- This Week in Esports - Post WC Semifinals
- Champion and Skin Sale 10/27 - 10/30
- Free Champion Rotation, Week of October 27th
- 5.21 PBE Roundup
Table of Contents
- Dev Blog: Building a Better Bio
- Updated Champion Introductions & Backgrounds
- Lyte AskFM Roundup
- ZenonTheStoic AskFM Roundup
- FeralPony AskFM Roundup
- One For All:SR popular picks & bans discussion
Dev Blog: Building a Better BioFirst up we Ant in Oz with a new developer blog on the update champion introductions and background stories we first saw during the Bilgewater event, explaining they format changes, who is up next, and more!
"During the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event, you may have noticed we took the opportunity to update the bios of key champs featured in the story: Twisted Fate, Graves, Miss Fortune and Gangplank. (And if you didn’t, go read ‘em now – we’ll wait for ya!)
This was a bit of an experiment with a new format for doing bios: half traditional bio, half short piece of fiction. We really wanted to dive a little deeper with those bios – getting into the champions’ heads, and adding extra depth.
We also wanted to see what you guys thought of them before we plowed blindly ahead. The overall impression has been really positive, so we are now looking to start working on new bios for all our existing champs – though this will take some time!
Bios back in the day
Some of our older bios are starting to show their age; they’re getting a little creaky around the edges, and some of the details are a little fuzzy. Back when they were first written, the world of Runeterra was a rather different place than it is now – the world and its civilizations were just starting to get fleshed out. Those were Runeterra’s formative years, when we were still getting our own heads around the world, its history, and the people who inhabit it.
The Foundations team (essentially, our world building team) has been doing lots of work over the last few years to really get a solid understanding of Runeterra (check out this Foundations blog on Bilgewater to get a little insight into what the team does).
Just as our splash images have evolved (read about that here!), it’s time for our biographies and character backgrounds to do likewise.
Rito plz don’t destroy my beloved champ
We know you guys love your champs. We love them too!
So, what’s our goal with these updated bios? We want to strengthen the core thematic of the champs, and further explore their motivations, personality and background. For most of our champs, that’s simply adding more depth to what’s already there, and really getting to dive into what drives them.
Bios are also a great opportunity to add a little color to our champs – to give examples of them doing the stuff that makes them who they are, rather than just saying it, as in the classic ‘show don’t tell’ mantra.
For example, we could say, “Gangplank is the meanest pirate of them all”, but it’s much more effective to actually see the dastardly things that helped forge his black reputation. So, in the Gangplank bio we fleshed this out with mentions of the temples he’s sacked in Ionia, the Demacian villages he’s razed to the ground, and the time he stole Swain’s personal flagship. These little snippets are also potential story hooks – something other Rioters (and players) can use as a spark to explore further (e.g. “You know, Gangplank sneaking into Noxus and stealing Swain’s ship would make a cool story. Hmmm…”).
As we work to expand out our bios, the most important thing is that we hold true to the core essence of why players love that particular champ.
Which champs next?
Having landed on a style of bios that we were pretty happy with, the next question after Bilgewater was which champs to tackle next.
Long-term, we are planning to re-do the bios for all our existing champions, but that’s no small task – we have over 125 champs now, after all. Getting them all done to the level we want isn’t going happen overnight. So, we started having a think about which champions we wanted to do next.
Which leads us to…
One of the things that we all wanted to know after Burning Tides: The Reckoning was what happened next.
While that story focused on TF and Graves (and we are looking to explore their next adventure together soon…), one of the things we really wanted to see was what would happen if the Harrowing rolled into Bilgewater while the port-city was still tearing itself apart in the aftermath of Gangplank’s upheaval. One of the writers on Foundations, Graham “Dinopawz” McNeill, took up the challenge and started putting pen to paper (well, digits to keyboard) to tell that story – Shadow and Fortune – which you’ll be able to read very soon.
It was around this time, too, that Foundations was deep-diving into the history of the Shadow Isles, exploring the tragic events that led to its formation. Many of the key Shadow Isles champs featured in this history, and as some of them would also be making an appearance in Shadow and Fortune, it seemed like the obvious choice to tackle them next. We didn’t get to every Shadow Isles champ, unfortunately, but we’ll come back to the others as soon as we can.
A new way to view the champ bios
As well as working on writing new bios, we’ve also been exploring how to present them in a better way. We wanted a page that would do justice to the champions, and we think we have come up with a pretty cool step in the right direction (which you’ll see soon with the updated bios for Mordekaiser, Kalista, Hecarim, Thresh and Karthus!). Again, this is a bit of an experiment, and we’d love to hear what you guys think. If this is something that everyone really likes, then we’ll be looking to start rolling this out across our other champions as we write them.
So, when will my champ be done?
The next batches of champions we are looking at exploring are the Shuriman champions and those associated with Mount Targon. After that… we’ll have to see. Let us know if there are some that you really want to see updated.
We hope you guys enjoy the new bios for these Shadow Isles champions. Please let us know what you think of them – and which champs you want to see next!
Updated Champion Introductions & Backgrounds
[EDIT @ 3:30 PM PDT: Ant in Oz has commented that these new bios went up a bit early and had some "odd formatting errors". As such, they've been temporarily removed from the champion pages but will return soon, Keeping these around for reference but he aware they may change slightly!]
Click the links to jump to each champion's updated intro & background:
Hecarim – The Shadow of WarHecarim's champion page:
“Break their ranks and ride them down without mercy. Crush the living and feast on their terror.”
Hecarim is an armored colossus who charges from the Shadow Isles at the head of a deathly host of spectral horsemen to hunt the living. A monstrous fusion of man and beast, cursed to ride for eternity, Hecarim revels in slaughter and crushing souls beneath his armored hooves.
Born into an empire long since gone to dust and forgotten, Hecarim was squired to a legendary company of knights known as the Iron Order, a brotherhood sworn to defend their king’s land. There he endured the harshest training imaginable, a punishing regime that schooled him to be a formidable warrior.
As Hecarim grew to manhood, he mastered every form of combat and war-stratagem with ease. He quickly outstripped his fellow squires in mounted warfare, and the Knight Commander of the Iron Order saw greatness within the young man and recognized a potential successor. But as the years passed and Hecarim won victory after victory from the back of his mighty warhorse, the Knight Commander finally recognized a growing darkness within his lieutenant. Hecarim’s thirst for wholesale slaughter and obsessive hunger for glory was eroding his honor and the Knight Commander knew the young knight must never become the master of the Iron Order. In his private chambers, he told Hecarim that he would not be his successor and though his lieutenant was furious, he bit back on his anger and returned to his duties.
When the Order next rode to war, the Knight Commander found himself surrounded by enemies and isolated from his fellow knights. Only Hecarim could ride to his aid, but in a moment of rancor, he turned his mount away and left the Knight Commander to die. At battle’s end, the surviving knights, oblivious to what Hecarim had done, knelt on the bloody ground and swore to follow him as their master.
Hecarim rode to the capital, and met with Kalista, the king’s general. Kalista recognized his exceptional nature, and when the king’s wife was wounded by the poisoned blade of an assassin, she tasked the Iron Order with staying at the king’s side while she sought a cure. Hecarim accepted, but being given what he perceived to be a menial task planted a seed of resentment.
