Aatrox AMA Summary

Posted on at 2:11 AM by Moobeat
As you may have noticed, several Rioters dedicated yesterday afternoon on Reddit hosting an AMA to answer your questions about Aatrox, the Darkin Blade!
Continue reading for a recap of the AMA questions and answers!

For those unfamiliar with how an AMA works, a person or group of people start a thread about a certain subject. In this case the topic is our next champion, Aatrox.. The AMA is being conduced by the following Rioters:
  • Trevor "Classick" Romleski, Champion Designer
  • Mike "ohmikegoodness" Laygo, Senior Animator
  • Lee "Ripviv" Strauss, Senior Character Artist

I've attempted to sort answers and questions into fairly board categories and then clump similar answers but there will definitely end up being overlap. The [ ] questions aren't always going to be the exact phrasing of the question asked. I did my best to modify them for more readability.


General

How do you correctly pronounce Aatrox? ]
"Ay-trox. As in "Bay".

If he were to give up being an ancient warmonger and hit the club scene, he could call himself DJ 8-Track. ( not cannon )" - Riot Harrow
[ The Aatrox reveal was short and sweet, completed in under a day's time. Is this what we should expect from champion teasers or just another experiment? ]
"We're certainly experimenting with the story teasers - in this case, we came up with this particular idea specifically with Aatrox since he had that ancient history feeling. We're still not locked in to one particular format for these things, so you can expect...I dunno, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE." - Riot Harrow
[ What are your thoughts on the Aatrox teaser now that it's over with? ]
"We feel that the structure of the Aatrox teaser was received pretty well (especially for a first run) so it's definitely something we'll consider. That said, in some cases it'll make more sense to create something over a longer stretch of time, such as the Lissandra teasers. Or something altogether different. It depends on what makes sense for the content!" - Riot Aether
[ Where did the idea for Aatrox come from? Kit or looks first? ]
"The visuals, gameplay and story all developed organically, in parallel, around the goal of creating a unique, dark entity. A lot changed in early iteration - as art changed, it would inspire me to tweak the story, etc." - Riot Harrow
[Where did the concept of Aatrox stem from?]
"We wanted to make a visual appearing evil character with western and eastern influences, yet still try and make it have a unique feeling that fits into the LOL universe." - Ripviv
Where you worried that his art/silhouette is too similar to Kayle's? ]
"We may have wings like Kayle and Morgana, but because of the way they moved and the way he's posed, we weren't worried about an overlap on art and silhouette. But that is something we ALWAYS keep in mind!" - ohmikegoodness
Why is he left handed? ]
"So we chose the left hand because we wanted his model to look visually balanced in game. If the sword was in the right hand, he'd have lots of metal on one side. Putting it into the left hand made him look and feel a lot more balanced! Also we were able to get a nice contrast between his bare hand and his sword! 
Unrelated, I made Vi left handed because I'm a southpaw fighter! ;D" - ohmikegoodness
I love that his Wing's look like banners. ] 
"Also THANKS on the banner stuff! I tried to get a banner feel from them, as we didn't want to suggest they were used for locomotion! I took some queues from nature and frill lizards when they get angry they open up! " - ohmikegoodness
Why make the release skin for such a dark champion so light and "good"? ]
"Skins are often a place to fulfill an alternate fantasy - but in this case, it also meshes with the base character. Since those he fights alongside often see him as more savior than villain, the skin sort of represents that more angelic interpretation." - Riot Harrow
Why does Aatrox's sword sometimes act like jelly. For example, when he crits it jiggles around. ]
"Aatrox's sword is actually organic and alive! I wanted to show it wasn't just a normal sword by giving it movement. It's solid in most of the auto attacks, but after the hit frame you can see it moving around. The crit animation he was using it more as a whip" - ohmikegoodness
Lore 
[ Will we be hearing anything else about the Darkin in the near future? ]
"Define "near future." ;) We have plans for the Darkin, but as usual, we can't promise a timeline." - Riot Harrow
Who are the other other Darkin? ]
"The world as a whole doesn't know how many Darkin there are. That's some privileged information you get as a reader ;) 
As a bit of a future spoiler: three of the five, including Aatrox, are known to history, turning up in myths etc. The other two are completely unknown to the rest of the world. It's unclear whether even the other Darkin know of them. They don't talk much." - Riot Harrow
What's the deal with Aatrox and Tryndamere ]
"Well...the dark figure in Tryndamere's lore sure sounds familiar, huh? And with the Freljord dagger that Ezreal found as evidence, it does seem very possible that Aatrox has been involved in some Freljord battles." - Riot Harrow
Are Kayle and Morgana related to Aatrox? ]
"No, they're from another world. As far as records show, Aatrox has existed solely in Runeterra." - Riot Harrow
[ How do you think Kayle and Morgana would feel about Aatrox? ]
"I think Kayle would definitely see Aatrox as something that must be destroyed, a bringer of chaos and war that disrupts order. 
I don't think Morgana would have reason to think that Aatrox is tyrannical, he doesn't seem to be trying to rule over anything. I think she's still be suspicious of a figure she knows so little about, I don't think she'd make allies easily." - Riot Harrow
"That window was a small part of a larger artwork, but essentially it was created to commemorate Aatrox's involvement in a battle that Demacians won.

