Before we dig into the Q&A, check out these links to acquaint yourself with Rek'Sai!
Here's Utora with an introduction to today's Q&A:
We've gathered a bunch of Rioters from the Rek'sai team for some Q&A about the Void Burrower herself. Whether you're interested in Rek'sai's gameplay, her story or art, or her sounds - ask away and we'll be happy to answer!
Learn more about Rek'sai here:
The following Rioters participated in this Q&A session:
- Beat Punchbeef - Reksai's designer
- Riot Keyserito - concept artist
- Utora - Sound Designer
- Sixtwo - Producer
- Jaredan - Senior Narrative Editor
As usual, I've attempted to organize the Q&A based on general topics!
"When thinking about a creature that can burrow in the ground, it made sense to us that she'd have a lot of freedom to move around the map. This lends itself well to junglers who tend to do this from the very beginning of the game.
Tremor Sense was one of the first things we put on the kit and the idea of tracking/hunting the enemy jungler with it cemented her in the role for me."Sixtwo added in:
"It's not at all a goal to have Rek'Sai only be a jungler. While we obviously think she'll do well in the jungle (and we gave her specific tools that will thrive in that capacity), in general we don't want to discourage champions from being played in a variety of positions."commented:
"She has a fairly high learning curve. A lot of the elements that make her difficult to play are not mechanical hurdles but rather strategic ones. Where should I place my tunnels for what I need now vs. where I think I'll need them in the future? Where should I place myself that can help my team benefit from Tremor Sense? How can I best manage my Fury for optimal damage output vs sustain?"
As for if Rek'Sai will be unburrowed if hit by any sort of CC or knock up, Beat Punchbeef noted:
"No, she'll return back into the ground after the knock-up. Forced state changes tend to be extremely confusing/frustrating, particularly for the person who's being forced out of the state."He continued, explaining why Gnar doesn't have a "forced state change" in the same way:
"Gnar has a lot of ceremony around his state change and the core of the character is built around it. Everyone knows when it's going to happen and you can play around it. Alistar flash ulting Rek'Sai and suddenly her skills are different is an entirely different problem :)"
When asked about earlier or scrapped iterations of Rek'Sai's abilities during development, Beat Punchbeef shared:
"Early on we wanted to try using Tunnel as an ultimate that allowed your team to travel through with you (team Thresh Lantern!). The ability ran into a number of problems with some of the core patterns that were successful on Rek'Sai, namely that she almost always wants to flank into fights which didn't allow for your team to follow.
As an initiation skill this one was particularly poor since it was used to get into the middle of a fight and a number of your teammates may not want to be there (basically anyone squishy).
I think there's something really neat here in terms of a team-wide map mobility skill and could see this being used on a Tank or a Support character in the future."
When asked if Rek'Sai can be interacted with in normal ways while burrowed, Utora noted:
"That is correct. In terms of CC - Reksai functions exactly the same above ground as she is in burrowed form. She can be stunned, slowed, silence, etc while in her burrowed state."Beat Punchbeef replied:
"Generally serves to make a sheen purchase feel more rewarding, particularly since the premium for mana on the item isn't used. I don't forsee AP builds being particularly viable."In response to a suggestion of replacing that AP ratio with an AD ratio, Beat Punchbeef noted:
"As a shape shifting character with no shared cooldowns, AD scaling on both Q's as your primary rank-up lead to her being extremely snowbally in the early game. With AD scaling, the base damage has to be insanely low and generally feels unsatisfying."
Beat Punchbeef also commented on how fragile her tunnelts are and her vision while burrowed, saying:
"Tunnels are fairly fragile, they require the enemy to stand on them for a short time. Currently tunnels last for 10 minutes.
Rek'Sai shares allied vision while burrowed so there's no tremor sense for allies. Minions and monsters show up with Tremor Sense but are easily differentiated from champions."
As for why her W is a knock up after so many other new champions also have knock ups, Beat Punchbeef noted:
"It was considered but also made the most thematic sense for the ability."
