If you’ve a knack for artistry and you want to win some Christmas prizes, check out Riot’s fan art contest:
Everybody loves poros – their shaggy white coat of fur, spindly horns and tongues eternally panting with excitement. With Snowdown 2014 upon us, we wanted to help everyone get in the mood by hosting an art contest where members of the community draw or craft a poro based on one of the following four themes: Arcade, Mafia, Bloodmoon or Justicar.
Interested? Here’s everything you need to know to take part in the contest:
Winners will be selected by the team here at Riot (no player voting this time around);
There will be 6 winners in total: 3 for drawings, 3 for crafts;
To participate, players will need to send their drawing/craft photos to firstname.lastname@example.org (artwork must be attached, no links to external sites);
Please include the phrase “Snowdown contest” in your email subject line;
Entries must fit one of the following themes: Justicar, Bloodmoon, Mafia or Arcade (please specify the theme you’ve chosen just in case it’s not obvious to the person judging);
There is no limit to the number of entries we can receive from one player, however it is not possible to selected as a winner more than once;
Artwork must be SFW, nothing grotesque or otherwise inappropriate;
Entries must be created by the person sending the submission;
Minimum dimensions of 1280 x 720
Deadline for submissions is the 6th of January, 2015 – set yourself a reindeer reminder!
Each of the six winning artists will receive a prize pack containing 1,000 RP, plus the Snowdown 2014 Malzahar, Sejuani and Orianna skins.
Good luck, and have a wonderful, poro-filled Snowdown 2014!
TLDR: Meaningful feedback can result in reform rates as high as 70% when the feedback loop is short. We designed ranked restrictions with penalties for negative behavior tailored to the motives of ranked players and with less time between the triggering behavior and the feedback.
“In our first player behavior design blog, we explored why there isn’t a silver bullet to solving negative behavior in online games. Reform is critical to our design philosophy because less than 1% of players are persistently negative enough to trigger a major punishment such as a 14-day ban or permanent ban.
Reform becomes increasingly likely the shorter the feedback loop (the time between the negative behavior and receiving feedback that the behavior was not acceptable). With ranked restrictions, a player who behaves negatively enough in a game receives feedback the same day the negative behavior was detected. If ranked restrictions are issued, that player can’t enter ranked until they win a certain number of games in a lower-stakes queue (Normal Draft for most regions).
Some of you already know him, but Socrates is a designer who worked on ranked restrictions here to go a little deeper into the system, and explore why this particular design works so well.”
Feedback is critical, but as we mentioned, it has to be the right feedback delivered in a way that is meaningful to the person receiving it. For example, ranked players have different motivations from players who stick to non-ranked modes.
Skill improvement and ladder progress — Playing to get better at the game and have fun climbing ranks
Serious competition — Playing ranked because it is the most competitive mode where everyone has opted in to trying their hardest to win
Social comparison — Playing to compare rank to other players
Rewards and tangible accomplishments — Playing to earn rewards at the end of the ranked season
Before ranked restrictions, we weren’t giving the hyper-competitive solo-queue player the right type of feedback at the right time and they might play through any number of warnings or punishments up until his inevitable permaban. By locking these players out of ranked queue, we throw up a barrier between them and what they are most motivated by. To take the barrier down, they have to improve their behavior to be more in line with what the community expects, reinforcing positive behaviors and promoting reform.
With ranked restrictions, we used an advanced machine-learning model to instantly recognize negative behaviors the community rejects. Through end-of-game reports, honors and historical Tribunal records, we were able to analyze millions of games in order to identify negative behaviors and build a faster feedback loop.
We don’t always share numbers, but because we are only talking about ranked games (meaning all accounts are active in ranked queue and Level 30) we felt these are pretty easy to make sense of without a ton of extra context. Since introducing ranked restrictions, verbal harassment reports in ranked games dropped 18%.
After identifying some of the motivations behind ranked play and designing a system that provides meaningful penalties related to those motivations, the percentage of ranked games with moderate negativity fell 28% (from approximately 1 in 8 games to less than 1 in 10), and the percentage of ranked games with high levels of negativity (such as death threats, sexism, racism or homophobia) plummeted 47% to 0.8% of all ranked games.
“In this blog, I re-emphasized our philosophy around reform and why we reject the notion of a silver bullet to slay negative behavior. Then Socrates explored how ranked restrictions work and why they are so effective. In the next blog, Drevarius plunges into a deeper dive on punishment, and how we approach penalizing negative behavior differently. For example, our decision to remove ranked rewards from the most negative players was in line with the motivations Socrates discussed in this blog, and represents a different approach than always resorting to the banhammer.
