ZenonTheStoic's "Make-Up" Lucian AMA Summary!

Posted on at 10:40 PM by Prof. Fridays
As he was not available for yesterday's Lucian AMA, ZenonTheStoic hosted his own mini Lucian AMA earlier today. As Lucian is his first champion, ZenonTheStoic covered numerous topics pertaining Lucian's design from a mechanics point of view (as well as some about expressionism and his shoutcasting!).
Continue reading for a summary of the questions and answers so you don't have to comb through the reddit thread!

Here's what ZenonTheStoic had to say:
"On the off-chance you guys missed me at yesterday's excellent Lucian AMA, I decided to hold a little make-up AMA all by my lonesome. 
I'm currently traveling through Germany to visit friends and family following gamescom; during the actual event I was in a little house in Seligenstadt cooking with an old friend of mine. There was only wired internet in the house since his landlord is scared of ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS. I was basically in the middle of the jungle, for all intents and purposes. 
Now that I do have some reliable internet (for the next 12 hours or so at least) I thought I'd hold my own little AMA. Since I'm only here by myself--well, my sister is with me--I can only speak to Lucian's mechanics and the nitty-gritty of the design process from a mechanical point of view."
Most of this information pertains to Lucian's mechanics and the history of his kit, however there are some more personal questions about ZenonTheStoic's shoutcasting and expressionism. I've sorted everything into either Lucian or other.

Here we go!

[ What's your favorite thing, or things, that had to be cut from his kit during development? ]
Here's the original design for Ardent Blaze: a star-shaped missile that you could blow up by reactivating the ability (would blow up by itself when it reached the end of its trajectory). It was entirely pass through and did no damage on pass through, but the explosion damaged enemies along the axes of the star and pushed them away from the center of the explosion. I remember feeling super smart about storing the vector information for each direction in the missile (this was before I discovered we have a "MoveAwayFrom" command, d'oh ;P) and bumping enemies away from you for an escape or towards you for a chase felt AWESOME. 
It had to be cut for two reasons. First of all, misplay was critically damaging. If you did the opposite of what you wanted--nudge a chasing enemy closer to you or push an enemy you were chasing yourself away from you--it pretty much made matters much worse for you, and the difference between success and failure was often the fraction of a second. But much more importantly, an ability that moves enemies, even if it's just a small nudge, is absurdly high utility for an ADC. Move blocks, as we calll them, are the hardest form of CC. Vayne's condemn is 550 range and only has one use case--old Ardent Blaze was 1200 range and could be used for two different things. It was clearly a no go. 
When we defined one of his weaknesses as "no CC" it was obvious we had to remove the nudge. So instead we went for marking + MS buff. - ZenonTheStoic

[ What was the previous ult that he had? I heard it was some kind of missile. ]
Yup. It was called Seeking Shot or something like that. Here's how it worked:
You marked an enemy champion in ~1500 range. For the next 6s they received a Caitlyn ult icon over their head (placeholder art). 
Within the next 6s you could shoot a missile in any direction. The missile would travel in that direction for about 0.5s and then start turning toward the marked target. 
The missile would bank SLOWLY and overshoot and correct. I was madly proud of the fake physics I'd written for that simple spell. It gave the missile a feeling of heft and real world physics. 
Once the missile was locked onto the target for 0.2s in a row, it would go into dumbfire mode, accelerating and gaining most of its damage. The target line would change colour to communicate this changed state. This was when the enemy could sidestep the missile. It could be body blocked at all times. 
There were a whole bunch of reasons why we canned that ultimate, not least of all that it's an AP carry skill: it's a skill for a character who relies on skill execution rather than positioning. It also required you to look in too many places and potentially stand still for too long while lining up the shot. Finally, the counterplay I imagined wasn't there. Before I added the dumbfire mode people just shot the missile point blank at the enemy and all the banking was totally lost. After I added the dumbfire mode I never found the right set of values for missile speed/acceleration before/after dumb fire that made it challenging but possible to dodge. 
I admit I still have the lua scripting shelved. Just in case I need it for another character at some point. It was my first complex skill ever, and I was really happy with it from a playing-as perspective. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Sounds like worms' homing missile to me. ]
That was precisely the inspiration! - ZenonTheStoic