When asked how her tunnel's cooldown works, Beat Punchbeef explained:
"Tunnels have individual cooldowns. They go on cooldown after they're first created as well as when she moves through them."
As for ally & enemy Rek'Sai being able to use each others tunnels in mirror matches, Beat Punchbeef noted:
"No they cannot use each other's tunnels... One For All might be a different story ;)"
He also noted that enemies don't see the tunnel trail unless they see the entrances:
"Enemies do not see the ground crack if the tunnel entrance is not visible."Beat Punchbeef replied:
"Both teams can see the tunnels on the mini-map and yes, you can cast her R via mini-map targeting."He continued:
"The enemy team must reveal a tunnel before it becomes visible on the mini-map. After that point, the tunnel remains visible both on the map and through fog of war (tunnels do not grant vision to either team)."
As for if you can interrupt her ultimate, he noted:
"Once the tunnel has been targeted, the only way to stop her ultimate is to interrupt her at the point of origin."He also noted you can see which tunnel she ults to if you have vision of the tunnel she targets:
"If you have vision of the tunnel she targets."
When asked about the cooldown of her ultimate, Beat Punchbeef noted:
"The ultimate has a higher cooldown early where tunnels are more prevalent. It scales down pretty aggressively as it becomes more difficult to use."He also commented that nothing happens if Rek'Sai collides with an enemy while using her ultimate:
"There is no effect for colliding with an enemy champion. Given the cast time and travel speed this would be insanely difficult to do and generally circumvents the use cases for the ability."
Beat Punchbeef also shared his thoughts on the use of her ultimate, saying:
"Early on the game her ultimate excels at creating immense pressure in multiple places at once. She can use it after a gank to get back to an important objective or gank 2 places in short succession. Later on, when map control becomes more contentious, the ability serves to keep her up-time high for farming/counter-jungling. Rek'Sai needs to keep putting out tunnels as much as possible in the mid to late game to make sure that when an opportunity arises somewhere on the map that she can capitalize."Beat Punchbeef also answered a series of questions regarding Rek'Sai's tunnels, why she doesn't have a slow, and the global sound effect on her R.
"Everything about tunnel entrances is mirrored. If one side dies, so does the other. If one side goes on cooldown, so does the other.
A slow on the kit (particularly a long ranged one) trivialized her need to make use of her mobility and ability to flank, leaving enemies feeling little recourse when Rek'Sai came to their lane.
The decision to make the R global actually wasn't an incredibly difficult one. We feel there are sufficient gates to the targeting paradigm and windows of use that make it significantly healthier than previous versions that we've tried."
When asked which smite variant will be best for Rek'Sai, Beat Punchbeef shared:
"I've been having a lot of success with both Ranger's Trailblazer (massive boost to camp clear speed when counter-jungling to get in and get out) or Stalker's Blade (helps with early stickiness for ganks and skirmishes)."
When asked if Rek'Sai originates from the Void or Shurima, Utora confirmed:
"HEy Rew711 - her home is definitely the Void"Jaredan elaborated on this, explaining:
"Her story is set within Shurima. The Void aspect that directly makes her as pant-fillingly terrifying as she is, is something that will play out on that stage.
She is a Void creature, but that is as far as a relation goes. She's one of a kind, even among her own specific species."
Sixtwo added in her impact on Shurima, as seen in The Terror Beneath:
"Rek'Sai is definitely a menace to Shurima. In The Terror Beneath teaser, the young man on bell duty's whole job is to be on the lookout for xer'sai, and when Rek'Sai shows up, you can see how useless this lookout system is on her. As such, Shurimans tend to steer clear of her territory."continued:
"Rek'Sai is at the very least known Shurima-wide. As for the rest of Runeterra, stay tuned."Jaredan also commented on Rek'Sai's presence in Shurima, explaining:
"Any attempts in the past to rebuild within Rek'Sai's hunting grounds have been met with a swift and brutal response. It's become an area that those in the know avoid completely.However, as new opportunities for expansion arise (perhaps due to a more plentiful supply of natural resources stemming from the returned capital city), there is absolutely a chance that more people might start planting flags in very dangerous ground.
