Vel'Koz AMA Summary!

Posted on at 2:55 AM by Prof. Fridays
Earlier today, a tentacle-full of Rioters from the Vel'Koz development team hopped on the League of Legends subreddit to host an Ask Me Anything about our upcoming champion - Vel'koz, The Eye of the Void. - and we've prepared a summary for those who may be itching to look over all the answers!
Continue reading if you seek more knowledge, the most valuable resource of all! 

The following Rioters participated in this AMA:
  • David "RiotRepertoir" Capurro
  • Leslee "RiotOpeli"
  • Ian "subninja" Holowka
  • Skylar "Reach4TheSkylar" Surra
  • Larry "TheBravoRay" Ray
  • Jason "chupacobbler" Willey
  • Eugene "Kyugene" Kang

With guest appearance (not listed in the reddit post):
  • Daniel "ZenonTheStoic" Klein

The Q&A has been organized into categories, namely, Lore for questions regarding Vel'Koz's story, Gameplay for questions surrounding Vel'Koz's gameplay and mechanics in-game, Development for questions pertaining to the work behind and leading up to the Vel'Koz's release, and Chuckle Bucket if you are looking more for laughs than substance (and a lot of silly skin concepts)!

Lore


Q. What does Vel'Koz think of the other Voidborns in the League, such as Cho'Gath, Kha'Zix, and Kog'Maw? Does he not really care for them and see them as primitive since they just seek to consume things like the other Voidborns in Vel'Koz's lore? Or does he see them as allies more than nuisances?
Also, is Vel'Koz familiar with Kog'Maw's daddy?

"Well ... Vel'Koz is a little highbrow. Creatures like Cho, Kha'Zix, and Kog are a little primitive to him but he'd keep that opinion to himself, unless he's about to vaporize them. But as long as they don't get in his way, they're fine.
He's probably familiar with Kog's dad. :]" - RiotOpeli

Q. Vel'koz is a tentacle monster, while alll the other void champs are pretty much bug-like. Is he superior to the others, or just a different breed?
"He's just a different type of void creature." - RiotOpeli

Q. What does Vel'koz think of the 'augmented' humans so to speak like Viktor and Urgot? Would this throw his recognition of humans off, or entice him to test these champions further?
"My read is that he'd be really interested in how these humans managed to upgrade their feeble bodies." - subninja

Q. Who is Vel'Koz' favorite champion to...ehem..."observe"?
"Himself. He's very vain." - subninja

Q. How do you feel his hunger for knowledge is reflected on the character design?
"So it's hard to sell "knowledge seeker" on a tentacle creature. However, our pitch for the character is "knowledge through destruction." By destroying things with his laser beams, he learns about them. I think the VO does a good job of making this clearer." - subninja

Q. Which champion, if any, would Vel'Koz be the most likely to ally with?
"No one--he probably doesn't even get along with the other void creatures due to not being obsessed with eating :p" - Kyugene

Gameplay


Q. Do you think Vel'Koz will see immediate play in the competitive scene, or will he be more of a niche pick due to his lack of mobility?
"I'm hopeful that people will pick him up competitively, I feel like he'd be really strong if people are able to build the right team around him. At the same time though, it is possible to build the right team AGAINST him, so it's hard to judge." - subninja

Q. Does Yasuo's Wind Wall stop the laser?
"Yasuo's body doesn't even stop the laser." - subninja

Q. Does his beam go through walls like Lux's ultimate?
"His beam goes through everything. Including those pesky wind walls." - subninja 
Q. Was our new favorite tentacle monster conceived at a time when champions with gap-closers that can be very strong against him when played well were not as prevalent as they are now? Haven't played him versus LeBlanc and such, but I assume that he is not a very safe pick against them. He seems like he was not designed with the current meta in mind.
"Vel'Koz wasn't really designed to fit into a particular meta. He is particularly vulnerable to mobile assassins like LeBlanc, but we feel that this weakness can allow him to be really powerful in areas where he excels." - RiotRepertoir
Q. And the part where he excels is in the laser destroying the battlefield?
"We certainly hope so :)" - RiotRepertoir

Q. Can he move while casting his ult?
"He cannot move while casting his ultimate. We want players to feel vulnerable, but incredibly powerful, while using it." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Does his ult go through enemy champs like a Lux laser?
"It passes through all units, including champions." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Why does Vel'Koz's laser have such high base damage but a low AP ratio?
"R was intentionally given a low-ish AP ratio and high base so that it felt impactful to Vel'Koz and the enemy in any situation which it was used effectively. If the AP ratio was too high here, it Vel'Koz would be able to stroll over to lower-level, underfarmed opponents, press R, and collect a few kills. We want this to feel good when he's ahead, but not completely oppressive to the enemy." - RiotRepertoir
"Also this ability, just based on the way it works is really easy to land properly when you're ahead, and really hard to land when you're behind. The R's current tuning is designed to offset that to some degree." - subninja