Thanks for reading; we’ll see you on the battlefield!”
Niche rune features are getting an overhaul in Patch 5.1:
Tl;dr – In Patch 5.1 we’ll be simplifying the new player rune experience by removing all scaling and most secondary Tier 1 & Tier 2 runes from the store, reducing and standardizing prices on the remainder, and removing the Rune Combiner from the client. The price changes won’t be retroactive, and no runes will be removed from accounts.
We’d like to give you a heads up regarding some changes coming in patch 5.1 that are aimed at streamlining the rune experience for new players. To clarify, these changes aren’t part of our long-term plans for the overall rune system (still working on those!) and generally won’t affect most level 30s – they’re a quick fix specifically focused on making things smoother for new players.
First of all, we’re slimming down the number of purchasable Tier 1 and Tier 2 runes. These runes are intended to be an introduction to the level 30 rune experience, but duplicating the entire Tier 3 rune roster is overkill given that players will pretty quickly move on to T3 runes. In particular, more advanced decisions like the appropriate use of scaling or secondary (AP marks, Armor glyphs, Crit EVERYTHING, etc) runes are something we think can wait until players have mastered the basics of League. With that in mind, we’re pulling all scaling and most secondary T1/T2 runes from the store and thereby reducing the number of purchasable T1/T2 runes from 88 to just 23. This will be a store-only change so no runes will be removed from accounts.
To complement these changes, we’re also adjusting the remaining T1/T2 runes with lower, standardized pricing that will reduce individual T1/T2 rune prices by anywhere from 55% to 90+% depending on current cost. These prices changes are also store-only and won’t be retroactive.
Finally, we’re removing the Rune Combiner. For the unfamiliar, the Rune Combiner is a tool accessible through the Runes profile tab that lets players combine runes in order to receive a new one. It was initially conceived as a progression tool and a way for players to recycle lower-tier runes, but has ended up being a bit of a trap for low-level players as well as a tool for mischief in the case of shared or compromised accounts. So, we’re retiring it – pretty simple. Make sure to use it before Patch 5.1 if you’re the gambling type or simply want to get rid of some unused runes.
You can see the full change list below (subject to change):
Rune Combiner removed
Players occasionally used the Rune Combiner to delete excess runes upon reaching the rune cap (700). In the future, please contact Player Support for assistance.
Tired of hiding in the brush, the poros are itching to join the fray! In Legend of the Poro King, you’ll notice two poro friends following you into the fight. Each grants a summoner spell exclusive to Legend of the Poro King. They’re also the key to summoning the resplendently grandiloquent Poro King, a super (royal) minion that heals your team, regenerates mana and deals AoE damage while lumbering across the bridge to punish enemy towers. Early research points to the King’s moustache as the source of his power.
Legend of the Poro King Trailer
HOW TO PORO KING
Poro Toss/Dash means team comps always have five initiators. Now that every champ reliably starts brawls, it’s time to settle the new poro meta.
Keep in mind, summoning the Poro King is a massive boost to your team’s sieging potential. Don’t underestimate the AoE damage he lays down and the AoE heal he serves up. Pitch a poro every time Poro Toss is off cooldown, because the first team to rack up ten poro smacks receives a royal visit. When the King’s on your side of the fight, protect him. Conversely, depose the King immediately if he’s leading the other team.”
And here’s an in-game preview of the mode:
Champion Select is Blind Draft pick – you can ban champions and you can’t see what the enemy has picked. You also can’t change your Summoner Spells; the following two are locked for you:
No Cost || Cooldown: 20 Seconds
Active: Throw a Poro a long distance, dealing true damage to the first enemy unit hit. This ability can be recast for 3 seconds if it hits an enemy, to dash to the target hit. Dashing to the target will reduce the cooldown of Poro Toss by 5 seconds.
Poros are not blocked by spell shields or wind walls because they are animals, not spells!
“Poros are a model for Runeterran aerodynamics.”
To the King!
No Cost || Cooldown: 10 Seconds
Passive: Hitting an enemy champion with a Poro gives your team a Poro Mark. Upon reaching 10 Poro Marks, your team summons the Poro King to fight alongside them. While the Poro King is active, no Poro Marks can be scored by either team.
