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Repertoir Q&A: Immobile Mage Update, Taric Rework, State of Quinn, Skarner, Ryze and Unhealthy Champions

January 8th, 2016


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Riot Repertoir has concluded his Q&A on the projects he’s currently working on. You can find all his answers below:



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Repertoir New PortraitHi everyone,

Today I have been reading a thread by HIMM Sandwich that basically comes down to how it feels like Riot sometimes ignores player sentiment/feedback, and then goes silent when asked for answers. I won’t be the best source of insight on projects that I didn’t work on, but feel free to use this post as a place where you can ask specifically about any of the projects I’ve worked on in the last year or two, and I’ll do my best to give you honest, direct answers about why things were made the way they were, and how I/we feel about these projects currently. Keep in mind that if they’re outside of issues I worked on, it’s likely I won’t be able to meaningful answers, and also that I won’t guarantee you’ll like what I have to share on some topics.

Here’s some of the stuff I’m likely to have insight into:

  • Past Projects:
    • Nidalee Champion Update
    • Ryze Champion Update
    • Ashe Champion Update
    • Juggernauts Champion Updates – Garen/Skarner
    • Marksmen Champion Updates – Quinn/Kog’Maw
  • Current Projects:
    • Taric Champion Update
    • Mages Champion Updates – ???/???

Feel free to ask about other stuff as well, but I will say I’m unlikely to be able to help on lots of other things. I should have time to give some answers the next few evenings.


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Do you plan on balancing champions around windows of power

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s definitely an option, but it’s not the only way. We should probably be continuing to look for unexplored or less explored counterplay. Otherwise we end up with stuff like “Thanks Riot, another line skillshot.” I can see the same being true of any overused design, and I’d say I’ve probably leaned a bit too hard on “windows of power.”

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Why is Riot always so unwilling to revert changes completely

Repertoir New PortraitAs a ground floor game designer that doesn’t really make the big decisions like these, I really can’t do much more than make guesses on this subject, and I don’t really think that’s fair to you guys. Sorry if that sounds like dodging. I’d enlighten you with what I had if I had it.

From the perspective of someone works on champions and gameplay, I really do think that the number of cases where full reverts would be a step forward for the game are very few and far between (especially when considering the large amount of content regularly being added/modified in the game). I can’t think of many cases where I’d say a compromise isn’t the better solution, but that is a matter of perspective (and bias, I’m sure).

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How much does animation bandwidth constrain smallerscope reworks

Repertoir New PortraitArt resources are a constraint on pretty much every update. Right now, we know going into the large group updates that we have the art resources for approximately one skill per champion.

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Which of your reworks is your favourite Which one surprised you

Repertoir New PortraitI think there’s a few different ways to consider this.

  • Nidalee is incredibly near and dear to my heart. Her design is all over the place and is a mess of complex mechanics and inputs, but I think she offers a really fun and unique challenge to players that put the time into her, and I love to watch a good player enjoy her.
    *As far as which I’m most proud of from a craft perspective, I’d say Ashe. Her changes were simple and exciting to players, and I think they helped to bring her from what a lot of people considered a joke pick to a real contender at all levels.

As far as which I was most surprised by once released, I’d definitely say Kog’Maw. Every bit of feedback I had from internal testing and PBE feedback led me to believe he would be broken, which is so odd in hindsight given how much he’s struggled since the Marksman Update.

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Do you think Rengar blowing up squishies from stealth is good design

Repertoir New PortraitNot a lot of insight into this, unfortunately. I don’t think Rengar’s current state is one that we should have allowed for so long, and I hope we do something about it soon.

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Does the community have any impact on Champion updates

Repertoir New PortraitI would love to be able to share work with players earlier, as I feel like I make some of my most meaningful changes to champions after players have been exposed to it a bit. It’s something we’ve talked about doing, but we want to make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t set odd expectations or cause an uproar.

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If you could rework Irelia what would her new kit look like

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Repertoir New PortraitReal quick off the top of my head, I would ditch her passive, W, R, and parts of her E. I think she could be a really cool candidate for someone that uses her blades to attack two targets at once, or she could just generally deliver a lot better on blade telekinesis thing. I’d try to leave Q alone at all costs unless it was to make it feel better. I love Bladesurge.

I will say that I think she’s really held up against the test of time, as she seems to pop into and out of play reliably, but that may be a matter of statistics or something.

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Whatre your thoughts on blink escape abilities

Repertoir New PortraitThere’s a place and time for them, but I think they’re overused. These types of skills tend to give champions lots of options to deal with various scenarious, so it’s always tempting to consider them when making something.

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What does Xypherous think of Riven being such a polarizing champion

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Repertoir New PortraitI haven’t asked him about Riven specifically recently, but Xypherous is always funny when he talks about his champions, because they all seem to make him sad in some way or another, from Riven to Nautilus to Orianna. I’m not really sure if Riven makes him especially sad.

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Ryze still demands low ping to be played effectively Will you change that

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Repertoir New PortraitThere are some plans to make him less ping-reliant especially, though it would probably be modifications to his passive and other spells, and not along the lines of a full rework.

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Are you reluctant to change Ryze because hes an iconic League character

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Repertoir New PortraitBeing a 450 IP champ is a good case for him to be easier to play than I ended up making him. As for being a face of the game, that didn’t really come into play at all.

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Karthus already feels unique enough Does this mean he wont get changed much

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Repertoir New PortraitI agree that he seems pretty distinct already. I doubt he’d get much more change than someone like Sivir or Lucian did in the Marksman Update.

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Do you agree that Zyra is balanced but doesnt fulfill her theme

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Repertoir New PortraitI think she’s in a decent place for the gameplay experience she offers. She feels good to play to a lot of players, and she’s pretty approachable, which is something we don’t do enough of nowadays. As to her fantasy, I agree it’s not really executed on as well as it could, and that kind of thing is definitely a consideration we make when choosing champions to do for these mass updates.