Hecarim remained with the king as he descended into grief-induced madness. Gripped by paranoia, the king raged at those who sought to separate him from his dying wife and despatched the Iron Order to quell what he saw as dissent throughout his kingdom. Hecarim led the Iron Order in bloody suppressions of discontent, earning a dreadful reputation as a ruthless enforcer of the king’s will. Villages burned and the riders of the Iron Order put hundreds to the sword. The kingdom was in darkness, and when the queen died, Hecarim spun falsehoods around the king, speaking of how he had uncovered the truth behind her death, seeking sanction to lead the Iron Order to foreign lands and earn yet more dark renown.
Before he rode out, Kalista returned from her quest. She had found a cure for the queen’s malady upon the legendary Blessed Isles, but was too late to save her. Horrified at what had become of the kingdom, Kalista refused to share what she had discovered and was imprisoned for her defiance. Hecarim saw an opportunity to win yet more favor and visited Kalista’s cell. Promising to keep the king from any rash actions, Hecarim persuaded Kalista to reveal what she knew. Kalista reluctantly agreed and guided the king’s fleet through the glamours veiling the Blessed Isles from sight.
Hecarim led the ruined form of the king to the center of the magical island, where he met with its guardians and demanded their aid. The guardians offered their sympathies, but told the king his wife was beyond their help. Enraged, the king ordered Kalista to kill the guardians one by one until they relented. Kalista refused and stood between the king and the island’s inhabitants.
Hecarim recognized a crossroads in his life and made a decision that would damn him for eternity. Instead of supporting Kalista, he drove a spear through her back and commanded the Iron Order to slay the inhabitants of the Blessed Isles. Hecarim and his warriors slaughtered the guardians until a lantern-bearing wretch finally led the king to what he sought - the secret to resurrecting his wife.
But when the queen returned to life she was a horror of decayed meat and maggot-ridden flesh who begged to be allowed to die once more. Repulsed at what he had done to his beloved wife, the king enacted a spell to end their lives and bind them together for all eternity. His conjuration was successful, but unwittingly empowered by the many potent magical artifacts stored on the island, its power was increased a hundredfold.
A hurricane of black mist surrounded the king, spreading across the island and killing everything it touched. Hecarim abandoned the king to his doom and led the Iron Order back to their ships, killing all in their path as the spirits of those slain by the black mist arose as undying wraiths. One-by-one, the knights were dragged down into undeath until only Hecarim remained. As uncontrolled sorcery filled him, he and his mighty steed were fused together in a monstrous abomination that reflected the true darkness of his soul.
Howling in rage, the titanic beast known as the Shadow of War was wrought in an agonizing transformation, a brazen monster of fury and spite. The sins of his former life were heightened by the maelstrom of dark magic, birthing a creature of endless malice and terrifying power.
Now Hecarim is bound to the Shadow Isles, patrolling its nightmare shores and killing all before him in a mockery of his former duty. And when the Black Mist reaches beyond the Shadow Isles, he and the spectral host of the Iron Order ride with him to slaughter the living in the memory of glories long passed.
NO ONE LIVES
Icy waves crashed on the bleak shore, red with the blood of the menHecarim had already butchered. The mortals he had yet to kill were retreating over the beach in terror. Black rain doused them and stormcloudsboiled in from the mourning heart of the island. He heard them shouting to one another. The words were a guttural battle-cant he did not recognize, but the meaning was clear; they actually thought they might live to reach their ship. True, they had some skill. They moved as one, wooden shields interlocked. But they were mortal and Hecarim savored the meat-stink of their fear.
He circled them, threading crumbling ruins and unseen in the shadowed mist rising from the ashen sand. The echoing thunder of his hooves struck sparks from black rocks. It gnawed at their courage. He watched the mortals through the slitted visor of his helm. The weak light of their wretched spirits was flickering corposant in their flesh. It repulsed him even as he craved it.
“No-one lives,” he said.
His voice was muffled by the dread iron of his helm, like the corpse-rasp of a hanged man. The sound scraped along their nerves like rusted blades. He drank in their terror and grinned as one man threw down his shield and ran for the ship in desperation.
He bellowed as he gallopped from the weed-choked ruins, lowering his hooked glaive and feeling the old thrill of the charge. A memory flickered, riding at the head of a silver host. Winning glory and honor. The memory faded as the man reached the dark surf of cold breakers and looked over his shoulder.
“Please! No!” he cried.
Hecarim split him from collarbone to pelvis in one thunderous blow.
His ebon-bladed glaive pulsed as it bathed in blood. The fragile wisp of the man’s spirit sought to fly free, but the mist’s hunger would not be cheated.Hecarim watched as the soul was twisted into a dark reflection of the man’s life.
Hecarim drew the power of the island to him and the bloody surf churned with motion as a host of dark knights wreathed in shimmering light rose from the water. Sealed within archaic plates of ghostly iron, they drew black swords that glimmered with dark radiance. He should know these men. They had served him once and served him still, but he had no memory of them. He turned back towards the mortals on the beach. He parted the mists, revelling in their terror as they saw him clearly for the first time.
His colossal form was a nightmarish hybrid of man and horse, a chimeric juggernaut of brazen iron. The plates of his body were dark and stamped with etchings whose meanings he only vaguely recalled. Bale-fire smoulderedbehind his visor, the spirit within cold and dead yet hatefully vital.
Hecarim reared as forking traceries of lightning split the sky. He lowered his glaive and led his knights in the charge, throwing up giant clumps of blood-sodden sand and bone fragments as he went. The mortals screamed and brought up their shields, but the ghost-knights charge was unstoppable.Hecarim struck first as was his right as their master, and the thunderous impact splintered the shieldwall wide open. Men were trampled to bloody gruel beneath his iron-shod bulk. His glaive struck out left and right, killing with every strike. The ghost knights crushed all before them, slaughtering the living in a fury of thrashing hooves, stabbing lances and chopping blades. Bones cracked and blood sprayed as mortal spirits fled broken bodies, already trapped between life and death by the fell magic of the Ruined King.
The spirits of the dead circled Hecarim, beholden to him as their killer and he revelled in the surging joy of battle. He ignored the wailing spirits. He had no interest in enslaving them. Leave such petty cruelties to the Chain Warden.
All Hecarim cared for was killing.
Karthus – The DeathsingerKarthus' champion page:
“Death is not the end of the journey, it is just the beginning...”
The harbinger of oblivion, Karthus is an undying spirit whose haunting songs are a prelude to the horror of his nightmarish appearance. The living fear the eternity of undeath, but Karthus sees only beauty and purity in its embrace, a perfect union of life and death. When Karthus emerges from the Shadow Isles, it is to bring the joy of death to mortals as an apostle of the unliving.
Karthus was born into abject poverty in the sprawl of dwellings built beyond the walls of the Noxian capital. His mother died at the moment of his birth, leaving his father to raise him and his three sisters alone. They shared a crumbling, rat-infested almshouse with scores of other families, subsisting on a diet of rainwater and vermin. Of all the children, Karthus was the best ratter, and regularly brought gnawed corpses for the cook-pot.
Death was commonplace in the slums of Noxus, and many mornings began with the wailing of bereaved parents who woke to discover their child cold and lifeless beside them. Karthus learned to love these laments, and would watch, fascinated, as the tally-men of Kindred notched their staffs and bore the bodies from the almshouse. At night the young Karthus would sneak through the cramped rooms, seeking those whose lives hung by a thread, hoping to witness the moment their soul passed from life to death. For years, his nightly travels were fruitless, as it was impossible to predict exactly when a person would die. He was denied witnessing the moment of death until it reached his own family.