Q. Do you think Vel'Koz could possibly fit the meta of a S4 jungler?
"We don't see that being a role that he naturally excels in, but we could be wrong. He gets beat up pretty hard in the jungle, and is pretty reliant on getting those first two blue buffs if he does. Any pressure from Vi/Elise/LeeSin/etc. would probably make him pretty sad. Feel free to prove me wrong here, though!" - RiotRepertoir
"Anything is possible if you believe in yourself... and if you can't believe in yourself, believe in the me that believes in you." - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. How do you want Vel'Koz to be used?
"We've found that perhaps the most important part of playing Vel'Koz is exercising a fair amount of patience as a fight gets started, throwing out Q's and W's as a fight gets started, dropping an E to create distance on encroaching enemy frontliners, and then channeling a huge R on the enemy team when it's safe to do so." - RiotRepertoir

Q. When do you think Vel'Koz performs best in a game? Early, Mid, Late etc?
We've generally found his mid- and early-late-game to be quite powerful. Because his passive scales solely on his character level, he has quite the advantage over lower level characters at these points in the game. That being said, if he's hitting his Q's in lane, he'll seem pretty crazy early too! - RiotRepertoir

Q. Is he meant for late game? He doesn't really have huge burst and his ap ratios are lower than other mids.
"He should perform pretty well in the late-game, but if he's not at Karthus late-game levels, we're okay with that. Still, his total AP ratios on Q, W x2 (because it's on ammo), E, and R are actually quite high when combined, and that's before his passive is even considered." - RiotRepertoir

Q. How will Vel'Koz do in the pro scene?
"This is still up in the air. It would be great if he was in such a state that he can be a niche pick in the pro scene, but since he's not quite as flexible as most of the picks we see there, it may not happen right away." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Are you worried he'll be to strong or overpowered even? I know alot of people see early beta versions of the champion and immediately think its overpowered. The true damage I'm sure has some people worried.
"We're not too concerned, since he has a ton of tuning points that we can modify. For example, if he's too mobile/kitey, we can hit his base movement speed, his E knockback range, or his Q slow. If he's just doing too much damage, we can look at his passive numbers. If he's clearing waves, we'll look at his W damage (especially vs minions). We think he's pretty close, but we end up being radically wrong, we're confident he can be tuned easily.
And true damage alone is nothing to be afraid of, it's just another mechanic. We could make it be as high or as low as needed, I don't feel that true damage is inherently problematic alone." - subninja

Q. Do you think Vel'Koz will see any light in the support role as champs such as Annie have migrated to support?
"I've seen some people on PBE run him as a support. Our thought is that he could probably do an okay job as support, but not necessarily better than other supports run today. His Q is nasty in bot lane though." - subninja

Q. With Vel'Koz having the abilities with such range would it be too far fetched to say he can go toe to toe with a Xerath range-wise in mid lane?
"Xerath pretty easily outranges Vel'Koz due to the range of his Q, but he also pays a pretty heavy Movement Speed cost if he channels it to max range. If Vel'Koz can dodge Xerath's Q with his exceptional base Movement Speed, then he should be able to hit some spells pretty easily against Xerath. Should be a pretty fun matchup overall!" - RiotRepertoir

Q. Do you think Vel'Koz has enough compensation in his kit to handle the high-mobility champions that are often considered the counter to many underused champions or is he destined to fall into neglect based solely on his kit?
"We think that Vel'Koz's control over fights will make him powerful enough to fight most other champions he should come across. If Vel'Koz manages to interrupt a highly mobile champion's movement with his E or punish them while their mobility is on cooldown, he should have the upper hand." - RiotRepertoir

Q. If Vel'Koz happend to be too strong, what would you hit? Damage? Utillity? And what if he happened to be too weak? What would you buff?
"This all depends on where is is too weak or too strong. If he's just dealing too much/little damage, then that's a pretty solvable problem. A bigger problem would be if he didn't perform well in his areas of intended strength or performed too well in his areas of intended weakness. We'd probably have to reevaluate these on a case-by-case basis." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Against which kind of enemies Vel'Koz is the best?
"The ones that don't deal with him IMMEDIATELY." - RiotRepertoir

Q. How do you justify his low mana costs, such as how his spell rotation/burst barely puts a scratch on his mana bar even early on? (Chalice makes life even easier.)
"We want players to feel good about using Q and E in lane, hence the low mana costs. We think this is okay due to their skillshot nature. W actually has a reasonably high cost, and since it's his main waveclear tool, he'll find his mana bar pretty empty if he's spamming it on minions. If chalice solves this problem, then that's pretty much okay since it's the point of the item for the most part. We will definitely monitor his performance on launch, though, and if mana costs are the biggest culprit, we can adjust as necessary :)" - RiotRepertoir

