Red Post Collection : Skin concept art team Q&A on 6/23, IronStylus on Caitlyn, Smash Gizmo on MR per level, and more!

Posted on at 2:26 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features IronStylus chatting about the direction of a FUTURE Caitlyn visual update, SmashGizmo discussing the few melee champions who don't gain magic resist per level and why, a note that the Skin concept art team will be doing a Q&A on 6/23, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Caitlyn VU Discussion 

[ Warning: Remember the Caitlyn VU discussion is not indicative of an upcoming VU. To Quote IronStylus: " Right now she's on the radar but nothing is planned. " ]

Following up on Riot Whist's comments from the other day, IronStylus swooped into the forums to brainstorm about a Caitlyn and what might be done in the event of a future VU:

To kick things off, he replied to a summoner's idea for what Caitlyn could look like:

Attachment 992820 
Does this work? I personally think it captures her personality perfectly. (it's not mine)
I may or may not have this image in my reference file for an eventual or non-eventual VU."
He continued:

7/10 would receive cryptic potential info from again, 
 But no really guys she looks just silly, and when that hat isn't the goofiest thing going on you got problems
Let's get slightly less cryptic. I'll try for at least an 8/10. 
There's a fine line where any champion update is concerned. Yep, that hat is goofy. It's straight outta Willy Wonka. Egads, that dress, what is she, a ballerina? WHY ALL THE BELTS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE BELTS. However, despite all that inconsistency, there's charm. I'm coining a term, right here, right now. "Incongruity charm". The positive emotional responses derived from particular visual aspect of a character that despite making no logical or stylistic sense allows a character to be a) recognized distinctly and b) creates uniqueness. 
That's what we don't want to kill, the distinct recognizably and uniqueness of a champion. We want to find a way to make some of that contrast actually consistent without dismantling the character. For me, that means keeping particular reads of a character. It might mean ditching the tutu, but it might mean giving her a long/half coat that creates a similar silhouette. It might mean keeping a hat that's to a certain extent over-sized, but give it a reason for it to be a little unusual, whether that be by adding functionality, adding fashion or creating story. 
For Caitlyn all of the above apply in terms of a solution, I feel. We can turn that hat into something that has functionality that Piltover gadgetry is known for, we can make it something that feels integrated into her fashion persona and we can allow it to be a marker of her story as a member of law enforcement. 
I actually see Caitlyn being able to get a way with high-fashion garb. I wouldn't yank it right from Victorian London, but I would want to bring it in line with what Piltover is manifesting as in newer characters. That style is more evident and unified in Vi and Jayce. I think it's only appropriate that Caitlyn follows a similar progression. Making sure that charm is intact but dialing back on some of the incongruity."
He continued, explaining his methods for gathering references when starting a new VU:
I think what our.. somewhat rude friend was trying to say was that this seems like a very generic steampunk girl, and that perhaps we'd like her to not go that direction. Honestly, her aesthetic charm and uniqueness is in her very strange, somewhat clashing outfit. 
Not to discredit the artist by any means. Its still very nicely drawn and such. It just doesn't quite feel like Cait. I suppose I'm not particularly an expert on this matter, as I personally don't play Cait a lot, but I see her often enough in games to have formed an opinion as such.
"It's not so much about execution nor literal translation of this art. When embarking on any character, a new champion or a VU, I gather reference. I gather a LOT of reference. Sometimes it's photo reference, sometimes other artist's reference. It's reference for design, style, technical execution, etc. This piece happens to be among my reference as is has something to contribute to the conversation. Not necessarily at face value, or from a polish standpoint, but because it's a player's interpretation and they've let me see the champion through their eyes. I find that extremely valuable."

When asked if Caitlyn's far off VU would include a traditional skin, IronStylus answered with a story about an example concept he worked on for Caitlyn last year and the direction it took him:
"There are differing views on this. 
Initially I thought we might be able to just replace her base and be done with it, then I ran an experiment. 
I worked on a concept for her for fun last year, just for the hell of it. It stemmed from a paint-over I did over her in-game model quite a while ago for some style guide exploration. I messed around with removing the dress and giving her pants actually. It was sorta cool. I left the upper part of her body in tact to an extent, mainly just updating the style of the clothing. So she sort of had a bullet-proof corset/bustier thing as well as exposed shoulders with long gloves and also updated the hat. Fine enough, I guess.