Active: Quickly dash to King Poro’s side. Can only be cast while the Poro King is summoned for your team.
“Poros tug the heartstrings. The rest of you just comes along for the ride.”
The match starts with everyone at level 3. You also get a few poros to follow you.
The goal is to score poro hits on enemies with your Poro Toss. The goals are displayed on the top-right score graph.
Get 10 goals and you summon the Poro King, who will tank towers and let you push. He’ll also occasionally throw poros around for lols.
Problem is, the Poro King does almost no damage and has the AI of a bronze player. As a result, he’s more of a tanky waypoint for you to teleport back to with To the King! and not a worthwhile objective.
A TL;DR would be: the new game mode is ARAM where you get to pick your champion and everyone gets a Lee Sin Q.
These five Summoner Icons each cost 250 RP in the store. They also change how the poros that follow you look.
Additionally, these three Poro Icons can be won by playing the new game mode.
Champion of the Poros
Reward: Icon of the Poro King
Tag an enemy 150 times with Poro Toss
Summon the King Poro 65 times
Friend of the Poros
Reward: Incoming Poro! Icon
Tag an enemy five times with Poro Toss
Use To the King Once!
Win a game of Legend of the Poro King
Reward: Slay Belle Surprise Icon
Win a round of Legend of the Poro King with a Snowdown skin on
You can track your progress towards earning these icons! Here are links for every region:
Poro Sejuani is now available in store for 975 RP.
Joined by her trusty war-poro, Poro Rider Sejuani is serving up a Snowdown smackdown! She’s swatting away kill-hungry foes and slinging sugar-coated donuts at any threat to her giant ball of fluff. Be careful around that poro though – he tends to slobber.
Swat away kill-hungry foes with Poro Rider Sejuani, available until 2 AM PST on January 6 in the League of Legends store for 975 RP.
For her recall, Poro Sejuani summons a smaller poro that skips around her. The big poro then lifts it up in the air with its tongue. You NEED this skin.
Arctic Assault [ Q ]
Flail of the Northern Winds [ W ]
Permafrost [ E ]
Glacial Prison [ R ]
Snow Day Malzahar is now available in store for 975 RP.
The Poropocalypse is nigh! Snow Day Malzahar is shredding the Snowdown slopes, blanketing the world in icy slush as he goes. And with creepy void poros loitering at his side, it’s clear that visions of sugar plums aren’t dancing in this prophet’s head.
Hit the Snowdown slopes with Snow Day Malzahar, available until 2 AM PST on January 6 in the League of Legends store for 975 RP.
For his recall, Snow Day Malzahar does a bunch of air tricks with his voidling.
Call of the Void [ Q ]
Null Zone [ W ]
Malefic Visions [ E ]
Nether Grasp [ R ]
Winter Wonder Ori is now available in store for975 RP.
After transforming her whirling ball of doom into a clockwork poro of death, Winter Wonder Orianna is wound up and ready for Snowdown! Slinging snowflakes left and right, she’s been chasing stray poros away from her new toy ever since she showed up.
Porofy your life with Winter Wonder Orianna, available until 2 AM PST on January 6 in the League of Legends store for 975 RP.
Winter Wonder Ori will be making an appearance on your client for Christmas; here’s her login screen animation:
Winter Ori Preview
For her recall, Winter Wonder Ori summons an audience of poros to watch her dance ballet.
Command: Attack [ Q ]
Command: Dissonance [ W ]
Command: Protect [ E ]
Command Shockwave [ R ]
The following legacy wards will be sold at 640 RP in the store until January 6th.
Astro Poro Ward
Gentleman Poro Ward
Game Mode Reward Icons
Q: Sweet icons, how do I get ‘em?
A: Each one’s a little different. Head here to read up on the exact requirements for each.
Q: Do I have to play Legend of the Poro King to earn these icons?
Q: I fulfilled the requirements and checked my icon drawer, but my reward isn’t there. What gives?
A: Give us 24 hours from the moment you meet the requirements to work out any kinks. If you still don’t have your icon, contact Player Support. They’ll fix you up.
Q: What’s the new Mystery Chest thing?
A: It works just like a Mystery Gift except it features content normally priced at 975 RP or more and it costs a bit more (790 RP).
Q: Are there 2x Snowdown rewards in Mystery Gifts and Mystery Chests?
A: The chance of Snowdown content appearing is doubled for Mystery Gifts, but not Mystery Chests.