Q. I think it's fair to say that so far, very few sustained damage casters have ended up seeing significant play - Ziggs is probably the only exception because his kit is a little overloaded with power at the moment. Champions like Cassiopeia, Xerath, Heimer and so on just don't get touched because they simply can't compete with the assassins and high-CC mid champs - how have you avoided that issue with Vel'koz?
"Balancing the power level of sustained damage mages tends to be pretty difficult. When tuning Vel'Koz, it was hard to stay reminded that though his numbers may appear high on paper, he pays a pretty heavy mobility cost for them. Mobility and assassination are intended to be a weakness for Vel'Koz; it's just a matter of honing in on his strengths and allowing him to be very powerful in those areas. We think he can be competitive if this has been done correctly. What we didn't want to do was fight fire with fire for Vel'Koz." - RiotRepertoir

Q. When the laser follows the cursor, does it follow at the same pace or is there a set speed at which the laser rotates?
"The turn speed caps out." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Can you interrupt the ultimate with Vayne's Condemn?
"Yeah any form of hard CC (stun/suppression/knockback) or silence will interrupt it." - subninja

Q. Why his ulti doesnt grant vision? It is a LAZOR! Seriously now, when ppl flash over walls or fog of war it would really help to grant vision of the area LASOR strikes!
"So this got brought up internally and on PBE. So if he's ulting someone in a bush, and can see them, he holds the beam on them, and they get the full damage on them. End of story. If he CAN'T see them, it gets a lot more interesting. He has to predict where they've gone, and they have to predict where he's going to shoot (while avoiding this giant beam that's searching for them). To me, the second case creates a lot more interesting opportunities for players to outplay each other, which is why I've kept it the way it is." - subninja



Development


Q. What makes you give a mage the movement speed that they get? Is there a trade off of if they don't have mobility, they get high burst damage?

"This is actually a pretty challenging choice to make. Lack of mobility is an intended weakness of Vel'Koz, but we gave him particularly high base Movement Speed for a mage. We did this because we wanted to give him at least a chance to keep up with moving fights. A lack of moveblocks in any form makes this difficult, so we think that his high base MS is justified." - RiotRepertoir
"It's all done on a case-by-case basis, there's no hard rule. In Vel'Koz's case, he has no mobility skills, and no reliable CC, which is the price he pays for having sustained long range damage. His movement speed was originally a bit slower, but in internal competitive playtests, he was getting wrecked by divers a bit too easily, so we figured it would be healthy to give him a bit of a movement speed boost." - subninja

Q. How difficult is it to animate the tentacles, compared to other champions?
"Animator here! We don't really have anything like Vel'koz in league right now so the tentacles were actually one of the biggest technical challenges of this champion. There was actually a time when we weren't even sure we were going to be able to do Vel'koz because of all the technical hurdles. Making tentacles look good is damn hard! Myself and some of the other animators did a big exploration spike on the character and with the help of our riggers/tech animators figured out some awesome techniques for achieving the look we wanted. Originally we thought a more math driven solution would work where we let the computer do all the work, but in the end we settled on brute forcing it, 15 joints per tentacle all hand animated. We still had huge problems with blending between animations. Because his tentacles are constantly moving, every time he would switch between animations the tentacles would fly all over the place. You may have even seen some videos of this on youtube : P However thanks to the hard work of our Animation engineers and tech animators, we were able to come up with some fancy tech which makes those tentacles butter smooth. We learned a ton that will help us tackle other champions in the future with all sorts of wiggles and cloth." - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. Basically lots of coroutines? Would love to hear how you guys did this programmatically!
"So the tentacles were actually animated all by hand. We were unable to find a procedural solution for them that we were happy with. However we weren't able to solve the blending problems with animation alone.
As for the tech that makes the blending work correctly, it's even a bit beyond me. I am but a lowly animator who gravels at the feet of our tech wizards. If you really want to talk tech, the guy to hunt down is Griftrix. He hangs out in the playwithriot channel on LoL all the time. Tell him I sent you his way : D" - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. What about Cassiopeia's tail?
"[Cassiopeia's] tail actually has many similar problems. However, she actually doesn't have a lot of the tech that helps [Vel'Koz] transition well between animations. You'll notice that she actually has some problems with this. I hope someday if we ever go back and rework her that we will be able to take advantage of some of the new tech and really make her shine." - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. Does Vel'Koz have a critical hit animation by using all of his 3 tentacles?
"That's a good question. I wasn't the only animator on the project so I don't actually remember what his crit looks like. Go on pbe and build ad crit vel'koz and let me know :D" - ReachForTheSkylar
[Prof.'s Note: The answer is, in fact, yes!] 

