Champion Gameplay Values 2016

Hey everyone! So when I moved from the champ update team to the champion team this january, one of the first things we did as a group was to break down our values and evaluate where our 2014-2015 champions had landed relative to them. The champs we evaluated: {{champion:161}} {{champion:201}} {{champion:150}} {{champion:268}} {{champion:429}} {{champion:421}} {{champion:432}} {{champion:245}} {{champion:223}} {{champion:203}} {{champion:420}} {{champion:202}} When we talk about values we mean “components of what we think is a good champion.” You might remember our six design values for League of Legends ( http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/features/dev-blog-design-values-league-legends ), which are still relevant here (you might see some), but as our design philosophies have evolved, so have our values. In the future we’ll probably pull out the “big” values to share on a larger platform, but in this exercise we wanted to just talk about our present-day influences. By the end of our meeting, we had come to some clear conclusions as a group (the 7 champion designers + me) and I wanted to share them with you. Basically what we wanted in our design values, and where we succeeded or can do better. Also, some brief explanations are added to explain what the value means, or what we think the effects of its use has been. Values that we felt were **about right:** * **Decision Based Mastery** - The amount of decisions and their impact on the champion’s success have been successful in retrospect. Champions with rich decisions end up keeping interest for much longer than those without (E.g. Bard vs. Warwick). This is a high bar, and really shows how much we’ve grown since the early days. So proud :) * **Reason to be picked (strategic identity)** - The unique adds that many of these champions are bringing to the game are going to help them stay unique and relevant for years to come. * **Thematic synergy** - Different champs deliver slightly more or less of this than others, but overall we have been finding the core thematic of each character and delivering gameplay that supports it. * **Respect for old champs** - In the days of yore, we’ve been bad neighbors to the old champs of LoL and cannibalized their mechanics (and often just made them stronger). These days we’re doing a good job of respecting the existing champs. We haven’t been hitting 100% perfection in all of our values for Champion Design, and I wanted to share some of the ones we felt could be improved: Values we want a **lot more of:** * **Counterplay** - We care a lot about the long term health of the characters we release, so this was a big one. Making sure that intended weaknesses are present or that the character doesn’t have so many tools that they have no weakness are big opportunities to make this better. * **Accessibility** - We started this conversation by trying to identify where the average difficulty for our new champs should be. We landed around Velkoz/Tahm Kench. With that target, only 1 of the other 9 champs was below the average. Deep/complex champions are cool but we want to make more of them in the average or accessible range. Values we want a **little more of:** * **Visual Clarity** - Pushing the boundaries with new champs often comes at the cost of a lot of clutter. We’d like to be more responsible with screenspace/visuals. * **Meaningful Constraints** - This is in the little details of things. We think that the fact that Vayne’s tumble doesn’t let her go over walls creates a lot more interest than if it did. When faced with these types of micro decisions in the future we think that less will be more. Having these constraints lets the strengths that a champ has really carry. Values we want a **lot less of:** * **Burden on other players to participate** - Some of the more unique experiences that we are delivering have been putting too much mindshare cost on the other players in the game. The Draven player is happy to play his axe catching game, but everyone else didn’t sign up for that. Another example is Skarner spires or Rek'sai tunnels -> these require a lot of time investment on other players to destroy them or keep them in check. Values we want a **little less of:** * **Mechanical Execution Mastery** - 200 APM champs are fun for a certain type of hardcore player, but we would like them to be a small subset of our champ pool instead of the majority. * **Unique experience** - Over emphasis on this has led to what players often call “minigames.” We hope to make these a more thematic/seamless part of the champ experience going forward. * **Mobility** - We’ve seen the limits of this (league of mobility ala 2013) and even had phases of Ekko’s development where he went too far. In the end though, we have had a reasonably balanced approach that gives us a healthy mix of mobile and nonmobile champs. Though there are still exceptions where champions that don’t really need it end up with a dash, keep calling us out on this. --- And that’s what I wanted to talk about this month! The main discussion points I have for us all are: * Do you agree/disagree with where we think we’re at? * Are there any values missing and worth discussing? * Are you excited for 2016 with this refreshed perspective and how we hope to apply it? -Scruffy
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