected, but the only way to do that, is to know how it looks when it's not infected, first.

To have a base line reference of what "good" looks like, is a very important part of the revision process, as you can't really fix "wrong", until you know what "right" is supposed to look like. If you try to fix "wrong" without this, you'll probably just change it from one form of wrong to another form of wrong, with no real correction in the process.

Additionally, pointing out the good parts in something, tends to make that individual trust you more, as they feel you see them as more than just "some big meanie head" who's out to "get them". Give them reason to like you, and they'll be more receptive to your suggestions, as well as more accepting of when you say there's a problem.

If you just come off as a jerk, it doesn't matter how right you are, they're going to ignore all of it on the grounds that they figure you just hate them and anything you say is going to be assumed to just be being said because of that.

This doesn't fix anything, and ruins the whole point of doing a review in the first place.

As such, the steps are as follows:

1: Find a design to work on.
2: Decide to help.
3: Pick out some problems that need to be addressed (it doesn't have to be ALL of them!)
4: Grab a few nice things that you like as well
5: Explain the problems, and go into detail as to why they're problems.
6: Provide potential solutions for these problems.
7: State a few things you liked about the design.
8: Suggest they do some more work on it, but be encouraging on this part.

Ta-da! You can now review like a pro. Kind of. You're going to need to actually know what you're talking about to act like a true professional, but really, that's what the rest of the guide is here for.

Now go out and review someone's stuff! It doesn't matter whose stuff it is, just find something on the front page that catches your interest, and give them a review. If you do this, then they may start giving reviews as well, and eventually, we'll have a nice base of people capable of helping each other out, and our own designs will get the help they deserve!

If no one does reviews in general, then we're all screwed equally. You can't just sit back and hope people look at your stuff, if you never look at theirs, because they're doing the same thing you are. Mindlessly bumping your stuff a dozen times a day won't fix that, if no one's doing anything but bumping their own stuff.

Anyway, class dismissed! Wewt wewt!

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Good day to all of you who have decided to attend!

Class is now in session. Or it could be that it's not in session. Maybe it's both. We could get into some debates on quantum theory, now that it's been verified that quantum effects can occur at a macroscopic scale that's large enough for the human eye to witness, but that's not why we're here today.

No, today, we are here to learn about formatting! Or, more specifically, legibility and presentation.

First on the list, we'll cover why it's even a big deal. There are technically reasons it's not important, but sometimes, it really is.

Second, we'll go over what kind of information you want to provide.

Third, we'll discuss the methods of presentation available.

Finally, I'll provide an example piece that I use for my own champions. I do occasionally update this over time, as more ideas come to me, so some of the older stuff I've provided may not yet have been caught up. Still, this will provide a great example for keeping track of things in an organized fashion.

Alright, first off, to dispel some myths.

Being good at spelling, or grammar, doesn't have anything to do with being intelligent, in the slightest. These are things which are merely pure memorization. Actual intelligence, on the contrary, involves being capable of processing new information, correlating against previous information, and making connections.

This means that if someone is told, individually, what the letters "k", "a" and "t" sound like, and then hear someone say "cat", and spell it "kat", they have shown the capacity to learn and use previous information in a new manner. If they spelled it properly, as "cat", without further knowledge, it would be in error.

Being tidy, with good spelling and grammar doesn't make you smart, nor does it necessitate that what you have written is any more worth reading than something with perfect punctuation.

See, the point of language, in general, is communication. So long as the information is passed from one individual, to another, with little to no problems in between, the purpose of language has been served.

Sure, I'm a writer, and happen to focus heavily upon making sure that I'm capable of providing that information in a very robust manner, in which even the tiniest details can be provided accurately, while still maintaining the capacity for the reader to come to their own conclusions. The thing is, if something's technically "wrong", it may still be more "correct" to do so anyway.