Later I tried doing a front-on concept with this paint over in mind. I did the same design, leaving the shoulders and upper chest exposed. I gave her sort of a half-coat that had short sleeves. Kept the pants, but let the coat replace the silhouette for skirt. It seemed to work fairly well. 
Only problem was the exposed skin. The more I tried to update her fashion, add functionality, and tell the story of her being a sheriff, the more the exposed skin just didn't make sense. Honestly it just looked awkward, like I was exposing skin for exposing skin's sake.

I had made a conscious decision to a) make her feel like the sheriff of a major faction, b) make her stylistically fit in with Vi, Jayce and Jinx, and c) give functionality to her gun, hat, clothing, etc to reinforce those themes, while also trying to make her feel distinctly Caitlyn. 
So, I started filling in the holes. I threw out everything in my head that I knew of Caitlyn in terms of what she was and looked at things from the perspective of designing a new character. Given all that above info, what would I design? I could hit those notes of feeling representative of Piltover. I could match her with existing characters. I could make her gear work. Even if someone gave me the ambiguous instruction of "make her feel distinct", there were things I could do. Hell, the hat, gun and fashionable silhouette are the most distinct reads she has, so leveraging those pretty much sums up the path I should take. 
So I executed on that. I designed what I felt a one-sheet on her should describe. Sheriff, part of a specific cast of characters, iconic of a specific city-state.

I got a lot of positive feedback on it. That's not to say it was, or will be the final word, but people who did approach me said that it achieved the things they wanted Caitlyn to be without sacrificing what made her, her. Now by no means does that say the job of a potential VU concept for her is done. A few other people had differing notes of feedback, which I totally understood, and wanted to take a crack at addressing in any further exploration.

The concept did change my mind though considering a traditional skin. I didn't feel as though I could completely replicate everything about Caitlyn. I updated her, I made her more cohesive, but I didn't 1-for-1 things. That's the inherent rub of the job. By the results of exploring the concept, I felt as though I couldn't necessarily have my cake and eat it too (no pun intended). I couldn't completely capture the feeling of the incongruous charm despite getting a warm reception by other artists who took a look at it. But that's the thing. Caitlyn isn't consistent with what the other cast members have set up at the moment, and if our goal is to introduce some consistency, then I probably couldn't keep a lot of those contrasts. I could objectively make something cool, but it might not address what charm may or may not be lost in the eyes of enthusiasts.

So there's the cost-benefit. Remove some of the incongruity, loose some of the charm. That has to be analysed to see if it's worth it. My feeling is that what I did was a big enough of a departure to warrant a traditional skin. However, some people disagreed. They felt the concept I did was a fine replacement. I currently don't feel that way.

So, given my experience, I would ere on the side of including a traditional skin, but I am in no way sure that if she ever does get a VU that we'd make one. Right now she's on the radar but nothing is planned. Maybe she'll get overhauled, maybe not. We'll see. My personal feeling is that I'd like to see a traditional skin.

But maybe that's just me trying to have my cake-trap and eat it too."

[ Warning: Remember the Caitlyn VU discussion is not indicative of an upcoming VU. To Quote IronStylus: " Right now she's on the radar but nothing is planned. " ]

Why don't some melee champions have Magic Resist Per Level?