Outbreaks of disease were frequent in such cramped confines, and when Karthus’s sisters sickened with the plague, he watched over them intently. While his father drowned his grief, Karthus was the ever dutiful brother, caring for his sisters as the disease consumed them. He watched each of them as they died, and a sublime connection seemed to reach into him as the light faded from their eyes - a yearning to see what lay beyond death and unlock the secrets of eternity. When the tally-men came for the bodies, Karthus followed them back to their temple, asking them question after question about their order and the workings of death. Could a person exist at the moment where life ends, but before death begins? If such a liminal moment could be understood and held, might the wisdom of life be combined with the clarity of death?
The tally-men quickly recognized Karthus’s suitability for their order and he was inducted into their ranks, first as a digger of graves and pyre-builder, before ascending to the rank of corpse collector. Karthus guided his bone-cart around the streets of Noxus to gather the dead every day. His dirges quickly became known throughout Noxus, mournful laments that spoke to the beauty of death and the hope that what lay beyond was something to be embraced. Many a grieving family took solace in his songs, finding a measure of peace in his heartfelt elegies. Eventually, Karthus worked in the temple itself, tending to the sick in their final moments, watching as whatever death had laid its claim upon them took its due. Karthus would speak to each person laid before him, ushering their souls into death, in search of further wisdom in their fading eyes.
Eventually, Karthus reached the conclusion that he could learn no more from mortals, that only the dead themselves could answer his questions. None of the dying souls could tell of what lay beyond, but whispered rumors and tales told to frighten children echoed of a place where death was not the end - The Shadow Isles.
Karthus emptied the temple’s coffers and bought passage to Bilgewater, a city plagued by a strange black mist said to draw souls to a cursed island far out at sea. No captain was willing to take Karthus to the Shadow Isles, but eventually he came upon a rum-sodden fisherman with a mountain of debts and nothing to lose. The boat plied the ocean for many days and nights, until a storm drove them onto the rocks of an island that appeared on no charts. A black mist rolled out from a haunted landscape of gnarled trees and tumbled ruins. The fisherman freed his boat and turned its prow in terror for Bilgewater, but Karthus leapt into the sea and waded ashore. Steadying himself with his notched tally-staff, he proudly sang the lament he had prepared for the moment of his own death, and his words were carried on a cold wind to the heart of the island.
The black mist flowed through Karthus, ravaging his flesh and spirit with ancient sorcery, but such was the force of his desire to transcend mortality that it did not destroy him. Instead, it remade him, and Karthus was born anew in the waters of the island as a fleshless revenant.
Revelation filled Karthus as he became what he always believed he should have been; a being poised at the threshold of death and life. The beauty of this eternal moment filled him with wonder as the wretched spirits of the island rose to behold his transformation, drawn to his passion like predators scenting blood in the ocean. Finally, Karthus was where he belonged, surrounded by those who truly understood the boon undeath truly was. Filled with righteous zeal, he knew he had to return to Valoran and share his gift with the living, to free them from petty mortal concerns.
Karthus turned and the Black Mist bore him over the waves to the fisherman’s boat. The man fell to his knees before Karthus, begging for his life, and Karthus granted him the blessing of death, ending his mortal suffering and raising him up as an immortal spirit as he sang his lament for passing souls. The fisherman was the first of many such souls Karthus would free, and soon the Deathsinger would command a legion of unliving wraiths. To Karthus’s awakened senses, the Shadow Isles was in a state of apathetic limbo, where the blessings of death were squandered. He would galvanize the dead in a crusade to bring the beauty of oblivion to the living, to end the suffering of mortality and usher in a glorious age of undeath.
Karthus has become the emissary of the Shadow Isles, the herald of oblivion whose laments are paeans to the glory of death. His legions of unbound souls join with his funereal dirges, their haunting song reaching beyond the Black Mist to be heard on cold nights over graveyards and charnel houses all across Valoran.
BURIAL AT SEA
The sea was mirror-smooth and dark. A pirate’s moon hung low on the horizon as it had for the last six nights. Not so much as a whisper of wind stirred the air, only that damned dirge carried from who knew where.Vionax had sailed the oceans around Noxus long enough to know that seas like this only ever presaged ill-fortune. She stood on the Darkwill’s foredeck, training her spyglass on the far ocean, searching for anything she could use to plot their position.
“Nothing but sea in all directions,” she said to the night. “No land in sight and no stars I recognize. Our sails are empty of wind. The oar decks have rowed for days, but no matter which way we turn, land never comes and the moon neither waxes nor wanes.”
She took a moment to rub the heels of her palms against her face. Thirst and hunger growled in her belly and the constant darkness had made it impossible to accurately gauge the passage of time. The Darkwill wasn’t even her ship. She’d been it’s first mate until a Freljordian reaver’s axe had split Captain Mettok’s skull and given her a sudden promotion. The captain and fifteen other Noxian warriors were laid within sewn-up hammocks on the main deck. The growing stench rising from the bodies was the only consistent measure of time’s passing.
She lifted her gaze to the open ocean and her eyes widened as she saw thick black mist rising from the water. Shapes moved in the mist, lambent suggestions of clawed arms and gaping mouths. That damned dirge rang out over the water again, louder now and accompanied by the dolorous peals of a funeral bell.
“The Black Mist,” she said. “All hands on deck!”
She turned and vaulted down to the main deck, running for the quarterdeck and the ship’s wheel. Not that she could do anything to move the ship, but she’d be damned if she’d be found anywhere else. A haunting lament for lost souls drifted over the ship as men stumbled from below decks, and even as terror shivered her spine, Vionax couldn’t deny the poetry in the sound. Tears pricked her eyes and ran down her cheeks, not in fear, but from infinite sadness.
“Let me end your grief.”
The voice in her head was cold and lifeless, the voice of a dead man. It conjured the image of iron-rimmed wheels on a corpse-heaped cart, a knife cutting yet another death mark on a staff. Vionax knew the tales of the Black Mist; she knew to avoid the islands brooding beneath the darkness in the east. She’d thought the ship was far from the Shadow Isles, but she was wrong.
She pulled up short as black mist boiled up over the gunwale, bringing with it howls and screeches of dead things. Wraiths spun overhead, a swirling chorus of the damned, and the Darkwill’s crew cried out in terror at the sight of them. Vionax drew her pistol and cocked the hammer as a figure loomed from the mist; towering and wide-shouldered, robed in tattered vestments like an ancient prelate, yet his shoulders and gaunt skull were armored as a warrior. A chained book hung at his waist and he carried a long staff with its haft notched by countless tally-marks. Spectral light shone at its tip and burned like a fallen star in the palm of his free hand.
“Why do you cry?” said the creature. “I am Karthus, and I bring you a great gift.”
“I don’t want your gift,” said Vionax, pulling the trigger. Her pistol boomed and fire exploded from the barrel. The shot struck the monstrous wraith, but passed through it without harm.
“You mortals,” said Karthus, shaking his helmeted head. “You fear what you do not understand and would turn away from a boon that is freely offered.”
The monster drifted closer, and the dark radiance of his staff bathed the ship’s deck in pale, sickly light. Vionax backed away from the wraith’s chill as her crew fell before the light, their souls drifting like steam from their bodies. Her heel caught on one of the laid out hammocks and she tripped, falling backwards onto her haunches. She pushed herself away from Karthus, scrambling over the bodies of her fellow sailors.
The hammock beneath her moved.
They were all moving, squirming and writhing like fresh-caught fish gasping for air at the bottom of a boat. Tendrils of mist rose from tears in the canvas and between the rough stitches the ship’s sailmaker had used to sew them shut. Faces moved in the mist, faces she’d sailed with for years, men and women she’d fought beside.