Skins and Ward Skins
Q: Which skins are legacy skins?
A: Like previous years, this year’s Snowdown skins are legacy. That’s Winter Wonder Orianna, Snow Day Malzahar, and Poro Rider Sejuani. We’re offering another shot at yesteryear’s skins as well though. Learn more here.
Q: When will they go into the vault?
A: When Snowdown ends on January 6th at 2 AM PST.
Q: What about the ward skins, are they legacy too?
A: They are, but they’re not turning off until January 30th. Keep an eye out for more poro-themed ward skins in a future patch.
Q: HOW DO I GET SKINNED POROS IN LEGEND OF THE PORO KING?
A: First, take a deep breath, we’re gonna get through this together. You’ll need to head over to the store and unlock the icon of your choice for 250 RP. From there, switch your active summoner icon to your new poro icon by clicking the image next to your summoner name. After that, fire up a round of Legend of the Poro King and sling your newly-skinned friend to your heart’s delight.
Remember, you can’t change your summoner icon once you’re in champ select. Make your poro icon pick before you push play!
Q: Do the skins from these poro icons grant the Slaybelle Surprise icon?
A: They do not.
Q: Why can’t I keep poro skins forever?
A: Poro skins were tailor-made for Legend ofthe Poro King, so they;ll be leaving with the game mode. Like all beautiful things, poro skins are too ephemeral for this mortal plane.
Q: I keep my icon though, right?
A: You totally do.
Q: Are poro icons legacy?
A: They are indeed. They’ll be exiting the store at the end of Snowdown on January 6th at 2 AM PST.
Q: Why is my HUD so frosty and different?
A: We thought it’d be rad for Snowdown. Your normal HUD will be back after the event concludes on January 6th at 2 AM PST.
Here’s a preview of the new HUD:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Reports are still being used by a variety of systems that aren’t tied to the Tribunal.
Some examples include:
Chat Restrictions, which are given to players who show moderate verbal toxicity.
Intentional Feeder Bans, which are given to players who currently show intentional feeding patterns in their games.
Ranked Restrictions, which are given to players who show toxicity in Ranked Modes and restricts them from playing Ranked until they improve their behaviors.
Escalated Bans, which are 14-day bans given to players who show extreme verbal toxicity.
There’s a team at Riot working hard on the Tribunal, and we realize it’s been down for 6 months now. One of the biggest problems of the system was the speed of its feedback loops, as it would often take longer than a week for a player to receive their punishment. As we’ve mentioned before, the faster the feedback, the better the results. A second problem was that many territories in the world never got a Tribunal at all due to hardware/infrastructure issues.
We intend to have more news about the Tribunal in 2015, and are planning some initial tests of the new system. For example, we’re seeing how current reports affect the new system, and we’ll be looking for some players to help us test the system on the PBE in 2015.
Some of the new features in the system include:
the ability to review positive players in the Tribunal and grant them some rewards
new ways for players to see their contributions to the community in the Justice Reviews
a visual update to the entire system, including the Case Review and Reform Cards
a new tier system for punishments so that players only get 1 warning and 2 chances before they completely lose their account
optimized algorithms that hopefully allow us to ensure that players get punished or rewarded within a few days of their Tribunal case (we still need to tune this)
the ability for awesome contributors in the Tribunal to earn some in-game rewards each year
There’s some other additions to the Tribunal, but these are some of the cooler things I’m looking forward to as a League player myself. Anyways, we’ll talk more about some of our plans on how we’ll re-introduce the Tribunal back into League in 2015. We apologize for the delay; unfortunately, scaling the Tribunal globally to millions of players proved to be more difficult than we initially expected… but when you’re making something that millions of people will use, nothing is ever easy.
We still store reports on our servers and they are helpful for a number of different things.
You might have noticed but while the Tribunal is down we have a few features to monitor behavior. These include Chat Restriction, new Leaverbuster, PBJ Ban Audits, intentional feeding audits, and hack/scripting bans.
Reports are not the core of these features but they help us a lot. They especially help me or someone else on my team when we’re investigating a player.
We’re not looking at one or two reports and drawing conclusions, we know that such a small sample size is not really indicative of how a person may act in game. We’re always looking for trends and patterns.
That’s why I really REALLY encourage you to leave a report on any player you feel deserves it. But, most importantly; leave a comment explaining why!
A report with a comment is much more helpful and valuable to us than a blank report.