In a thread discussing  the select few melee champions who DO NOT receive magic resist per level as a base stat,  Phreak punned in to comment:
"To be honest, it's pretty inconsistent. 
There are two main reasons I've seen: 
  1. This champion is a tank. They will buy durability itemization anyway, and they aren't hurting for gold. This applies to champions like Shen pretty well. Of course there are a million who still do, but we generally seem to want "Fighters" to have some innate tankiness.
  2. Sometimes we give champions really weak base stats to make their abilities or item buys more powerful, and just balance around ratios, etc. Nautilus falls under this category (stupidly slow, bad base stats, P/Q/W/R are crazy)"

SmashGizmo later chimed in, giving a run down of each champion without magic resist per level and offering his best judgement of why they don't have it:
"Currently, there are 7 Melee characters in our game without MR/level: Kassadin, Kayle, Maokai, Poppy, Shen, Singed, Yasuo

I can tell you the general thought process behind why we consciously have omitted MR/level on Kassadin and Yasuo, and I can wager some guesses that I'm nearly sure are right for why they were left out on all the others as well.

Kassadin's passive provides passive defense versus Magic damage. While it's not terribly interesting, it is still more interesting than a base stat, so basically any power budget we could spend on making this guy better vs. Magic Damage is better spent on the passive than on base stats.

Yasuo's passive is mostly meant as an anti-burst mechanic to prevent him from getting gibbed by mages. Again, the passive's purpose was already aimed at solving the character's needs in terms of mitigating the damage mages do, so any power we could've given him on this axis is once again more interesting being spent on his passive than on base stats.

I'm guessing Maokai was not originally given MR/level because his ult is such a potentially strong mitigation tool vs. Mage AoE. He was also made in an older time where a larger % of the tanks didn't have MRes/level (most fighter tanks weren't around and of the original tanks, many of them had no MRes/level at the time).

Kayle almost certainly doesn't have it because she is functionally ranged most of the time.

Poppy probably doesn't have it once again because of the passive's ability to mitigate burst damage.

Singed likely doesn't have it because of the insane amount he gets from his ultimate, so that mages can actually feel effective vs. him when his long duration ultimate isn't active.

Shen likely doesn't have it because of the precedence set by early tanks and also because his W is a strong anti-burst mitigation tool.

Now I know this all sounds kinda silly because you can point out a lot of similar abilities on other characters who do have MR/level and the whole thing starts to just sound arbitrary. And there is some truth in that; the decision isn't totally arbitrary since all of these character have other tools in place to service their defensive needs, but they just as easy could have MRes/level and be balanced around that as not.

When looking at these guys and working on buffing/nerfing them though, it feels like a cheap and easy way to give them a power buff by just tacking MRes/level, but it's not always the right answer. Take the Maokai changes I've been working on this patch. It would be very easy to just inject power into the character by adding MR/level, but at the end of the day what this change says is that the character is currently working in a healthy and satisfying way but just needs some raw power against mages to succeed. And in some cases, that might be spot on, but on Maokai that just didn't seem like the right approach. Theoretically, there's only so much you can buff a character before they become imbalanced, so it's most interesting and exciting when you can spend your buff budget on impactful actions that the player is making rather than increasing their stat line.

So all in all, I will agree with the sentiment here that our MRes base stat system feels kinda arbitrary, but when working on a character by character basis, we frequently forego just adding the MRes/level to them so that we can try to give that same amount of power to them in a more satisfying and/or interesting way. Hope that helps understand it."

Doors of Fate Result: Skin concept art team Q&A

Over the past two days, Tamat has been hosting a "Doors of Fate" experiment where summoners voted in his thread for which "door" they wanted to open. Each door  contained a Q&A session with an undisclosed person, including "A Team of rioters that work on League of Legends" , "A well-known Rioter", and  "a pro player in the LCS".

Now that the game is over and the results are in, the winner is.... the Blue Door, which means the Skin concept art team will be hosting a Q&A session at 2 PM PST on June 23rd!


Yorick and the "High Priority" list.

When asked what happened to the Yorick rework and what determines if a champion is on the "High Priority list", Xelnath replied that Yorick has been moved down.
"I am not on reworks at the moment. After discussion, Yorick got moved down the list, relative to Sion and another bloke who will get confirmed sometime after Sion. 
I'm afraid I don't have access to the list, but in general: 
* How badly is the design impacting players
* How appealing could this character be if rebuilt well
* How many months of development will need to be invested in new art"

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