[ how big a trend is "shoot a missile in a line that blows up on first target" in the design department ]
This is the most bog standard skillshot there is. It's always been THE defining design pattern for league. - ZenonTheStoic

[ What was the reason to not make Lucians Q a Skillshot since that would somehow make more sense? ]
Morello et al answered this in great detail in the original AMA. Here's my TL;DR: 
Our Q feels like a trick shot: lined up through a moving target, great range but dodgeable. If you hit it, you feel accomplished.
Gating allows us to put greater power into the skill. It scales with bonus AD like mad once you get it to rank 5. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Do you think he'll get buffed or nerfed within the next few patches? ]
Dude, I'm in the middle of nowhere. I've not even played Lucian on live, nevermind seen useful data or talked to smart live design people. I really don't know. 
Having said that: we fully expected him to feel underpowered on release. His skills break so many expected targeting paradigms and have such unintuitive use cases (in the case of the ulti; quick tip: if you use your ulti while you're not running away and are in range for your other abilities, you're doing it wrong) that we knew people would need a while to get used to him. 
We have plans ready for both nerfing and buffing scenarios, but I assume we'll wait until the data's clearer. - ZenonTheStoic

[ What is your honest opinion on Lucian as far as the current meta is set? His damage seems to lack which has seemed to been sacrificed for a bit more utility (speed buff with W/dash/long ranged ulti). There aren't many games I see him successful when it comes to him being the primary AD. Maybe a better fit for the 2 AD meta? ]
So as I said elsewhere, I'm traveling and only caught glimpses of Lucian being played. I heard QT thinks his ult is trash, for instance. 
Here's the thing: we knew the ult would feel odd for a while. Yes, you do more damage with your skills and your passive procs, but you do that damage at 550 range. I watched a friend of mine play one game of Lucian yesterday and he's a really really quick learner. In the end of the game he was carrying his team and all the enemy bruisers jumped him any chance they got--so he didn't give them a chance. He hung around an inhibitor tower dive at very long range until the teams committed and then used a full channel of his R at full range to soften up champs from a distance. When he finally joined the fight they were low enough (from fighting his team and soaking up the culling damage) that he could deal with them. 
Honestly I think he has a steep learning curve (by design) and I'm still concerned that once people fully figure him out he'll need to be nerfed. Remember that Orianna's learning curve played out over a full year. Granted, I'm no Xypherous; I admire that man and his designs, and my stuff is clearly nowhere near as deep or complex. But I do feel Lucian trends in that direction. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Are you planning to buff his ultimate in any way? Right now you can get far more DPS just by using basic attacks. ]
Here's the way I like to phrase it: when cautious play allows you to do 0 damage, The Culling does more. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Was their much of a though proccess behind Lucians e? I think its a great gapcloser/escape with a nice movespeed impairment "cleanse" but i dont think it works very well with his kit. ]
So the thought toward kit synergy in his E is that all his other skills require precise positioning. E allows you to get that positioning, even when a Nasus withered you. - ZenonTheStoic

[ 1.Why is his ult dmg so weak and interruptable with cc ? Also why would you guys kill ap lucian ?

2. Also there is one anoying thing with his E and ult when you kill someone with his ult projectiles but you are not channeling it anymore you dont get the E reset, could it be changed so a kill with your ult dmg always guarantee you reset instead of people doing very dodgy stuff like ignite and casting ult just for the reset without even dealing dmg to target with your ult ]
1. His ult is designed not as a singular, once every two minutes "Now I kill you" button but as a different way for him to apply his damage: at range and while moving. If you're in range of CC, you probably fucked up. AP Lucian was never a thing. It was a trap build that we killed because it was excessively gimmicky. 
2. That E bug is something I want to look at when I'm back in the states. I'll probably just give him a grace period. - ZenonTheStoic

