- Updated Twisted Fate Pick A Card ( W ) Particles on PBE
- Vel'Koz AMA Summary
- Vel'Koz Champion Spotlight
- Reinventing the Revered Inventor ( Heimerdinger Rework )
Additional Details on Heimer VUAfter the original announcement, several Rioters popped on Twitter, Reddit, and the forums to take a wee bit more about the upcoming Heimerdinger VU.
For those fearing the loss of Heimerdinger's trademark run, Riot Blackrook commented:
"Swag walk is now the first ever toggle-able taunt. Secure that penta and walk away in style!Ququroon elaborated:
Great job everyone on team VU!"
"Super serious! Any emotes will cause Heimerdinger to swap between two different run cycles. One with 100% more swag!"
Ququroon also confirmed he will have an updated voice over:
[ Tweet 1 ] " It does. Don't freak out too much! His script is significantly larger now."
Grumpy Monkey also shared high def versions of the video and DINGR schematic.
[ Tweet 2 ] "Higher Rez of the Heimer Sculpt video, and a high res of the D.I.N.G.R. schematic: https://vimeo.com/87628082 http://imgur.com/dxnfeEJ ENJOY!"
As for why he's getting a VU now instead of with his kit rework last year, Ququroon commented:
"Correct! We'd normally get them out together, but the Heimer kit was ready far earlier. We wanted the kit to be out sooner, so we uncoupled the releases. This isn't something we'll be doing more than necessary."
Ququroon also answered a question relating to the "Great Yordle Unification Pass":
"Hi! I'm no IronStylus, but I think I can crack at some of this.
From my understanding this Great Yordle Unification Pass (GYUP?) is still a ways off...Realistically, it'll be done when it's ready. We still have a bunch of high priority things we need to hit. (Though... hopefully sooner than later, I want more awesome yordles!)
I am curious to hear more about what they have decided upon and how the new direction given to Heimer's character model may reflect what will come.Heimerdinger took a bunch of cues from Ziggs, but also built on top of that. We did some studies about Yordles as a whole, so a good amount of his VU was the groundwork for others!"
IronStylus AMA on OCE ForumsAs mentioned yesterday, IronStylus was on the OCE forums earlier answering all sorts of summoner questions:
I'm Michael Maurino, I go by the name IronStylus, I'm a Senior Concept Artist at Riot. I currently work as a 2D artist on the Relaunch team. Here's what we've been working on!
A little about me..
I create concept art which is used to inspire new character and create images for 3D artists to make models from. I've worked on the Champion team on Leona, Skarner, Talon, Xerath, Graves, Diana, Quinn and a bunch more. I've also had some tenure on the Skins team, working on a few skins, most recently Sunbathing Leona and Lunar Revel Diana.
On Relaunch, I've been working with the team since Annie and have been the concept artist on such Relaunch champions as Trundle, Sejuani, Master Yi and more.
I visited PAX Australia last year and had an AMAZING time meeting you guys. It was a real life-changing experience and I was blown away at how fantastic our OCE players are! I really want to thank you for that!
So with all that said, let me know if you have any questions!"
In order to create a better reading experience, I've organized the rest of the AMA into different topics and clumped the posts there. Be aware you -may- be reading posts slightly out of the order they were posted.
Getting into the industry and advice
When asked how he came to be an artist at Riot, IronStylus shared:
"I worked in the practical visual effects industry for a long time. I came out to LA to be a sculptor actually. However, I sort of "discovered" concept art and became a 2D artist.
Once I was done with school, I started working on independent movies making props and doing illustration. That went on for a long time. Eventually I worked at a number of startup ventures being the main illustrator. Eventually, when I was tired of that, I begin to seek work in video games. I bumped into a recruiter from Riot in 2010 and started doing freelance champion design for them. About 8 months after, I started working here full time.
What we look for, at least in terms of 2D art, is a real grasp of fundamentals obviously. Drawing, painting, etc. Solid understanding of anatomy, perspective and other foundational aspects. Creativity is probably the biggest aspect. It's more important than knowing how to render out an image to the nines. That separates concept artists from illustrators. We're all about getting ideas out fast. Lots of iteration. I honestly would rather have an artist on the team with amazing ideas that's still working on technical skill than someone who can make this beautiful thing but have it be bland in it's concept.
