On Kha'Zix, Void Champions, Skill Floor & Ceiling, and more!

Posted on at 2:59 PM by Moobeat
Rioters have been blowing up the forums lately and, as a result,I have a grab bag of red posts for you!
Continue reading for posts concerning the heated "Kha'Zix is just Rengar 2.0" debate, a small comment about Kha'Zix's release skin, a hint about ANOTHER upcoming Void champion, Morello discussing the differences between skill floor and skill ceiling,the accidental removal of the spectating list, a response from Riot about the surge of "drop hacks" floating around, and an AMA style thread about Syndra's creative design.

If you saw the official reveal of Kha'Zix, you may have noticed some similarities between him and Rengar - both have a stealth, both have a leap, both have an AoE damage spell that can heal, etc. These similarities have exploded into accusation's that Riot has simply developed the same champion twice and part of the community is concerned.

Morello has taken to the forums, at length, to discuss this situation and how the two champions, who were developed together as a lore pair, and how just  because their kits are similar doesn't mean they have the same play style.
"Admittedly, the role and abilities do have overlap - this is true. The disagreement we have is that this actually matters much when it comes to gameplay.

But abilities being unique is what makes champions different! If they're the same, then the champions are the same. This can be a way to make champions different, but not the only way. What's important is the play pattern and ways the champions feel.

Isn't that defined in the abilities? Abilities are part of the equation, but not the entirety. For example, on paper, Cassopia's Q and Karthus' Q are very similar abilities - short cooldown, small dealyed blast AOEs, though I'd argue Cass and Karthus have different play patterns in how both of them are used within the context to their kits. For Casseopia, it sets up combos via her real damage source, Twin Fangs. For Karthus, it's a ranged damage tool and you spend your effort maximizing if you can hit a single target to get greater focused damage on it instead of comboing it. This is what defines a play pattern.

Well sure, but that example is one ability. This is a lot of them! The comparison here still holds up though - "an AOE that heals" is pretty substantially different when one of them is an 800 range skill shot poke, and it's only AOE if you evolve it. Comparing that to Rengar's Roar is like comparing Amumu's ult to Zyra's - the specifics here really matter for how the skill actually plays once you get into game. This applies to all Kha'Zix's abilities, including the importance and tuning of Isolation, the importance of maximizing Unseen Alien (lul) in longer fights, or how you actually engage, disengage and seek out targets.

But they're the same role - jungle assassin! There's some truth to this, but this is part of the dual lore release. I actually think these types of adjoined releases are interesting, and the role overlap is intended to feed into that. Additionally, Rengar is intended to be a bit more of a fighter - something that's much more true with the AD/AP changes in the recent patch. Kha'Zix is very firmly an assassin

Sometimes, we release characters with brand-new mechanics. That's a good thing to do - but sometimes we reutilize mechanics in new ways that feel like different characters - Ziggs being an amazing example. On paper, Ziggs doesn't read as special as he is in game.

I realized when I got knee-deep in this thread that I've never really had a "play pattern" conversation that lays some of this stuff out., so how can I expect anyone to refer to a concept that's not been shared? I'm watching (literally on spectator as I write this) Kha'Zix and Rengar to watch how the characters play, and the similarities are really superficial - especially after the recent Rengar changes. I encourage you guys to see for yourselves, either here or on PBE, and come to your own conclusions. Personally though, I'm not worried about these feeling the same in game."