The wraith towered over her and the dead crew of the Darkwill stood beside him, their spirit forms limned in moonlight.
“Death is nothing to be feared, Mistress Vionax,” said Karthus. “It will free you from all your pain. It will lift your eyes from your mundane existence and show you the glory of life eternal. Embrace the beauty and wonder of death. Let go of your mortality. You do not need it.”
He held his hand out and the light there swelled to envelop her. She screamed as it pressed through her skin, into muscle, through bone, down to her very soul. The wraith clenched his fist and Vionax cried out as she felt herself being unwoven from the inside out.
“Let your soul fly free,” said Karthus, turning to carve another notch in his staff with a sharpened nail. “You shall feel no pain, no fear, no desire to feel anything but the beauty of what I have to show you. Miracles and wonders await, mortal. Why would you not crave such rapture...?”
“No,” she said with her last breath. “I don’t want to see.”
“It is already done,” said Karthus.
Mordekaiser - The Iron RevenantMordekaiser's champion page:
“All things must die… and yet I live on.”
The baleful revenant Mordekaiser is among the most terrifying and hateful spirits haunting the Shadow Isles. He has existed for countless centuries, shielded from true death by necromantic sorcery and the force of his own dark will. Those who dare face Mordekaiser in battle risk a horrific curse: he enslaves his victims’ souls to become instruments of destruction.
Mordekaiser was once mortal, a brutal warlord-king who ruled the lands of eastern Valoran long before the rise of Demacia or Noxus. He waded into battle bedecked in heavy iron armor and slaughtered all who opposed him, crushing them beneath his ensorcelled mace, Nightfall.
As hated as he was feared, his enemies finally rallied to end his dark reign. After a long and bloody day of battle, Mordekaiser met his fate standing atop a mountain of corpses, surrounded by his foes. He laughed even as he died, pierced by arrows, swords and spears, promising his killers that he would come back for them.
His body was hurled upon a immense pyre amid great celebration from his enemies. While the flames were unable to do more than blacken his armor, Mordekaiser’s body was reduced to charred bones.
The fires burned for days on end, but as they finally died down and the victors moved on, a coterie of sorcerers slunk forward and sifted through the ashes, gathering up Mordekaiser’s armor and bones. They bore them away in secret, and on a moonless night they laid the skeleton upon a rune-carved slab and enacted a spell of vile, necromantic sorcery. As their dark magicks reached a crescendo, a shadowy form appeared upon the slab. The deathly shade rose to its feet, leaving the skeleton behind.
It was a wraith formed of pure darkness, yet its eyes burned with malice. The fire-blackened pieces of armor slammed into place around the shadowy spirit, as if drawn to a powerful lodestone, and the sorcerers dropped to their knees before their risen master. They had been promised great power for their service, but had not foreseen how they were to be rewarded.
With newfound mastery over the necromantic arts, Mordekaiser gifted the sorcerers with undeath, trapping them between life and death. They became vile liches, living corpses cursed to serve him until the end of time.
Over the next decade Mordekaiser saw all those who had defied him slain. He cursed them into eternal servitude, drawing out their souls and forcing them to obey his undying will.
Having assumed the mantle of the Iron Revenant, Mordekaiser’s nightmarish reign of darkness lasted many centuries. Several times he was seemingly slain during this period, yet always he returned, brought back by the power of his soul-bound liches.
Mordekaiser’s bones were key to his unholy reincarnation, and as the centuries rolled on he became increasingly paranoid about their safety. He constructed a monolithic fortress at the heart of his empire that came to be known as the Immortal Bastion. Locked away at the core of this epic stronghold he hid his remains.
The Immortal Bastion was eventually besieged by a concentrated alliance of tribes and warbands. During the siege, an unknown thief infiltrated the mighty fortress, bypassing its fiendish defenses to steal Mordekaiser’s skull. His skeleton needed to be complete in order for his resurrection to be enacted, yet fearful of their master’s wrath, his enslaved liches kept the theft a secret.
On the walls of the Immortal Bastion, countless enemies fell before Mordekaiser, yet it was not enough to stave off defeat. His fortress was overrun and he was dragged down by sheer weight of numbers. His deadly mace was torn from his grasp and great chains wrapped around his limbs. The booming of his laughter echoed through the darkness – he had no reason not to believe he would be reborn anew, as he had been many times before. The chains binding him were hitched to hulking Basilisks, and with a barked order the immense scaled beasts ripped him apart.
Mordekaiser’s skull was taken across the sea to the Blessed Isles, a land hidden in mist and legend. The wise adepts of that land knew of Mordekaiser, and of his weakness. They had stolen his skull in order to rid the world of his unholy presence, placing it in a vault deep beneath the ground, secured behind locks and magical wards. Mordekaiser’s servants were scattered to the corners of the world, seeking his lost skull, but were always unable to locate it. It seemed Mordekaiser’s reign was truly over.
Years rolled into decades, decades to centuries, until a cataclysm was unleashed upon the Blessed Isles. A king whose mind had been ruined by grief and madness unleashed a terrible spell that condemned the isles to darkness, turning them into a twisted realm of the undying – the Shadow Isles. During that great sorcerous explosion, the vaults securing Mordekaiser’s skull were torn asunder.
Drawn like moths to a flame, Mordekaiser’s liches made their way to the newly born Shadow Isles. They bore with them their master’s bones, and digging his skull from the ruins, were finally able to unleash him upon the world once more.
Mordekaiser has since carved out his own empire upon the Shadow Isles, enslaving a growing army of the dead. He looks down upon these newly formed undying spirits as a lesser breed, for he chose his path freely, while these others are merely lost souls. Nevertheless, he sees their use; they will be his foot-soldiers in the conflicts to come.
Unlike the lesser spirits, Mordekaiser is not bound by the Black Mist – he is too powerful for that – yet its baleful energy grants him considerable power. For now at least, the Shadow Isles serves as the perfect place to build his strength.
While he consolidates his power, and constantly obsesses over making his bones ever-more secure, Mordekaiser has begun to look across the seas, towards Valoran. He has set his sights on the empires and civilizations that have risen since his absence. In particular, his attention is drawn to the Immortal Bastion, that mighty fortress that now acts as the capital city of the upstart empire called Noxus.
A new era of darkness beckons.
Shadows of Damnation
The Black Mist coiled and twisted like a living creature as it rolled forward to encircle the isolated, grey-stoned castle.
A massive, armored figure walked within the darkness of the Black Mist. His heavy warplate gleamed like oil, and orbs of cruel witchfire burned within his horned helm.
Grass withered underfoot as the armored revenant marched towards the castle’s gatehouse. He could see movement on the walls. They knew death had come for them. His own name drifted on the wind, whispered in fear:
Arrows sliced through the night. Several stuck Mordekaiser, ricocheting from his armor. One sank into the gap between his helm and gorget, but his inexorable approach did not slow.
A heavy iron portcullis barred Mordekaiser’s advance. The revenant extended a gauntleted hand and made a wrenching motion in the air. The lattice ironwork screamed in protest as it was twisted out of shape before being hurled contemptuously aside, revealing the heavy oak gate beyond.
White hot warding runes burst to life upon the gate, forcing Mordekaiser back half a step. The Black Mist roiled around him, and it was possible now for the defenders to see other forms within it - hateful, shadowy specters that hungered for living souls.
Mordekaiser stepped forward, brandishing his immense spiked mace, Nightfall. A weapon of dark renown, thousands had fallen before it. With a powerful swing, he slammed the weapon into the oak gate.