Q. Where did idea for Vel'Koz come from? Is there going to be an "invasion" event with his release? And what was your opinion on the theories about him being a Watcher?
"Larry answered this down the thread somewhere: I was with Alex "Skribbles" Yee in a room thinking of what we needed to do for the next creature champ. He jokingly said "you can do my champ idea I had for years" I said what is that? "Squid on a rainbow cloud champ."
We don't have an event planned for Vel'Koz's release, but we've definitely noticed all your guys awesome speculation and excitement, and it's something I'd personally love to explore more in the future.
Vel'Koz himself is not a watcher, but I don't think it's crazy to think that a rift may have opened in the Freljord a long time ago." - RiotOpeli

Q. What led you to decide to make Vel'Koz as a creature of high intelligence and learning instead of the usual void creatures "dumb" and uncontrolled violence or consumption?
"I'm not sure what Opeli's initial inspiration was to pitch him as an intelligent knowledge seeker. The ideal really appealed to me personally since it added some depth of character. It also adds this really interesting "dark humor" where he's doing horrible things and destroying people, but to him it's just him going about his day and acquiring knowledge. I personally like that a lot more than "mindless world destroyer"." - subninja

Q. Does making a non-humanoid champion like Vel'Koz present any unique challenges you would not necessarily face while make a humanoid?
"Yeah there are a number of challenges. I'll just list off a few that we ran into:
-How to portray his intelligence? We couldn't really do it through model/animations, had to do it through VO and to a lesser extent gameplay.
-How creepy/strange do we make his movements
-How to make VO for him (does he speak? what does he sound like?)
-No legs, where do we put homeguard particles?
A lot of things are different when you're not dealing with a human." - subninja

Q. Who is Vel'Koz's voice actor?
"That would be [Erik] Braa :D" - Kyugene
[Prof.'s Note: Erik Braa also did the voices for Jax and Draven! Sorry, not Draven, Draaaaven.]

Q. I really like Vel'koz it's incredibly refreshing to see a non-humanoid champion enter the league, its been a really long time. Did you go into Vel'koz with an idea of a floating eyeball tentacle monster or how did you go about making a non-humanoid champion?
"Yeah there's a good story behind this one, Larry (bravo ray) I believe is typing it out right now. The goal of Vel'Koz's art was to add something really different to the League." - subninja

Q. What was your favourite thing about Vel’koz when creating him?
"I saw the art by Larry, and thought "I bet that guy could shoot a giant death beam". And then went ahead into trying to make him shoot a giant death beam. The art really opened up a ton of possibilities in terms of gameplay, which made for a really interesting space to design in." - subninja
"His VO lines, hands-down. It was just ... so much fun. :D" - RiotOpeli
"For me personally working with a great team on a complex project. Making a void creature was a blast to do, truly love his distinct shapes and the way he reads in game. This was a great opportunity to expand the void line up." - TheBravoRay
"I did a lot of exploration animation on Vel'koz which was a super blast (no pun intended). That early proccess is always my favorite. Taking a static character and bringing it to life for the first time is always so exciting. This was particularly fun on vel'koz as a flying tentacle creature is not exactly something that exhists in nature, so it required a lot of imagination and experimentation (and lots of creepy videos of walking octopi)." - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. How long did it take to create Vel'Koz, from start to finish?
"Almost a full year. We started concepting him last March!" - RiotOpeli

Q. Is this how long it usually takes to do a champion, from concept to release?
"Nowadays, yeah. I'd say at least eight months of work gets put into our champions, from ideation to release." - RiotOpeli

Q. What is the majority of this time spent on? Is it mostly designing the kit and feel? Is it spent scraping all ideas until you have one? Or is it the number tweaks on the Riot Servers before they hit PBE then Live?
"A large part is trying to get them into a healthy state (ie not necessarily tuned yet, but with a clear role/strengths/weaknesses), bringing something unique to the table in terms of playstyle, bringing a unique reason to pick them, and making the character feel and flow nicely, while at the same time giving them clear counterplay. There's a lot of eyeballs to juggle, and it takes a long time to get it all right.
Also, a lot of it is tweaking and tuning models/animations/particles/VO/sounds to make sure that they all align and strengthen the character. It's actually pretty tough to make everything line up properly." - subninja

Q. What kind of details go into creating a champion?
"A couple months go into the concept of the champion. It'll be concept art, a solid kit (it doesn't have to be finalized), and a thematics direction. Once that's all in a good place - and people actually LIKE it - we'll go into exploration, which is determining what we have to do to actually make this champion. VO exploration and more kit exploration usually lives here, and sometimes we'll want to have certain tech nailed down so it doesn't become an issue later. We'll have certain exit criteria and that changes from champion to champion.
Then we dive into production, which is just a word for "MAKE THE GODDAMN CHAMPION." This is the longest phase in champion development, unless the concept phase was slow." - RiotOpeli

Q. So let's just say an average champion is about a year from start to release. What month do you guys actually get actors in to record voices?
"Around 3 months before release, and sometimes we'll do multiple recording sessions." - RiotOpeli

Q. What are the effects on his voice?
"We have all kinds of plug-ins on his voice. It's a relatively complex chain blending a down pitched dry signal, with a processed track containing Absynth, phaser, chorus, RBass, LoAir, reverb, slight delay, EQ, compression and a "little void magic"." - chupacobbler

