On Philosopher's Stone and Shurelya's ReverieAs you may have noticed, Philosopher's Stone, Philosopher's Pebble, and Shurelya's Reverie all received name changes on the PBE.
Here's Xelnath with context on the change and a response to the community's concern over them:
Recently, a lot of discussion has kicked up about some recent item name changes that went out late last weekend. Specifically, a lot of people were concerned about the name changes to Shurelia’s Reverie, Philosopher’s Stone and Philosopher’s Pebble.
We really do care about how attached you guys are to the game, its items and the development team that got League this far.
Let me see if I clearly understand your concerns:
- Concerns about the removal of Shurelia’s name and respecting her legacy
- Unclear why the changes to the item names occurred
- The new theme was inferred, but not clearly understood
- Sad about the removal of the Harry Potter reference to the Philosopher’s Stone, (as well as the Medieval reference IRL)
- Difficulty finding the new item in the shop
Is this correct? Please let me know if not.
Why do this?
Next, let’s talk about the changes and why. RiotRadioblur will be talking about the artistic direction, while I talk about the mechanics, theme and overall direction.
When I approached the task of adjusting the gold income streams for Season 4, I initially did my best to keep the old item names and themes. This was great – people jumping into the game easily figured out the relationships between the old items and the new ones. [e.g. Pebble -> Stone] However, some of them just didn’t make sense (Philosopher’s Stone -> Shurelia’s Reverie). My initial reaction was to accept that these kinds of strange things will happen when you change items and leave it alone.
Playtesting and feedback
Then we brought in 30 players from a wide variety of skills and backgrounds to play the content for next season. These players would consistently give us the feedback: “Oh, why doesn’t Philosopher’s Stone still build into Y? You guys should just make new items, since they are completely independent build path.” After hearing this enough times, we decided it was the right call to go back and revisit the items and their icons.
About the same time, we decided it was the right call to make the gold income items exclusive (Madlife and H4ck3rv2 destroyed internal playtests by smartly stacking and optimizing the items). Combining these two concepts lead us in a clear direction:
- Make each unique income stream item themed to a different faction.
Naturally, our first choice was to go through a long process of evaluating which factions were the best for each of the concepts. Leona and Pantheon are great representations of the dangerous, headlong risk-taking playstyle we wanted to encourage, so the ancient relic shield of Targon became the clear choice. Shard of True Ice’s new active was a perfect fit for a Freljord item. Finally, we came down to the passive gold generation item.
Initially, we kept the Philosopher’s Idea, but as we looked at the goals of picking an item name which matched the goals of:
- Fit the mechanics
- Fit into the story of league of legends
- Be a clear story and path as the item evolves with you
We realized that telling the story of a Philosopher’s Stone was very subtle, hard to convey and harder to fit into the story of league. So we decided to explore a direction that helps expand upon the realm of Shurima. Recently, as we’ve gone back and worked on Nasus, Sivir and Xerath, we’ve realized the world of Shurima is far less well-understood than the other major regions of League of Legends. There are potentially a lot of awesome stories can tell here, but we haven’t done a great job of getting there.
So we wanted to help integrate the contribution of the fallen Shurima Empire into league better. Sunfire Cape (an awesome item on both Nasus and Renekton) has been rethemed to carry the logo of the fallen empire. Similarly, we thought the story of an ancient coin that turns out to be a part of an ancient religious icon was also a cool way at gently introducing lore with the preseason.
At no point did we intend or want to change this item to exclude or forget about Shurelia. However, when you see a name go out without the new icon and art, it’s easy to feel like it was made for some reason like that. However, while we love Shurelia, we do not want to imply that Shurelia is the sun god of Runeterra. (Besides, if you knew Shurelia, you know she much, much more preferred the Darkness. Clever girl.)
So, since we are taking that away, how do we intend to remember her legacy? Here’s what we propose: (New Icons weren't ready when I made the screenshots, but RadioBlur will be posting them shortly!)
(Note: I didn’t get the new icons when I made these screenshots, and the exact quotes are subject to change)
- The new items will be keeping their new names
- We add a new character who discovered these items – Historian Shurelya
- We’ll rename “Icon of the Sun Disk” to “Shurima's Reverie”
We want to ensure that our new items are clear, easy to understand and recognize all of the contributions made to get them into the game.
- We’ll make add ‘Shurelya’ shows up when you search for the item in the search box of the item shop
Tell us your thoughts.
RiotRadioblur followed up, discussing the icons specifically:
As Xelnath has stated, there’s a lot of purpose that went into the change, and I feel he’s really captured the essence of what we’re trying to accomplish. Many of the points the community has made about the decision have been totally valid, but there are definitely some that could use more context before being set in stone. My hope is that I can provide that context to explain how these new objects fit into League, and how they serve to enhance both gameplay and the continued development of our world. So let’s take a look at the art, shall we?