It portrays Aatrox as an heroic figure, and since Demacians aren't down with evil and stuff, it suggests that they didn't see him as a villain. Raises an interesting question, though - how did Aatrox's involvement affect those Demacians?" - Riot Harrow.
Game Play

[ Will Aatrox be a viable jungler? ]
"With what we've seen from our internal testing he definitely can jungle, I don't think it's particularly strong but it in the right scenarios it may be viable." - Classick
[ Can Aatrox be played mid? ]
"We have done a couple tests with Aatrox mid and found that he can function mid lane, but a lot of his damage comes from auto attacking over time and less burst so it can be hard for him to get kills early in the game." - Classick
[ What's up with all the rebirth passives? Zac just had one and now Aatrox is getting one. ]
"it just so happened that both of these characters had rebirth-type passives and ended up being completed at nearly the same time. With Aatrox we felt he needed a soft disengage which allows him to momentarily get out of the teamfight and re position himself after reviving. It also has a feeling of momentum to it as it builds when Aatrox spends health while he stays in combat which gives him windows of vulnerability early on in a fight. If he manages to stay alive over a long period of time he can resurrect with a respectable amount of health to finish off opponents." - Classick
[ Aatrox's lore is all about him giving soldiers on a losing side strength and power, yet Aatrox doesn't have anything like this in his kit. Was he originally designed with a team buff, and the lore wasn't changed when that spell was scrapped? ]
"While it may have been a thematic tie in for the character to add something like a lifesteal aura to Aatrox at some point during combat, we found that putting that kind of power that is hard to notice would result in us nerfing the noticeable parts of the character which would overall make him feel less visceral and more cerebral. In other words we wanted to emphasize him jumping in and slicing down opponents and not more supportive attributes such as a lifesteal aura. 
We also feel that while it may not be in the mechanics themselves, Aatrox's playstyle should give that feeling to players on his team and create that experience based off his actions." - Classick
[ I can't help but feel you guys are trying to revive Melee AD Carries with Aatrox. Is this what you were going for, or were you just trying to design a unique champion? ]
"While Aatrox certainly skirts the line of being a melee carry, he plays more of a fighter role while being auto attack focused. Meaning he brings more more utility to a fight and is slightly tankier, but most of his damage is primarily coming from auto attacking. As an example I would say his play style is similar to someone like Irelia but scales much harder with damage items while Irelia's damage scales by building attack speed for Hiten Style." - Classick
[ How do you think Aatrox will be played in the current meta? ]
"I think it really depends on the team composition Aatrox is in, if he has to be the tank for his team then tanky/attack speed is mostly likely what he'll build. In the case that he has a team composition that allows him to build a lot more squishy (tank such as amumu in jungle, morgana or kayle mid) he can build similarly to a more traditional melee ADC." - Classick

[ Do you feel like Aatrox's design mesges with the balance team's stated goal of making top lane less snowbally?]
"There's a couple things that were done for Aatrox to help make him less snowbally, one thing we did with the ultimate is make it scale based on how many targets are hit. This allows Aatrox to scale harder in teamfights and prevents him from being nearly as powerful in 1v1 scenarios. His E ability is also great at letting him get some CS in lane when he's being bullied." - Classick
[We just got finished listening to the hazards of infinite sustain and the damage it does to the game. My question is, why is this champion seemingly centered around mechanics we were previously told are detrimental to the game?]
"The idea with Aatrox was to make him feel dependent on this sustain to help balance out his health costs. A lot of his gameplay revolves around controlling your current health with Blood Price and Blood Thirst. If you're not using Blood Price you won't output enough damage, so you have to find a balance between your health costs and your sustain. 
So while he does have some mechanics that have proved toxic in the past, we think that with his health cost gameplay can help remedy that and make his sustain a trade off instead of just a straight bonus." - Classick


What do you guys think of all these recent AMA's Riot has been hosting? Do you enjoy lookingat  what goes into new champions? 

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