In response to a thread seeking insight on why Irelia, notoriously hard champ to balance, was designed the way she was, Morello gave some context on why Irelia's kit has a bit of everything.
"Ezreal can speak more to this, but Irelia was us (incorrectly) solving a problem of melee at the time.
In Season 1, we had a hard time making melee "work." Xin and Garen were our first two real cracks at it, but we wanted to try to get melee to be a strong character archetype in the game. The result was the "kitchen sink" approach we took with Irelia. The meme "better nerf Irelia" is actually based on some truth; in a lot of ways, her and Xin are the primordial ooze that future metagolem fighters are born of, and that design has fundamental problems.When asked "if you guys know you made a mistake giving Irelia so many tools, how did Rengar make it through with arguably even more tools?", Morello responded:
The original idea was something like the Sword mage from Blade and Soul, but somehow, that got off the rails with this problem. I'd just started here not long before that, so it's probably better for Ezreal to explain his thought process first-hand here :)"
"We're still not great at making Fighters. :( Some of it is because there's a big desire for new ones to compete with old ones. I need to be providing more specific oversight on this."He then gave two options for those who feel Irelia is in need of significant buffs or changes,
"There are two possible approaches for Irelia;
* Leave her aloneMorello also agreed with a summoner who reluctantly admitted that option number two would likely be best for her :
* Full, complete rework
She'd be almost unrecognizable about her in the second. I still want to do it, but it's not as high a priority as some others."
"Agreed - one of the most painful things, to me as a designer, is when I see opportunity cost on this level. It basically puts us in a bad spot because the cost of fixing it grows a ton as we now have to actively choose to piss people off to fix a real problem. Even this thread is full of Irelia fans!
Irelia is fun to play, Irelia has very little interaction, decision-making or counter-play"
He then reiterated his earlier point, saying:
"... her kit is not cohesive at all, and for the reasons I listed. I agree, if that wasn't clear "Morello later fixed that comment, saying:
"Cohesive to her theme, sorry."
Keeping this theme, Morello also mentioned his desire to work on a design blog - a place where Riot can more easily explain their ideas behind things like theme cohesion and other not so easy to understand values that influence the game.
"Good idea. I'm working with heintzer to make some structure of a Riot design blog, which is a good avenue to provide some of these more philosophical ideas."
Following these comments, a rather grumpy summoner decreed that Morello should either just rework her already or get someone who can. Morello responded, explaining how priorities work.
"Then I'll say it for the last time; game development is about priorities. Some things are more important than others, and that determines what we can and can't work on in a given time. We only have a handful of champions not picked or banned in LCS at this point, so treating it like some critical issue (compared to something like Heimer, which is in way worse condition) is just some agenda where you think design fairies can just think up ideas and they get to happen instantly and unilaterally, or that it's a matter of effort/desire. I just don't know how to respond to that, because it's like me telling you the sky is green."Elaborating further on this thought:
"Because it's more a matter of opportunity cost and harm-vs-time. Irelia being like she is now isn't that big of a deal, overall - she's not "weak" (she's just not used all the time) and she's not so OP we can't do anything about it. She is a poorer design, though. It's the difference between optimization of the game, and fixing larger or more entrenched problems. Oddly, Irelia still hasn't hit the bar of "that bad" in comparison to other things.He then gave a bit more context to how priority works within the pipeline, in relation to if a hypothetical Irelia rework were to occur.
Additionally, some of our worst characters from a design standpoint are our most popular. =/"
"To an extent, I agree with this. A big piece of this was devoting more to the effort (with the relaunches team).
One big challenge is how art pipelines effect production. If we wanted to rework Irelia, for example, I'd need all new VFX, animations, and sounds at least. These are the same guys doing that stuff for our other reworks, other relaunches, Ultimate skins, and the new champion (which we've slowed down so we could do more stuff like this). When we're trying to both fix things like poor design and triangle-feet Nidalee, there's a lot of complexity to the matrix of what can be done where.
Simply put, game development priorities and dependencies are really complex!"
Continuing on the angry train, another summoner questioned the validity of reworking a champion, making them completely different than they started ( referencing the post above ), and still selling them as is. Morello comments:
"Because we change things all the time - that's part of playing League. If you purchase a champion, you're buying what it is now, we make no guarantees it'll be that way forever."
Odds and ends
Irelia wasn't the only thing Morello spent time talking about today, he also lightly discussed a few other champions.
When asked if Sona was going to receive changes ( currently nerfed on PBE ) to her Power Chord damage in the next patch, Morello commented:
"Yes they are, though I think with some reversions on older nerfs. I'll have Volty swing by."This syncs up with the base HP and armor increases Sona has received on the PBE.
When questioned if there are any plans for Skarner, Morello replied':
"We're doing some work on Skarner, though it'll take a little bit of time. I'll update when we know more."
Breaking away from balance stuff, Morello took a bit of time to tackle the lore question "Is Noxus Evil?"
"Noxus isn't "evil," but they're more willing to do things that others consider wrong or immoral to get results. In fact, Noxus is pretty ambivalent to the idea that things are good or evil, there's just what works and what doesn't.He also briefly touched on Demacia, saying:
This type of outlook will have others brand you as evil, as there are moral lines those people would value and get crossed. If Noxus is evil, they certainly don't see themselves as that way, though many other groups do"
"Demacia also has some grey that, admittedly is tough to see currently. What kind of society evolves out of a nation that values law and order as the highest values? While they easily read as the "good guys," it's not unilaterally true."