Red Post Collection: Taliyah & Shurima Story Q&A, Ascension in RGM Queue, Meddler on Aurelion Sol and Ekko, & more!

Posted on at 5:40 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes  both the Taliyah Q&A and the Shurima Story Q&A #2, a reminder that Ascension is live this weekend in the Rotating Game Mode Queue, Meddler with context the upcoming 6.10 Aurelion Sol nerfs and 6.11 plans for Ekko, and more!

RGM Queue: Ascension live this weekend!

Ascension returns this weekend in the rotating game mode queue!

Check out the official announcement for a rundown of Ascension and an updated RGM schedule!
"From the original clone-tastic One For All to the frenetic manatee magic of Ultra Rapid Fire, featured game modes provide unique spins on the classic League formula. It’s time to kick things off with the next game mode in the rotation: Ascension is now live!
As a refresher on the mode, let’s go over the basics:
  • Unlike Summoner’s Rift, you can’t walk out of your base to reach the battle; you’ll have to use the Golden Transcendence trinket or right-click a pad to teleport into the fray
  • Earn victory by scoring points; the first team to 200 takes it down
  • You earn 1 point for kills, 3 for capturing a Shuriman relic, 5 for landing the killing blow on an Ascended champion, and 2 points for each kill you acquire while Ascended
  • Claim Ascension by taking down Ancient Ascendant Xerath in the center of the map (he’ll respawn after the Ascended champion dies)
  • Be cautious when approaching the Ascendant, you'll need your whole team to battle him and claim the buff
  • The Ascension buff yields awe-inspiring power including bonus health and infinite mana, AD & AP, CDR, as well as armor and magic pen
  • The gifts of Ascension come with a price: healing and regeneration effects are halved and the opposing team always has vision on Ascended champs
We did touch up the visuals slightly while specially tuning Champion Mastery so you can earn points in the mode. You’ll also be able to earn keys for your wins and loot chests for your (or your premade’s) S­-, S, and S+ games. 
Ascension is now available and lasts through the evening on Sunday (we’ll shut it down very early Monday morning--usually between 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM).
If you need to catch up on the rules for any game mode, check back at each Friday, and we’ll give you the lowdown in a quick post like this one. 
We’ll be trying out different things with the rotating game mode queue over the next few months, such as potentially turning it on longer depending on how popular it is, changing the mode cadence or what modes are available. We’re looking for your feedback as we go, so let us know. GLHF, and we’ll see you on the sand-strewn battlefield of Ascension!"

