Tonight's red post collection includes discussion on The River King teaser, the community's Team Up week progress as of 6/18, Meddler with context on the PBE changes to Nexus and Inhibitor towers and comments on Darius, a look at the recent Q&A with IronStylus, and much more!
- 6/17 PBE Update: Nautilus VFX changes & Balance Changes
- Red Post Collection: Tentative Core AP Item Pass, Legendary Mystery Gift Upgrade, Bot Bans incoming, and more
- [Champion Teaser] The River King
- Champion and Skin Sale 6/19 - 6/22
- EU LCS Summer Week 4 Day 1
- 6/18 PBE Update: Runeglaive VFX, Corki Q change, and more!
- The River King Discussion
- Team Up Week Update - June 18th
- Team Up & Pool Party Event Discussion
- Meddler on Darius Work Later This Year
- Context on Inhibitor and Nexus Tower changes on PBE
- Current Player Behavior Projects
- Tentative Core AP Item Changes Discussion
- IronStylus Q&A
ZenonTheStoic, the designer behind Lucian and Azir, has confirmed on reddit that he is the champion designer for The River King:
"Can confirm that I'm the champion designer on whatever this thing is that's coming downriver toward us."
He continued, noting that The River King's Q will have have a slow of some sort, that he doesn't have any knock-ups, true damage, or executes, and that he has 3 passives on his kit.
[9AM PST Update] The Team Up page has been updated for 6/19! We've passed level 2 and unlocked a slew of sales starting 6/26 and are well on the way toward level 3!
~~~~~~~~TEAM UP WEEK! This week, each server is earning points by playing matchmade games with five player premade groups and sending gifts to other players to earn various Pool Party rewards for all participating players next week!
The current community point total, as of June 18th, has almost achieved 15 million points
- [ACHIEVED 6/17] At 5 million points, we'll unlock Team UP IP rewards, granting +100% bonus IP for playing with a five player premade group.
- At 15 million points, we'll earn a ton of sales including the champions, skins, tshirts, ARAM skin boosts, and more!
- At 25 million points, we'll unlock a Pool Party themed summoner icon & a free Mystery Champion for anyone who has connected to the Facebook Friend discovery feature
- At 35 million points, we'll have Pool Party themed minions enabled for the duration of patch 5.12
- At 45 million points, we'll unlock a Party IP Weekend at the end of June
- At 55 million points, everyone who contributed during Team Up Week will receive the upcoming Pool Party Mundo skin for free
Be sure to check the Team Up & Pool Party Hub for more information on the event and the upcoming rewards! That page will be updated each day at 9 AM PST with an updated point total!
"Hey OP, I appreciate the thought you're putting into this. We aren't looking at how this plays out as a black or white "failure" or "success". We see this as dipping our toe in the water to explore if community reward events is something we want to do on a bigger scale in the future, and to understand what aspects are most important to players so we can make sure to get them right if/when we decide to go big. Some of the feedback so far has been helpful, some has been flat out incorrect, but we'll take it all in and decide where to go next with community rewards. Here's what I posted yesterday with some more detail...
Just wanted to hop in here and say that we're still learning about these kinds of promotions and definitely want to know where we can improve. Our goal here was to create an event that would give the community a reason to play with friends and give everyone an opportunity to earn some cool rewards together. While we've obviously included ways to fund these rewards (gifting), we wanted to make sure we included ways for players who don't want to spend any money to participate.
Earlier this year we ran Ocean Week in the Oceania region and players there BLEW through the goal way faster than expected. When we designed Team Up and Pool Party, we wanted to give the community a genuine challenge rather than a softball. The last couple levels are definitely stretch goals, intentionally designed to be tough to reach, but if it feels like this , then we didn't get it right"He continued, replying to a question on why this event is focused on party play and has nothing for solo players:
I know its a team game. But I really enjoy playing solo. It's nice to see how well you and 4 other strangers are together. Is there any reason not to ever reward players for solo queuing? Like I know its the standard thing to do but the only way for me to contribute to these rewards is doing something that I usually don't have fun doing.
Fair question. All of our research shows that on average players have more fun when they queue with friends so we're trying to provide more reasons to make the effort to coordinate a game together. But we do realize that not everyone enjoys it as much, so that's why you only have to win once to participate in the rewards. Maybe next time we can come up with more ways to contribute that appeal to players like you. Thanks for the feedback."Riot Bubo Bubo also added:
"Nice work! For future events we're going to try and to a better job at recognizing players who go above and beyond.
