I really didn't want to have to say this, Frostblade Irelia was one of the first skins I ever bought and it has always been one of my favorites. I fell out of love with how the champ played a long time ago but I had been more hopeful for this rework than I have for anything in league for a long time. And first I have to say that you knocked it out of the park with the rework in my eyes. Her new animations and abilities look smooth af and are incredibly aesthetic.
Her basic skin looks better than a lot of the purchasable custom skins in my eyes. And for the most part her extra skins carry that same level of quality, the Aviator one is one I never had any interest in before but it will be the first thing I purchase just for that splash art alone. All of the other skins feel as good or better except one...
When I got up this morning I couldn't have been more hyped to see that the skins were out and I couldn't have been more disappointed when I clicked the image. Than I watched her ingame preview and my heart dropped to the floor. I can say now that without significant changes such as the Pantheon Dragonslayer skin got I will not be using this skin and that really breaks my heart.
It feels like the least amount of work went into it compared to any of the other skins when it is an undebatable fact that it is one of the most popular of her skins. Her base skin in my eyes blows it away and I am honestly very surprised that it made it out like this without someone at Riot questioning it.
First I want to examine the original splash art and what made it so good.
I have marked all the important details in red.
1) Her Face: I am not a lore hound but Irelia has always come off as a stern, not highly emotional, serious woman who has a job to do and is focused on it and if you get in her way she will slice you to ribbons. Her eyes are focused directly at you, her brow is furrowed and her mouth has a slight upturn like she is seeing something she doesn't like and she is ready to take care of it.
2) Her Tech: Again I don't know the lore but she appears to be wearing some sort of hextech modifications on her head and shoulders. They give off a nice blue glow with a slightly different hue than her suit and hair that contrasts nicely. It gives her a bit of mystery, are her weapons completely controlled by the hextech equipment or is she powering them as well? It also gives her another color besides blue to create a nice solid two color scheme that doesn't clash.
3) The Butt: You knew this was coming, like it or not, intentional or not it became the defining identity of the skin. From her being referred to as Frostbutt, to her skin in splash and ingame making it a defining feature. Not her only feature but enough that it deserves at least some mention.
The angle of the splash art from an almost top down perspective gives you a very good view of the definition of her body. There is just a slight but clearly defined for the lack of a better word "shelf". Her left leg is in a just slightly bent forward angle with her knee facing down and back accentuating it and I also think the thigh armor helps add some definition to her body and give you some differing visual angles. It is a perfect work of art and giving a different context a marble sculpture of her would fit right in a museum.
Now I want to contrast these elements with the new splash art and a small mention of the ingame visuals as well. I do think the ingame visuals are better than the splash art with one or two glaring issues.
1) Her Face: This mostly applies to the splash art but if you placed these two faces side by side and asked me if they were the same person I would have a very hard time answering that question. Gone is the stern look, without zooming in you cannot even tell that she is looking at the camera. It looks like she is just vaguely staring off into the distance.
There is no concern or any emotion at all, it is a basic almost slack jawed expression of complete disinterest. Her nose stole all the protrusion from the jaw and it honestly feels like they completely threw out the idea of what she was and just created a new character that just so happens to have the same name and same general features.
2) Her Body: This is the worst part of all the details. There are so many things wrong with this one splash and in game. First there are too many clashing colors, There are multiple shades of purple and pink everywhere, there is silver and giant splashes of white. While the blue highlights of her old skin have almost completely disappeared.
The only thing you could even maybe consider blue is the legs and arms of her jumpsuit and stomach area. Her blades appear almost completely purple as well. To be fair her in game model the blades appear much more frost like. Even her eyes almost appear to have a reddish purple tinge to them. Gone are the golden eyes of her other skin.
I feel that there are way too many contrasting colors. Her old skin used only two major colors to simplify and highlight her important features. This new color scheme almost feels like a riot on the eyes and if you didn't tell me the theme of this skin I would guess she was called Crystal Lotus or something along those lines.
I know Ice and Crystal share a lot of common features but they are not the same thing and this skin swings way too much to the side of appearing to utilize the theme of solid rocks instead of freezing ice. There is nothing cold or intimidating about her.
Secondly and the most damning issue in my eyes is all the fur. It is completely out of place and feels like it was added in because they remembered at the last minute that this was supposed to be a icy cold skin and they needed something to let us know that. Since the rest of her skin has basically done away with the frosty blue theme.
Why does she have a ring of fur around her waist? This serves no practical application and is simply distracting. Than we come to the ultimate crime, That renaissance style neck brace that I guess is supposed to be part of a non existent winter coat.
This image was the first thing I thought of when I saw it. https://i.imgur.com/KthznkI.jpg[/img]
In the splash art it is only slightly off putting but in the game it is comically large. I mean just look at this thing https://i.imgur.com/W5jpe8t.jpg[/img].
Her old skin had no need for such embellishments and this feels like they were trying to make up for the lack in character with the rest of her skin to give her a "winter" appearance. Also it looks much too much like they borrowed heavily from the Woad Quinn skin.
3) The Butt: Finally we come the end of my much too long rant. This is actually the smallest area of complaint. There is nothing "bad" about this feature. But there is also very little that makes it stand out.
Gone are the little armor pieces that gave it definition, instead we have an almost perfectly smooth jumpsuit from the waste down. This time her left leg is angled almost completely forward which pulls everything inwards and smooths the curves out. That combined with the bottom up angle of the splash art removes any hint of the previously mentioned "shelf". It is just a firm buttox encased in skintight clothing. It has very little definition and simply doesn't have any wow factor in my eyes.
Riot I know this far into the design process there is almost no chance of any changes. I am not trying to start a protest or try to get the skin radically changed. I know it is much too late for that. The most I could hope for is that maybe I can start a conversation about the ideas behind radical artistic changes to beloved characters and possibly in the future you could consider bringing rough draft artistic designs to the community to get their opinion before you make a final decision.
You don't have to go along with the crowd all the time, but many of us care deeply about the characters you have created and it feels like a small betrayal when the spirit of what they were morphs into something we no longer recognize.