Context on 6.10 Aurelion Sol Nerfs

The 6.10 PBE cycle currently contains both a nerf to Aurelion Sol's W cooldown and his R damage. When asked about this nerf on the boards, Meddler explained:
"When balancing champions one of the primary statistics we consider is a champion's win rate when played by experienced players. Comparing average win rates can be really misleading as you point out, so comparing win rates when all the players involved have a decent level of experience on a champion tends to be more valuable for champions once they've been out for at least a little while. 
Looking at champion win rates for May when those champions are played by people with more than 30 games on them Aurelion Sol's got the highest experienced win rate in the game and still has a lower average number of games played than many other champions, given he hasn't been out as long. He was strong before 6.9, and we were talking about whether he was sufficiently out of line we needed to nerf him. The 6.9 changes, Catalyst in particular, have pushed him to a point where don't feel we can afford to leave him as strong as he is, even if his play rate isn't high. 
In terms of the changes we're making in 6.10 we're hitting the ult damage because, as a powerful initiation and/or peel tool it doesn't need to be as high as it is on base damage. That makes it a good place to hit when we need to reduce overall power. The W change is aimed at giving a bit more reward to opponents who CC Aurelion Sol or force him to pull his stars in (increased time until he's got longer ranged sustained threat again). It's possible that will hit him harder than intended in terms of ability to deal with closing threats, that is meant to be a core weakness for him though. We'll assess post 6.10 ship, see where he ends up. 
Regarding the bug you mention with his Q and Windwall/Braum do you have a video of the Q using its edge, instead of core, for Windwall/Braum shield collisions? Just had a look at that in game and I'm seeing the core used as expected. It does look like Braum E's blocking the CC on the Q though. It was scripted that to be consistent with Anivia's Q, that doesn't seem like the right approach here though, Braum at the least should be getting CC'd."
Meddler  continued:
Since he is so new and the average number of played games is so low, should you take into account that learning to play against him might be an even steeper learning curve than learning to play him?
Playing against learning curve is something we keep an eye on, with the exception of pretty easy champions to play (e.g. Garen) we don't see steeper against than playing as curves though. Even then its debateable once you get more experienced players onto those champs who'll optimize things new players aren't in a position to take advantage of (champion specific learning curve versus general game knowledge learning curve that a champion can take advantage of e.g. wave management)."
When asked if the W cooldown might be too high at 4 seconds, Meddler  noted:
"We'll look at him post patch. It's possible 3s is the correct spot, 4s is our best estimate at present though, hence we're going with that for 6.10."
Meddler  continued:
The fact that aurelion sol's highest win rate playerbase is less experienced than other champions probably means his kit is very straight forward and lacks variations.
It means that he's the most recently released champion. Turns out that the longer a champion's been out the more likely it is people will have played a lot of games on it.
Skill curve wise he's got a pretty steep learning curve with a lot of things to optimize. Conceptually he's fairly simple, execution and use of those effects is much harder though. Singed and Rumble follow the same pattern (simple kit, top 10 learning curve)."

Meddler on tentative Ekko changes in 6.11

Over on the boards, Meddler shared a tentative 6.11 changelist for Ekko that aims to move him away from tank builds and into to building AP:
"AP scaling on Ekko's utility's got some promise and its something we're currently testing out as part of a set of changes aimed to pushing Ekko furter towards AP builds/away from tank builds in patch 6.11. 
Changes we're currently testing (subject to change as usual of course):
  • Q outgoing damage to 40-100 + 0.2 (from 60-120 + 0.1)
  • Q slow to 30% + 10% per 100 AP (from 32%-60%)
  • R damage to 150-450 + 1.5 (from 200-500 + 1.3)"

As for potentially looking at his passive, Meddler commented:
Hey Meddler, is there any chance you might look at his passive too? The movespeed he gets is already pretty huge, does it also need to slow whoever he procs it on?
Possible, we want to focus on the things we think are the biggest issues to address first though. It's very much tank Ekko we want to target here as well, not all builds equally. AP Ekko by contrast's a much healthier champion."

When asked if there is anything they are planning for 6.10 (next week), Meddler  explained:
You mentioned that you are planning these changes for 6.11. 
Are there any numeric nerfs lined up for 6.10 to make him less aggravating to deal with until you identify how to truly fix the issue?
No, there's nothing in 6.10. Our final day to submit 6.10 changes was last Wednesday (patches lock around a week before they go out) and our focus in 6.10 was primarily on follow up to all the mid-season changes."

When asked about the damage on Ekko's R, Meddler shared :
Does Ekko's ultimate even need to do damage? Isn't the reposition and heal enough power and thematically appropriate?
Damage on Ekko's ult does a couple of things we like:
  • It encourages riskier, more offensive plays with the ult. Removing the damage by contrast would push Ekko towards mainly just using it to get out of a fight safely, rather than sometimes using it to re-engage, to set up an ambush etc. 
  • It makes a significant amount of Ekko's damage unreliable, introducing a skill test for Ekko and a point of counterplay for his enemies. Tank Ekko's currently a problem, AP Ekko's much more reasonable. If we were removing all the damage from his ult we'd need to give him a lot of that back elsewhere to keep him functional, at least for the AP build. That'd have to be put in more reliable, less CD gated places though."

Nidalee & Lucian being looked at for nerfs in 6.11

In a boards thread inquiring if the balance team has any plans to look at Nidalee in 6.11, Riot Sotere  noted:
"We'll be taking a look at her for 6.11." 
As for Lucian, Meddler commented they would also be looking at nerfs for 6.11:
"We'll be nerfing Lucian because of Lucian. Ranges most likely (possible options at present look like Q passthrough range and W range), with the goal of keeping his in fight power/mobility but making him pay a bit more price for it.