[ What ADC's do you think truly counter him? What ADC's does he counter? Would be interesting to hear a dev's point of view on this! ]
Vayne happens to have a lot of tools to escape his Q damage and interrupt his ult if Lucian plays badly. Pro-tip: if you ever ult a Vayne at less than 1000 range, you deserve to lose ;P - ZenonTheStoic

[ Will Lucian be available in Worlds Championship? If so, can you see him being played there ? ]
I'd have to check with eSports, but the rule is 4 weeks after live, which would be halfway through the playoffs. I assume IF he's available he'll be available from the semis onward. Not sure how I feel about introducing a variable at that stage, but fortunately we have WAY smarter dudes than me coming up with those rules and prepping our pros. - ZenonTheStoic

[ First off, I love his ult. It's nice to have an ult that has more utility and requires more thought than "yeah I guess I'll teamfight now" or "I'll kill you really hard".
Second, I'm curious as to how his mechanics affected his visual design. Was there ever a time during the mechanical design that made an addition that "just had" to be reflected in his aesthetics, or vice versa? Obviously it all flows together really well: blasting his ult and hearing Lucian scream and let lose is really satisfying and fits the character. But I can imagine it'd be difficult to do both visual and play design in vacuum from each other, and I'm curious how much freedom you had with that. ]
Thank you so much! That's precisely what I was going for with the ult.
His visual design was pretty much set in stone by the time I started iterating on the kit. As Morello hinted at in the other AMA, there were other designers before me working on Lucian. The animations, of course, were custom built for my skills, but I love being a collaborator with the rest of my pod, so I made sure to be influenced by my animator/vfx artist/sound engineer etc as much as my design influenced them. - ZenonTheStoic


[ Q1: I haven't tried Lucian yet, but I heard he has low hp and low AD compared to other "marksman." Is this because he relies more on his mobility and use of spells?

Q2: What would be considered his predominant playstyle? He seems similar to a vayne in movement and an Ez with his skills. ]
He's in the lower half of health as far as other marksmen are concerned, but is AD is pretty decent. And yes, mobility and fragility are great companions--one justifies the other.
Q2 is something I can't wait for the community to figure out. I don't know that I have the definitive answer here. He's definitely a strong kiting/picking champ, but what playstyle does that translate to? We'll see! - ZenonTheStoic

[ Do you involve the pros into the process of making a new champ and ask them for a opinion after they played 1-2 games? I know you have some really good players at riot who play diamond and stuff, how do you "balance" a champion so that also the lower-skilled bronze players could use them aswell? I think its really difficult to balance champions strength and skill cap for big parts of the playerbase Edit: Another question, is it possible that you will again cast a game for ZDF neo or something like that? :) ]
Yeah, we do involve the pros! They were shown Lucian at two stages in his production and gave their feedback. There wasn't a lot of actionable stuff this time around, but we get a great early read on which skills excite them. 
As for balancing for low elo, fortunately I'm Silver 5! 
I'll definitely cast for the ZDF again if they ask me to. They have my email! - ZenonTheStoic

[ I notice that sometimes when I auto attack a minion with my passive up and he dies on the first shot, the second shot will be fired at an adjacent minion. With that said, is this intended or should the shot be "wasted" on the dead minion? If not, how does it choose which target will it shoot for the second shot? ]
I heard that too! It shouldn't be happening, really. When the minion dies between shots, a second, visual-only shot should be fired at its corpse (just as a visual check that yes, your passive did get burned on this). Can you please pay attention to the healthbar of the second minion? I assume it only looks like it's shooting at that minion.
TL;DR: Lightslinger only ever attacks the same enemy. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Do you expect to see Lucian on the competitive play? ]
Too early to tell, but I'm hopeful! - ZenonTheStoic

[ What was the thought process behind making his ult only hit one target at a time and being so narrow of a field? Even with his mobility while using it, it feels difficult to use effectively due to the things mentioned above and its locking in of the angle. It feels only effective at medium distance or its potential range. ]
Lucian's ult at first was pass-through with no damage fall off. This made it way too madly strong. We tried to define him and give him a clear role and at the same time add counter play. The moment we made the ult blockable (entirely Scarizard's idea, who had much more of a hand in the creation of Lucian than is usually the case for the live design sign-off; he's truly a Hero of Labor) we saw all kinds of counterplay emerge that allowed us to pump a lot more power into the ult. 
And again, power is more than numbers. Power is all the factors combined. Pumping out similar damage to basic skills but at 1400 range and WHILE MOVING is madly powerful, even if it's not a higher number. - ZenonTheStoic

