[Update]: Just added in several on topic red posts and a shot of what appears to be Ao Shin from the SGU comic!
Following his appearence on the Chinese qualifiers stream, a late night sneak peek for Ao Shin, an upcoming ( not next! ) champion has just been released!
"As the League of Legends community expands and grows around the world, so too do our influences and inspirations for the game. We thought it would be fun to give you guys a very early peek at one of the champions we're working on while he's still in the early stages. Meet Ao Shin, a powerful storm dragon and guardian of the natural world. Legend holds that when Ionia faces its greatest crisis, Ao Shin will descend from the sky.
Let's start with the inspiration for his name: Ao is the family name of the mythological dragon kings, who rule water and weather. This tells us right away that this is a powerful, elegant being, above the concerns and rules of men. Shin can mean many things, one of which is prosperity. It also means a rising storm. Ao Shin embodies this elemental duality, capable of raining good fortune on his allies and, in the very next breath, bringing stormy, thunderous ruin upon his foes."
"The community's been asking for a dragon champion for some time, but we knew we couldn't just do any dragon. With each new champ, we try and push the limits of what's technically and creatively possible. Ao Shin is no different. One of the challenges we're looking forward to tackling is how to capture his unique anatomy and movement in a way that brings a new dimension to the champion pool. It's too early to go into much detail, but we're really excited about the ways this champion will move across the battlefield.Continue reading for MORE INFORMATION!
Ao Shin isn't the next champion scheduled to come out, so he's still a ways off and many things are still subject to change. But we wanted to share our inspiration with you and give you a look at the early thought processes that go into champ design. Hopefully you're as excited about his potential as we are to keep working on him!"
You may also recongize Ao Shin from the end of the interactive Spirit Guard Udyr comic:
Meddler also commented, confirming this is not the champion CertainlyT was teasing at a week or so ago:
This is indeed concept art for an upcoming champion we're working on! Really excited about him, given this is the sort of concept we haven't explored that much yet, opportunity for some cool stuff as a result.Meddler continued, saying:
One thing to bear in mind though is that this is a really early preview - this champ's quite a way off. For those wondering this is also a different champion to the one CertainlyT's mentioned he's working on that's a couple of champion releases away."
"Ao Shin's one of those champion concepts that we've been considering for quite a while (initial art concepts for example started last year). Until recently though there were still some big outstanding questiions, story and gameplay in particular, that we hadn't answered, so we weren't ready to go ahead with him as a champion. We're not ready to talk about a lot of his details yet, we definitely will once we can of course though."
As for stepping on the toes of other dragon-y and wind based champions, Meddler had a few comments:
Regarding Shyvana and adding another dragon to the mix:
"Fair concern, quite agree we should avoid disempowering existing champions with new ones. One of the things that appealed to us about Ao Shin in the first place though was that we saw an opportunity to do something pretty different dragon wise that wouldn't step on Shyvana's talons. Another western fire breathing dragon on the other hand would have created those sort of problems."
Regarding Janna and having someone contest her wind powers:
"Differentiation from Janna's definitely important, thankfully there's a huge number of different things you can do with this sort of theme so that's something we've borne in mind, rather than a significant problem. And yes, size is also something that's got a decent amount of discussion, as is how to capture the sort of power associated with dragons in a way that's both satisfying and balanced. We're not ready to talk details yet, great topics for discussion once we are though."