Q. What was the thought process from developing Vel'Koz's original character concept, to the development of his abilities?
"Hey thanks for the comment. Vel'Koz has been in the works for a long time (the original concept art was made probably around a year ago). I started doing design work on him in April of last year, so we did have most of the groundwork done quite some time ago.
In terms of development, Larry spent a lot of time iterating on the art, then Leslee, Larry and I met up to choose a direction based on the art. We figured we could do a Psionic character, a space invader character, or a Cthulu-esque horror character. We all generally liked "space invader" the most of all, and I started spinning on kits based on that, and Leslee started thinking about story/character. That led us to the knowledge-hungry laser beast you know and (may some day) love." - subninja

Q. Who came up with the idea for this champ? What was the thought behind this idea?
"I was with Alex "Skribbles" Yee in a room thinking of what we needed to do for the next creature champ. He jokingly said "you can do my champ idea I had for years" I said what is that? "Squid on a rainbow cloud champ" 0.o
So I literally on a marker broad drew a squid on a rainbow cloud. From there it started the conversation of actually doing a squid like champ.
That was a year ago, and here we are." - TheBravoRay

Q. Did his kit go through a lot of variations? What are some abilities that he originally had but lost because of balance/theme/etc?
"Yeah, his kit went through a ton of iteration. The only thing that was consistent on his kit was the ult. The first iteration of vel'koz was awful, his auto attacks would create tethers between him and the target, that would ramp up in damage over time (and last forever). I laned top against a Vlad in our playtest, attacked him, and we both ran to his tower and he died. And so that iteration was scrapped. He also had an ability for a time (early on) called "boring dash" instead of his E which was just that, a very short range dash.
Another iteration of his kit, he would create a Jayce-style void portal that he could shoot his abilities through to amp them up. His W was a little void portal that would shoot shots that would also get amped. It wasn't amazing, but it did create a ton of super lasers that would fly all over the place which was sweet." - subninja

Q. Any chance there are some H. P. Lovecraft fans on the team that was creating him?
"I'm a huge Lovecraft fan! To be fair, though, the Void already encompasses a lot of Lovecraftian flair so it felt right to maintain some of that." - RiotOpeli

Q. What was the most difficult part about Vel'Koz's development?
"The animation constraints to get him work in game was a challenge, but the animation team worked through it and really made him look fluid in game." - TheBravoRay
"Animation was a huge hurdle. It's damn hard to make tentacles look good. It required a ton of trial error and in the end a lot of amazing pieces of tech to make him look all buttery smooth." - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. Are there any inspirations from Matrix when you created Vel'Koz?
"That was definitely had a lot inspiration for his battle-cast skin. It just made sense to make him one for launch." - TheBravoRay

Q. In regards to Vel'koz's release skin, did any other ideas come up while thinking about release skins for him, or was it a given that it had to be a Battlecast skin?
"No we did a lot of iterations of what was the best for his launch, the skins team felt the battle-cast hit the perfect counter balance for his launch skin." - TheBravoRay

Q. How did Vel'Koz pass the art-style test? He looks cool but he also looks like he doesn't fit in the League.
"Vel'Koz was an opportunity to link the other creatures together. Example, he shares a lot of the same design carapace of Kog'Maw." - TheBravoRay 

Q. About, the music in 'The Arrival' trailer, is there a full track or that's all we're getting?
"Sorry, that music was made specifically for the trailer, so yeah." - Kyugene

Q. Does Vel'koz's design have any inspiration from Shuma Gorath?
"Totally--not to say that Shuma was the sole inspiration for him, but ideas from the poses he does (see Shuma's "Mystic Stare" from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 vs. Vel'koz's ult) for instance were drawn from him." - Kyugene

Q. What was your inspiration to make another AP mid laner from the void? what about a support void champ or maybe perhaps an adc? Is there anything in the works for upcoming champions such as this?
"This champion started with an art concept, and it just more naturally fit the traits of a mage. That said, a void character of another role isn't out of the question." - RiotRepertoir

Q. How much consideration of the current meta goes into developing a champion?
"We internally play and consider the champion's balance with consideration to the meta, but we don't really design for it." - RiotRepertoir
Q. So, I've kind of noticed since I started playing league that all the new champions released/reworks in the past year or so in some form or fashion an emphasis on mobility, and Vel'Koz seems to have none of that. Any particular reason why this sudden break in the trend happened or was it unintentional?
It is intentional that Vel'Koz doesn't have any mobility on his kit, but it's not really an intended trend that other would have it and he would not. Given the type of character from an art and lore perspective, it didn't really make a whole lot of sense to add a dash or speed burst to him. - RiotRepertoir

Q. Who was the one the came up with the idea for his passive?
"That was me! It did end up going through a lot of iteration. In fact, until about 2 months ago, it would stack to full, and then would CONTINUALLY deal bonus true damage until you stopped casting spells. In the end, we moved it to more of a "stack and proc" mechanic, since tiny amounts of true damage over time are not nearly as satisfying as occasional huge chunks of true damage." - subninja