Consider the word "ugly". Technically, it should be spelled correctly. In practicality, were one to use the spelling of "ughly", I'd instead be forced to smile, slightly, because they managed to really give that guttural feel of exactly what the word entails, through tossing onomatopoeia into the mix. It's "wrong", but it really feels "right", and provides a better mechanism through which to communicate the purpose of what's trying to be said. Namely, that if you see something ugly, you really do want to instinctively say "ugh...".

The point here, is that you don't technically have to have everything perfect.

However, and this is a big however, to those who are grinning like idiots thinking that they can be sloppy, you can't just make a mess of things, just because you're lazy, or don't want to bother. If you're trying to communicate a point, then the point must be communicated, in full, to any other parties present.

In terms of champion design, this means that you want to be quite expressive about your information you give. If someone looks at your ability, and all it says is "it does 300 damage and stuns for 2 seconds", what does that tell us?

Well, it gives a vague idea of the damage and special effect properties to it, but it doesn't tell us if it's a skill shot, if it's capable of hitting minions, or what kind of range it has on it, to name a few.

What if it only hits champions? Well, it's better in lane, now, because it's harder to mis-click on a different target by accident, however, it does so at the expense of being useless in the jungle.

What if it's click on target to deal the effects, such as Sion's gaze? No dodging a skill shot, but now it's far easier to juke someone through the brush, and you can't land artillery style indirect fire hits on targets you can't see. That twitch who just stealthed an instant before, is now safe, and if you had a skill shot, you could've hit him.

How's the range? Is it on next melee hit? Does it make Nidalee's spear cry? Does your champion even have a melee attack?

This kind of information needs to be available to anyone looking over your design, if they're to understand what your champion is capable of doing.

By arranging the information into an easy to read format, you're doing several things.

- You're ensuring that, with consistent formatting, that you don't forget anything important.

- You make it possible for others to read through your champion, without stopping halfway through because it's physically painful for their eyes to try to concentrate on a huge block of text, without paragraphs.

- You also happen to make it much easier to tell, at a glance, what an ability does, and to find key information quickly, without feeling like you're wasting time on it.

If you want to post champions, then you're doing so for a reason. Either you want criticism, to better your designs, or you want people to see the stuff you made, to boost your ego, or, possibly, you just like putting fun ideas down to make other people happy as they read it.

Either way, you fail in all these tasks if the individual reading such gets fed up and ditches it because they can barely read what's being said.

If you can't communicate, effectively, what you mean, then you may as well not bother. If I can't tell what your champion does, then none of the above reasons for posting will be fulfilled.

As such, try to ensure that you explain, in detail, what your champion does. Extra sections which explain your reasoning behind why aren't necessary, but they can help a reader understand your own mindset better.

No matter what you do, though, err on the side of "too much" information, rather than "too little". In this task, the concept of TL: DR, simply does not exist, and anyone who says so, seriously, in a post on this forum, has missed the whole point.

Yes, I've said that before, but it still stands. Rawr!
Part 2: I know everything. Even that thing you did last weekend with a goat. Seriously, that's just creepy.

So, I'll assume, though I shouldn't, that you want to make sure your champions have useful information in them now. Great!

Now that we have that covered, what do you want to know? EVERYTHING.

No, really. Everything.

If you can think about it, it should probably be in there, somewhere.

There are a few things, however, which are more important than others, and some are often left out, so let's go over some key pieces of information and why we need them.

1: Attack range. This is a big one that almost everyone seems to forget, and it really irks me. A champion plays significantly differently, depending on how their capacity to hit minions are in the laning phase, and how close they have to be to attack someone in a 5v5 team fight. Always go out of your way to double check that you have your attack range listed. If you're not sure how far champions attack, then keep in mind that "long" range is generally about 600 for a normal auto attack, and Caitlynn's special, at 650, with Tristana eventually clocking in at a touch over 700. Melee is usually 125, but can vary between 100-200. Generally just saying "melee" is good enough, unless you are a specific exception.

