(Apologies if this is on the wrong board. Not sure where to stick it)
So, I've been involved in a handful of discussions with people regarding this: https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-au/2017/11/champ-popularity-mixing-math-art/
Particularly, the section on "(Un)Popularity of Monsters."
I think this chart has caused a damaging attitude amongst the community and potentially within Riot towards monster champions on the whole which should be rectified.
As one tackles the data in comparison to the other charts, it can be easy to take it at face value. But the term "monster" is far less solid than "reworked champions" or "adc." The monster chart in particular seems quite arbitrary in what it defines and does not define as a monster.
#What's A Monster?
They state that there are **eight** monsters. Aurelion Sol, Rek'Sai, Anivia, Skarner, Cho'Gath, Vel'Koz, Rammus, and Hecarim. And as the conclusions and graph indicate, none of those champions are popular. (Some are niche, though!)
But I think that this data is flawed at its very base. As stated previously, what is used to define a monster seems completely arbitrary.
_Is it having an inhuman body shape?_ Then why does it not include champions like Kindred, Warwick, Tahm Kench, Nocturne? Or Kha'Zix? or Twitch or Volibear? How about Galio? Malphite? Maokai? Ivern? Alistair? I'm intentionally leaving out creatures designated as other human-level intelligent races: vastaya, yordles.
Perhaps they were waiting for _champions who had already fully settled from any large changes._
The stats used in the article are from patch 7.16. Warick and Galio had been recently updated, so perhaps they were excluded because their novelty may have been interfering with analysis of the popularity of their "monster" theme.
Not including them because you're unsure of their popularity being entirely due to the quality of the champion does not mean that riot has failed to make monsters appealing, already highlighting a flaw in the conclusion. But I digress.
Volibear and Twitch can be argued as just being magical animals. Thus justifying not including them. But in that case, why are Skarner (a magical scorpion) and Anivia (LITERALLY THE SISTER OF VOLIBEAR AND A MAGICAL BIRD) included?? What about Rammus, whose lore until relatively recently was that he was just a weird runeterran animal?
Not that Volibear would have actually skewed the stats much, but it is an inconsistency.
Were they shooting for _champions whose ways of thinking and decision making are hard to empathize with? Those that have minds that are distinctly nonhuman? _
Warwick was formerly human (although he is also literally based on the hollywood MONSTER the wolfman). Malphite and Ivern both seem to have personalities of their own that reach beyond "rawr, tree man." Tahm Kench speaks and acts like a man.
But so do Skarner and Aurelion Sol. And those two are included. This still leaves out Kindred and Kha'Zix, as well as Malphite (his personality is literally just "I AM MADE OF ROCKS").
#Forgotten Beasties and Their Places on the chart
The particularly egregious exclusions imo are Kha'Zix (every other voidborn is on that chart), Tahm Kench (He's a giant catfish on legs who eats people and lacks any semblance of empathy), Malphite (rock solid), Nocturne (his whole identity is monster who kills people in their dreams. He's arguably less human than Hecarim), Maokai (treeant, classic monster. Ivern falls into this category too despite his kindness. Does kindness exclude one from this category? If so other issues with the current selection arise).
This already brings up our number of monster champions from 8 to 12 (13 if we count Ivern). But the other champions I named previously also could fall into the definition of monster based on various metrics.
If we decide to include several from my original speculative list, the results don't necessarily match the conclusions provided. On thair chart, Ivern falls squarely into the **unpopular**, alongside Tahm Kench. Maokai, Twitch, and Kha'Zix all fell into **popular**. Malphite was **broad **alongside Alistair. Nocturne, Kindred, fell into the **niche** category with the already-displayed Anivia, Vel'Koz, and Kog'Maw. Broadening the definition to champions who aren't dominated by failed gameplay updates and long-untouched lore/gameplay challenges the idea that monsters on the whole are unpopular.
Overall, the chart feels skewed by the champions included on it. At the risk of sounding accusatory, it seems like the more popular monsters were left out in order to further the idea that monsters are unpopular as a whole. The issue would be better served by taking a look at monster champions who are unpopular and trying to find out why on an individual basis.
Warwick sells the wolfman fantasy very well. His kit, lore, design all compliment it and help the player really get into the moment of chasing down their hopefully hapless prey.
Cho'Gath isn't handled as well as he could be due to his age, but he does sell the idea of growing into a massive monster who smashes the earth and chomps down on his enemies.
Rek'Sai (who is pretty popular right now, if memory serves) has many features in her kit that really reinforce the land shark fantasy. At the time of the chart, she was unpopular due to being rather weak and unviable unless one really invested into her.
THen we have things like Skarner, whose gameplay does not reflect him as a giant scorpion much. His tail is used only for his ultimate, and his thematic leans more toward the general idea of "crystal". He's adrift in space.
Aurelion Sol, though I think he is great, is also not particularly reflective of his identity as a space dragon. The creature himself could be replaced by a larger star in the center of the others and his gamplay would still fit well.
Kog'Maw is a rather generic ADC with a different shape. He's supposed to be a hungry curious little void creature but all he does is spit and make irritating noises. He's not actually cute enough to fit the identity of a "void puppy" which many players latch on to, and his kit doesn't offer room for mastery (especially since Triforce stopped being his go to post-rework and revert).
Overall, monsters actually have plenty of potential to be popular. Riot damned themselves with an oddly restricted and seeingly arbitrary definition of what a monster is. THey haven't failed to deliver monster gameplay fantasies on the whole, but they certainly have failed to make proper use of what they can do with the unique body shapes and feels of monster champions on a number of occasions.
There were success cases even at the time that information was released. There are success cases among the monster cast that players are passionate about and love.
The idea that monster champions are unpopular hurts them. Hurts their chances at a skin, and reduces the ability to make crazy kits that reflect the body shape of crazy creatures.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps I wasn't including champions that you think are monsters and should have gone further, perhaps you object to their list for different reasons. I'd love to have this discussion!