Q. Was Velkoz created solely to be a counter to Yasuo, since all of his abilities outside of his ultimate essentially counter Yasuo's kit and wind wall?
"I think Yasuo would do pretty good against Vel'koz, he's able to dodge stuff pretty handily, and can block most of Vel'koz's stuff (aside from the ult).
As for beating wind wall, the kit was designed partially around having fun with your opponent in lane - the Q in particular is designed to be able to hit an opponent hiding behind minions, so he does have some tools for tagging people in unconventional ways." - subninja

Q. Did you guys consider making Vel'Koz female or was he a dude from the start?
He was always either a man or non-gendered as far as I know. - subninja

Q. What was the hardest part about creating Vel'Koz's Kit?
"Making an ability where you have to stand still for a long period of time feel satisfying and not overpowered was really hard. Most of the kit is actually designed around letting him stall for time and get positioning so that he can actually use the ult effectively." - subninja

Q. Over the last few champion releases, there has been a growing discrepancy between how much a champion is "teased", with some like Jinx, Lissandra, and now vel'koz getting a lot of attention while others get the usual reveal and release such as Aatrox. What is it that causes some to get their own music video or creative spotlight while others just kinda the standard fare?
"Basically we're getting better at it and getting the chance to spend more time/resources on launches. Also, different champions get different opportunities for story pieces (ie Jinx having a music video is awesome, Vel'Koz maybe not the best candidate for a music video)" - subninja

Q. What was the most difficult aspect of creating Vel'Koz?
"Mechanically, getting his passive and his ult to feel satisfying was really hard. His passive was historically "get 3 stacks, then every spell/auto attack after does bonus true damage" - but "a lot of damage over a long period of time" is hard to show to players, and makes it hard to appreciate.
From a holistic standpoint, selling his intelligence and the theme of "knowledge through destruction" was really tough, but we thought the challenge was worth it to make a deeper character." - subninja

Q. With the existing three Voidborn, the reoccurring theme of hunger has always been present. While Vel’Koz Seems to deviate from this idea, his lust for knowledge could be considered a hunger in its own right. Was this intended, or did it just coincidentally happen to fit thematically with the other Voidborn? If this was a purposeful move to maintain thematic continuity, do you hope to do the same with any other potential future Voidborn champions?
"We've always considered Vel'Koz's vaporizing & absorbing as "consumption" because we wanted him to be thematically consistent with other Void creatures. He's HUNGRY FOR KNOWLEDGE!
Personally, I would be interested in deviating a little in future Void champions, but I think it should somehow still revolve around the Void's desire to consume." - RiotOpeli

Q. What was it like reading through all the different rumors and speculation stories the community came up with for Vel'Koz when the leaked rumors of him started to surface?
"It was a little disheartening to see that he was leaked, but the response was positive and that made it a little less painful. It was super cool reading all of the speculation." - RiotOpeli

Q. I read in another comment that you guys work about 8 months on each champion, that is amazing and I use to complain about how slow new champs come out but now I have a different view on it. What do you feel after all that hard work when your baby (champion) is released to the world?
"It feels great to be able to talk to people about the champion and see players' reactions.
There's a bit of a weird gap between when we're finished with a champion and when they're released, so you KNOW they're done but you still have to keep your mouth shut and wait until he comes out. It's a little torturous, haha." - RiotOpeli

Q. What was your favourite thing about Vel’koz when creating him?
"I did a lot of exploration animation on Vel'koz which was a super blast (no pun intended). That early process is always my favorite. Taking a static character and bringing it to life for the first time is always so exciting. This was particularly fun on vel'koz as a flying tentacle creature is not exactly something that exhists in nature, so it required a lot of imagination and experimentation (and lots of creepy videos of walking octopi)." - Reach4TheSkylar

Q. If you could choose between doing more champs like vel'koz (monster like champs) or more human champs, what would you choose?
"I would prefer more creatures, but having some more humans is just as cool. I feel a balance is always needed.
Humanoids have a lot of ways to tell story and personality. Creatures can as well but in a totally different way." - TheBravoRay

Q. Question regarding color: In all the trailers and pictures Vel'Koz has more of a darker color, yet in-game the top part of him is more of a light gold color. Why did you end up making him less purple/darker?
"That is the hard thing to do, Trailer and splash paintings usually include atmospheric, rim, and environment lighting to bring mood and story to the piece. He is actually using the same color, just it has a lot of extra thrown on him.
Unfortunately this does change the color a bit when in game. We will always strive to bring the best read and quality to the players. Making the art assets close to splash/trailer as we can as long as we are not sacrificing readability." - TheBravoRay

Q. Are those three little eyes on the head of Vel of any utility or are they there just for thr juggling animation?
"They are actually used to give the player something to focus on. With out the smaller eyes, the the main eye would be covered most of the time in game.
So we decided to put those there as an opportunity to give Vel' Koz emotion and a face if you will. Plus it made him a little more creepy and bizarre, perfect for the void aesthetic." - TheBravoRay

Q. What was the thought process behind creating Vel'Koz? Did you guys want to shoot for something completely different? Why did you choose to go in this direction?
"Yes, we wanted to do something new. The Death Ray was such a huge part of his thematic, something not seen compared to other champs. That moment was the starting point to flesh the rest of him around the Death Ray theme." - TheBravoRay