Overall, this has been a huge learning experience for us. The parts we really like and want to do more of are giving the community a reason to come together and earn cool rewards. There is also a long list of things we want to do better next time around."In response to a comment that it seems like not many folks even realize the event is going on, Hippalus noted:
"Yeah we're exploring different ways of making it pop but I agree we could do more there. We also added the 2x legendary chance to all mystery gifts this morning so we're trying to get that message out as well."
"It's likely, though not guaranteed, that we'll do some more work on Darius sometime this year. Odds are that'll involve making him less of a lane bully, but giving him a better late game presence. Something else we'd also like to get to, and might bundle with that work, are some adjustments to fighter itemization, both in terms of a new item or two and some revisions to existing items."He continued:
"Disclaimer: This is far from set in stone. At a guess though, I'd expect him to still be a fairly dangerous laner, but not to the current 'dominate you completely in lane otherwise he's failed' extent. Scope wise probably smaller than Ashe. Something along the lines of changes to the effects on some skills, but not complete replacement of anything.
And, just to keep expectations appropriate, this wouldn't be just a bunch of buffs. We do want to get Darius to a spot where he can better contribute in team fights, whether through kit changes or better itemization. We also want to fix some of the laning problems he creates though, where some opponents are left without options apart from 'lose a lot of farm or get heaps of jungler help'."
6/17 PBE, Inhibitor and Nexus towers had the 10% movement speed slow and -15% damage dealt debuff to target effects removed from their attacks.
When asked about the rationale behind this change, Meddler explained:
"We originally added the slow (and a -damage mod) to the Nexus/Inihb towers as an anti split pushing effect, at a time where we were concerned that split push was leading to low interaction games. That's currently not the case however, very much the opposite in fact, with heavy team fight comps crowding out split push almost entirely. We're not looking to make split pushing a staple of every game, but do think we've limited it too much, hence the removal of those effects.
In terms of the broader purpose of towers it is intended that the risk they pose to enemy champions decreases over the course of the game. Early on they're zones of sanctuary, where it's extremely risky to try and go in for a kill much of the time. Over time they transition to a helper role instead. Towers will turn the tide of a close fight, but they're not going to be more dangerous than an enemy champion anymore. Late game in particular, once everyone's past the individual laning period, it's the presence of teammates instead that provides substantial zones of safety/support. Powerful late game towers, particularly if they can be held by a couple of champions against a full enemy team, result in slower, drawn out, low risk/interaction games."
Can we get a reliable ETA?
Also, any word on improvements to the honor system coming down the pipeline in 3-4 months?
Our current focus is Team Builder Draft, but we have a couple milestones for the new Reform System that we'd like to get out this year including real-time Intentional Feeder Detection, Elo Boosting Detection, and Tribunal Voting. There's a couple other things we'd love to squeeze into this year's package of features, but more details later."He continued, commenting on the Tribunal's downtime over the last year:
"It's been about 8 months; however, a lot of the new foundation and skeleton is in place. The new Reform System has a machine-learning based engine backing it, and already hands out bans and Reform Cards in e-mails automatically within 5-15 minutes of the behavior occurring. We're going to be adding in Intentional Feeder Detection and Elo Boosting soon too and rolling it out to the rest of the servers... so technically there's already stuff that's "live" that the old Tribunal did."
Xypherous has posted up a huge list of upcoming core AP itemization changes that will be hitting the PBE soon.
< Before reading the discussion, be sure to read the [5.13] Core AP Items Pass post! >
Following this announcement, Xypherous also replied to several player questions on the item changes::
"Note: These changes aren't on the PBE yet! But will on the PBE once we switch over to testing the new patch stuff.
TL;DR - We're changing AP Items! NLR is cheaper! More things give 80 AP! More things build out of NLR! Most things top out at 100 AP - but you'll still probably have the same amount of AP in your full build!
EDIT: Okay, you guys usually don't outnumber me by this much when I make a post like this. Going to pass out - probably won't be able to respond to comments until the changes hit PBE and players start playing on them."
When asked about the efficiency of Needlessly Large Rod and the power spike that came with it prior to the changes, Xypherous commented:
Previously, one of the big reasons for why super-large basic items were kept in basic tier was because they were meant to encourage players to hold out on their gold for a massive power spike; is this still true after this update?