One rule of thumb I have when I report players is that if I can’t be bothered to leave an explanation why, then they probably were not worth reporting in the first place.
At this time, the launch of the new Tribunal does not include support for Custom Games; however, what queues are “active” or not are a simple toggle in the new system.
As with any new system we want to manage the launch very carefully and not simply open the floodgates of every queue on the system. If all matchmade queues are doing well after the Tribunal launch and we want to expand into Custom Games, we can.
When players log into the new Tribunal they will be presented with a random case that could be Negative, Neutral or Positive. Because there’s 3 options and random “test” cases, it’s very difficult for players to simply spam “Punish” in the new system because they’ll quickly get flagged for being highly inaccurate, and also this new setup encourages players to dive deeper into cases and read the details instead of potentially seeing something like 90% of cases be punishable.
If you get presented a Positive case, and you vote Positive, the player in the case will get a small in-game prize that is still TBD but should be a nice little pat on the back for the player. Players that are rated positive in the Tribunal often will also be eligible for more frequent rewards like the double IP Boost we tested a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, maintaining a “live” system is a decent amount of work for a team so if we kept the old system up and running it would have potentially taken much longer to get the new system up. It is also much harder to run some analytics and research tests when 2 systems are concurrently “live.” For example, it was much easier to run Escalated Ban and Ranked Restriction tests without an old Tribunal also reviewing cases and judging the same behaviors these other systems were monitoring and punishing for. Now that we understand how Escalated Bans and Ranked Restrictions work without any other systems interfering, we can incorporate them much easier into the new Tribunal.
Not to get into the nitty gritty, but for example if we’re upgrading tech stacks or hardware throughout League of Legends, this team would have to keep up with these changes on the old system while also building a new one for the future so it’s also a lot of redundant work.
Although it was a painful choice, and one that we can debate for the ages, we made the choice to shut the old Tribunal down to focus all team resources on the new one.
Only Kidding! I don’t think we have anything against talking about Lee Sin, we just don’t comment on every thread that pops up on the boards.
On subject, there is a lot to talk about with Lee Sin as a champion. Just to name a few things:
He’s fun as hell with a high skill cap and lots of depth to his play (love this)
He is pretty unfocused, and this is more of a symptom of the older champ development style that he was created in (see irelia etc). The question of “what makes lee sin special as a champ?” isn’t easy to answer – is it mobility, tankiness, damage, who knows. He definitely needs a bit more focus, and that probably involves both toning down some of his unnecessary strengths and pumping up the things that are what make him really unique.
At any given time he may be a little strong or a little weak like any other champion. Number tuning happens a lot and our Live Balance team works full time to do this kind of work. If we aren’t addressing champs that are out of balance as quickly as we should, it’s fair to call us out.
Last thing, and this is more about just our resources and time – we can definitely make him a better champ, but there are 122 other champions in the game and IMO some need updating more than he does. (fully stacked urgot tear).
EDIT: A lot of you think that he is a very high priority problem right now holding back a lot of other junglers. We will take a serious look at where he is at currently in terms of pushing out other jungler’s viability.
I was more talking about a rework being lower priority. Buffs and nerfs are always things that should happen to keep the game balanced. We don’t want Lee or any other champion to be the clearly best jungler. There are 123 champs in the game for a reason, the diversity is a big reason why playing LoL is interesting.
You have a good point, we shouldn’t only focus on the bottom of the barrel champs as you say. Sometimes fixing an overly dominant pick can open up doors for a lot of other champs. I’ll do some more analysis and talk to the balance team about his current state to make sure we are doing all that we should for the character. I have a feeling that he was not the top of their priority list in the most recent patch (cough warwick).
[ Note ] You can find the full changelist on Renekton here.
Hey guys, SmashGizmo here to give some context on the Renekton changes that just hit PBE today. Essentially, we’re looking to do two things here:
Give Renekton a lot more Fury when he’s fighting champions and a little less Fury when he’s not interacting with champions.
