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I suppose this may have been discussed many times before, and probably more reasonably explained in bits and pieces scattered about the forums, but I'm rather curious how exactly champions come about. I can't claim that I was a top hero designer for DotA or that I secrete gold whenever I cry, but back in my WC3 gaming days I was apart of a close group of friends who played and helped spew out ideas for development of a AoS game called Desert of Exile. What drew me to that game was the immense thought put into ever hero/champion before any programming was attempted.
I can't compare games, as LoL, DotA and DoE are all different, but I'm quite curious as to what goes into planning a champion. I've never quite felt that many of the champions in LoL hold much synergy between abilities. Sure, someone can argue points, such as Sion with his stun -> bubble combo, but that isn't really synergy, its just two abilities. A few weeks back I had a thread asking people who thought the best designed champions were, and I'm not even 100% sure any of them have perfect synergy. I feel Ryze is the best example, but even he falls short because everything merely rests on his passive, everything else is just another ability to cast that aids in an outcome (dead champion).
Good synergy is also dependent on theorized champion playstyle and function. What exactly is X champion supposed to add to the game, what may be lacking? One example I'd like for playstyle would be Teemo. I'm not sure exactly what function he serves (and no, I do not like to simplify champions into "Melee DPS, Tank, Ranged DPS, Mage, Support", that is oversimplifying it.). To me, Teemo seems to hold promise of an astounding hit and run artist, a champion that comes from the shadows and brings the enemy down by guerrilla tactics. Right now his skillset doesn't quite allow that, he is hardly intimidating and hardly a hit and run artist. Suppose he had one skill to allow him increased attack speed and the ability to attack while moving, independently this is useful. Now suppose a second ability slowed a target cumulatively every time Teemo dealt damage to that target, independently good as well. A third skill deals damage over time with its duration increasing every hit Teemo lands on the target, independently good, yet works exceptionally well with either of the other two skills, independent of the others.
That's the kind of synergy I feel is missing. Its one thing to cast one spell and then the next for maximum results, its another to be able to do whatever you want with each spell, each working hand in hand for differing results that still remain effective.
Anyway, I feel I've deviated.
Champion playstyle gap is found.
Ideas begin being tossed out how to fill that gap.
Abilities form based upon those ideas.
Abilities form around other abilities intended to fill the gap.
Champion skills synergize.(Not a word :S)
Champion is born.