So yeah. Ideas, artistic fundamentals, and an extreme ability to communicate, interact and be a positive team member are core to working here."He continued:
"You do need too master traditional media to go into the digital realm. Fundamental art skills are impretive and create the foundation of what we work on. But that skill just comes with time and milage. Be patient with yourself!
For me, I've just drawn forever. I also did a lot of sculpting. I had no idea this was actually a profession until I finished college. I sorta stumbled upon it and decided to pursue.He continued,offering encouragement to would be artists looking to break into the industry:
I mentioned a few posts back about how I got into the industry so I'm not really going to go back into it, but for me it was a lot of work in just generating a portfolio, meeting people, and creating relationships.
Currently I'm switching a lot of my work to 3D by using Zbrush. This is really getting me back to my sculpting roots and allowing me to enter a new technical realm. I see myself being a full 2D-3D artist in the future, not being constrained by just drawing and painting. I really want to be able to MAKE the things I create ;)"
"Honestly just keep it up! That's what I did in high-school, I drew all the time. Draw often and draw everything. Especially from life. That alone will do the work for you. Beyond that, learn tools, watch tutorials, take in media, watch movies, play games, make friends, do what inspires you! That's where your ideas will come from. Your experiences and creativity are something you won't learn, you'll absorb and put them into your work!"He continued on, mentioning how he overcomes "artists block":
"I.. am not all powerful.. believe me.
I always hit walls. Always. I have the luxury of working with some extremely talented people, so when I'm frustrated, stumped, or uninspired I simply go to them and say "Can you please do my work for me?" Sometimes in that exact wording. Basically I just ask them for a take on whatever I'm working on, whether they feel like drawing/painting over what I'm doing or just taking a bit to do some sketches for me of their own direction. This helps IMMENSELY. I cannot tell you what a relief it is and how much it helps the anxiety of the mind-block to get a fresh perspective from another artist.
I do a few other things sometimes myself, like just go back to scribbling and shape-making, but honestly, having someone else run it through their separate visual filter is the most helpful. It helps you understand what ideas you might be missing, shows you the habits you've gotten stuck in, and generally just gives you a bit of a kick of inspiration to see someone else jam on something you're excited about.
If you know other artists, get them to draw your stuff. Ask them for their take. You'd be so surprised at how effective it is!"
As for having great ideas but not a good way to express them, he commented:
"If all else fails, 3 key words:
Write **** down.
At the very least the ideas are stored somewhere. Keep them accessible, like on google docs or something so you can throw your ideas into different categories, folders, whatever. Let's say you have ideas for characters, cool. Writer some creative briefs and then go to pinterest and start looking for reference images. That's the very bare bones of a character one-sheet.
Reference/photo-gathering is a great way to sort ideas and create little packages of whatever you're trying to get down.
If you ever are inclined to try art, writing, design, whatever, now you'll have a library you can pull from! Or, if you're ever in a position, professionally or personally, to take on a project of some sort, you can befriend an artist/writer/designer to help you realize those ideas. Either way, figure out a way to turn them into something. Whether you commission art, doodle in a sketchbook, or write a document. Getting them in some way into the world helps a lot. You can always learn skills to further realize them in the future."
He expanded on a few of these ideas a bit later in the AMA, discussing formal education, portfolio options, and how to get a job:
"- School isn't necessary, but it very much depends what your needs are and how much structure you can enforce on your own. School does provide that structure and some accountability. It was good for me for a few reasons: a) there wasn't nearly as huge of an online art community as there is now. b) I made a lot of life-long friends, c) it helped me be a bit more creative and think outside the box, the first school I went to was reeeaaally about ideas rather than technical skill. The second one was the complete opposite.
Currently, you can easily supplement or even in some areas replace school all together with ala carte classes, online tutorials and other resources, but they require a lot of discipline. Just figure out what's best for you. It's honestly whatever works. Very much an individual choice.
- You should have.. "enough". That sounds dumb, I know. But let's say for a 2D artist who's specifically shooting for character design at Riot. I'd want to see a ton of iterations. So, for a single character, 3 pages of thumbnails and rough ideas/sketches. Then, 3 of those sketches or roughs taken to a bit more polish. Tighten up thr drawing, add some basic value, etc. Then, take one of those, integrate some ideas from the other two which you feel help the overall idea, and render the **** out of that thing. Get it nicely polished. That's sorta standard.