Sivir hasn't directly interacted with her, the bandit knows Shurima too well to put herself in that predicament, but there are ways that someone as cunning as the Battle Mistress could turn Rek'Sai's presence to her advantage."
As for what Rek'Sai is, Utora shared:
"Reksai is the Queen of her species, the Xer'Sai. Vel'Koz is on a different level of Void species hierarchy. The information Vel'Koz has on Rek'sai is - if I ever encounter Rek'sai in the wild I should get as far away as quickly as possible :) wait - but then Tremor Sense...I think Vel'Koz would be smart enough to never be in that position in the first place :P"Jaredan also added:
"Rek'Sai is the queen of the species known as the Xer'Sai. Your average Xer'Sai is nowhere near as big as the apex of their species, but even small ones are eye-openingly lethal. Rek'Sai is unique among her kind due to her size and power."
When asked about her purple heavy color scheme, Beat Punchbeef noted:
"We definitely wanted her to be recognizable as a Void champion. That being said, we did play around with some other colors but ultimately concluded that the coloring was one of the key indicators of Void-ness."Sixtwo also commented on her appearance, noting:
"Rek'Sai is not wearing armor - what you see is her body. The structure you're referring to is a fin on her back, not unlike what you see on real world sharks and killer whales.
And no, nothing to do with Skarner."
As for why Rek'Sai has no true voiceover and just series of terrifying and primal noises, Beat Punchbeef explained:
"One of our core pillars for the character was that she was a pure beast. A true animal driven by instinct. Not giving her speaking lines just made sense with those goals."Utora also chimed in on Rek'Sai's sounds, explaining the nuances of her VO:
"Hey DragonPup!Utora continued:
You're right - alot of personality comes from a champions voice and Rek'Sai is no different. From the beginning of development we wanted to make her a "True Beast". In order to achieve this we decided early on that this meant not speaking a traditional language. We knew it would be a challenge as she's the first Champion to not have a traditional language based VO package. But even though she's not speaking words you can understand, she still has a language and a voice, a couple of them actually, and we think it fits her personality, motivations, and playstyle really well.
When she's burrowed underground, she feels more "at home" and moves with ease and comfort. This is where she hunts and stalks her prey from a far distance. While she's burrowed she makes all sorts of void-y clicking sounds. You feel really smart when you're underground because you have a such an advantage with your Tremor Sense. I wanted players to feel like they were hunting and stalking their prey and feeling smart while doing it.
Being Unburrowed on the other hand she sounds completely different. She's very vicious and savage sounding. Lots of grunts, hisses, and roars as she spins and swings her massive claws hitting everything in her reach.
The cooldown for Burrow/Unburrow is really short so you're going to be switching back and fourth between these two forms quite a bit so her VO style will also be changing. It's really satisfying letting out some roars and hisses while clearing a jungle camp and then burrowing underground, hearing an enemy from from far away, and then emitting your void stalking clicks. This is a feeling and experience that I don't think we could have accomplished as well with a traditional English language package.
Hope this helps explain our thought process behind the VO decision!"
We wanted her to be a "True Beast" driven by her predatory and hunting instincts. We felt that if she spoke a traditional language that it would take players out of this experience and fantasy.
Here is a response I made that goes into why she does not have a human-like voice while other Voidborn champs do:
Utora continued, speaking more to Rek'Sai's lack of a traditional voiceover:
We love exploring this idea that creatures and entities can exist in Runeterra and places like the Void that can't speak in a traditional human language. It makes everything feel more diverse and exotic. With Rek'Sai the door is now open to pursue and explore what kind of other crazy species and creatures are out there...like Poros! And you're absolutely right - she's a cold-blooded and savage killing machine. But she's also a stalking and prey hunting machine while she's burrowed in the ground. We think that not having a human language is essential to her personality and her motivations as a character.
Also just got this confirmed: She is not a reincarnation of Omen
Hope this helps!"