Champion Q&A: Taliyah, the Stoneweaver 

With Taliyah set to debut in patch 6.10, many of the Rioters who worked on her have jumped on the boards to answer player questions on the Stoneweaver!

To start us off, here's ADillonMostDirty with an introduction to the  Taliyah Q&A:
"Hey everyone!

We've gathered a bunch of Rioters from the Taliyah team for some Q&A about the Stoneweaver! Whether you're interested in Taliyah's gameplay, story, or art, ask away and we'll be happy to answer!

On hand for questions today we have:
  • Daniel "ZenonTheStoic" Klein - Designer
  • Ariel "Thermal Kitten" Lawrence - Writer
  • Curtis "Riotc3Sound" Chrun - Sound Designer
  • Jeremy "Riot Shadowstorm" Dempster - Tech Coordinator
  • Anthony "RiotPastaBomb" Possobon - Motion Graphic Artist
  • Hing "Hdot" Chui - Concept Artist
  • Janelle "RiotStellari" Jimenez - Promotion 
Check out these links if you need to get up to speed:

As usual, I've gathered up most of the interesting answers and sorted them into similar topics and groups!

Gameplay & Design

As for what niche Taliyah hopes to fill, ZenonTheStoic commented:
What niche does Taliyah fulfill specifically?
She's a disruptor with very high burst/pick potential. She won't control the battlefield quite as much as Anivia, but if she catches you in a WE, you're going to have a bad time."

ZenonTheStoic continued, noting they wanted to make a control mage from the very start:
Hey Guys! 
Was Taliyah always going to be a control mage? Were there maybe other versions of characters that she could have ended up being? I love hearing about development stories and such, akin to how Braum wasn't always Braum during development, and how he started out as a totally different character, and ended up going through a bunch of changes. Did something similar Happen to Taliyah? Or was she always intended to be a Stone Mage Earthbender type of dude? 
Thanks for doing the Q&A!
We wanted to make a traditional mage from the very beginning (which is why we went with the elemental theme; felt very traditional), so disruptor or burst mage suggested themselves. There could have been a version where she would have been a bit more of a battle mage (think Karthus/Ryze), but that didn't feel appropriate for someone as young as her and someone whose mastery over rock was expressed through the metaphor of weaving. 
So yeah, we wanted a control mage from the very beginning." 
While she is traditionally aimed at being a  mid mage, ZenonTheStoic briefly commented on her a support:
Her second role is support. Do you expect her to see substantial play as a mage support, ala Brand or Annie?
We wanted to make sure that support isn't her BEST role, because if it was it would feel bad to take her mid lane. Her scalings are quite aggressive (1.2 on the Q, 1.2 on the E) so as a support, she falls off a cliff (with no Yasuo to save her :P) once she can no longer put points into her Q. 
That said, her W and R are amazing support abilities and her level 1 push is unmatched among caster supports (Q has amazing base dmg if you don't dodge it, which minions don't)"

When asked for rune/masteries recommendations for TaliyahZenonTheStoic shared:
What would you recommend for runes and masteries on Taliyah.
Standard mage stuff. Thunderlord's is great on her since she can proc it with one Q cast on fresh ground."

Riot ShadowStorm  added:
What would you recommend for runes and masteries on Taliyah.
In playtests, my rune page was Magic Pen marks, Armor seals, Magic Resist glyphs, and Flat AP quints. For masteries, I ran 12-18-0 with Thunderlord's Decree. 
They were called "Weaving Stones" and "Breaking Bones", respectively. =)"