Put as many of those as you can in your portfolio.
Aside from that though, I cannot emphasize the importance of sketchbooks. A sketchbook filled to the brim with 100 crazy ideas is worth all the fully rendered 5-10 image portfolios in the world to me. I want to know that you have ideas, a lot of them!
- Make friends. Whether that's geeing to know people at studios, getting into online communities like cghub or conceptart.org, you need to establish relationships. Networking is usually the term. It might sound a little cynical, but work relationships are based on friendly relationships. Connecting with people personally leads to real opportunities professionally.
Aside from that, you can always just submit a lot of portfolios and resumes in the standard way, but I'd advocate going to creative/entertainment based job fairs, comic conventions, video game conventions, anything where you can snag the ear of someone in the industry. Get talking and just create some connections. That's most likely what's going to help you the most.
also, Make something! This is the most amazing age where people form across the world can talk to other people across the world and make movies, comics, games, whatever. If you want to do it for a job, do it for fun first, just to get something made, something people can touch. Great things will follow if what you make is awesome. A comic book, a short, a simple game, whatever. Just make something! It's all at your fingertips!"
PersonalWhen asked who his favorite co-workers are, he commented:
"Ohmikegoodness and GrumpyMonkey are tied pretty much ;)
However, gotta say, everyone I work with, especially the artists, are the most passionate, skillful and humble people I've ever met. They're all pretty much my favorite people ever!"
IronStylus also replied to someone asking about his reputation of drawing beautiful and strong female figures:
""Strength" is a big one. On my concepts I tend to put women in very upright positions. I don't do the heavy contrapposto posing with hips and shoulders extremely offset. I also tend to more equally distribute weight and I NEVER do the thing where they point their toes in. I personally hate that..
I dunno, I just focus on "heroic" women and strength as a feeling and theme. This doesn't mean they're not fit, curvy, beautiful, or otherwise standard beauties, but it's in the presentation, mood and attitude. Pose a women like you would a super hero guy and you'll see what I mean!"
When asked which champion he's enjoyed working on the most, IronStylus shared:
"I've enjoyed them for different reasons, but the one that still shines most to me is Diana. We tried some really weird processes to get her idea rolling. We didn't really abide by the systems that were in place at the time to get champion concepts approved. Our little group just sorta huddled and brainstormed to ourselves, then checked in with our peers periodically. It was sort of an experiment in "can a small group of people create a character and see it all the way through from concept to completion." I think it succeeded, and it's informed some aspects of how we currently create champions. It sort of set a precedent for Design, Creative and Art to really stand cohesively together and shepherd a character through, maintaining vision. That's all very process-y, but also Diana's character was one that really resonated with me and others I worked with. It gained traction, fast. It was challenging yet exhilarating. I'd love to feel that again! "
IronStylus also briefly discussed his thoughts on feedback, noting that unpopular and critical feedback is welcome but negativity and disrespect are note:
""Unpopular" opinions are fine. Critical feedback is fine. Negativity, nastiness and disrespect are not.
When I'm interacting with the community I have my best face on. I'm a pretty easy-going guy normally, but when I encounter toxic behavior, behavior that's just meant to be irritating and inflammatory, I have to concentrate to stay composed. That's very taxing at times.
Me communicating with players is really serious business. I'm putting myself out there and speaking on behalf of a pretty big company. That's a pretty **** big responsibility which is very much drilled into us. The last thing I want to do is to get consumed by emotion and fly off the handle. That would be awful. So, I choose to ask for feedback, ideas, even criticism from players in a respectful manner and constructive manner, even if it's an extreme effort on the community's part, because when I'm emotional, I'm doing my best to keep it together. I'd like to have the respect road go both ways."
When asked "Whats the next skin idea you are really excited for", he commented:
"I should be available for the next PAX in Australia :)
Currently I don't have any skins in my bandwidth, buuuut I have a neat idea for maybe working on a Headhunter Sejuani, just to see how that might look. Nooo promises on that actually becoming a thing, though!
