At long last we have information on Karma’s new visuals! Have Riot managed to preserve the original Eastern-culture focus of Ionia’s champion or is this a new direction entirely? Read to find out!
“Looks like our cover’s been blown…
Traditional (Classic) Karma
Yep, this is new Karma. Yep, this is a big change. We believe Karma needed a re-imagining, and we are going to talk to you about why we feel that’s the case. But before we dig into it, there’s something you should probably know first – anyone who owns Karma before her relaunch will get this Traditional Karma skin for free:
This is important, because we know there are lots of fans (heh) of Karma’s existing look, and we don’t want to take that for granted.
We actually have been working on a dev diary that talks about our thought process behind Karma’s relaunch, but since the cat’s out of the bag…we’ll share the story and art sections of the dev diary right here, right now. We’ll release the full dev diary, including details on her new kit, when she’s ready for PBE (which is pretty soon). Without further ado, here’s her new splash:
Obviously the team working on Karma’s rework is excited to show her off and with good reason! Here’s Grumpy Monkey with more specific details:
Why did you change Karma’s look and costume?
Karma’s original look had a few shortcomings that we’d like to address for her relaunch. For starters, her aesthetic was hard to read and didn’t really convey much about her character. Her fans, dress and posture didn’t reflect her playstyle or storyline. There was a lot we could change about Karma to bring a more cohesive vision to the character.
First, we made sure that Karma’s new look showed off her status as a paragon of Ionia while appearing unique on the battlefield. Her floating fans weren’t cutting it as magical conduits, so we replaced them with a powerful manifestation of her Ionian will. Now, Karma carries the draconic symbol of Ionia with her at all times. We also decked her out in Ionian garb to emphasize her allegiance. We also crafted a new set of animations that emphasized her status as a champion of Ionia rather than a matronly diplomat.
This new approach to Karma transforms her into a badass conduit of inner strength that brings Ionia’s strength to every battlefield.
Karma’s new look
RiotRunaan has shed some light on what they were hoping to achieve with Karma’s new look:
In the past, we’ve created engaging characters that epitomize the ideals of their homeland. Garen as the Might of Demacia or Darius as the Hand of Noxus are good examples. With Karma, we wanted to capture Ionia, a place of wisdom and great spiritual power.
We also wanted to hold onto much of Karma’s characterization. She’s a strong leader and a mystic who stands apart from other champions.
What were we looking to improve with Karma?
The connection between Karma’s motif and playstyle was never as clear as it could have been. She didn’t have a distinct theme that tied everything together and brought out the badass spiritual leader she is in her lore.
Ionia is a land that has suffered greatly. The ongoing struggle has taken its toll on Karma’s calm, composed demeanor. We wanted to evolve Karma’s personality to suit her place in a nation filled with internal strife and awakened ferocity.
What have we done to address these issues?
Karma can now manifest her inner spirit and willpower as powerful magical energy. With her inner flame she can inspire and protect her allies, damage foes and manipulate the spiritual bonds between those around her. We’ve also taken her Ionian ties a step further: her magic springs from the crest of twin dragons in her mantle, literally and figuratively transforming her into a symbol of her homeland.
The changes we’ve made have given new life to Karma’s title, “The Enlightened One.” In the past, her title conveyed her serenity and calm. Now, it represents the enlightened path she’s found for Ionia: a new path, merging the spiritual traditions of Ionia with the nation’s newfound strength.
Finally, we’ve given Karma new VO that conveys her internal struggle and intensity. Karma’s attempting to unite a wounded and divided nation, which is no easy task! We want you to believe she’s got the inner strength—and inner flame—that it takes to persevere.
Karma’s now the powerful Ionian leader she was always meant to be. Through her determination and indomitable spirit, she’s set to rebuild Ionia and inspire her people to greatness.
Grumpy Monkey has explained why Karma no longer wields fans:
“Hey Guys, just to chime in on the fan conversation and to give some insight.
We got rid of the fans because they did not reflect who we wanted Karma to be going forward. The lore team really wanted to make Her the paragon of Ionia. The fans were not cutting it as a source of readable power in game either. So we iterated on the Ionian standard, the two swirling dragons.
We played with the idea that She harnesses Her spiritual energy and uses the Two Ionian Jade Dragons as a conduit for her Mantra. After the particle team got hold of that idea, they made something that was much more impactful and holistic than the two fans. We feel it’s a much stronger idea.”
Regarding her balancing, Scarizard had this to add:
“Hey dudes! As you might know by now, i’m heading up the Karma Relaunch from the design side, and i bring good news – we are changing her kit. While i don’t want to go too in-depth just yet, i wanted to drop in to this thread and answer this question, as it’s one i’ve heard a lot and am sure will continue to be a concern.
Karma was re-imagined in our eyes as a support-mage. Think Lux, Morgana, Orianna – the kinds of characters that scale just as well with ability power as they do cooldown reduction and provide a lot to the team in the way of supporting their efforts. As a support-mage, she won’t necessarily have the exact same specialized strengths as say Nami or Thresh (who were primarily designed as duo-lane support champions), but brings a mixed bag of damage and utility that we hope will leave you able to affect the outcome of teamfights and skirmishes alike no matter what lane you want to take her.
I’ll be back with specifics on her abilities and mechanics as we get closer to her PBE release.”
Unhappy with how Karma will look after her update? Fear not! Riot Pwyff is here to share his insight on the Traditional Karma skin:
“Alright so I got the final word here.
Vintage Karma will be available for purchase for two weeks after Karma officially hits the live servers. After that, Vintage Karma will be retired to our legacy skins vault.
Karma’s IP / RP prices will not change on her launch.
As for Karma being a reward for her old fans, it’s a question of what you value. You already own Karma and if you liked her old aesthetic, this is the opportunity to get retain that. If you want to be known far and wide as the first Karma adopter in the world, that might be a little more difficult ;(“
But how will she sound? Not that much different if you’re an old- time fan, says RiotAmes:
“Traditional’s voice will be her original VO.”
Personally I’m thrilled that Karma’s getting her well-deserved visual rework! Her spells never felt empowering or epic and judging by the screenshots provided, it seems Riot is aiming to do exactly that. Obviously they want to make players feel connected to the champion’s background and homeland and the Ionian-themed clothing and ornaments suit Karma wonderfully. She looks mesmerising and unique, a true paragon with mystic powers. I will miss the fans, though. Watching them swirl around like birds was absolutely brilliant so I’m a bit disappointed that they’re not present in her new look. Then again, they probably wouldn’t have fit her new psychic spellweaver style.
One thing that I’m sure many of you are wondering is how Karma’s spells will be reworked. Sadly there is no information about that yet, but hopefully Riot will be able to build on Karma’s unique support/mage philosophy.
Overall this is great news for Karma players! She is a special champion that deserves her spotlight in competitive play.
Stay tuned for more info on Karma’s rework!
Good luck on the Fields of Justice!