Volty, one of the game designers behind Kha'Zix, also made a comment on reddit about the issue, giving more specific examples of how differently the characters operate. 
"To those worried about Rengar / Kha'Zix playstyle overlap, they play VERY differently. Some of their mechanics appear similar at first glance though, so let me help by sharing some details.
(Disclaimer: Numbers subject to change.)
Kha'Zix's evolutions are picked strategically, and last for the entire game. Contrast to Rengar making a Ferocity bonus pick each time he reaches 5 Ferocity.
Kha'Zix's stealth lasts 1 second and grants 40% MS. Casts 2 times or 3 once evolved. It refreshes his passive, Unseen Threat. This is something you do more while already in combat / melee range than you do from outside it, since the passive refresh isn't generally useful if cast prior to engaging. The distance you can cover while in stealth is much smaller, so its better as an in-combat reposition than as a way to engage. Contrast to Rengar who has a more strategic stealth, useful for engaging on targets.
Rengar's Q enables autoattacks as a source of repeated damage through granting Attack Speed. Kha'Zix's Q is NOT an autoattack modifier--it is a short ranged spell like Warwick's Q. Kha'Zix doesn't really do the whole autoattack scaling thing--he's more about spells.
Rengar's roar gives Armor and MR for a duration, while Kha'Zix has to avoid damage through positioning and reactive stealth. See also the R evolution which gives you damage reduction but only so long as you remain in stealth.
These are just some of the differences, but I'm trying to convey how some of these skills, while thematically or even mechanically similar, are giving rise to a overall play experience that is quite different."
Speaking of Kha'Zix, RiotMontag also mentioned he will not have a launch skin based on the Alien franchise ( which isn't too outrageous of a request seeing as how Rengar's release skin was very similar to a Predator ). Fear not! Sci-fi is certainly still on the menu. He says:
"Not Alien (unfortunately), but we've got another cool sci-fi motif in his launch skin that I think you'll also like. We'll see when it comes out"
 Additionally, it's worth noting that Kha'Zix is the first champion from the Void that we've seen in a while. The Void tends to be one of the favorite lore areas for summoners and may of them were delighted to finally have another champion to join the ranks of Cho'Gath, Kog'Maw, and the others.
 Morello knew just what we all wanted to here and let out a small tease that another void champion may be on the radar.
"...Not all Void things are devourers - the next one will really expand your imagination on what can be in the Void."
He continued, referencing how they came up with the idea of Kha'Zix, by saying:
"We wanted a new Void creature, and we used a Mantis as our starting point from an insect perspective. We wanted something sleeker, faster, "sharper" since we already have massive Cho'Gath and Bioweapon Koggy.
We're gonna do more Void too and push the creative boundries on what can live there. The nice thing about having your own IP is you can just make up cool stuff and make it make sense"

 Breaking away from a specific champion and shifting to general game stuff, Morello put up an insightful post explaning the differences between the concepts of "skill floor" and the "skill ceiling", two concepts that play a big role in champion development.
"Skill floor refers to a minimum amount of skill needed to play the character and not just die and feed all the time. This is not attached to skill ceiling!

Skill ceiling is the amount of additional power/optimization/success you can receive through skill and practice. We like increasing this on many champions.

Many champions can easily have their skill cap increased via a "less is more" design, which not only keeps in line with clean and sensible, but adds skill. In the Diana example, what if the skillshot had 1/2 the cooldown and 1/2 the movement speed? That would increase skillcap, but also would leave skill floor near where it is.

Right now, I'm working with the designers to use these types of levels to increase skill ceiling without making your first game with a character be all WTF. Some champions will be more normalized (different players want different things, so we're never going to make all Oriannas), but there's some easy wins. I'd also like to do some changes on existing champions to bring this out, though everyone will get mad when I do :P"
Yegg addressed a complaint about the removal of the option to spectate random, top tier games. Turns out it was an accident and Riot is promptly working on a fix.
"The team is working on it. We think we have a fix for the issue but it still needs to go through testing on the PBE. It also requires a client patch so it's not something that we can just push live at any point.

In other words: it wasn't intentionally removed, and we want to bring it back!"
Speaking of client stuff, we finally have an official response about the recent influx of  people exploiting the so called "Drop Hack". Here is what Bellissimoth had to say:
"Hi Summoners,

My name is Bellissimoh and I’m a Producer at Riot Games. My primary responsibility is to maintain the health of our global live service and ensure the quality of everyone’s League of Legends experience is as high as possible.

As some of you have recently experienced, a handful of players have been attacking our live service to kill games that are in-progress. They’re doing this through a form of Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) and not a hack.

As of yesterday’s hotfix, we’ve put some changes in place that prevent games from dying. Players in a targeted game will still experience lag and possibly be disconnected, but the client should now be able to reconnect to the game automatically and resume where it left off. To spell this out a little, if your client suddenly lags and presents you with a “Connecting screen” you should allow it to try its magic and reconnect you to the game. When it is successful this will allow you to rejoin the battle much quicker without reloading the client.

We have taken steps to identify these attackers and remove them from our service permanently. Additionally we are pursuing legal avenues and working with the proper authorities.

We’re doing everything we can to implement short- and long-term solutions to fight these types of activities. When someone’s intentionally ruining the experience of other players, we take it very seriously.