The runes exploded, Mordekaiser’s dark sorcery overcoming the petty protective spells of his enemies. The gate smashed inwards, ripped off its hinges.
The Black Mist flowed through the breach, Mordekaiser striding within it.
The garrisoned soldiers and men-at-arms waited for him in the courtyard beyond. Weaklings all. His gaze swept over them as he sought a foe worthy of his attention. His undying gaze settled on a silver-clad knight that stepped out to meet him, sword drawn.
“Begone, revenant, or I shall see you banished,” said the knight. “This hamlet and its people are under my protection.”
Rising to this threat, a host of specters and translucent warriors manifested in the Black Mist behind their master.
“This one’s soul is mine,” Mordekaiser said, holding the eager spirits at bay. His voice was deep and sepulchral, the timbre of death itself.
Mordekaiser pointed, and a cone of malignant unlife burst towards the knight.
The knight’s armor shone brightly for a second, then returned to its normal, mundane form, leaving him unharmed by Mordekaiser’s necromantic sorcery.
“Demacian steel,” sneered Mordekaiser. “It will not save you.”
He stepped forward and brought his spiked mace down toward the knight’s skull. The strike was met with a two-handed parry, though the power of it forced the knight to his knees. Mordekaiser towered over him.
The knight spun away, avoiding Nightfall as it swung toward him in a lethal arc. He sidestepped and sank his blade deep into Mordekaiser’s side, biting through the banded links and chain. To a living man, it would have been a mortal blow, but to the armored behemoth, it was as nothing. Mordekaiser backhanded the knight across the side of his head, sending him reeling.
The Iron Revenant stepped in to end the fight, but the knight turned aside his strike with exquisite skill, and rammed the point of his blade into Mordekaiser’s chest with all his strength and weight.
With a wrench of metal, the blade punched through the breastplate above the heart. There was no resistance from within, as if the suit were hollow.
Mordekaiser grabbed the knight by the throat in one giant hand and lifted him off the ground.
“You thought you could protect these mortals,” said Mordekaiser. “But know that it will be you who slays them.”
He squeezed, tightening his grip on the knight’s throat. The mortal’s feet kicked in the air.
Mordekaiser watched closely, eyes burning, as the life drained from the knight. Finally, he dropped the lifeless corpse to the floor.
Mordekaiser knelt and placed a hand upon the dead knight’s chest. When the armored giant rose, he drew forth the shade of the dead warrior.
The spirit of the knight looked around it, horror writ in its spectral eyes.
“Now,” commanded Mordekaiser, knowing that the shade was powerless to resist him.
“Kill them all.”
Thresh - The Chain WardenThresh's champion page:
“The mind is a wondrous thing to tear apart.”
Sadistic and cunning, Thresh is a restless spirit who prides himself on tormenting mortals and breaking them with slow, excruciating inventiveness. His victims suffer far beyond the point of death, for Thresh wreaks agony upon their souls, imprisoning them in his lantern to torture for all eternity.
In an age history has all but forgotten, the man who would later be known as Thresh was once a member of an order devoted to gathering and protecting knowledge. The masters of this order tasked him with guarding a hidden underground vault filled with dangerous and corrupted magical artifacts. Thresh was incredibly strong-willed and methodical, which made him well-suited to such work.
The vault Thresh guarded was buried deep beneath the citadel at the center of an island chain and protected by runic sigils, arcane locks and potent wards. Spending such time in the presence of dark spells began to affect Thresh as the magic sought out his innate malice. For years the relics preyed on his insecurities, taunting him with his deepest fears and feeding his bitterness.
Thresh’s spite surfaced through wanton acts of cruelty, as his talent for exploiting vulnerability bloomed. He slowly tore pages out of a living book, binding it back together when it was all but spent. He scratched the glass of a mirror bound with the memory of an ancient mage until it was opaque, trapping the man in darkness, only to polish it anew and repeat. Just as a secret wants to be told, a spell wants nothing more than to be cast, and Thresh denied this each day. He would start to recite an incantation, then let the words trickle off his tongue, halting just before the last syllable.
He became exquisitely skilled at covering all evidence of his cruelty, such that no one in the order suspected he was anything other than a disciplined guard. The vault had grown so vast that no one knew its contents as completely as Thresh, and the lesser artifacts faded from the order’s memory, as did Thresh himself.
He resented that he had to hide his meticulous work. Everything under his watch was evil, or corrupted in some way - why shouldn’t he be free to do as he would?
The vault held many peculiar magical artifacts but no people, until one day when a chained man was dragged into the sunken catacombs. He was a warlock who had infused his body with raw sorcery, which gave him the power to regenerate his flesh, no matter how grievous the wound.
Thresh was delighted at his new ward - a being who could feel the full range of human suffering, but would not perish, a plaything he could torment for years to come. He started methodically separating the warlock’s skin from his flesh with a hook, and used his chains to lash and tear the open wound until it healed. He took to wearing the chains as he patrolled the vault, reveling in the warlock’s fear at the long, dragging sound of his approach.
With ample charges to torment in the vault, Thresh became even more distanced from the order above. He began to take his meals in his underground chamber lit by a single lantern, rarely emerging from the catacombs. His skin developed a pallid complexion from lack of sunlight, and his face became gaunt and hollow. Members of the order avoided him, and when a series of mysterious disappearances plagued the order, none thought to investigate Thresh’s lair.
When the disaster known as the Ruination struck, magical shockwaves claimed the lives of all who lived on the isles and transformed them into a state of undeath. While others screamed in anguish, Thresh reveled in the ruin. He rose from this cataclysm as a spectral abomination, but unlike many who have passed into the shadow world, Thresh did not lose his identity. Rather, his penchant for cruel torture and ability to discern weakness was only heightened.
He relished the chance to continue his cruelty without fear of reprisal, unfettered by the limits of mortality. As a wraith, Thresh could torment the living and the dead endlessly, delighting in their despair before claiming their soul for an eternity of suffering.
Thresh now seeks only particular victims: the most clever and resilient, and those with a strong will. His greatest joy comes from tormenting his victims until they lose any last glimmer of hope, before facing the inevitable hook of his chains.
A horrible scraping of metal chains drifted over the fields. Outside, an unnatural fog rendered the moon and stars all but invisible, and the regular hum of insects fell silent.
Thresh approached a ruined hovel. He raised his lantern, not to see his surroundings, but to look inside the glass. The interior of the lantern resembled a starry nightscape with its thousands of tiny green glowing orbs. They buzzed frantically as if trying to escape Thresh’s gaze. His mouth twisted in a grotesque grin, teeth glinting from the glow. Each of the lights was precious to him.
Behind the door, a man whimpered. Thresh sensed his pain, and was drawn to it. He knew the man’s suffering like an old friend.
Thresh had only appeared to the man once, decades ago, but since then the spectre had taken everyone the man held dear: from his favorite horse to his mother, brother, and recently a manservant who had become a close confidant. The specter made no pretence of natural deaths; he wanted the man to know who caused each loss.
The spirit passed through the door, scraping his chains as they dragged behind him. The walls were damp and ingrained with years of grime. The man looked even worse: his hair long and matted, his skin covered in scabs - angry and raw from clawing. He wore what had once been fine velvet clothes, but were now little more than torn, tattered rags.
The man shrank from the sudden green glow, covering his eyes. He shook violently, backing away into the corner.
“Please. Please, not you,” he whispered.
“Long ago, I claimed you as mine.” Thresh’s voice creaked and stretched, as if he had not spoken for an age. “It is time I collect...”