[ How different was the original lucian kit from the release and what was the original kit like? On Qtpie's stream he has said that the lucian he played before reveal and the lucian after reveal were completely different champions. ]
It was quite different! It started with a dash that sent light images out in four directions that marked enemies, an activatable double shot, a homing missile on his basic kit and an ultimate that made all basic skills free to use and gave you 1 second cool down reduction on hitting enemy champs (plus crazy steroids). 
QT played the version that had constant double shooting as his passive (very mathy, but he had the highest potential AS in the game but FELT slow) and the homing missile as his R. 
Kits change! That's how champion design works. It's a highly iterative process. - ZenonTheStoic

[ How did you come up with the idea for his E and W? They work really well together when chaseing an enemy champion. ]
The E was always a dash (even though it was on the W button for the longest time). The fact that it clears slows cam from us having to kill its old passive when we killed the old Q--the old Q was a simple double shoot and the old E passive was extra damage on the next two attacks. We wanted something defensive on the E, but nothing crazy bruisery. Someone (I believe it might have been statikk or scarizard, not sure who) suggested slow purge and I was like, all of my yes 
The W came to be when Casey Robinson, my VFX artist, came to me with an AMAZING looking star shaped explosion and asked if I could imagine a skill in that pattern. I definitely could. I implemented a prototype in about 20 minutes and initial testing immediately showed that it was hella fun. So we ran with it and tried a million different effects on it. The final version, the MS speed on hitting a marked target, was once again down to Msr. Scarizard/statikk/Volty from the live design team. They took my shitty W (marked targets take extra magic damage equal to x% of Lucian's AD) and made it into an awesome mobility skill. 
Sometimes I feel like a fraud saying I designed this champion. So much of it is a team effort. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Why did you decided to do the ultimate so he doesn't completely clear a creep wave when Lucian just hit 6 ? Why Trinity Force isn't one of his core item ( based on the store ) when, i believe, it fill his kit briantly Why did you make the W bullet that slow ? Because i think it's one of his key ability ( the fact that he boost him up and help him kitting ) Why did you decide to force his Q to have a target and simply not let it be a skill shot ? I find myself in a lot of situation where it doesn't land like i would like it to be landed And finally, why Lucian can't turn around while he's firing his ultimate ? That make me so mad when people just step aside and dodge the entire ult' ]
His R already does 400% damage to minions! His wave clear is, if anything, too high.
The new trinity force didn't exist when we made his recommended items. I'll sit down with Scarizard when I'm back and see if it shouldn't be in there. 
The W is actually obscenely fast for a skill shot. 
Q I've answered elsewhere. 
There was a version where he could retarget his R. One reason he can't is counterplay: the enemy should be able to dodge the ulti, so that I can make the ulti stronger and give it a shorter cooldown. - ZenonTheStoic

[ A friend of mine said you said you had the idea for this champion is this true ? ]
Eoin Colgan was the concept artist who came up with Lucian, not me. - ZenonTheStoic

[ What do you think is the priority for Lucian's ult? Attack speed or AD? ]
AD - ZenonTheStoic

[ So im a big fan of Lucian. This might not fully be about mechanics, but was he designed to lane well with Thresh? You know with the whole wife thing going on between them... ]
It's partly an accident and partly me being a huge fan of CertainlyT. - ZenonTheStoic

[ How did you guys get to the decision of not letting Lucian's ult scale with the AS buff from SotD-active? I think it could have been a way of putting more item's into the Marksmen item pool and Sword of the Divine is so rarely bought these days. ]
It would have made the item too much of a must buy for Lucian. - ZenonTheStoic

[ First off, I love Lucian. My girlfriend plays Soraka almost exclusively and I feel like Lucian is extremely fun when not gated by mana costs, pew pew!