It's still true after this. NLR took a dip in its personal efficiency - its just that the power has been pushed into its upgrades rather than the item itself. Since offensive items are typically pro-active rather than reactive - having a piecemeal build of these items simply encourages snowballing and closely edging out your opponent - rather than taking risks.
It's about recognizing that the massive power spike comes from Rabadon's (or Zhonyas, Rylais, AAA, etc.) rather than the component in and of itself - and thus the item still has to stand as a barrier against edging your opponent out."He continued, commenting on rushing a R. Deathcap in this set of changes vs live:
"Rushing a DCap is actually less efficient in this world - AP per AP. While the 5% increase is nice - the overall net AP you're getting from the item, compared to price is lower. While each slot offers less overall AP (Zhonya's and Ludens, for example) - they're also slightly cheaper - So if you used to primarily start Zhonya's - you would use the leftover gold to get a head start on the next item.
Eventually, Death Cap will be the highest AP for the buck - but along the path up to Deathcap - you should have similar AP / Point of Gold comparison - and you'll be somewhat higher along the way if you ever incorporated Liandry's / Void Staff / Nashor's Tooth / AAA / RoA in any of your builds."
As for the expected impact of Deathcap vs non Deathcap builds, he commented:
"Most of the items on the non-standard AP path (RoA/AAA/Torment) all have higher AP to GP ratios.
I'm not quite sure what this will do to the spread of mages in general.
Non-DC builds will be able to get higher amounts of AP than before for a similar price point, especially if one of those three items made up their core items.
DC builds will end up at very roughly the same amount of AP per gold and final AP.
Pure Utility builds will probably end up at higher AP than before and Cass is probably terrifying."
"There's definitely more we can do on this front from a component / gold and items standpoint but this is a fairly light pass as I didn't really want to disrupt the ecosystem too much. There's a particularly set build that I want to break on the high AP triplet.
Then again, this also buffs every non Manareg, Boots, High AP triplet, Void Staff build - so at the very least, alternative playstyles aren't so far behind the curve as the primary one.
However, before I go farther in this direction - I do want to validate some of my hypothesis in that it's the right direction before planning more sweeping changes."He continued, commenting on items that build out of 3 component items:
"I know - it bugs me too. It gets kind of constraining towards the end game to feel like your options are becoming less efficient.
However, you get a 50 AP bump when finishing Morello - and that's kind of rough.
If I had time to do another component item, it'd probably be some kind of upgrade from Fiendish Codex (Codex + Book) = 50 AP, 10% CDR item + Lane Passive) thing to smooth it out. However - I'd like to prove out this concept first before deep diving it some more."
As for the suggested Will of the Ancients changes and what will or will not work with it, he noted:
"If it didn't work with Spell Vamp before - it won't now."He continued, noting Hextech Revolver will not be changing to match WotA:
"Revolver won't change.
The WoTA's change basically converts that 12% Spell Vamp into 15% of 'Super Spell Vamp' that ignores opponent resistances."He continued, noting the WotA passive also works on with Smite:
"Yes. Basically, the concept I was going for was 'Super Spell Vamp.'"He continued, commenting eventually they would like to completely redesign how Spell Vamp works:
I don't get the Wota change, why not simply redesign Spell Vamp all together.
That's the plan eventually. The main problem is that lifesteal is pretty predictable - as basic attacks are fairly predictable.
Spells on the other hand, are all over
the place - and thus probably need a tailored solution for each pattern of spells and abilities.
It's just the realization that there isn't a one-size fits all sort of rule that works for Spell Vamp (due to the array of spells and abilities) that this change is going through."
In response to a suggestion of switching Luden's Echo to CDR instead of movement speed, he noted:
"I can actually see that being realistic in the long run - that Luden's might need to be cadence driven (CDR) instead of Movement Speed driven (MS) - though that kind of directional shift on the item is a little outside the scope I wanted to work at.
It's hard to evaluate Luden's right now - because it's essentially just yet another AP multiplier with no particular synergies - and so I'd like to try to clean that up a bit first before looking at its impact on the type of mages you're describing."He continued:
I have a single question in terms of Luden's; If you say that it's an item more suited for poke mages, why does it come with such a high movement speed boost? From my experience, poke mages give up mobility for long ranges and zone control, which Luden's entirely offsets by both giving said mages higher poke power AND improving their mobility. Why is that acceptable?
To be fair, it might not be in the long run. However, currently Luden's is pretty much a giant AP ratio on a stick for your spells - and so I want to see if some kind of identity for it can exist with its current model.