Q. Can we expect a deep sea skin in the future? Octopus of death sounds fun.
"That sounds like a great idea, definitely something to talk about internally. We are really excited on the fact that his silhouette is so distinctive, it gives him a lot of room to change it without losing readability." - TheBravoRay

Q. The Vel'Koz kit looks amazing, and so has the kits of other recently released champs. Is the complexity of a champions kit decided by the team working on the champion or by the technology available to the team at the time?
"Tech and kit restrictions go hand and hand. We do have limitations when we start, but they also help us work harder to break through them and find solutions." - TheBravoRay

Q. Where did you get his name from?
"Actually at one point Vel'Koz was named "The keeper of secrets" So kos was thrown around during his development. So later we drop the "s" put in the a "z" and named him [like] other Void champs, Vel'koz." - TheBravoRay

Q. How did you come up with the octopus look for Vel'koz? I'm sure there were many other routes you guys could have taken.
"Reading the forums, seeing what a archetype is not currently present in our game. What we see as an opportunity to bring something new.
Out of those observations, the squid idea came up and we started from there." - TheBravoRay

Q. Was it hard to create Vel'Koz voice?

"The FX processing and sound of the voice wasn't too difficult - but the entire process including auditioning, casting and line selection, along with the FX was quite an undertaking." - chupacobbler



Q. How did you record the sound effects for his ult?
"There is all kind of stuff going on for his ult sound. The majority of what you hear is a combination of custom synth patches, processed guitar madness and organic plasma-ish source material that was created for Vel'Koz in general. All of the synth elements are tuned to "F" to match the purple color of the void. I actually have a funny story about recording guitar stuff the ult sound - when recording the alien void scream (which is blended in with the laser sounds), Casey from network security came in my sound room asking what the heck was going on as it sounded like Brolof yelling Broooooooooo from outside my room. Thats when I knew I had the guitar vocal stuff too loud and mixed it in better!" - chupacobbler

Q. What was the worst part about making Vel'Koz?
"Playing against him in internal playtests when his Q was on a 3 second cooldown and his R did like double its current damage. That world existed, and it's not a pretty one to be a part of." - RiotRepertoir


Q. What things did you guys do to keep a mid champion without mobility relevant?
"Find another intended strength (sustained damage, utility, poke, counter engage, hard engage, etc.) and hone in on how to make him relevant in that regard." - RiotRepertoir

Q. What did you try and balance out on a very high damage champ like him?
"It's really difficult to decide how much damage an immobile mage is allowed to deal, but it's something that the balance crew definitely tried to keep in mind when considering his final numbers. The amount of power budget consumed by mobility on highly mobile characters is frequently hard to gauge." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Do you think Vel'Koz will be viable and why?
"Vel'Koz may be a hard sell for the very very highest levels of play where mobility is so highly valued. That being said, he will almost assuredly be a viable pick to win games with in Solo Queue or just to pick up and main. A lot of the highest winrate champions aren't necessarily defined by their high mobility at the moment." - RiotRepertoir

Q. When making a champion do you focus more on the feel being right in their kit?
"[It's] really important that the kit fits the theme and feel of the champion. This had a lot of influence over why Vel'Koz doesn't have any mobility on his kit. The character is supposed to be calculated and methodical, and any versions of the champion that emphasized mobility didn't really feel true to the intent of the character." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Was Vel'Koz made to obviously synergize with other champions, or is he more of a rogue champion that works better alone rather than team fights? Do you expect people to be able to grasp his mechanics or to have trouble with him?
"Vel'Koz probably leans on his team to set him up more than most of our recent releases. His mechanics look really simple at first glimpse, but it actually takes several plays to get a good feel for what you should be doing. Once you get that first fight where you get your passive rolling on several enemies and channel a full duration, uninterrupted ultimate, you'll be wanting to play some more eyebeam in your subsequent games." - RiotRepertoir

Q. How do you come up with these alternate targeting paradigms (Vel'Koz Q, Lucian W)? How do you know when it will fit on a certain champion or when it should be scrapped?
"Generally speaking, we just try them out and see how it feels. If it feels like a bad ability, then we don't go with it. If it feels like it's a good ability but it doesn't fit the particular champion, then we log it and see if it might fit somewhere else better in the future. But if it feels like a good ability and it fits what the champion wants to do, then we've found a match and it's likely found a permanent home on the champion's kit!" - RiotRepertoir

Q. Was there any special reasoning behind the charge system of his W?
"Putting W on an ammo system fits better into a kitey gameplay style without just giving him the spell on a 3-4 second cooldown. It let us keep the ability impactful on each cast without having to give it a longer cooldown." - RiotRepertoir

Q. How does your team intend to create more champs and intend to keep each champion's skills unique?
"It's hard to make unique champion skills (and have champions add new mechanics to the game). On the champion design team, we've been holding brainstorming sessions to try to come up with new skills, mechanics and ways to interact with the game. We feel that the design space isn't close to exhausted, it just gets a bit more challenging when approaching some of the more complex mechanics." - subninja