2: Resource system. It's strange, but I've actually seen people forget to list this! I've seen them write down their abilities cost "50" to use, but no where, in the entire design, does it say if this is mana, energy, or something else. If your champion design doesn't use anything other than cool downs to manage their abilities, say so. As Sion would say, don't be a bone head.

3: Targeting method. Abilities that do effects are nice, but often, the method by which they attack can be as important as the effects themselves. Ezreal would play an awful lot differently if all his abilities were click to hit, and if his Q was "on next attack", instead.

4: Targets allowed. Another major one that's often overlooked. Make sure we know if an ability hits allies, champions, minions, towers, etc. This can be the difference between being an awesome jungler, or completely useless in it, and may make a big difference in other parts of the game, as well.

5: Range of abilities. Many people don't know what "good" ranges are. For that, I suggest just picking a champion that has something that you want that's roughly about the same range, and check them up on LoLWiki. This will give you a good estimate of what other champions are capable of doing, and gives the reader a much clearer idea of how useful the abilities are. Keep in mind, skill shots tend to be longer range than "click to hit" ones.

6: Travel speed of abilities. Another massively overlooked one, especially on skill shots, where it matters most. You can probably skip it, when describing a click-to-hit skill-less shot, but for a skill shot, it can be the difference between making a clean hit, or having someone simply walk out of range of Sona's ultimate, or Ahri's Seduction, both of which are notorious for their slow travel times.

7: Scaling. Strange, but true: many people forget to list the scaling. If it doesn't scale, state so specifically, preferably. This can severely affect their itemization capacity.

8: Name. I already covered naming elsewhere, but seriously, put a name on it. If you haven't bothered to pick a name for your champion yet, then the first thing people are generally going to think of is "Oh, another half done, boring champion with no thought put into it". I'm not joking, name your stuff.

9: Damage type. Way too often I find people not specifying whether an ability deals physical, magical, or true damage. Don't get carried away with true damage, but make sure an ability specifies what it does. Just because it scales off AD, doesn't mean that it necessarily deals physical damage! Be clear on this matter, as it can make a big difference on how one would build to counter them!

10: Unique, additional information. Many people seem to get it in their heads that they only need to list the stuff that other abilities have. If you need special information to understand how an ability works, such as Nemhain's odd zero cool down design, then you need to specify that information. Even something as simple as a "NOTE: Blahblahblah" at the end of an ability can make for a big deal =3

IT GOES TO 11: Anything else you can think of. Don't skimp out on the details, just because you're lazy! If you can think of something that's important, put it in there! People will enjoy your ability a lot more the more they know about it, or, at the very least, will know where the problem issues are, more accurately, so they can help you improve it further!
Part 3: Eye see wut u did thar!

Alright, so we know why we need to put stuff in, and what kind of stuff needs to be added, but we haven't really gone over how to put it into our posts in the first place.

First off, let me state that there's a lot of ways to do this. Personally, I find seperating things into sections, surrounded by a quotation, is an easy method of isolating key topics, such as individual abilities. Either just use square brackets around the word quote and unquote, or highlight the text you want to be quoted, and press the little speech bubble button at the top of the screen there.

Note that it's also possible to put a quotation inside of a quotation.

Additionally, adding Bold, Italic, or Underscore modifiers to your text, can help to make them stand out more for information that you feel is more important, or needs special consideration. These can be done by highlighting the text you want adjusted, and either pressing the B I U buttons at the top of the screen, or by using CTRL+B, CTRL+I, or CTRL+U, for Bold, Italics, Underscore.

I'd give a lesson on BBCode and HTML here, but honestly, you don't need it. That and it was giving me fits with trying to forcibly convert the code into actual information. A real mess that was.


You can technically also use bulleted lists, and advanced formatting, but really, they're not needed, and I, personally, find them a bit tacky. As long as the information is clearly separated and cleanly provided, the specifics of how you go about formatting don't much matter.

Rather than try to describe such out a thousand different ways, I'm just going to move to the next section, as it's easier to show, than to describe this.
Part 4: I'll need an example of your demonstration so I can demonstrate the example to the class.