I will admit, Luden's is a concept I have to be particularly careful around - since I was fairly fond of the DFG design. The thing that I'm focused on amplifying current patterns rather than remaking them - as we've seen far too little of their actual identities to know what is particularly problematic (it's all been hidden under a giant burst AP damage blanket.)"
When asked if we'll see any other AP items tinkered with like Trinity Force, Banner of Command, etc, he noted:
"Probably not. I wanted to focus on the Core AP items that I see heavy AP mages using - rather than the other scattered AP items that exist."
When asked about his thoughts on Hextech Gunblade changes, Xypherous noted:
"I have some thoughts in this space - but I wanted to do an isolated Core AP pass.
I do have some ideas for Gunblade though. I'd remove the lifesteal and spellvamp and essentially convert to a global damage steal from all sources of damage - which I think fits better the concept of Gunblade entirely.
Unique Passive: You heal 12% of the damage from ALL sources of damage you deal, including items.
Which creates some interesting synergizes with characters with strong on-hit magic damage and procs."On the topic of hybrid items, he commented:
"I really dislike hybrid items personally. The more hybrid items that exist that are good - the weaker hybrid characters have to be innately in terms of their champion kits.
Put it this way, if a hybrid item exists that is merely efficient - then it's not particularly attractive to hybrid characters compared to other AP items. So it has to be super efficient on the hybrid character compared to other options. However - once this happens, that means that the power spike from a single item that Hybrid characters you get can get crazily high - so then we nerf their ratios to compensate.
The end result of this is that less items are viable on hybrid characters because they are now balanced around having two crazy efficient items in their inventory.
That said - this is just the history of hybrid items. It could be that we're making both hybrid items and hybrid characters completely incorrectly."Xypherous also replied to a question regarding a similar scope project for AD items:
Are there any plans to do the same for AD items?
And if there are such plans, is there any possible ideas for a spellvamp AD item (without AP like Hextech) for AD castors like Jayce.
AD is quite a bit more complicated in its equation. AP is relatively straightforward due to the number of buckets involved - but AD is a more complex beast as it incorporates AS / Life Steal and other such matters as direct main line.
As far as AD / Spellvamp goes - we've tried that item already. It's not a Jayce Item - it actually buffs AD Bruisers more than AD Casters by far."
When asked specifically about the new costs and what it might mean for a champion like Ahri, he noted:
"We actually had a couple of the pro players play this set of changes for a day or two. Their conclusion was that the reduced price of NLR gives assassin champions like Ahri the consistency they needed.
Their main point on Ahri was that her unreliability in hitting the really big AP items (due to NLR's price point) held her back a fair bit - and that the new price point of NLR was overall, probably a net positive for her.
That said - that was only a day or two of tests, so I can't predict what will happen exactly - but they seemed neutral to positive for her on it."
As for what all these itemization changes mean for Rumble, Xypherous joked:
"He'll probably get stronger because we buffed all his core items. Apologies in advance."
Check out the ongoing discussion by players and Xypherous over on the PBE boards.
IronStylus swooped on to the boards to answer the community's questions on his work on Champ Up, armored ladies, and more!
"Welcome to the first installment of Between Two Turrets, a new Q&A series from the NA Community team in which we’ll connect you with various Rioters to chat about League, life, and anything in between. You can expect an installment every couple weeks or so, with Rioters from all over jumping in to spend some time with you on the boards.
First up, we’ve got concept artist (and lover of all things parrot) IronStylus!
EDIT - Alright guys, heading back to work! I'll try to check back every now and then over the next couple days so feel free to leave more questions. Great talking to you all!
Why hello! My name is Michael Maurino and I'm a Senior Concept Artist here at Riot. I currently work on the Champion Update team as one of two concept artists who are dedicated to bringing our older champions some well-deserved love. I've been at Riot for just over 4 years and have worked on each of the character content teams: Champion, Skins, and now ChampUp. During my time on these teams I've worked on some extremely fun and rewarding projects with some amazing people, helping to visually design such champions as Leona, Talon, Xerath, Skarner, Graves, Diana, and Quinn & Valor. I've designed various skins including Steel Legion Garen, Lunar Goddess Diana, Pool Party Leona, and others. While on Champion Update I've worked on such characters as Master Yi, Sejuani, Trundle, and others. Currently I'm slated to do character concept art for Taric's upcoming(tm) update and other characters as well!