Reign of Anger [ Passive ]
FURY DECAY RATE:: 2/second >>> 4/second
Cull the Meek [ Q ]
FURY GENERATION ON NON-CHAMPION HIT:: 5/target >>> 2.5/target
FURY GENERATION ON CHAMPION HIT:: 5/target >>> 10/target
Ruthless Predator [ W ]
NEW – FURY GENERATION BONUS VS CHAMPIONS:: 10 Fury
Dice [ Second Part of E ]
NEW – FURY GENERATION ON NON-CHAMPION HIT:: 2.5/target
NEW – FURY GENERATION ON CHAMPION HIT:: 10/target
We really wanted to give Renekton some new ways to spike his Fury generation in teamfights without making his laning power go crazy, so we’ve put conditional Fury generation on all of his non-empowered abilities that is stronger vs. Champions than vs. minions. We also increased the decay rate on Fury so that Renekton doesn’t sit on full Fury without staying in combat.
Also, a small note here, Renekton has never generated Fury when using empowered abilities, so while the tooltips are being more explicit about this interaction, the mechanics haven’t been changed with regards to empowered abilities.
Smooth out Renekton’s healing from Cull the Meek so that it is still relevant later in the game.
HEALING VS CHAMPIONS (Non Fury Enhanced):: 20% damage >>> 9/13.5/18/22.5/27 (+0.12 Bonus AD)
HEALING VS CHAMPIONS (Fury Enhanced):: 40% damage >>> 27/40.5/54/67.5/81 (+0.36 Bonus AD)
I apologize for how mathy this ends up being, but the tl;dr here is that healing vs. minions is unchanged and the healing vs. champions is better vs. targets with higher armor. Basically, we wanted Renekton to still have the choice to heal himself with Empowered Q after opponents built armor, since the ability’s main function breaks down in the middle of teamfights on live right now. The current tuning on this healing is that he’s going from 20%/40% post-mitigation healing to 15%/30% pre-mitigation healing, which is almost always a buff for him (except at very very low armor values).
All in all, we’re just hoping to get Renekton into a better spot where his late game is not so impotent, while still leaving him with the strong early power curve we’ve come to know him for.
Chances are we wouldn’t touch him unless we were doing an update across the board, not limited to just a TU. We do have concepts for his other skins but PFE is a major hurdle in the way of such an update. Not so much in the texture repaint, but everything from ability hookups to file structures to a lot of other technical stuff.
The character is 4 models with a pile of other assets. Though we’re itching to get at Ez also, we are indeed weary about affecting PFE. It’s a difficult call and if we were going to update him, we’d want to go pretty all in.
Yorick is a champ that really does need work, I agree.
To answer your question, unfortunately Xelnath is working on other things so the Yorick project is on hold. I know that we will come back to it some day and the work Xelnath did gives us a good head start. But he is currently not in the pipe.
As we’ve discussed in the past, and as Scruffy mentions in that thread you’ve linked, we agree Yorick’s got some problems that need fixing. We’ve never said we didn’t have any plans to do so however. He’s not currently scheduled in our update lineup, that’s because we can’t work on everything at once, not a lack of desire to make him better.
On the gameplay side at least (I can’t speak for certain about art or creative design) Yorick’s going to be a really large project. Maybe not quite as big as Sion, but at a guess pretty close and right now Poppy’s our biggest focus on the gameplay update front (few details athttp://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/champions-skins/champion-update/dev-blog-champion-updates). I get that it’s frustrating to see other champions prioritized above those you feel have a greater need, I do want to stress though that ‘not currently being worked on’ is not the same as ‘no plans to fix’.
Last I heard we hadn’t committed to a timeframe on Urgot (he’s another high value, but really large, job). Unless something goes wrong Poppy’s going to be the next really large gameplay rework. You’ll almost certainly see small and medium sized gameplay updates before her though.
We’ve heard this quite a bit from players. It would make gifting a lot more meaningful if you can surprise a friend with exactly what they want. As opposed to having to message, “hey…umm…lets assume you were gonna get a gift, what would you want?” This is something we want to build but to set expectations, we won’t be getting to it anytime soon.
As for the shopping cart, a big trade-off is all the extra steps and clutter to account for the interface. We’ve made a decision to focus on efficient one-off purchases. A typical use case for this is hitting 4800 IP and running to the store to get that champ you’ve been saving up for!
I’d like to know more about what is going through your mind when you feel the need for a shopping cart? What is the thought process and other benefits?
Kalista began development just as the smoke cleared from Jinx’s launch. The champion team faced a new challenge. Years of female marks(wo)men featured similar shape language and gobs of guns, bows and even bow-guns. A consensus formed: the time had come for a different approach to a female marksman.
Most champions begin life as an amorphous idea blob. Someone’s inspired and does what inspired people do: bring their thoughts to life and share them like crazy. If that idea resonates, artists draw, designers noodle and storytellers write. When that happens, a new champion is on the way to becoming an identifiable embryo.