I'd love to come around more. Going to try to. Been verrry busy as of recent. I'm diving into a lot of new territory in terms of 3D art and technical work. I've backed off a bit from the NA forums as well. I'll try to sneak more time into visiting ;D"
As for his favorite between Diana and Leona, he commented:
"Well, Diana and Leona are both my favorite for different reasons, though I'm most competent with Leona in terms of play. I go back and forth depending on my mood ;)"When asked who Diana is based off of since Leona is based off his wife, IronStylus replied:
"Heh.. no, Diana is more inspired by my own little brat emo self of the past."
IronStylus also hit a trio of questions on the future of LoL, his favorite things to work on, and his love for Diana and Leona.
- Where do you think League of Legends is headed in the future?"- I think we're heading towards.. and this is by NO MEANS somewhere written in stone, it's more of what I'd like to see.. a direction where we see a more holistic exploration and explanation of the world of League of Legends. I see it happening more through the client, at least in my head, as sort of this "portal" to all things League and beyond. My hope would be to see such a deep experience that you'd have so much multimedia to consume for all levels of involvement that players experience.
- What is your favourite thing to work on? In terms of skins, champions etc.
- What makes you love Leona and Diana, other than you designing them of course."
I think we'll continue to be an awesome game with awesome content and that we'll learn some incredible things along the way. Not sure how cadence will be, or balance, I'll only be doing my small part to add what I can that's of value. I think there's a LOT of life left in the game, even outside of SR itself. I hope we go that distance and make it into an experience where a game of LoL is only one tidbit of the entire League of Legends world that there is to explore.
- I really love champion creation and relaunches equally. They both have wonderful joys and real challenges. I love creating something from nothing but I also love revitalizing what's old. I think not only do we have infinite ideas to draw from for future characters, but I think that our current roster has so much potential that can be infinitely built upon.
- Strong women is the main thing. I'm not fond of demure, victimized, or powerless female tropes. I think women are not only as strong as men, but that they have such a unique strength that transcends "traditional" male-oriented strength. Strength, intelligence, certainty, drive, also are things that I find really attractive in women in general, and I love building on those tropes and characteristics. I find strength beautiful, and i love to work on beautiful things!
Diana and Leona are strong but also vulnerable. I love complexity and duality. When things notch together that's when I feel all warm and fuzzy. These are women who aren't simply hero/villain types. They're complex characters that have to wrestle with their forces inside and outside. They're quintessentially human and in many ways tragic, yet powerful. I find the depth that we can explore there to be so very exciting, and I love playing in those spaces with women because I think those strength-related character tropes are under-served in popular culture."
He also explained his affinity for parrots and how many he has:
"The parrot thing started with my wife. She had 3 parrots when I met her (Sun Conure, Dusky Conure and a Brotegeous). We took one of those (Sun Conure) to California when we moved here and adopted one later (a Green Cheek Conure). In 2010 the Sun Conure we came to LA with unfortunately passed away. We kept the second one (green Cheek) which we had adopted, and bought a Jardine's Parrot soon after. The Jardine's was going through some issues and having anxiety, so recently we bought one of her sisters so now we're back to 3 birds. 1 Green Cheek Conure and 2 Jardine's parrots. IT'S A CRAZY-HOUSE.
However, since being introduced to parrots as pets, I have become enamored with them in general. I am so very fascinated that this strange species of unique birds can be plucked right out of the jungle and mesh so well with humans. Their adaptability is incredible. They're so very intelligent, affectionate and curious. I'm constantly astounded how much personality I've seen from every single bird I've met. It's an added novelty that none of these animals is genetically different than their wilderness counterparts. It blows my mind. You can't easily grab a wolf pup and raise it as a dog, it'll always have some of that wild in them, but parrots adapt so well so long as they're well integrated into the larger flock of the household and kept engaged with. They never go rabid on you. They bond."
Lore / Lore EventsWhen asked if there are plans to progress League of Legend's current storylines instead of simply creating new ones with each champion, IronStylus commented:
"As you might have noticed it's really hard to tell story in the game setting itself. The way I see it is this way:
Marvel vs. Capcom. Magneto will be fighting Ryu in the Xavier Academy. The way I see playing LoL characters on SR is similar, at least in my brain. There's a world that exists which our characters may have never met, nor may ever come in contact with. But in this place, which is a real place on Runeterra, we put on that show and have that fight. It's completely separate form the actual timeline outside of the game. That's at least how I put it into perspective.