You can also check out a bunch of my League-related work here.
This Q&A is wide open to discussions about my work here at Riot, artistic practices at the studio, art education, all of that! Pretty much anything that is in good taste and can be discussed openly.
In addition, what we can discuss goes beyond League, art, and game development, too. There's a lot of passions I have that I'm happy to share thoughts on and would likewise love to hear yours! I'm a parrot owner, a traditional sculptor, lover of all things sci-fi, a proponent of gender equality and positive representation of women in games, a lover of social media, and online communities (especially the League community).
I also have a tremendous interest in psychology and the workings of the human mind as someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression. It is a topic dear to my heart, and I always want to reach out to those who struggle or have struggled with mental illness.
So! Whether your questions are League related, art related, or you just want to hang out and chat about parrots, it's a big world filled with big discussions! Let's talk!Below are several posts cherry picked from the long Q&A, mostly answers centered around his work on visual updates, thoughts on future updates, and more.
When asked which visual reworks he is most looking forward to the most, IronStylus noted:
What champs do you personally want a VU for right now? What champs do you think need it the most?Personally (and luckily they're in our sights, eventually) are Taric, Poppy, Urgot for obvious reasons, very large and intensive character remakes which are honestly a lot of fun, but very resource intensive.
However, there are some other character kind of on my hit list, which we're not really prioritizing for some good reasons. Personally I'd love to overhaul Eve. Keep that sexy succubus thing but really amp that up along with her fidelity.
Caitlyn for not so much technical reasons, but for consistency reasons to fit with Jayce, Vi, Jinx, etc. To embody that real slick cop vibe, bring her in line with Piltover and give her a slightly more aligned costume to hit her theme home. I love the dress, but I think we can find a common ground solution.
Irelia, again for a huge tear-down, but definitely not as important as our major overhauls up top. I'd really like to embrace the mind-blade lady thing in all facets of art, gameplay and story.
Many others, I'd have to dig a bit. Those are the ones at the tip of my brain though."IronStylus shared:
Speaking of Poppy, IronStylus also commented on the sort of direction both Poppy and Taric's visual updates may be headed in:I heard you were in the middle of the Poppy VU and rework? How close is the end date?Not close at the moment. We're currently in the modelling phase. Animation and a lot of other stuff to follow. I think her kit is in a good place however."
Hey Stylus could we get any get any info, leaks, sneak peaks or teases on Poppy's (mainly her seeing as she is an armored lady) and Taric's update?
Also I would like to know the process of creating a champion from the artiste's side. What the process is like, how long does it take, what do you do with rejected/ cancelled characters.
And do you guys at riot ever look at community created characters for inspiration and ideas? Like what happens if a member of the company conceptualized a champion you really like?
What's going on for Warwick???
Well, I can't offer any real sneak peaks unfortunately, but I can sort of give an idea of the space we're playing in.
With Poppy we want to find the fundamental base of her character. What is her particular space in the yordle lineup? What gives her such fortitude and the power to wield weapons a bit too large for her? What's the thing that she wants or strives to be? Those are all things which we build off of which are core to the character's development and identity in the universe, game space, and look. Small yordle big weapon is a neat contrasting theme, and seems to be something common throughout all yordles. Contrast, motivation, all of those things are core.
For Taric, again, not much I can say, though I have had extensive conversations with the community about him, asking what people would like to see from such an update. Lots of interesting feedback, lots of good opinions and ideas. The space I'd like to play in there is how to make Taric fundamentally compelling without relying on stereotypes or tropes that are either ancillary or just not great foundations to build off of. Taric has so much opportunity. He has a great standard archetype - Hero. A known and fun trope - Paladin. A neat spin that we can give - Gem Magic. Those alone are great to build off of. Those things known we can expand upon it to add flavor and see exactly what the most compelling version of those three standards are. Personal preference for me is that we make Taric someone who is wonderfully confident, kind, heroic, has presence, is someone who is a lover of beauty and is a protector. The rest of the story writes itself from there.
I'm not particularly involved in new champion development right now to comment in a meaningful way on that process really.
We look at the community a lot, but there's also a wealth of internal ideas that often align with what players are thinking. We tend to rely a bit more on the brain dump of individuals at Riot, but also always peak into the community to find motivation, inspiration and what is trending.
Warwick? Hmm.. not quite on the docket at the moment, and ZenonTheStoic took time away from that update to work on some Champion team stuff."continued, answering more questions about Taric:
Hello Iron. I've got a few questions to contribute if you don't mind and have the time.