“I am dying,” the man said, his voice barely audible. “If you’re here to kill me, you’d best hurry.” He made an effort to look at Thresh directly.
Thresh stretched his mouth wide. “Your death is not my desire.”
He set the glass door of his lantern slightly ajar. Strange sounds came from within - a cacophony of screams.
The man did not react, not at first. So many screams emerged that they blended together like scraping glass shards. But his eyes widened in horror as he heard voices he recognized plead from Thresh’s lantern. He heard his mother, his brother, his friend, and finally the sound he dreaded most: his children, wailing as if being burned alive.
“What have you done?” he screamed. He scrambled for something to throw - a broken chair - and threw it at Thresh with all his strength. It passed through the spectre harmlessly, and Thresh laughed mirthlessly.
The man ran at Thresh, eyes wild with fury. The spectre’s hooked chains whipped out like striking snakes. The barbed hooks struck the mortal’s chest, cracking ribs and piercing his heart. The man fell to his knees, face twisted in delicious agony.
“I left them to keep them safe,” the man cried. Blood gurgled from his mouth.
Thresh wrenched his chains hard. For a moment, the man did not move. Then the ripping began. Like a rough-spun sheet being slowly torn, he was excruciatingly pulled from himself. His body convulsed violently, and blood sprayed along the walls.
“Now, we begin,” said Thresh. He pulled the captured soul, pulsing brightly from the end of the chain, and trapped him within the lantern. The man’s hollow corpse collapsed as Thresh departed.
Thresh followed the curling Black Mist away from the cottage with his glowing lantern held high. Only after Thresh was gone, and the fog dissipated, did the insects resume their nightly chorus and stars once again filled the night sky.
[[ UPDATE: KALISTA'S NEW BIO IS UP ]]
Kalista will also have a longer form introduction and background story but it wasn't put up yet! Soon!
"Near future, for reasons that will become apparent."
Lyte Ask.fm round up
[Link] (Serious) How come there is so much work going into reducing toxicity? Especially considering there is a mute button. If people are really that "thin skinned" where they say the damage is already done before muting, how do they live their lives? Let alone on the internet...
We consider the "Mute" feature to be a last resort. When a player has to use the "Mute" feature, the damage has already been done. Your experience is already worse, you are already less likely to play another game, and you already don't enjoy League as much as before. The "Mute" feature is a last resort to prevent any further harassment or abuse.
Just because a feature like this exists doesn't mean it's OK for players to spew hate speech or be racist or verbally abusive. The vast majority of players in League hate these types of behaviors, and we should respect these players and not tell toxic players it's OK to be dicks just because a "Mute" feature exists.
It's kind of bullshit when people say "Oh, League players are so thin skinned or sensitive." In the real world, none of this stuff is OK and it doesn't mean people are thin skinned or sensitive. When you have a job or career, you can't just walk into your office and call your teammates f*ggots because they happened to perform poorly. You can't walk into a restaurant and yell at the woman at the next table about how she's a c*nt. These people are going to be the ones that are going to have a real wake-up call in the world if they think these types of behaviors are OK. Being against racism, sexism, abuse or other forms of hate speech isn't about being sensitive. It's about how we want to spend our time, and who we want to spend it with. When given the choice of how you want to spend your time, do you want to deal with this nonsense when you want to just have some fun? For the vast majority of players in League, the answer is "No."
[Link] Do you believe that the current player behavioural system is poor in the fact that it predominantly focuses on derogatory comments rather than looking at subtle in game trolling? Example: At a decent elo someone who afks in a sidelane is trolling and creating a negative experience & system ignores.
Both verbal toxicity and gameplay toxicity are worth solving; however, trying to build systems to solve SUBTLE trolling is a pretty complex problem. So, I don't think the systems are poor; in fact, they've dramatically reduced verbal toxicity. We're also seeing very little leaving/AFKing, and extreme intentional feeding. So, the next step is trying to reduce the more nuanced cases of gameplay toxicity.
[Link] Can you change the new borders so that it's more subtle? For example small roman numerals in the corner instead of 5 big dots that make it look ugly. I got to Gold 5 this season expecting the gold border but now I know i'm going to get laughed at in games because I only just made gold, got lucky etc
The new borders on PBE are placeholders/work in progress while they test a few systems... I'm not sure what the final versions look like yet but I trust the artists on that team.
[Link] When will be realease the teambuilder ranked? That will be the best thing league of legends needs at the moment
We agree, it's one of the most wanted features internally as well; however, there's still a lot of work to be done. We'd like to get on the PBE for some real testing and feedback from a larger pool of players though.
One of the changes I really want to get testing on is our concept of "Locking In" in the new Champ Select. In the current Champ Select, when you select a Ban, it just bans the champion (which confuses some players when they accidentally single click a champion and suddenly it's banned). When you select a Pick, you have to "Lock In" the pick, but you can also select a Pick and let the timer expire which will then auto-select the Pick you had.
We're making this experience a bit more consistent, so if you select a Ban, you have to lock it in. If you select a Pick, you have to lock it in. If you miss a Ban or Pick, or you let the timer expire, the system will queue dodge you with a small penalty. We're seeing that we need to make this change more obvious to players, and it takes 2-3 times before players understand they have to "Lock In" their bans and picks; but, once players learn it, Champ Selects go much quicker.
[Link] Are post game chat logs ever looked at when people are reported?
Pre-game and post-game chat logs are recorded, and sometimes we'll pull them to review a case; however, I'd say the need is pretty rare.
[Link] What do you think about all the ignorance and hate towards you on reddit? People saying you were bullied as a child, people acting like you bring up your PhD to help arguments, I have been following you for a long time and it makes me mad whenever I see people like that
Haha, it's fine. Riot has a culture where we never bring up our degrees unless explicitly asked, because discussions at work are about the merit of the idea, not the pedigree or seniority of the Rioter. I try to do the same on social media and rarely mention my degree unless explicitly asked so I'm not sure where those types of criticisms are coming from. But, when you work in science or games, you're going to make a lot of people really happy, and you're going to make some people really upset--that's part of the job unfortunately.
Not too worried about all the rumors and stories about my childhood either, just have to keep making cool stuff and hope more players love what you do than hate it. Personally, I'm really excited about the new Champ Select--the team's been working hard on it, and it's coming along great. Can't wait to see player feedback about what else we can do in that space.
[Link] Are you trying to make the game full PG? (Like even below PG-13) Couse it looks like you are trying to completely remove toxicity when there will always be people that act ughh... silly.Couse for example, voice chat would help immensly but your toxicity "excuse" ruins that idea...
League is a hardcore game, and it's played by many adults so no, we're not trying to make it a PG-13 game. In fact, we're not against offensive language per se. For example, saying "Fuck I missed that skillshot" or "Fuck, that was a bad engage, sorry" is completely fine and is not punished. You're only punished when you start focusing your language against someone else, for example, "Fuck you asshole, wtf was that play. Uninstll plz." Of course, hate speech, death threats and more severe language is not OK in any context, and that stuff will be punished with pretty much zero tolerance.
With regards to voice chat, we're not opposed to voice chat. A lot of research suggests that voice chat between friends is an awesome experience, but voice chat with strangers is more hit and miss. These are known problems with voice chat and these issues exist in every game. If we do voice chat, we'd like to try some new features to tackle these problems but right now, all our development teams are focused on other priorities.Speaking of Lyte, he also recently commented on the boards regarding a system that is in the works that will just restart a game if a player fails to load in:
"We're working a feature that allows players to restart a game if a player fails to connect. No penalties for players except for the leaver/AFKer.