Sixtwo also added in:
"We very intentionally set out to create distinction between Rek'Sai and other Void creatures by making her exceptionally beast-like. Not giving her the ability to communicate in a knowable human language was a big part of that."
In response to a comment that she seems female "in name only" due to the lack of a standard VO, Sixtwo noted:
"To be honest, gender was not a central part of Rek'Sai's early ideation, but when the time came to actually make her, it just seemed natural that she be a female. There will be plenty of opportunities for monster female champions going forward!"
"Great question. Battlecast or Mecha Rek'Sai would have worked, but Eternum seemed to match up better with her kit and theme. The time/space portals and floating tail sections resonated the moment we saw those concepts.
With the launch skin, we want to help introduce who this new champ is, better defining her character. for Rek'Sai, a lighthearted skin could have muddied the waters of who she is and what she does. Her base is a ferocious beast that digs through the ground. Her skin is a sleek cyborg that rips through space and time. Gentlelady or Butterfly Rek'Sai would be a bit more disconnected from her core character ;^]
There were a lot of really fun skin ideas that were tossed around for this gal. There's so many opportunities with her monstrous features, burrowing tunnels, and especially that back fin. We'll see what the coming years have in store for our loveliest of ladies."Keyserito continued, commenting on why most champions seem to have a release skin that is part of an already established theme:
"Nice observation about launch skins. I'll do my best to answer.Keyserito noted:
In short, launch skins are tricky. Think of it this way: when you first see the launch skin, you've got zero history playing that champ. It's like you're meeting the new kid at school for the first time, and what she's wearing (her 'skin') is the first thing you notice (unless she has claws, fangs, and a giant fin on her back).
Easily recognizable skins help you identify with the champion immediately. We didn't make a conscious decision to strictly stick with established skin lines on launch skins. It just so happens they give a very clear first impression, and that's our goal.
As for Dino Gnar, the idea fits perfectly with who he is, and is immediately recognizable. Here, the skin matched our goals perfectly, established or not. Plus, a onesie is a no-brainer!"
"Yup. There were a lot of unused ideas we explored. Rek'Sai is a very unique champ, so a lot of crazy stuff was thrown around. If it could dig, phase, swim, fly, or glide through some material, it was a possibility.
When we first discuss a champ's next skin, the sky is the limit, and we pull from a variety of sources for inspiration. Now that Rek'Sai is going out into the world, it'll be especially fun to see the cool player ideas for her skins.
At the end of the day, we want to give you guys fun new fantasies that you think are exciting for Rek'Sai. So please let us know what sounds cool to you!"
When asked why she didn't get a "funny" skin like "Urf'Sai", Riot Keyserito commented:
"To address question 2, skin lines can spring out of any tier of skin, so long as there are champs that fit well with them.
Something lighthearted like Urf'Sai has its place with a serious champ, but we wanted to explore alternate fantasies of ruthless hunters. If we start off with a joke skin, it's less obvious who she is and what she does when you're first exposed to her."
"We've actually never finished a champion and then put them on hold. Some champions are paused and revisited (like Azir, and Rek'Sai was actually paused for a little while too), but we tend to release champions as soon as they're done."
As for why Gnar, Azir, Kalista, and now Rek'Sai have been released so close to one another, Sixtwo noted:
"Champion team is actually a "team of teams" (a large team of champion-makers organized into smaller champion-making teams), and there are multiple champions being worked on simultaneously. It just so happens that the Gnar and Azir teams, and then the Kalista and Rek'Sai teams, finished their champions around the same time."
In response to a comment about void champions having an apostrophe in their name, Sixtwo shared:
"Did you know that in Korean, Void champions don't have apostrophes in their names?"
Last up we have a series of "Grab Bag" questions - multi part or long questions covering a variety of topics.Beat Punchbeef Grab Bag #1
Beat Punchbeef Grab Bag #21.Will the enemy team see her while she is underground? If so, will it be just her health bar or also her fin? If not, will they be alerted somehow (Like with Rengar's ultimate)?
2.Can she be knocked out from burrow?