That said, we need to have ways to tell story of the actual world. We need to tell the story of what's happening between Zaun and Piltover in the present day. I want to be able to tell the whole story arc between Diana and Leona, from beginning to end. So, we're experimenting.
Lore events are a good start, character vignettes like the Jinx video are great, but I do think we need to push into some form of linear story-telling. Not sure what form that's going to take yet though."
When asked if he could share the next Freljord like event, he commented:
"I'm not quite sure when/if the next event will be, but I would love to see one. I think doing something with one of our many factions is an awesome idea. We have so much to explore!
(I'd kill for a Targon event!)
I answered what I could about a potential story on Targon a few posts back."He continued:
"I very much hope that more lore-related events happen. We have tons of story opportunity and I'd love to provide more peeks into our world. Currently however I don't have the latest info on any potential events."
He also shared his own PERSONAL IDEAS for a Targon themed event:
"So.. I'd LOVE to do a Targon event. Will that ever happen? No idea..
A bird can dream.
My personal take is this, but it's in no way anything other than head canon. We're actively discussion the larger story line and the world of Targon itself:
I think that there must have been some balance that the Solari and Lunari had in the past. With the genocide (I'm guessing) of the Lunari, that balance was thrown off. An event which this could have happened in the past I think is likely. Sun, Moon, all cyclical. It'd be interesting if what's "currently" happening either a) happened before or b) was averted in the past. I feel with the return of the Moon's "scorn" the balance has been flipped. The time where the Solari held dominance is over, and now a dark era has begun. A "long night" maybe. That's going to create some interesting events on Targon. Where does Diana go from here? What happens now that Leona has had her people slaughtered? Is Pantheon involved in any of this?
There are some awesome options for stories here. I'm hoping to continue to explore them. What I have above isn't anything written in stone, but I think it might be a nice place to start."
ChampionsReplying to a comment about a lot of "epic " champions and not so many quirky or fun champions last year, IronStylus commented:
"I think that indeed we're looking to push. For a while we had what we referred to as Dudepocalypse, and Babesplosion, which constituted a lot of "bad ass" guys and ladies. That was a pretty conservative time when we were pondering how to make creatures and more obtuse ideas viable. We have since gotten a lot more creative and forgiving with ourselves. You're going to see a bit more zaniness this year and some characters that break the mold. Whether you want to use words like "silly" "playful", etc, I think you'll find something you like this year!"When asked if we might see more monster champions like Vel'Koz, he commented:
"There are a few ideas for non-humanoids in the pot."
IronStylus also replied to a commented on how there are the monstrous female champions when a summoner pointed out they aren't really monsters, just "women in costumes".
"For Elise, Zyra, Cass, I think we could've gone further. We were in a phase where everything, for some reason, took on a base humanoid build, and we just sort stuck stuff on it to change silhouette. That time is certainly over and we're pushing outside of what creature/human hybrids can look like, or just what grotesque humans might look like in general."
In response to someone asking if we'll see another Mount Targon champion to fight along side Diana and Leona, he commented:
"Hmmm.. Targon champion. I think there are compelling ideas in terms of someone between Leona and Diana. Either creating or trying to resolve the conflict. There are a couple ways to achieve that, maybe making a champion that's more holistically celestial, or maybe someone "of the mountain" itself.
Lots of space to play.
I do love the ideas of the Leona and Diana skins you're referencing."
IronStylus also commented on the balance side of Diana, reiterating that she's being looked at:
"Currently some designers are looking into her. Vesh has commented on this specifically on the NA forums. I too hope that they can properly carve out the niche she should live in.
Currently there are no skins immediately in development, but one of the results of my work on LG Diana was all the ideation I did. Those have some good ideas in them I feel. There's a lot of different options that i think would be fitting which we now have a jump on in terms of exploration. "
When questioned about Urgot and how "ugly" he is, IronStylus commented:
"Urgot is tricky.. right now he's quite literally a failed experiment. I don't think we necessarily need to make that more appealing, we just need to get some reasoning behind it and get that fidelity up there. There's plenty of ways we can get grotesque in there without being technically ugly.
Gross things are cool, sub-par execution is another thing. We certainly will revisit him, just not sure when."