Q: Ability Name

Description: The rough idea of what it does.

Effect: What the ability actually does, in a short, concise manner.

Purpose: Why the ability exists, and what it brings to the champion design as a whole

(The following are mostly static things which don't change as the ability levels up, or would only show up on the top of an ability or when targeting it)
Targeting: Skill shot, click on target, AoE, etc.
Targets allowed: Allies, enemies, minions only, etc.
Range: Very important for determining how useful it is for poking. Especially important on champions where people don't specify if they're melee or ranged auto attacks >.<
Area of Effect: For AoE abilities, how far it reaches, so one can determine how useful they are at hitting groups or blocking areas
Travel Speed: For skill shots, to determine capacity to dodge such. Also useful for dashes.
Cooldown: I shouldn't have to explain this XD
Cost: Be it mana, health, or whatever.
Additional Information: Extra stuff relevant to only that ability that may not be needed otherwise.

(This section is what the actual tool tip would read when mousing over an ability; 5 ranks to give an idea of early game scaling, and which abilities may be more useful to put points into early)
Rank 1: Causes the champion's next melee attack to make the target bleed, dealing 50 (+1.5 Bonus AD) physical damage across three seconds. If the target is attacked, while bleeding, they are slowed by 20% for 2 seconds.
Rank 2: Causes the champion's next melee attack to make the target bleed, dealing 110 (+1.5 Bonus AD) physical damage across three seconds. If the target is attacked, while bleeding, they are slowed by 25% for 2 seconds.
Rank 3: Causes the champion's next melee attack to make the target bleed, dealing 170 (+1.5 Bonus AD) physical damage across three seconds. If the target is attacked, while bleeding, they are slowed by 30% for 2 seconds.
Rank 4: Causes the champion's next melee attack to make the target bleed, dealing 230 (+1.5 Bonus AD) physical damage across three seconds. If the target is attacked, while bleeding, they are slowed by 35% for 2 seconds.
Rank 5: Causes the champion's next melee attack to make the target bleed, dealing 290 (+1.5 Bonus AD) physical damage across three seconds. If the target is attacked, while bleeding, they are slowed by 40% for 2 seconds.
This format provides a large amount of information, but does so in a pretty clear way of doing so. Additionally, it also just happens to provide all the possible things that someone might want to include, so that they don't accidentally forget to put something important in.

Note that I highlighted the titles by bolding them, so they stand out more. This makes it easy to tell when a new line is entered, without having to resort to additional paragraphs, and makes it easy to look for a specific piece of information.

The static statistics of an ability that rarely change are grouped together, such as range, cost, or targeting.

Keep in mind that some abilities don't fall under that category, and that the only thing that might change with an ability being leveled, may in fact be it's cool down or cost to cast. For these, you'd generally put that information below, under Ranks.

Next off, we have the ranks, each listed separately. It's a simple, clear way to tell how useful an ability is, and generally looks the same as it would in the actual game as a tool tip. This makes it easy to get a feel for how powerful it is at level one, and how it scales throughout the game.

Yes, it's a bit repetitive, but it does make it tidy, and easy to understand exactly how good an ability is at doing it's job at all ranks.

The example given is, admittedly, just an example, but it gives an idea of how to provide the information in a manageable method, including what it does, and what changes each level. It also provides the scaling, what it scales off of, and what type of damage it deals. Secondary effects are listed afterward, and either bolded or underscored (italics don't work so well here, I find), so that it's easier to tell which part is based off the primary effect, and which are secondary effects, at a glance.

Ideally, you should be able to just glance at an ability, and within a few seconds, figure out where the information you're looking for is.

Anyway, this is pretty much all there is to formatting! There's technically a ton of tiny other things, but for the most part, if you can follow this, you'll be doing fine.

Now, as of the time that I write this, it's a rather beautiful spring day, and almost right on the hour.

As such, class dismissed!

(Note: Continued on pages 2-5)