How difficult is it designing the new Taric?
What type of characters and/or references that are already out there are you using to help inspire you for Taric's design? I'm sure there's a few out there that essentially give you the feeling of what he should be similar to in the end.
Is Riot's current plan to release Taric alongside the live action movie release of 'Gem and the Holograms' in theaters this fall similar to how they released the Prehistoric skins alongside the release of Jurassic World?
I'm really interested in the progress of Taric because he's my favorite champion and with your hand in it I know we're in good hands because I respect and enjoy your art/style.1) It was difficult in the past just because how open Taric is to interpretation and how many divergent opinions there were. However, now that the team is more heavily aligned we have a clearer, less muddy, idea of how to go forward.
2) We look at characters who are generally beautiful, good and kind. There are some specific examples but they've sort of fallen by the wayside as we develop Taric as his own individual. We've now got more internal vibes versus external inspiration, which I think is a good thing. It means we're pushing into some territory that might really be unique.
3) No plans on that, I'm afraid :P"
announced Gangplank visual updates, IronStylus mentioned:
IronStylus also replied to questions regarding Yorick's future visual update, explaining:Ironstylus, any insights into the direction you're taking Gangplank as far as pirates go? Will we not be seeing him this patch, or the next? Is it still to early to discuss? Is there ANYTHING you can share?Not much I can share, but I think the big challenge with him is how to not make him so very pirate-mcpiratey. I'd love to find something that makes him uniquely League."
Any update on the Champ Reworks? Specifically, how long before you can get to serious work on Yorick?I can't get too crazy in explanation, but there is some very, very early on work going on for Yorick. No dates, no expectations at the moment, mainly exploration on a new direction for him by passionate designers.
Then I'll ask my question in a different way.
As for if a proper Cho'Gath VU is in the works, he noted:Speaking for yourself, where do you put Yorick on the priority list? Are the other "Sion-level" champion reworks (specifically Poppy, Taric and Urgot) and other "low-hanging fruit," like Gangplank and Fiora, bigger or more important targets for your team than the Grave Digger?He's definitely a Sion level project."
Do you still think of Cho VU?
He continued, commenting on the same question but about Morgana:If so, do you have any plans?We have concepts but he's currently not in active development."
I'm not sure how much you're into working on Morgana and how much you are ALLOWED to say, but what can you say about her? Do you consider changing her? How will her future look like? What would you change on her? What do you think is iconic and shouldn't change? Will we see something in the near future?We have a concept hanging around but she's not in active development. Morgana is a big fidelity and theme project, not so much gameplay.
I would love to know what exactly she is. Is she an otherworldly fallen angel? Is she some sort of Targonian being? Is she a product of the Shadow Isles? I think she needs something really tangible to base a new direction off of. With that direction and thematic cohesion we can build art to suit.
I think she's really iconic, and it comes down to more of how the narrative influences any future visual direction. Can we make her awesome and badass looking? Absolutely! I think we just need to find a great hook for her first."
As for ideas for Caitlyn or the announced minor visual updates for Miss Fortune, he commented:
I know at one point your name was being thrown around as someone working on the Cait VU. Is it still being worked on and are you still a part of it? If so how is it coming? What are some challenges you faced working on that project? Got any interesting stories about the creation process from you or your team in that project?
One last question, are you also working on the MF VU?Cait is not currently in active development as there are some really big projects on our docket. (Taric, Poppy, etc)
I have a concept hanging out which might be able to inform an eventual update, though it'd probably, if anything, just be a model update. I'm hopeful but it wouldn't be in the near future.
Currently I'm not involved in anything MF related."
When asked about his tendency to lean towards armored ladies and his thoughts on female character design, IronStylus commented:
You're very well-known for your "armoured ladies" -- which is to say female characters who are not only wearing armour, but who are also powerful. Leona is a great example of a more conventionally thought "strong" woman, but her counterpart, Diana, is another strong woman yet she is a slightly more unconventional.
Can you discuss your thoughts on female character design not just at Riot, but in games in general, and the kind of thought process and considerations you have when crafting your "armoured ladies," particularly more unconventional "strong women" like Diana?Absolutely.
Leona was done in a bit of a vacuum as I look back on her. She's much more traditionally "fantasy knight" than anything extraordinarily unique. That said, I'm happy that she has become a bit of a symbol of a tiny step forward in female character design that's it's own power fantasy and fairly non-conventional in games a whole.