The original Philosopher’s Stone is pretty mediocre, in that it is basically a rock with a swirl on it. It looks pretty bland, and the fidelity is super low. When we talked about reworking the icon originally before Preseason changes were even in our minds, we talked about what kind of people we would expect to have a Philosopher’s Stone, and the closest we could come in our minds was Zaun. The problem here is that the fit just isn’t clean enough. Zaun is into nasty chemistry, and the Philosopher’s Stone is some sort of magical item alchemists could use to change lead into gold. It’s not visceral or gross enough to be Zaun, who are by far a lot more practical and scientific in their approach than alchemy is. Still, we made an icon originally for this theme. The icon itself has good quality art by our measure, but the thematic sell just wasn’t coming through. The storytelling isn't strong enough.
We might find a home for this item later, but I doubt it will make it in without some substantial tweaks and re-theming to make it really work with the world we’re building.
So as Xelnath was saying, Philosopher’s Stone saw some interesting shifts in the way it was built that ended up being confusing for players who expected the item to build the way it used to. In thinking how to resolve this, we toyed with various idea (including running with Philosopher’s Stone and finding a way to make it fit), but the best path we eventually decided was to make something new. We sat down with some writers and tried to suss out a cohesive story for these items and how they fit into our world. We noticed a few themes in Shurima were working really strong for this item.
The first step becomes a coin. We drew references from Chinese coins, which have a hole in the middle allowing them to be fitted on strings for carrying around. This gives a sense of showing off one’s wealth outwardly, as a string of coins could really push the opulence we’re striving for here. The long shape we’ve chosen is to highlight the radial motif, and the flares mimic many of the shapes seen in our Shuriman champions’ armor. The result is something simple, but unique. It really feels like it belongs in our world now, something we can tangibly expect to see our characters showing off.
The next step is an emblem. Nomad’s Medallion does not currently have art, but we are looking again to themes of gold and trade for this design. It will likely feature a subtle sun motif and will have some hint of the desert from which it comes. A good luck charm for merchants, it should reference and reinforce Shuriman cultural motifs.
Lastly comes a symbol with power. An icon, not in the sense of simply being representative, but in the sense of being of an almost religious importance. Something a person of great dedication to the sun might wear to invoke the favor of the kind of higher beings Shurima is home to—Nasus, Renekton, etc. But an icon carries so many connotations now, the phrase doesn’t have the same meaning to most people upon reading it. This is why it makes the most sense to add the “Reverie” back into it; a celebration of the sun, not simply an image of it. Ultimately I think this will be a really good direction to take the item, both in theme and name.
I can’t stress enough that we are still on good terms with Shurelya, by the way (actually, she recently emailed me to send me feedback on some other icons that are going out). This change is not meant to slight her in any way, but instead to build an item more into the storytelling of our universe. I understand the confusion, but I want to be clear that it was not part of our intentions at any point.
As for the art, I think we’re going to end up with something really clear and good for gameplay here. (Gold item gives you gold? Win in my book!) The initial confusion might be strenuous, but the long term payoffs should be beneficial based on what we’ve come to understand about the changes.
Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!
When asked why Shurelia's name is spelled differently as a person compared to "Shurelya" in game, Xelnath commented:
"As I understood it: She named the original and did not want her name spelled exactly the same way, to avoid the problem where other people poached her name in other games.
(This happened to Ezreal - his name is taken everywhere!)"
When questioned if the Kage's line of items will get an update and what's up with the name changes to executioner's emblem's line, Xelnath commented:
"Yes, Kage's will be getting a rebrand soon. I really like the new Targon line. We ran into some problems with Zeonia, Rakkor, etc. Specifically, that those names are very specific to Pantheon.
The new one tells the story of a shield going from a basic hand-me-down into an artifact of legends."
When asked about the icon update to Youmuu's Ghostblade, RiotRadioblur commented
"I can speak to this, as I'm part of the reason it looks different now (I tackled this one with another artist tag-team style).
Going into the icon, neither of us were aware it was a reference to another franchise, but I'll be honest in saying that shouldn't be a limiting factor in our decision to rework the icon. If we are beholden to other games' content, how can we expect to more fully flesh out our own? I think it's an important question we're trying to answer right now in sorting through much of the content that needs to be reworked. In this particular case, nobody understood the reference, but I'll be straight with you and say that I'm kind of glad nobody did. I think the result is a weapon that really feels Ionian and has a unique style it wouldn't have had if we limited ourselves to what Touhou had done.