My question though is why give his ultimate attack speed scaling? I feel like most of his kit promotes high AD items, but then his ultimate - while it does have AD scaling - has this... Strangeness where if you have high Aspd it feels really great to use, but doesn't quite line up with any of his other skills.

I'm not saying either build is right or wrong, maybe they're both great, it just seems that both versions of building him can't really coexist. ]
Yeah, there's a few things here. You correctly identified that AS "feels" good and we want to support that. At a very low / beginner level, you want to be able to build things that feel good and not completely screw yourself. 
Secondly, The Culling feels like an extension of Lucian's auto attack. It just feels right to have it scale with AS also. 
Finally, at the top level it's about build diversity. Once you have a bunch of AD and armor pen, building AS becomes very cost effective. - ZenonTheStoic

[ What was the thoughts behind the mechanics on his W. To me it doesnt seem to fit with his kit.. but maybe im missing something.

Edit. and why did u guys choose a star for the shot? ]
The star was there first. Casey made a badass looking star explosion and I made the skill to fit. And why would you say that? He's all about mobility and the skill gives him more mobility. - ZenonTheStoic

[ First of all - I like the champion really much. I've already played about 10 games with him on diamond soloq. He has good lane presence, his Q requires good positioning to harass with in lane through minons and that's why he encourages me to practise him a lot more than most of adcs. His passive is a great punish-in-lane tool as well, overall good laning phase and not-so-bad late-game. However, I feel like his Ardent Blaze is severely limited. It feels not natural to aim with, the damage is quite low, movement speed bonus isn't significant enough. As you shouldn't max it first, it does not help with waveclear neither. The other thing I don't like is his reset on E while scoring kills/assists on The Culling. I've already played him about 15 times and it is just useless - during 3 seconds you can get one reset per whole CD when you are lucky. In the teamfight, as assist. It feels impossible to kill people with Culling itself while running/chasing IMO purpose of this ult is either to discourage enemies from chasing bringing them low (and then potentially dash in to fnish them) OR finish enemies who got out of you range). In both scenarios this reset is quite useless. What are your thoughts on it and do you have any idea how to adress these issues? ]
We're okay with a useful E reset being a one in ten games thing.
Thanks for your kind words! - ZenonTheStoic

[ after playing lucian a few times i began to feel like casring Q and using his passive are the only satisfying parts to his kit. are you satisfied with the amount of oomph his W E and R have? i feel like all three of these spells feel like hitting people with balled up paper personally. ]
I personally am very satisfied with them, yes. Give it a few weeks, you'll see. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Is it intentional that multiple "Light" champions have Proc-based mechanics? (Leona-Passive, Lux-Passive/Ulti, Lucian Passive/W) ]
This is a tough one to answer. I feel there's an underlying trope here of light marking enemies, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It feels right, you know? - ZenonTheStoic

[ It seem to me the general consensus is that his ult is weak. I don't feel like that at all. Given that you can apply w and then reapply the movespeed boost while shooting ult, it seems incredibly strong. ]
Yeah, to be perfect frank with you I couldn't care less about the general consensus one week after champion release. For one, negative opinions are exaggerated (because the impetus to post positive thoughts is much smaller), but also because learning curve. 
So much of the power of the ult is in things that aren't just damage numbers. - ZenonTheStoic

[ When creating Lucian, did you have a certain support that he would work well with? How much countering was discussed when creating Lucian? Was he made to liven up the bot lane scene, kind of like Quinn? ]
I don't think Lucian was specifically "made" to shake up the bot lane meta, but this is very much an intended side effect. Let's see how it turns out! 
As for supports, we found that he generally works with most supports that are strong now (which is a good thing), but particularly supports that can hold the enemy in place for 3s. - ZenonTheStoic