When asked about his thoughts on the Master Yi, Garen, Karma, and Trundle relaunches, he shared:
"My personal thoughts are that Garen was indeed a sucess, dispite some community backlash. I think his quality increased uwithout a doubt and despite some community feedback, it was deemed a success. I think some tweaks were needed for his skins, but I feel we addressed the actionable feedback in the time we had. I would consider the term "buchered" to be a real overstatement.
I'll take the same line for Yi, I think his quality increase was across the board really successful.
For Karma, I would have liked to see us try to figure out how to retain the fans. I joined the team right around that time, it was too late to really be involved in concepting. I did a REALLY old version of a Karma skin that informed the VU, but wasn't involved in that concept. I think she's cool, but I would change a few things if we went at it again.
As for Trundle, I'm actually really delighted as to how he turned out, though I think we could have "Chapter 2'd" his story line and bridged the old look/story with the new look/story. That's more on the creative side though and I had little control there."
He also shared the direction the team is taking with the Sion relaunch, saying:
"Right now I think we're moving more towards the undead brutal arcanely resurrected hulk of Noxus. Someone who in the past was very much about old glory, and how has been brought back to be this huge abomination of brute strength."
As for the recently announced Heimerdinger VU, he commented he believes they kept the same voice actor and where they will be headed with yordles:
"I'm pretty sure we kept his voice actor. Heimer is sort of the first step, and definitely won't be the last. He's certainly set a precedent, now we have a direction for male yordles, females are the next to tackle!"He continued:
"Not sure if I quite understand.. but with Heimerdinger we've taken the first steps towards unifying yordles. We're all pretty pleased at the results thus far. Right now that's only males however. Further down the line we'll probably see other yordles fall a bit more in line with Ziggs and Heimer. I think they'll retain some of their uniqueness, like Rumble looking a little more rodent like, but my hunch is that characters like Corki, Kennen, Veigar, etc, will take on features that we've worked into Ziggs and Heimer.As for where Amumu fits into all this yordle talk, he commented:
That said, females will be a different yet similar matter. Right now our standard female yordle is Lulu, however, there's a huge dissonance between female and male yordles. Currently the males have hair, the females don't appear to. My guess is that we'll be inching the females ever so slightly towards the more animalistic. This might mean Tristana, Poppy, etc taking on a slightly more feline or otherwise subtle animal aspect. Large ears, less human of a nose, all that stuff. That's just my hunch for now. We're experimenting with what to do, and Tristana will probably be our test bed for the next iterations of yordle females. I'd say Poppy would be first if she wasn't such a heavy task for design."
"My hunch, and this is just based on trends I'm seeing now, is that we abandon Amumu being a yordle and just make him the sad mummy boy. I think that's a compelling story on it's own. Not sure why we piled yordle on top of that to begin with..."Returning back to Heimer specifically and how long his VU took, Ironstylus commented:
"Hiemer took a while but I want to say we started him back at the end of last year. You'd be surprised how much the team can chunk through when we're committed to something :P
Actually Heimer progressed at the proper cadence, but we did have a winter break in there as well as some team shifting and some stuff that got caught up in the concept phase. I think 2014 will be a little smoother after this.
Snowmerdinger is the exact same geo and texture wrapped over the new rig, so yeah, he's essentially the same.
Errmm.. no idea actually! I think though that the toggleable walks/emotes/whatever will now be fertile ground for some additional personalization inside of characters you play. Might not always be a walk. The swagwalk is using a similar mechanism that's in place for Vi's Neon Strike skin when her glasses lower or raise."
When asked what he would do if he were in "full artistic and thematic control" of Taric, IronStylus replied:
"Well, that's complicated, but I'd definitely like to make him more solid in terms of quality, theme, and make him not so much a living joke. Not going super serious, but I think he's built on shaky ground right now and could use some love in making him feel like a quality character that still retains charm."