3.Can the animation for burrow be canceled by another player (say Thresh hook or Blitzcrank pull after you used the ability)?
4.Will skill shots hit her if she is burrowed? What about AoE?
5.Do stats increase the amount she is healed from her fury or is that based off of a percentage of her health?
6.Does her burrow allow her to go over walls like Kalista can at certain areas, or is that only through the use of a tunnel?
7.Will her ultimate damage units she crosses while going to a tunnel or is it strictly for transportation?
8.Is there a limit to the amount of tunnels she can make? If so, will leveling up the move increase the amount she can have at once (Like Heimer's turret kits)?
9.Will her movement speed increase while burrowed based off of her own speed, including the stats from boots, or is it a flat amount making boots on her useless?
10.Can enemy players see your tunnels? If so, can they damage the tunnel and will putting it in a bush hide it?
- Yes, she's fully visible and able to be interacted with like any other champion.
- No, forced state changes tend to be confusing for both parties.
- Her form swap happens instantly, so no.
- Yes and yes.
- Her passive healing scales up with her character level. 100 Fury gives her a full heal while 50 Fury would give 50% of the total amount.
- Burrowing allows her to ignore unit collision but not terrain. Tunnels let her go where she pleases.
- Strictly for transportation. Would be really difficult to line up to hit enemies given the cast time and how quickly she travels.
- She can have 8 tunnels on the map (Each pair of entrances is 1 tunnel). This is the same across all ranks.
- She gets a flat bonus to move speed while burrowed. Boots are still good.
- Yes, enemies see your tunnels. They can destroy them by standing on top of them for a short time. Putting them in brushes hides them and is definitely advised."
hey guys! Rek'Sai is the first champ in a long while that i feel enthusiastic about learning to play
- What are some successful builds you've tried with her? Tanky + Triforce, like Hecarim?
- How intelligent is Rek'Sai? Is she like a non-verbal Chogath, or more like Baron Nashor?
- When was the 'motion sensing' passive decided on? That is to me far and away the coolest part of her kit (Tremors ftw!)
Beat Punchbeef Grab Bag #3
- I think the sweet spot is 2 damage items and the rest geared towards survivability. Ravenous Hydra is pretty incredible on her to give her bonus splash and crazy clearing power as well as a bit of lifesteal for sustain. Spirit visage has incredible value, increasing your passive healing while providing tankiness and CDR.
- She's a pure beast, an animal operating on instincts.
- Tremor Sense was there from the very beginning and we structured the kit around it."
"Hello Riot! Great job with cranking out all of these awesome champions in these short time frames! I have several questions:
1) At the moment, Warwick is arguably the best jungler in the game, due to his lockdown, healing and the stalker effect. Given that Rek'Sai has none of these (except the possibility of using Stalker) how do you think she will fare against him?
2) If, while burrowed, Rek'Sai gets hit by a knockup ability, like Yasuo's whirlwind, what will happen?
3) When she is burrowed, can she see only in that short circle of reveal around her, or can she see whatever nearby allies also see?
4) I listened to her champion select audio that was released on PBE. Why does she not speak?
5) Since she has no lockdown, or heals, etc.. She seems to be a more skill based champion/jungler.. Is this true to some extent?
6) With the major changes to jungle for preseason, a new jungle champ seemed inevitable. Was she designed specifically for this jungle update and not so much for use in the older jungle?
Thank you Riot! Keep up the great work!
Beat Punchbeef Grab Bag #4
- Rek'Sai retains the burrowed state while knocked up.
- She shares allied vision while burrowed but has a much shorter vision range while in fog of war.
- We feel her current VO best expresses the "true beast" nature of the character.
- Rek'Sai has been in development since before the jungle changes. However, knowing her release would line up relatively closely with the new jungle I worked closely with our games systems team to make sure she would be successful when it was released."
- "Extending the range of tunnels works similarly to other move blocks that are cast into walls. There are a number of cases where Rek'Sai ends up somewhere different than her tunnel entrance and that is not intended.
- I started doing early prototypes about a year ago.