No ETA on when it's done, we're working on it along with the new Champ Select project."He continued:
"This feature had a more chaotic timeline than most. We started working on Early Surrender, then actually pivoted to launch the LeaverBuster 2.0 system (due to new data we were seeing with leavers/AFKs in general). The system dramatically reduced leavers/AFKs, so we took a break from this problem space and began working on the new Champ Select (because of data suggesting a lot of problems were with position conflicts starting in champion select, and champ select trolls holding the lobby hostage).
Now that we're at the end of the new Champ Select cycle, we have some spare time so we decided to take on a smaller project and finish Early Surrender before we go full steam into the new Tribunal voting system again.
This is how development works. Every month, you have to be flexible. You might get new data about the problem that shows you that you should be working on something else, your team might have emergent issues (i.e = 2 members suddenly had personal emergencies and had to leave the company), or onboarding issues (i.e = we're now training 2 new team members to catch up and start work on the project). Issues like these are why Rioters are generally afraid of talking. Think of the possible outcomes:
1) You talk about the features too early, and the project ends up being cancelled -- players yell at you.
2) You talk about the features too early, and the project is delayed -- players yell at you.
3) You talk about the features too early, and ship the project on time -- players are happy.
4) You talk about the features too late, and ship the project on time -- players yell at you because they don't know what's coming.
5) You talk about the features too late, and ship the project late -- players yell at you because they think development is slow.
If you think about it, being vocal on any social media as a developer is really scary. Players "
ZenonTheStoic Ask.fm round upZenonTheStoic" Klein (Azir, Tahm Kench) has also been going big on answering questions over on his ask.fm. Here's a round up of his recent answers!
[Link] I hope you put Tahm's shield at the end of the cast time, and buff him elsewhere if he needs compensation.
We'll wait for Worlds to go by and for the meta to settle after it to see where Tahm lands. If he needs a nerf (either because he's too strong or because we're looking to add power elsewhere), the E shield to end of cast time may be a good place. Would have to experiment with it.
[Link] Hey! What are some unused abilities or abilities that were scrapped? Or what about Lucian's hoovering missile ult that was supposed to "turn LoL game upside down"? Make my day. :3 I just love reading through stuff like this.
I don't think anyone's ever claimed that the homing missile I was playing around with was supposed to turn lol game upside down ;) It was a thematic exploration: what if I could sic a homing missile on you and restrict your movement? Turns out that just wasn't a great idea.
Here's a scrapped idea: at one point, Tahm's ult was that he picked a location, opened his mouth, and after a 2s delay, he'd take ALL ALLIES within a short radius around himself with him. 5 man teleport. Funny enough, this wasn't cut because it was too strong, but because it was too WEAK: making 4 allies stand near you purposefully for 2 seconds was like herding cats.
[Link] What's your opinion on Tahm Jungle? I notice he doesn't have Hunter's Machete in the recommended when I load in with smite. (Often the sign i'm doing something weird) This along with his inability to devour buff creatures makes me wonder if you tried to steer him away from Jg play. Thoughts?
We certainly didn't want jungle to be his main role, correct. He does actually perform very strongly in the jungle. The absence of a machete page was more me making a guess that he's going to have more playrate in support and top than jungle; I wasn't quite right on the top vs jungle part of that equation. I'll see about adding a jungle page!
[Link] Tech question - Is the LoL code base to a point now where it would be possible to create a champion that copies other champions' abilities? i.e. A nearby Ezreal presses Q, then this champion could press Q and steal Mystic Shot as for its Q ability? I was honestly hoping this was what Zac would be.
The short answer is not really.
The long answer is the tech has always been there, strictly speaking, but the tech to do it easily does not exist.
Skills in league exist as a number of files; the logic of skills lives (mostly) in .LUA files and the numbers live (mostly) in .INI files. If it was as simple as every spell being a single lua and a single ini file we could conceivably do spell replication. Unfortunately it's not as easy as this. Spells often rely on a many additional files--buffs and extra spells. Even if we made it so all the "related" files got referenced along, there's still the problem that every champion has something called a "CharScript". This is a lua file that usually does a bunch of book keeping for the overall character. Sometimes this includes spell logic, sometimes this includes tracking variables that spells need (almost all spells that have an aspect that scales with *character level* rather than *spell rank* will do adjustments for champ level in here for instance).
But let's skip tech completely. Design-wise it's not clear to me that this would make a lot of sense or being very maintainable. What would happen if you stole, say, Azir's Q but had no way of spawning soldiers? What if you stole one of Rengar's skills but had no rage mechanic yourself? What if you're a mana user and steal an energy based spell?
And even if we could find good answers for all of the above, there's the balance level. Many spells are okay only because of their CONTEXT. Champions have an overall power budget that includes their 5 spells and their base stats; taking a spell out of that context could potentially make it unbalanceable.
It seems like a really cool mechanic, but my personal suspicion is that it sounds much cooler than it would turn out to be once we're done balancing it.
[Link] What is your opinion on Twitch's current state? Do you know if he is going to be part of the marksman updates and are you allowed to say?
We're thinking of a very short changelist for Twitch for the marksman update, yeah. Can't talk details, of course, and I'm currently out of the office so there's always a chance the changes were pulled because they didn't test well, but we do want to show the rat a little love. One way or another, he's going to be changed due to the changing ecosystem (items etc)
[Link] What do you think about Fiora´s mini game on her passive? I feel like it is a bit frustrating for both players, as it is mostly decided by RNG right now without her ult. It also feels like Fiora is really strong,even if she did not have a passive at all,although it should be a major part of her kit.
I'm not a 100% certain, but I think Fiora's passive is only quasi-random. I think it smartly weighs certain positions more than others. There is definitely an element of RNG in it, but note how you get a warning long before a given vital arms. Sometimes this means that you get a vital pointed straight at Fiora and your only play if you can't trade is to back off until it falls off. This is certainly not ideal, but it's not like you suddenly get fucked out of nowhere.
That's still Rengar's unique niche.
[Link] I believe that weak early type of weaknesses should be eliminated and replaced with an other weakness, because sooner or later they get out of control. what do you think¿?
We do not think of "this champion is weak early game" as a sufficient weakness, at least not to my knowledge. If I heard a designer justify a decision by saying this ("but my champion is weak early!"), I'd like to have a long and enlightening discussion with said designer where they can explain to me how that is healthy for the game.
(Spoiler: It isn't)
I think it's good for champions to have appreciably different power curves, don't get me wrong! I think it's great that different champions "come online" or "peak" at certain points in the game. It shapes the narrative of a game--oh man, if we don't get an advantage before Kog'Maw hits five items, it'll be tough to win the game--but again, it is not a SUFFICIENT weakness.
Let's talk about weaknesses for a second!
A weakness in a champion's kit is a hook to create gameplay for the enemy. If a champion was an all-rounder, equally good or bad at everything, and you played against them with a similar champion, you'd end up running at each other and stat-checking each other, and that would be that. In Starcraft Brood War terms (that's a contemporary reference point, right? I haven't aged horribly, have I?), it would be 1a2a3a all the time.
Xerath's weakness is that he is extremely helpless at close range. A number of factors conspire to make this true: his W has a fixed delay, making it no stronger at close range, his R has a fixed travel time, making it easier to dodge point blank (you get SO much warning), he constantly slows and roots himself making it easy for melee champions to wreck his face, and finally and most importantly, E's stun scales with the distance the missile traveled; this means that if you're on top of his body, he can only stun you for a very short time.