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Whats the general goal of the Mage update

Repertoir New PortraitGenerally, the goal of the Mage udpate is to make mages more distinct among other mages, and to give them tools that make them uniquely powerful in that space. We’d really like to be able to make a lot of these characters more valuable in a way that doesn’t just mean having more burst damage.

No specifics on which champions are/aren’t in the Mage Update, sorry.

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What are some immobile mages that you personally think need work

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Repertoir New PortraitMalzahar because I think he’s a lot cooler thematically than his gameplay lets him be.
Swain because I think he’s generally just a mess.
Zyra because I think there are tons of opportunities to do cool things with her.
Cassiopeia because I’d want a chance to get her some of her poison identity back.

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What if immobilizing CC immediately stopped all nonult mobility spells

Repertoir New PortraitAs to immobilizing effects stopping mobility spells. I think this is something we should do more often. One of the tricky things about doing it is making it feel intentional on the player’s part. For the longest time, I had this in for Rune Prison while doing Ryze’s update, but most of the time it happened, it was accidental at best.

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Is Rumble a part of the immobile mage update

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Repertoir New PortraitRumble’s not going to be part of the mage update mid year. He is struggling at the moment though, so we’ve got some love for him in the next patch. It’s stuff that’s not easily datamined however, so I’m not sure if it’s been widely noticed (smaller collision radius so he gets stuck on other units less, slight increase to Q range, Q ticking more rapidly for less damage giving it the same damage over time but making it a little easier to last hit with).

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Will the new Taric be a viable top laner or will he be a pure support

Repertoir New PortraitI think he’ll be playable there. I don’t know that he’ll be absolutely amazing, but it wouldn’t surprise me too much if he had some good matchups.

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What kind of changes can we expect with the reworked Taric

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Repertoir New PortraitLots of changes, especially visually. I’m really trying to hit a “battle healer” type of feel on him, so he’s probably a weird hybrid of a Tank, Support, and Juggernaut at the end of the day, though we never really committed to a particular class with him.

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Are his abilities going to be heavily altered or will he be mostly the same

Repertoir New PortraitMost of the abilities are heavily altered, though he will still stun enemies, heal/empower allies, and love Armor.

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Will he keep the calm borderline flamboyant feminine voice tone

Repertoir New PortraitWe’re aiming to make him fun and approachable, probably somewhat funny but not necessarily a joke himself.

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Can you give us a release date for Tarics rework

Repertoir New PortraitReally depends how long these timer intervals are. I’m going to go with “Soon,” since it’s all but guaranteed that he’s the next full size Champion Update we’re going to deliver.

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What can we expect from the Taric update

Repertoir New PortraitA lot of the same things he always has contributed.

And situationally the strongest spell in League of Legends.

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Repertoir New PortraitI can’t get into too many specifics on the Taric changes at the moment, but I do think that his ultimate is going to be a game changer that is especially well suited to be used with and against certain types of champions.

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Suggestion Taric uses diamonds which makes him immune to true damage

Repertoir New PortraitThis is a cool idea that I hadn’t really thought of. It would probably need to have a little more gameplay to it, like if he converted all true damage to physical damage or something like that, but I think the idea is generally really cool.

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How did you come up with the idea for Quinns new ultimate

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Repertoir New PortraitThe idea of a travel form-esque R for Quinn was one that was being tossed over a year ago internally. Jag started that, and when we decided to dedicate ourselves to a Marksmen project a few months ago, I still thought it was a cool idea and tried to make something of it. I agree with you that it has its oddities, and I think a lot of those come from trying to make too much change with too few resources to make it happen on my end. Her R is powerful, but the channel feels a little awkward and has some weird restrictions on it, and even to me it feels like it’s unique and fun, but that it’s also lower overall quality than I’d like it to be.

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Do you guys feel that Quinn is too strong

Repertoir New PortraitShe seems like she’s on the strong side, but hopefully not by an excessive amount. I wouldn’t be surprised if the balance team wanted to nerf her in a few patches if she manages to rise to the top again.

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What do the numbers say about Quinns balance state

Repertoir New PortraitThere are changes there I’d like to make if power ever permits it, but I don’t currently think it’s a good time.

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Should minions be able to cancel the channel on her ultimate

Repertoir New PortraitThere are changes there I’d like to make if power ever permits it, but I don’t currently think it’s a good time.

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What made you decide to lump Skarner in with the Juggernaut crowd

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Repertoir New PortraitWhen coming up with the concept of a Juggernaut, one of the things we were trying to do was actually separate out different groups of fighters, where Juggernaut ended up being one of those groups. That said, there will be a Skarner retrospective post coming to the Boards soon I believe, and one of the things we talk about there is that we probably improperly classified Skarner as a Juggernaut and not some other kind of fighter or tank.

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Why did you rework Skarner to function only as a solo jungler

Repertoir New PortraitIt wasn’t really a specific goal that we wanted to make him “only a jungler,” but the design we went with does have that outcome.

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Why do you think shipping the Skarner rework was a good idea

Repertoir New PortraitI think Skarner does offer a unique play experience unlike any other champion has to offer, though I think it has too many costs attached to it. Were we to do Juggernauts over again, we likely wouldn’t choose to work on Skarner. I think there are definite upsides to his update, but we likely could have gotten more bang for our buck elsewhere.

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Were the zones on Skarners passive necessary

Repertoir New PortraitWe set out to make a champion that was defined by pre-determined zones of power, and I think in a lot of ways that was accomplished. That said, I don’t think the execution was as good as players deserved. It feels too forced/constrained.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at [email protected]