IronStylus also briefly mentioned his thoughts on a Pantheon VU and a comment about a very early champion concept he's working on:
"My hunch is that Pantheon might exist somewhere in our batch of VU's after the 5-6 we currently have in the pipe. That's just my gut though. We haven't done our planning for the entirety of 2014 yet, so I'm not certain where specifically lies. However, we are aware that he'd be a very straightforward champion and maybe an "easy win" since he's a) melee, b) a straightforward archetype and c) popular. I think the biggest thing there is that he has a lot of room to tell story. Personally, I want to make him feel more Targon, whatever that means. I'd like to see where he fits in the Diana/Leona story arc.He continued, answering a question about the Rakkar people and where they are headed:
I.. am.. currently... working.... on a champ idea which is VERY EARLY in it's ideation phase. It might happen, it might not. However, the guys I'm working with really enjoy the idea and I think the idea has legs. Not sure that even if we did get it into production that you'd see it anytime this year though."
"Heh, I think that's the big question among us all internally. We honestly don't know. Are they nomadic peoples? Are they original inhabitants of the mountain? Where are they geographically?
I agree they don't have any identifiable cues. I think one of the things that could be leveraged in a Pantheon VU would be expanding on just who and his people are. Give him a real place in the world, relate him to the Diana/Leona story and make him not just a dude in spartan armor.
I think artistically he needs to look like he belongs. We've sort of created this "relic weapon/armor" thing on Targon. Maybe we should incorporate that. Also, when we figure out where he's from, who he is, we should give him some style that roots him to his culture. I want to do something like what you're referring to. Put him next to Diana and Leona and see if they fit."
IronStylus also answered a question on the status of the Ryze visual upgrade:
"Luckilly, because Ryze is a pretty thematically straight-forward character, we have a bit of a jump on him. He has a model hanging around, but he isn't the highest priority at the moment. However, when the time comes for his VU, we already have a good start!"
As for a visual upgrade for Shaco, IronStylus commented:
"He's high-ish on the list at least in terms of needing some work badly, but that all has to be balanced with how visible the champion is, what gameplay changes are in the works and other various cost/benefit analysis.
I have a hunch we might work on him in 2014, but no guarantees yet."
SkinsWhen asked what decides who gets a legendary or ultimate tier skin, IronStylus commented:
"Legendary or Ultimate or whatever are mostly defined by just what the character has the potential to be. If we see opportunity, we push forward. A skin might start out as a simple concept but then balloon. Other times, we think that a champion might be due for something and we see real big possibilities in their core character. The reasons are never the same across the board. Very much comes down to how the team feels about the character and the concept them organically grows."
As for if we'll see any more "stand alone " skins ( skins that aren't part of a larger theme or line ), he commented:
"I think you'll still see plenty of standalone skins that don't fit into themes. However, when something gets popular, such as a standalone skin, sometimes it prompts an entire line. No one really had an idea for a Pool Party line until way after Ziggs. "
IronStylus also mentioned that he -personally- would like to see the return of two skins per champion release, saying:
"Personally I'd like to go back to 2 skins on release. Currently I feel we put a lot of hopes and dreams into one skin and it takes a long time to iterate, maybe a bit too long. I'd like us to be able to hit multiple fantasies. That's a major question for Production however. They're the ones that know the capacity of the teams and their ability to deliver to quality and time standards."
When asked about a new Rumble skin, he replied:
"Rumble is an interesting case because currently there can be no skins created on his current rig. As I've said, some other things are being worked on for Rumble. Like you've noticed, the lack of meatballs. Other things are also being worked on which might eventually lead to a VU, but currently are addressing a different content aspect..
..I know that's super vague. Can't really be clear on it unfortunately."
IronStylus also commented a new skin for Skarner, saying:
"Skarner, huh? Well, we pretty much have skins in the works for every champion that's not getting a heavy VU. So he's in there, don't fear! Not sure when he'll be out, but I'm pretty sure what'll be coming for him eventually will be pretty cool."He continued:
"It was? Interesting. I do know that there are a couple in the pipe, but I wouldn't be at liberty to say what. I don't think they'll be coinciding with any gameplay though. I haven't seen any skins for him pop up as anything aside from concepts."
When asked about a new Quinn skin, IronStylus noted:
"Can't share specifics, but she does have a skin in the works :)"
He also commented on why Dark Valkyrie Diana had her headdress removed when it was allowed to stay on the new Lunar Goddess Diana skin:
"To be honest, I was a little confused about the DV head dress removal also. To this day, I'm not quite sure why we did it. I know there were some ideas that it mimicked Syndra's head dress. However, considering they're vastly different reads in-game, I'm not sure why it mattered.