- Prey Seeker is Rek'Sai's way to feel around in the dark. She has exceptional mobility and is most successful when utilizing flanking approaches towards enemies and has to rely on that rather than slowing a man and just running at them.
- Her healing passive was something I gave her early on. Initially it was relegated to a buff stacking system that lacked the visceral feedback given by a resource bar. Fury felt like it made thematic sense."
Sixtwo Grab Bag #1
"Quote:Sixtwo Grab Bag #2
Couple of questions:
- With Rek'Sai being a monstrous creature of Shurima, does she perhaps know of any other monstrous beings such as Skarner who share the land with her? Do those same beings know her, and what affect has she had on their lives?
- 2Rek'Sai is the largest and strongest of the Xer'Sai, a species of Voidborn. What other kinds of Voidborn species exist? Are there the Xer'Gath, Xer'Maw, Xer'Zix and Xer'Koz, the species of our current roster of Voidborn, or something similar?
- How long has Rek'Sai inhabited Shurima? More specifically, do records of her predate the reign of Azir or is she a bit more modern than that?
- Rek'Sai is a true beast, and as such, I can't imagine her "knowing" Skarner. Hunting him down and eating him for a light snack? Sure.
- Right now, all we know is that Rek'Sai belongs to a species of similar creatures. Who knows what else goes on in the Void...
- It's safe to say that to grow to the enormous size that she has, Rek'Sai would have had to have been alive for a very, very long time."
What was your inspiration for Rek'Sai? She sounds like a predator from Alien vs Predator and has a mouth like a Graboid from Tremors. Also, how long has she been in development?
Could you explain the design of her tunnels? I mean they're all purple and voidy but she just goes under ground. Were they supposed to be considered void portals of some sort?
How does she dig through the ground? The fin on her back looks like it vibrates quickly while burrowed, does she act like a jackhammer and just break apart the ground as she strolls forwards?
There's been some talk that she might be a reboot of Omen, what are your opinions on this?
- Initial inspiration was "land shark," which quickly became "Void land shark."
- There's definitely a mix of physical digging and what I'll call "Void magic" to her burrowing.
- See above; her fin is definitely a part of her burrowing, both in the physical and "Void magical" sense.
- No Omen-Rek'Sai connection at all."
Utora Grab Bag #1
This is the first Q&A I've attended :P.
Anyways, I was curious to know (if nobody is asking as I type XP) what iterations did her burrowed form go through? Was there a point where it granted her stealth, or more aggressive or defensive abilities?
I'd also like to know the origin of her voice over and why she doesn't speak like many of the other void creatures. Did the other void beings learn to speak through extended interaction with humans or is it an innate ability voidborn posses. Any explanations?
Last question; does Rek'sai's lifestyle confirm the the void is at least somewhat a physical place, with a substance that would be burrowable present?
All for now and thank you for hosting these Q&As :)
I think I can tackle all of your questions here.
1.) Having reduced vision while burrowed was always the trade-off for Tremor Sense which was introduced very early.
2.) Here is a link to a lengthy response I gave regarding the decision about her voice:
I'll add some other thoughts since your question brings up a few more interesting points. I think it's safe to assume that the Void is a very diverse place with alot of different species with varying degrees of intelligence. Think for a moment about Earth and how many species there are (8.7 million says google) and how many different crazy sounds they make. Not saying there are parallels between the Earth and the Void but I'm sure the Void has a very diverse population of creatures and entities. Look at the differences between Vel'Koz and Kog'Maw. I like to think that if one of the other Void champions were out and about and ran into Rek'Sai it'd be very much like a human out in the woods running into a wild aggressive bear. If I were Cho'Gath I would most likely be terrified of running into her.
And I think for some champions it's probably an innate ability to speak language (like Vel'Koz ) and for others ( Kog'Maw ) it's possible they picked up little bits and pieces along the way.
3.) We actually had several discussions about this. Rek'Sai pretty much confirms there is some kind of burrow-able terrain in the void.
Hope I was able to answer your questions! I can't wait for you to experience playing her :)"