Q. What was the hardest part of the design, be it programming, story, etc?
"I am both a programmer and designer. I find design to be a lot harder - when you're programming, you can generally know where you're going, and how to get there. In design, you can be inches away from an amazing, cohesive design, and those inches will cause people to give feedback that your character is garbage.
For Vel'Koz, scripting the laser beam was kind of tough, since we didn't have any abilities that really work that way. But it was super fun to create that ability. I love abilities that are really straightforward and understandable." - subninja

Q. Why did you choose lasers over tentacle smash?
"3 reasons, his archetype, his source of power, and his character.
We wanted him to be a mage with a death beam, that meant he would probably trend towards ranged abilities. He also is clearer with his power coming from one kind of thing (lasers/eyebeams). Finally, his character is a more intelligent, calculating void creature, it would be brutish and not really as fitting IMO." - subninja

Q. What is the majority of this time spent on? Is it mostly designing the kit and feel? Is it spent scraping all ideas until you have one? Or is it the number tweaks on the Riot Servers before they hit PBE then Live?
"A large part is trying to get them into a healthy state (ie not necessarily tuned yet, but with a clear role/strengths/weaknesses), bringing something unique to the table in terms of playstyle, bringing a unique reason to pick them, and making the character feel and flow nicely, while at the same time giving them clear counterplay. There's a lot of eyeballs to juggle, and it takes a long time to get it all right.
Also, a lot of it is tweaking and tuning models/animations/particles/VO/sounds to make sure that they all align and strengthen the character. It's actually pretty tough to make everything line up properly." - subninja

Q. What do you find hardest about designing a champion? Or more specifically, what was the greatest challenge you encountered while designing Vel'Koz?
"The hardest part, I think, is seeking alignment on a champion. While we don't all have to 100% agree on a direction for anything, we need to be able to justify our decisions and have people get behind them even if it's not what they wanted. This is especially true for creative decisions since Vel'Koz could've been anything." - RiotOpeli

Q. I found Vel'koz to be actually really creepy in a way that other champions aren't. Quotes like "Gender can be easily discerned by the pitch of their cries" actually made me uncomfortable. Did you have to dial this element back during production? Is Vel'koz sympathetic towards anything on Runeterra?
"This was something we REALLY wanted to get right. He was originally a little more humorous and in on his own joke, but amoral/evil science was always a theme for him. We actually had to make him more creepy over time.
He's a heartless bastard." - RiotOpeli

Chuckle Bucket


Q. "What happened to Vel'Koz's five other tentacles?" - ZenonTheStoic
"They asked too many questions." - subninja

Q. Can you confirm that Vel'Koz's next skin will be Vel'Kozby, a sweater wearing Void creature that blasts things with pudding?
"I can neither confirm nor deny this. http://tiny.cc/StarringZacAsTheJello" - Reach4TheSkylar
"Sadly I cannot confirm that." - subninja

Q. What happens if you cross the streams?
"The Vel'Koz with more AP wins." - subninja
"I did have a team of people test that to make sure the server didn't crash. That's a lot of beam for one server." - subninja

Q? Vel'koz, Lux, Karthus, Viktor, Caitlyn (laser sight) The Laser Collection Ultimate Wombo! Haha!
"We've found Curse of the Sad Life Form Disintegration Bullet Time to be pretty effective." - subninja

Q. Oh I've got a question:

"Username: Creator
Password: *************"

What's Viktor's password?

"B@ttleCast4Life99" - subninja

Q? Vel'Koz's ult is like peeing next to the road - you feel powerful and manly until somebody comes close to you.
"Exactly." - RiotRepertoir

Q. Are there going to be superawesomelaserclub skins for Viktor, Lux and Vel'Koz? Please say yes :3
"I can't say yes. But I can say that sounds awesome. Viktor's laser is not nearly as... formidable though." - subninja

Q. Does he know when I'm sleeping? Does he know when I'm awake?
Does he know if I've been bad or good?
Should I be good for goodness sake?

"I don't know, but you better watch out." - subninja

Q? Santa'Koz skin confirmed.
"He shoots presents that explode at a 90 degree angle into toys?" - subninja

Q? Arcade Vel'Koz with Pew Pew Ult :P
"I want like... daft punk vel'koz. With dubstep beams.
Either that or gentleman vel'koz. With 4 monocles." - subninja

Q. Why not Octodad Vel'Koz?
"Why not indeed! We'd have to re-do his controls though." - subninja

Q. Is the "Demacian Soldier" in the trailer Kassadin?
"Nah. The guy in the trailer is super dead." - RiotOpeli

Q. Why did you make another champ that's countered by Teemo?
"Well, let's think this through. If Teemo can blind a normal human with a single dart that's 2 eyes per dart. So actually to blind Vel'koz with 4 eyes he'd have to hit him twice. I'd actually say that gives Vel'koz an evolutionary advantage." - Reach4TheSkylar

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