Those were some hectic days, and we've ironed out a lot of process since. I'd like to think that such a mishap wouldn't happen again. To this day I'm still pro-head dress, but maybe I'm lacking some key bit of knowledge as to why we absolutely needed to do that."
As for future Zac skins, he commented:
"Zac is a challenge because of how crazy his rig is. I know any skins would cause a ton of texture distortion. The team is currently trying to figure out good solutions."
When asked if any Darius or Gangplank skins were in the pipe line, he commented:
"Since we've had recent skins for both of them I don't know what is immediately in the pipe, but I'm sure there's been discussions on what the next ones would be."
IronStylus also mentioned that we may we another Arcade themed skin laster this year:
"Not sure specifically is in store for Zac, but I know that Arcade skins are very very beloved by our artists and fans alike. I would count on more of them coming along. Hopefully this year!"
When asked about the "Dragon Master Swain" fan concept skin, he replied:
"While there's no concept around yet, It's definitely on the Skins team's radar!"
As for the Caitlyn skin concept we saw at PAX Aus last year, he noted:
"While it was a cool idea, I don't think we're going forward with it right now. We have some other really cool ideas which I think are more compelling than what we made during PAX"
When asked if Riot has ever directly used a fan created concept for a skin, he replied:
"We're bombarded by a LOT of concepts. I know guys who visit those forums, take a look at various community outlets, and generally just click through what the community has come up with. Usually we have a whole lot of ideas generated internally. I think the player submissions are really valuable, but I'd have to ask the ideation team if they've ever taken direct inspiration. Currently my gut is that there hasn't been direct influence, but I think community generated concepts always live in the backs of our heads as we develop.
I'm guessing there would be legal issues, which may be an indication as to why you haven't seen something developed in the community just pop up in game. However, there are soo many good ideas out there that we can't help but be inspired, even if it's subconsciously, by the great things our players make."
When asked about the Oceanic Server skin, IronStylus commented:
"We sorta set an odd precedent with Special Forces Gangplank and Muay Thai Lee Sin I feel. I'm not sure what the plan is in terms of local region skins. That's a bit of an internal discussion right now. I think the general concept for local launch skins is cool, but that's a large Skins Team discussion which I'm not particular up to date on."He continued:
"Sorta answered this earlier.. but I'm not sure what our policy towards regional skins is going to be going forward. I think that's a big discussion despite us having set a precedent in the past. It's something I'd have to follow up on with the Skins team."
Prepaid Riot Point Card ChangesHere's Riot The Flash with info on some upcoming changes to prepaid Riot Point cards and the news that support will no longer convert them into another regions equivalent:
Over the past few months, we've given players in NA, EU (both EUW and EUNE), LAN and OCE access to their own regional RP cards. As a result of this expanded access, starting March 1, 2014, we’ll no longer redeem RP cards between regions through player support requests. After that, OCE RP cards will only work in OCE, EU RP cards will only work in EUW and EUNE, etc.
The main concern that led to this decision is abuse of these cards as a currency conversion tool. Riot Games is not a foreign exchange market, and by regularly redeeming outside-region cards we are indirectly opening a window to real world risks.
We know some players play on a different server than the region they live in and only make these cross-regional RP card redemption requests because they can't access the right RP cards. To ease the transition, accounts created before March 1 will get a one-time exception if they submit a request after the new policy takes effect. After that, we do have to ask that those of you who fall into this category choose other payment options. Secure methods to purchase Riot Points (like Paypal and Paysafe) are listed within our store and you can find more detailed information on the methods for your region here.
As a friendly reminder, players should always purchase RP cards through authorized retailers. For more information (including a list of authorized retailers), check out the League of Legends Support Site."He continued:
"The cards are and have been region locked since they were first printed. We're giving advance notice that we're going to honor the region lock by not redeeming the cards for players through support requests, now that more regions have access to their own cards.
You're right about not being able to remove RP from an account for cash, but we're dealing with tangible goods of specific value (unredeemed physical RP cards) being bought and sold between regions with differing currencies. That's a type of activity that we don't want to associate with, and was never intended.
I would not post the announcement if it was aimed to adversely impact or swindle players, so I'm not sure where that accusation is coming from.
My job and passion is to do the opposite of that."