[Red Posts 20/02] Ao Shin Canceled, to be Replaced by Aurelion Sol This Year, Context for Recent Elise Nerfs, Repertoir on Taric Skins Post-Rework, Meddler on Warlord’s Bloodlust PBE Rework, State of Swain & Yorick’s Update
- Ao Shin Canceled
- Context for Elise MS Nerfs
- Taric Skins Post-Rework
- Warlord’s Bloodlust on the PBE
- State of Swain
- State of Yorick’s Rework
Late 2013, we gave a super early preview of an eastern-inspired, serpentine storm dragon named Ao Shin that was in the first phases of champion creation. Then, in the two years that passed (aside from a few comments in low-key conversations) we went silent. Totally a mistake on our part, and the mystery around this dragon has only increased over time. Weâ€™ve seen the question of â€œAo Shin where?â€ pop up all over the place, including being one of the most asked questions in our recently hosted preseason Q&A in China.
Now that 2016 is upon us and production schedules are being finalized for early this year, we finally have an update: the dragon that we previewed in 2013 has evolved tremendously over time. As such, we will not be releasing the champion that you know as Ao Shin, but in the first half of this year we will be releasing a dragon champion. His name is (tentatively) Aurelion Sol.
We canâ€™t say much more about Aurelion Sol, but we did want to share some of the challenges we faced and lessons we learned. While the major news is out of the bag, you can still read on if you want hear how the dragon formerly known as Ao Shin evolved over the course of two years.
First: Ao Shinâ€™s kit just didn’t pass muster. This is a pretty common problem we run into in the initial stage of champion creation, and while sometimes we can adjust on the fly (a useable â€˜paper kitâ€™ might have two or three core abilities that make things click), other times we need to shelve the entire concept and take a step back. Internally, we call this â€˜ice boxingâ€™ a champion until we can revisit with a fresh perspective.
Second: delivering on the unique shape of a serpentine dragonâ€™s body – long and powerful – in a game where instantaneous turning is key presents some unique technical challenges. Given enough time, we were confident we could solve the turning problem, but because Ao Shinâ€™s abilities werenâ€™t coming together we were reluctant to commit to engineering work that might just end up scrapped.
Finally – and this was the big one – we committed too early to Ao Shinâ€™s premise without really developing his thematic roots. Around the time we announced Ao Shin, we were in the process of slowing down our champion pipeline to figure out how to continue delivering resonant characters that feel unique to the League universe. We learned a lot during this time (still learning!) and when we examined Ao Shin with these new lessons – Why was he in Runeterra? What were his motivations? – we unearthed a fresh thematic that really set us off running.
So in the end, while weâ€™re sorry to have hyped up the idea of a serpentine, storm-wielding dragon for so long, weâ€™re still very excited to deliver a dragon champion this year that we hope youâ€™ll love. Aurelion Solâ€™s got some big shoes (claws?) to fill, but we still like surprises so stay tuned – any of our next few champions could be him!
We considered reverting the Elise MS nerf alongside the Runic Echoes nerf. We decided not to because we think she will be quite strong even with changes to RE. She was viable before the item, and will likely remain so after the reduction to its movement speed.
If it turns out we are wrong and she’s suffering, I don’t think we’d hesitate to put back her Movement Speed.
I don’t think there are plans for any brand new skins when his update comes out, but I do think the plan is to re-imagine the existing ones. For example, Emerald Taric won’t just feel like “Green Taric,” and Fifth Age won’t just feel like “Pink Taric” (though it will still be outrageous).
The revised Warlord’s is intended to be attractive to champions that repeatedly auto attack who are seeking sustain rather than damage (contrast with Fervor) and in a way that scales with offensive stats like crit, AS and Armor Pen, rather than defense (contrast with Grasp). We expect marksmen to be one of the primary groups Warlord’s appeals to as a result, though probably not the only ones. Fervor should be particularly appealing if you’ve got a team offering a lot of peel or are intending to grab lifesteal elsewhere, Warlord’s if you want some build path flexibility and have other strong damage sources on your team.
The strong crit synergy unfortunately felt like it restricted our ability to balance Warlord’s for a range of champions more than it allowed cool interactions with specific kits.
We also feel that masteries can’t be too spikey in terms of early versus late game performance. Some masteries slanting towards strength in particular parts of the game is fine. Masteries that just don’t contribute anything early game by contrast would need to be ridiculously powerful late game, given how the early game feeds into mid/late game.
I think it’s reasonable to believe that some marksmen might forgo a lifesteal item and take Warlord’s instead, though we might not see that initially (or might see it too often if the launch balance is overtuned).
The healing from Warlord’s is going to be regular lifesteal but only against champions and minions. That will function against player summoned minions, but won’t do anything against wards or jungle monsters.
Swain’s one of the champions we’re looking at for smaller adjustments in the mid season mage patch, along the lines of those Lucian and Twitch got in the Marksmen update. No confirmed direction/details for those changes yet though.
We actually have 3 separate Pods on Champ Up now. So there is a group working on Taric, another group working on Yorick and a 3rd Group working on the Mage Roster Update. The new structure we have is much different the the old days so I wouldn’t expect such large gaps in between VGUs now. Taric and Yorick should almost certainly come out this year, in fact, those probably won’t be the only 2 large VGUs that come out this year.
I made no promises 🙂
Just said most likely. Want to try to be as transparent as I can about this stuff, but if we hit some major road block things can still become iceboxed. Once a champion goes up on the support page it means that a rework is far enough along that we feel VERY strongly it will ship.
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