[ How does The Culling's AS Ratio round up/down ? For example if a Lucian is level 16 with no items/masteries/runes/teammates, he will have (153.3% + 100%)0.638 = 0.95381 AS.
That means his ult should shoot out 0.95381 * 10.5 + 7.5 = 17.515005 bullets.
Will he shoot out 17 or 18 bullets? when does it round up/down and why
The leaguewiki says 17 so I thought maybe it only rounds down and never up but with 2.5 AS you shoot out 34 bullets when it should actually shoot out 33.75. Weird ]
The actual formula, from memory, is (AS * 2.5/3/3.5) + 2.5, and it rounds down. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Actually Lucian ult is countered if you walk diagonally, what do you think about that ? Should it be changed ? ]
Lucian can also walk diagonally? - ZenonTheStoic

[ glaubst du das Lucian momentan stark genug ist um bei den Pro´s zu spielen und ein standartmäßiger pick werden kann? ]
Ist noch viel zu früh. Die meisten Pros aus Europa hatten auch wegen den regionals noch keine Zeit ernsthaft Lucian zu üben. 
(For you non-Germans: dude asked if Lucian will see pro play. I said it's too early to tell, particularly because EU pros didn't have time to properly train him what with the EU regionals) - ZenonTheStoic

[ To me Lucian's kit seems similar to Graves' kit. Was that intentional or is that something that only seems similar to me? ]
I told Mr. FeralPony that I would travel back in time and murder him before he could design Graves so I could steal his dash. 
Mr. FeralPony told me no. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Is there any talk on the team to buff his ult? As of right now its incredibly underwhelming in terms of damage. ]
Early data suggests close to a 49% winrate. This is while we're still in the steepest climb of his learning curve. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Is there still the bug that his Q costs twice as much as it's supposed to? ]
Yeah, I don't think we've hunted it down yet. I suspect it's latency related. We double-checked that all the right files were pushed; last I heard we were completely unable to reproduce the bug from our offices. We'll keep looking until we squash it. - ZenonTheStoic

[ Hang on now, This exact scenario has happened to me several times and I have even gotten last hits with the second bullet on a second minion.

I have been playing Lucian exclusively since he was released and I can assure you this happens.

I honestly thought it was intended and it's actually a pretty cool effect. ]
Interesting! Will investigate! - ZenonTheStoic

[ What was the most fun thing to do while designing your champion? ]
The most fun thing is coming up with abilities and seeing your art pod support them with custom animations/sounds/vfx. Instead of derping around and shooting a barrage of mystic shots from roughly his groinal regions with no animations whatsoever all of a sudden The Culling turned into this monster of a smoothly animated skills with giant badass light projectiles and the most satisfying gun sounds. Jason spent SO LONG on those gun sounds. Fun fact: the sound you hear in the login screen when it goes from the Senna intro to the motion graphic proper is based on early versions of the gun sound that proved too loud for the actual game :D - ZenonTheStoic

[ Do you dream about casting bigger tournaments again? ]
Nope, not really. I really enjoy casting, but I have no illusions about my relative skill level. Our current casters spend so much time practising and casting, there's no way I wouldn't seriously lower the quality of a broadcast right now. I've always said I'll do smaller casts as they come up--I casted a community game with qu1ksh0t at gamescom, and that was great fun. 
Also, game design is a full time job and madly fulfilling. I want to say that subjectively I believe I'm better now at game design than I ever would have been at casting. 
I really appreciate every fan who comes up to me and says they miss me as a caster. I <3 you guys, really! And I loved every minute of my casting career. But here's a thing you need to know about me: I've been playing video games since I was 5 (I started with a q-bert rip off for the 8086 called j-bird). When I was 7 I asked my dad how games were made. I didn't let up until he taught me fundamental BASIC. Then I found a floppy disk of .BAS files and taught myself the rest of the language based on those source code listings. I remember booting up Civilization a few years later and seeing the title "Sid Meier's Civilization", and I said to myself, one day my name will be in a place like that. 
I'm living that dream now :) - ZenonTheStoic
[ You said, you are probably not gonna cast unless it is small tournaments. Would you consider doing a German language cast for Worlds? I believe no German cast would be worse then everything you could produce :)

While I have no problems watching and understand an English language cast - I know many people won't understand it. ]
I don't know that I'd be good enough for that. I'll check with eSports what their plans are for German casts. - ZenonTheStoic

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