That said, I definitely wanted to reevaluate how I approached strong women who have specific power fantasies in designing Diana. There was intent there. I wanted to go a bit further in my personal approach to the design. I wanted to steer completely away from even the mistakes I made with Leona (boob-plate, heels, etc). I intentionally designed Diana to be contrasting shape language but also polar opposite in theme and demeanor.
Female character design is something that fascinates me so very much, and I'm glad we as a company and games in general are making strides to a more diverse understanding as to what makes power fantasies surrounding female characters or female protagonists compelling. I'm also really delighted that other companies have made intentional strides to expand female character pools. Not for the sake of appeasement or agenda, but for the simple fact that so many amazing character possibilities lay undiscovered or have not been capitalized.
We as artists at Riot have different ways we interpret power fantasies. We express it in different way. All of them are valid I feel. Whether that's Riot Zeronis making extremely badass and conventionally sexy ladies, to TheBravoRay who designed Kalista and definitely bucked trends there, to myself who likes diving into what actively challenges conventional gender roles.
I think my own understanding is evolving, I think Riot's understanding is evolving, and I think the games industry is evolving. I think that's absolutely fantastic, and I'm so happy to throw my hat into the ring when appropriate.
Armored ladies aren't the only solution to gender diversity in roles and character development. I think each power fantasy has a niche and can be expressed in so many ways. In the end it all works! It's all about what works best at what time in what context!"
When asked about the future of Leona as a champion storywise, he replied
Hey Ironstylus. Leona is my second favorite champion and by far my go-to for support laning. Without her, I can honestly say my experience playing league starting back in mid season 2, and up to now, would be completely and utterly different.
So what I want to know is, what do you think would be the future for Leona? How do you see her evolving in LOL as time goes on and where do you think she will end up? How do you imagine her lore expanding in the future? Please do not give anything away yet if it has changed in any way! Simply share your thoughts on how you see her standing in the world of Runeterra and where you imagine her to be in the future. Do you think she will get any cool new skins in the future? Again don't spoil anything, a simple yes or now will do. Something like a "Super Nova" skin would be excellent for her. Where her abilities would look super charged, and she would have some cool golden armor. Okay enough about skins lol. I don't want to be the guy who pesters Riot all day about skins.
I guess the last thing I have to say really is this. If you really did base Leona's looks off of your wife, well then you are one lucky man.I'm a big fan of Leona in many ways. I do however see the need for her to develop more depth if we move forward with showcasing more depth in our storytelling. Right now she is indeed a bit generic. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing! It just means that as we evolve, I'd like to find what nuances she has rather than just "PRAISE THE SUN!".
I really see her as being a cornerstone as to whatever we do with Targon. I think her and Diana are really compelling characters to use as the flagship protagonists of that region. I think they'll play a pinnacle role in whatever we develop from here on out.
I'd also love to see Targon really built up to a region which has major significance. Right now it's a really ambiguous area but it has TONS of room for expansion and to create a unique world space. I'm optimistic on Leona's future in the general scheme of things IP related. I think she has a lot of potential to be a cornerstone character who appeals to a lot of people :)"As for his thoughts on the various factions and the unifying the look of yordles, IronStylus noted:
Which faction of League's lore (Noxus, Demacia, Zaun, ect) would you like to see developed the most? Besides Mt. Targon, that is :P
A while back there was talk of the Yordle Unification Pass- we've already gotten Tristana and Heimer's (awesome) new looks from it, and we know Poppy's next. What other yordles do you have in mind to look at?
I'd really like to expand and understand the Piltover/Zaun dynamic. I think there's so much room to explore that tension between two diametrically opposed city-states. I'm also a fan of fantasy-sci-fi sorta tech and motifs. Not as much with the high fantasy that tends to be Demacia/Noxus.
As for yordles, we do the pass as we go. Using Hiemer and Tristana as a point of reference. So as we progress on Poppy we line things up and check for consistency. It's more of an ongoing active space we operate inside than a style guide.
Personally I'd like us to maybe get an understanding of Viegar. I'd have to do a bit of digging to see which yordle in particular I'd like to give some love to. (I'm really excited about Poppy though!)"Be sure to check out the rest of the Q&A over on the boards, including IronStylus' advice for up and coming artists & the winding road he took to arrive at Riot games, processing feedback and what goes into assets, his thoughts on streaming his art, and more!
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