Concept artist Larry “TheBravoRay” tackled the post-Jinx conundrum. Inspired by Zeus and his lightning bolts, he imagined a tall, athletic woman throwing a spear over and over again. But given that marksmen attack repeatedly all game, every game, he needed a conceit that kept her spears supplied.
Larry spoke about his approach to the issue, “I wanted to do the archetype of the fallen warrior.” He sketched a few undead representations of martial females to explore the idea. “I wanted players to think, why is she in this state? Why does she look like a wraith and how’d those spears get in her back? What’s the major momentum for this character going forward? From there I think we kinda knew. Brad ‘CertainlyT’, the champion designer, started talking and throwing ideas in and that helped drive the concept as well.”
In early days, in-development champions earn codenames by what makes them stand out. Shortly after Larry’s concepts began making the rounds, Spectral Legionnaire entered active development.
Champions spring from tight-knit teams of craft-experts, where two people rarely have the same skills and expertise. Within the broader champion team, there are multiple, fully-functional teams and each is focused on one particular new champion at a time.
Even if these teams carry the responsibility to understand exactly who, what and why the champion should be in the game, they share their work widely, soliciting opinions and expertise
Kalista was still taking her first steps when Anthony “Ant in Oz” joined Riot’s narrative team. She’d be his first project and he leapt right onto a charging train. “We sort of knew she was betrayed and that was like a quarter of who she was. So my first task was to try and write a few stories to flesh out some ideas and see which of those stories resonated with everybody working on the champ. You can see very quickly when people get excited about a story and that gets them re-enthused about the champ… That’s when you know you’ve hit a good mark.”
On Brad’s (design) side of things, he’d been prototyping cooperative gameplay designs with the hope they’d find their home in Kalista’s kit. In co-op, the fun’s in accomplishing objectives together, not simply doing similar things while standing near each other. This rule of thumb meant the relationship between Kalista and another champion required shared purpose and an even footing. The idea thematically lined up with Kalista’s martial bearing. Soldiers train to fight as a unit with common objectives–similar to the peer relationship in duo lanes.
When Anthony saw the early designs, he jumped. “This was a good example of the background and the story getting inspired by the gameplay direction. I think that goes back and forth between gameplay, narrative and all the different artists. We all feed off each other. I think that’s a really healthy, natural way for things to work.”
What began with Brad’s exploration of how players could cooperate evolved into The Pledge that allows another champion to yield their soul to Kalista. With a thematic and narrative conceit in place for Kalista, Brad solidified how duo lane players could best work together to farm, score kills and save each other’s butts.
One particular problem still hovered over Kalista’s gestation. There was consensus that she would be a wraith, but striking the balance between who Kalista once was, a proud warrior, and who she is, the Spear of Vengeance, proved difficult.
Larry talked about a particularly dark time, “There was a lot of feedback when people (internally) started seeing the character…they said, ‘She looks too much like a zombie.’ And that was the key word, ‘zombie, zombie, zombie.’ It was okay that she was undead, because that was the point, but the non-intelligent zombie was not what we wanted.” The artists on Kalista’s pod cooperated with illustrators on the splash team to rejigger her face, helping her become the purposeful, relentless hunter they imagined.
Anthony spoke about another breakthrough on the identity front. During VO (voiceover) development, “There was a realization that she wouldn’t say ‘I’ very much because she’s more than one entity, really. So it became, ‘We are the Spear of Vengeance.’” This shift allowed the team to make a clearer statement about who she is and explore the relationship between Kalista and the souls she bonds with. In seldom instances, when she remembers her past life, she still says “I”, providing a small glimpse into her harrowed past.
Brad emphasized trust as the key to navigating Kalista through difficult challenges and into the game. “We were constantly faced with problems. Solvable problems that we worked through together, but meetings were less jokey. There was more spit-balling, more discussion on how to solve things…If I list the things that I’m proud of this team for, it’d be a long list for this champion in particular.”
Larry continued the line of thought, “It’s all a bunch of professionals collaborating together… Every guy and gal is a pro at what they do and when we get tough feedback we trust. Like if it’s gameplay feedback, I trust Brad is gonna understand and act and do things properly. Same thing with stories, or art or animation…” Offering a final comment, Brad said, “It’s just something you have to be really excited about, you know? Not making a champion, but making this champion.”
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