I’ll be watching this thread for the next hour or so to answer questions along with Akov, one of Riot's Network Engineers.

At the end of the day, our goal is to maintain a reliable and fair League of Legends service for everyone."
Last on deck is an AMA style post, by Harrow, about Syndra's creative design! Since the AMA is quite long, I would suggest viewing it over at the CLG Redtracker! This will let you browse over the numerous responses without having to continue to click that pesky arrow button.

and that's it! Be sure to check out the recent posts about the Soraka visual update and the newly announced Honor system. Be on the look out for a PBE post in the near future, I'd be extremely surprised if we didn't see one later today or tomorrow.


  1. Replies
    1. Here i give you an imaginary cookie...have fun with it! ;D

    2. ty Moo, 1question, how do i make my self an account here on sur@20??
      i dont want to b anon :(

    3. I'm so happy for you!. Here, have a rock.

    4. My blogger account = my gmail account. If you have a gmail account it will just show a display name and an empty blogger profile. There are some other options though, just look down there under the "reply as" section or go to blogger.com and make an account.

  2. http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/107sek/here_is_a_smorgasbord_of_red_posts_lots_about/

    :D upvotes for moo!

  3. Phew, quite the read. Thanks! =D

  4. are all void champs bugs??
    could it be a support void champ? XD

    1. Malzahar is not a bug, neither is kassadin

    2. malz and kass are HUMANS MUTATED by the Void, not actual void creatures.

    3. because they weren't born in the void.

  5. Moobeat replied to his comment, wouah!
    Always thought nobody likes "firstfags".

    1. Nobody does, not even the "firstfags," which is why they're usually anonymous.

    2. It's the oldest internet tradition, for better or worse I guess. Sort of humors me that people feel it relevant enough to first something around here.

  6. I was expecting a new support champ but I was given a new void guy, which is awesome i just dont really like his roles. BUT... if they make a support void creature that would be bitchin

  7. This DDoS attacking thing... is that why I got 3 Bug Splat errors in the last 2 days and my client shut down? It never did that before and I had no idea why, and now I read this and it seems to explain it.

  8. Another void champion on the way, huh.
    I would be surprised to see a humanoid void champ, since all that comes from there are monsters.

    1. Once again Malzahar

    2. Once again, Malz didn't come from the void. He was mutated(of the sorts) by it.

  9. Hey Moobeat, I'm the author of the Complexity for the sake of complexity thread, though Morello left a comment, FeralPony left a fairly more interesting post on the same thread but on EUW (yes, I have them running on both forums, as I'm from EUW originally).

    You should check it out ! Imo, Morello was playing Captian Obvious on NA, FeralPony is where it's at, he discusses future champion releases, how they handle variety between higher and lower skill floors, etcetera !

    Perifear (EUW) aka Bestbilbo (NA).

    1. Oh, here's the link of the EUW thread/the post of FeralPony: http://euw.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?p=8785590

    2. I'll sneak a peak when I get home from school.

  10. @MOOBEAT: So Cho'Gath, Kog'Maw, Malzahar, and Kassadin are all void champions. Does Nocturne fall under this category??

    1. He doesn't, Nocturne comes from a 'dream' demension I believe, not entirely sure what they call it in his lore, but Nocturne is definetely NOT from the void :)

    2. Thanks for the reply :) <3 Nocturne

  11. Ehi Moobeat, didn't you read my message in the previous post? I've been asking you to contact me : igsproject@live.it so i could ask you a favour ;)
    I'm a Game developer, so i'd really like to talk with you.


  12. Great post Moo, love catching up on all things lol in an easy, well written place.

    Keep up the good work.

  13. New sale one hour ago

  14. Khazix why u no on PBE??????!

  15. Come on Riot, stop with jungle assassins and ap mids and give us some GOOD ad carries and solo tops. A decent support would not be bad as well.

    1. Last one we had was... Jayce, 4 (or 5 with Kha'Zix) champions ago. :/
      So yes please, solo tops and ad carries.

  16. My dreams came true, i can die now: VOID SUPPORT, OMG, OMG.
    Moobeat: small "bugsplat": "that Kha'Zix" - t is [b]ed; "small tease" - s is black and isolated from "mall tease" :)

  17. where is seth >.<
    i want a sand based champion!!!

  18. Ezreal said that they will only be releasing Void and Shadow Isles champs, imo the two best and my personal fav realms. <3