This creates gameplay! Your question now becomes, how do I get close to Xerath? Do I flank him? Do I build tons of MS or have my allies speed boost me? Do I wait for him to be shooting his ult and assume he's not looking at himself? Critically, this is universal gameplay; "kill this guy early game before he ascends to god-hood" is NOT universal gameplay. You miss that window, you're fucked for the rest of the game. I don't think that's good gameplay.
TLDR: strong early or strong late are good secondary qualities for champs to have but not sufficient weaknesses and aren't treated as such when weighing strengths vs weaknesses.
[Link] Have you guys ever considered the idea of a champ who's kit revolves around controlling a powerful minion? Think Annie, but imagine if Tibbers was up almost constantly and she was really vulnerable whenever he was down. Or just a minion you can control globally in general? Top needs help? Send bear!
I spoke about this before:
Beyond the input problems, I think it's overall questionable design to split the impact of a champion into multiples that can act at great distance from each other. It'll feel less satisfying for the player to be affecting the game in two small ways rather than one big way, and it'll be a lot less clear (and because of that, less satisfying) for the enemy to play around this. Kill the champion proper but bear pushed in top lane? Uh, maybe good? Stop the bear pushing a lane but lose dragon as a result, probably bad? But now bear is down and the champion will be weak next teamfight! So, err, maybe good?
Whenever it's unclear whether your decision was good or bad you run into unsatisfying gameplay. We try to avoid this.
[Link] Saw you said Riot has had trouble with Yorick and the "army of the dead" - just curious what about this is causing the most trouble? The coding for minions? Balance? Side suggestion - Yorick ult: all minions that die around Yorick for X time are revived and are buffed similar to BoC. Feasibility?
Coding is definitely not the problem; after all we have a long and proud history of coding everything as minions, so coding minions as minions should be a breeze.
Joking aside, I'm not directly involved in Yorick's rework, so I can only offer you design thoughts from the outside, You really want to chase down and talk to the designer directly working on Yorick, who spends most days thinking about these questions. Your best bet is probably the boards.
From my outside perspective, a lot of the questions will come down to satisfaction and understandability of gameplay. With attackable minions you always run into the problem of "do I want to spend an AA / spell on the minion or go straight for the champion?" See also: Zyra, Heimerdinger, current Yorick. This was a major factor in making Azir's sand soldiers untargetable. I don't know that we have found a good solution here.
[Link] Would you say that the juggernaut update was a success seeing as Garen's, Morde's, Skarner's and Darius' ban rate skyrocketed?
The ban rates are less than optimal, to be sure, but they're largely overreactions, I think. Our data show that many of the most banned champions really didn't perform that well in game, especially not after follow-up nerfs that brought their win-rate, but not their ban-rate, down. The player base as a whole is slow to react to changes in the ecosystem.
From a pure design perspective, yes, I absolutely think the Juggernaut update was a huge success. It's a statement of intent and of what we can do, as a design department: we don't have to bow to the fact that a lot of our old champions have ill-defined gameplay and are kind of dumb to play against. We can apply our understanding of the game and fix that shit. Yeah, we'll break some stuff in the process, but that's easily fixed. Compare today's Gangplank, Darius, Garen, and Mordekaiser to what we had before the juggernaut update. I think it's really obvious that the game has become better in a meaningful and lasting way.
FeralPony Ask.FM RoundupFeralPony!
[Link] Why do i feel like developers don't read feedback from others regions? (not just riot)
The short answer is that it's really difficult to get direct feedback from people when you don't speak the same language. We do have community folks for all regions and languages that do relay feedback back to us but it's not quite the same as hearing the feedback directly. I can read French decently, but can't write it without getting laughed at, so I do check the french forums from time to time but it's much harder for me to engage directly.
In regards to specifically talking directly with and reading comments by English speaking users from other regions we made the forums specifically able to be accessed from all riot regions to address this concern.
Data and Surveys though are collected for all languages and are translated into English so we do get a lot of direct feedback from players internationally it's just not common for us to get direct involvement from forums or community sites as a developer when we can't speak the language.
[Link] Dont undestand zileans new passive. Buff/nerf and u can now share every 120sec and just with one guy?
Meant to be pretty neutral power-wise, but is probably a small buff. There are a lot of details in the mechanics but basically the TL:DR is...
Zilean stores up experience over time
Zilean can drop this stored experience on allies to make them level up faster
[Link] Will you guys ever release omen, that canceled champ in 2012 the idea was cool and you guys could give him a whole new kit.
Doubtful. I worked on Omen and he was definitely not ready for shipping and now we have a lot cooler champions in the works. It's possible we would revisit some different form of "spike launcher" character in the future though.
[Link] Are there any more plans for Darius? As Darius main i must say E slow nerf and Q widht nerfs were definetly noticable but still his Q heal feels too strong,in 5.16 was 10% per champion and 30% max,that felt to me pretty ok,since his Q has low CD in late game 30% heal is pretty enough.
Not at present no. We'll see how things in the Preseason shake out, but if anything we're worried we actually overnerfed him but we'll see how people adjust. The Q radius change was far more potent than we predicted.
[Link] Why do you think balance has been over all "better" this season than last? Most Worlds are just a handful of picks picked over and over again, while diversity this year has been pretty good. Why do you think it was so bad previously? What was bad then that changed this year?
This is a pretty complex topic that we'll be looking back on to help analyze what worked this season, what didn't, and where we can best focus our efforts moving forward. There are a multitude of factors but I'll toss out the list that come to mind.
- Better raw balance numbers (win rates at high elos are 50%+/- 3ish)
- High priority picks this worlds are in lanes that tend to have the lowest average diversity (Top and Jungle), as a result other lanes with a lot more picks tend to get
- A shift in Champion Update and Live Balance design philosophy in focusing more on buffing strengths and nerfing weaknesses
- More recent champions fulfilling pretty unique strategic spaces
- Professional teams being much closer to one another in skill level. If a lane is equally skilled you try and beat your opponent by picking a lane counter than hoping you can simply out-execute them.
- A lot of shakeup from the juggernaut patch followed with a long break in the professional season so pros could experiment and try new strategies.
There are a lot of additional factors but those are some of the ones I've been thinking about and attributing the diversity to.
One For All:SR popular picks & bans discussionLast up we have L4T3NCY with a discussion on the popular picks & bans from the recent One for All: SR featured gamemode!
"Heya guys, as usual when we wrap up Featured Game Modes we like to talk a little about each mode's landscape. o^_^o
Some popular bans:
It didn't feel like there was much of a role/style theme to bans, just "whatever people thought was strong" or "champs they didn't want to play against"? Darius, Yasuo, Katarina, Lux & Heimer were pretty popular to ban. At high MMR none of them were really that strong, being itemised against or "out-kitted" depending on the enemy champ. They do have a fairly low barrier to entry to access power (except Yasuo), so that could be one reason? What champs did you guys usually ban (and why)?
Q: Did you ban Wukong?
A: "Every mistake is a lesson."
Some popular picks:
Not too surprised here, a lot of the popular champs could make #bigplays and are kinda flashy. Yasuo, Lee Sin, Lux, Blitz & Ezreal all saw a fair bit of play time. I'm impressed that Yasuo got through so much, given how heavily he was banned. o.O Despite being overwhelmingly popular, champs like Nidalee, Fiddlesticks and Soraka didn't really fair too well. Were there any other champs you guys felt were super popular, but actually just terrible?
Q: Can a random sample of players in your MMR pickup and successfully play Azir in OFA?
A: No. :/"