That said, the feedback about it not being a katana is a bit of a stretch. When it was being redesigned, we never thought to make it *not* a katana. The only thing we sought to change was to give it an Ionian styling in line with some of our champs from the region we felt embodied the emotion a "ghostblade" should have, namely drawing from Zed, Syndra, and Varus for some of that styling. The curvature of a katana is not clearly visible from a crop-in of the hilt, which is where a lot of the confusion is coming from, as well as the blade edge being only slightly off-center which people have suggested makes it look like a broadsword. The blade isn't pushed further toward the edge for a reason, though; when it was, the in-game read was only 1.5 pixels wide making it impossible to see the highlight on the edge and totally washing out the readability of the icon.
However, we got some feedback last week about the grip being wrong, as we had totally overlooked the distinct wrapping a katana has on the grip. We also got some great feedback about the glow in the background killing the readability. I addressed these changes but they might not have been picked up on PBE yet. At any rate, you can see it below here just in case you haven't seen it yet:
I'm not sure how set we are in protecting content that so heavily leverages from another IP going forward, and I don't want to speak to that. But what I can say is that I feel like the new icon is a net positive change for the game in terms of story-telling, readability, and quality of art. I hope that's worth something. "
2014 World Championship in South Korea and All-Star in EUHere's Redbeard with the scoop on the 2014 World Champion being hosted in Korea and on the 2014 All-Star event being held in EU!
"With the preseason about to kick off, we're ready to announce that the 2014 World Championship will be held in South Korea.
South Korea is widely considered to be a center of esports and is home to some of the most devoted fans on the planet. With a deep esports heritage, this is an ideal location to follow up the largest esports event to date and showcase the top League of Legends players. At the World Championship, they'll battle it out for the title of world's best.
Before we head to South Korea though, we're looking forward to watching the best League of Legends pros from each region face off at the 2014 All-Star game in Europe.
Next season will once more showcase the best teams and players in the world so get ready, the 2014 season is on its way!"
"Looking at sometime next week" for next PatchWhen asked for an ETA on the next live patch, Riot Feithen commented that next week is the tentative plan assuming the last of the begs are dealt with.
"If you mean the next patch, (which includes some of the pre-season balance changes) we're looking at sometime next week. It'll come down to how quickly we resolve the last of the bugs, though, so don't hold me to that."She continued:
"I also want to really emphasize that bit about the bugs and no promises. Most of the changes are on the PBE now and there are lots of threads around that include specific details on what's coming, Q&A's with the team, and more information than I can give here. I can confirm we're still in the process of making tweaks and fixing bugs. If we don't launch next week it's because we don't think it's ready, and I'd be really sad if folk had built up huge expectations only to be disappointed. You'll notice we don't typically publish our release plans, and that's why."
Summoner's Rift Detailed Art FeedbackRiotForScience dropped off a few comments concerning player feedback on Summoner's Rift.
He started by responding to summoner's commenting that the inhibiators and nexus could use some polish.
"I agree about the old nexus/inhibs they have been on our radar for a while now. They are something we intend to resolve when we get a break from more immediately pressing concerns."He also commented on the art team's goal of updating Baron to look more like the version seen in the "A Twist of Fate" cinematic:
"Concerning Baron, it has already been confirmed that the version of the Baron that is in the Twist-of-Fate trailer is based on an updated version of Baron that we are currently testing. Things in this state are quite sensitive. I would love to show him off to you right now, but the timing is not quite right."
Will Lux get a VU?When asked his opinion on if Lux could use a visual upgrade, IronStylus commented:
"She mainly just needs some texture polish as far as most of us agree. She's all healthy otherwise."He continued, explaining how a TU comes to be:
"TU's usually happen as the 3D team has extra bandwidth. Artists who like the particular champion, or who are working to improve their skills, will often take on texture polish work for low-priority tasks that can be sprinkled into our updates."
Creator Viktor Recall sounds missingRiot Kyugene, an Associate Sound Designer, commented earlier about Creator Viktor's missing recall sounds:
"Hey hey--yup we're totally aware of this and the problem has been fixed--the recall should be fixed in the next patch! ~Dem screen touch sounds~"
Ahri Bugricklessabandon commented on a forum thread regarding Ahri's Q, when under the effects of her passive, not having it's true damage amplified by charm.
"okay, confirmed. a passive-enhanced orb of deception does not have its true damage amplified by charm.i have a fix in and it'll get to pbe soon (should be the next deploy). thanks for the report!
as for talking about ahri in general, i plan to start up a thread after i finish cleaning up some other bug reports for the 3.14 patch. speaking of which, back to work i go!"
On the S3 Personalized Invitation BadgesIn a reddit thread suggesting several ideas to improve the personalized invitation badges handed out as part of the S3 ranked rewards, Riot Socrates commented:
"This is super cool. I agree the initial one needs some added awesome. I'll see what we can do on this front."