When asked about her W into E combo, ZenonTheStoic commented:
Why can't you cast w and e together? I feel like in higher levels of play having to set out the e and then having to use w to throw someone into it is faaaar too telegraphed. You should be able to make use of good mechanics to combo the skills together. 
Additionally from a game design standpoint are you at all worried over recent champions (specifically control mages) over reliance on rylai's crystal scepter? It's pretty mandatory on Aurelion Sol and Taliyah and you'll rarely see an azir or viktor without it. Not to mention Elise and Nidalee. It feels like a lot of champions are getting strength from the item to the point where you might run into a DFG issue again where champions start getting balanced around the items existence.
Good question! 
Here's one of my design mantra: optional power is mandatory. If you give a champion a potential thing they can do that is powerful then in a solved state of the game where the player has mastered the champion, they will HAVE to use that thing. 
You're right that the W into E combo is highly telegraphed. That's very much on purpose! I want Taliyah to put her laning opponent on notice before she gets to land the WE combo. This allowed me to make landing the WE combo feel extremely powerful. Note that there are positive outcomes for Taliyah in this situation that do not include landing the WE--zoning the opponent from farm is one, landing free chip dmg with the E is another. Additionally, Taliyah has the advantage of having a slow on her E, so if an enemy aggresses on her sufficiently that they're inside the E area, Taliyah can guarantee a followup WE combo with the E slow."

When asked about Taliyah's R and why it doesn't so damage, ZenonTheStoic explained:
Will you be updating her ultimate so it does damage and my friend and I thought up a cool ability where she pulls up a piece of the ground and depending where she is it will have different effects (River will slow, jg will do more damage to monsters, bot lane gives more life steal) this would be a cool ability for Taliyah. Also will the new champions such as Jhin and Aurelion sol be getting new skins?
Her ultimate will never deal damage. This is very much working as designed. Imagine it did do damage. Now on top of having to think about whether or not you want to ride it and where you want to place it to most effectively cut off the enemy, you'd also have to consider if you wanted to try and hit enemies with it to damage them or maybe even hold it and not use it until you're fighting someone because it's part of your damage combo. Giving players more options to use a spell often makes the spell worse. It becomes less obvious if you used it well, you feel bad using it in interesting / out of the ordinary situations, and so on. In this case, constraints breed creativity. 
Spells that interact with your location do sound cool and I wouldn't be surprised if we did one eventually, but you may have noticed that Taliyah's kit is complete and she is going to release soon. It's a little late to put a new spell in ;P"
ZenonTheStoic continued, sharing what happens when Taliyah is knocked off the wall:
When surfing on her ult, you can click and she'll dismount on the side you clicked on, but I assume if she takes damage she'll fall off as well, like with Aurelion Sol's E? The question there, is since the ult is impassable terrain, which side will she fall on when hit? Is it always guaranteed to be the same side? This will be hugely important to counterplay, especially if her ult splits the enemy team in half, they could push her to the side more capable of handling her.
When she is knocked off the wall by enemy champion damage, she is pulled TOWARD her attacker. This is to make riding the wall risky."

When asked if Bard can use his magical journey on Taliyah's R, ZenonTheStoic noted:
Am I ever going to be able to bard portal down her ult? Because I really, really want to.
Sorry, Magical Journey does not interact with player-created terrain."

When asked what he might look at if Taliyah is under or over powered on release, ZenonTheStoic shared:
What are the balance levers you guys are looking at for 6.11 depending on if she ends up UP or OP?
If she is UP, I'm going to be looking at the ult's CD, the E's dmg fall off factor, and her base stats (assuming that her risky laning means she gets ganked and killed a lot). 
If she is OP, I'll look at the Q and E's AP ratios and the W's area (for dodgeabillity reasons I'd like to keep the delay the same (because ppl will have learned it), but make the area smaller so it's easier to step out)."

Background & Story

Next up is a set of answers about Taliyah's character and her story, as well as her origins and what may think of other champions!

Riot Stellari shared how to pronounce Taliyah's name:
Hey, I'm not sure if this has been answered or not, but how do you pronounce her name? 
Is it Ta-lee-ah, or Tal-e-ah? 
Also, are you guys open to a skin based off of Toph / avatar earth benders? She fits so well with them! Excited to play her in game.
I think it depends on how you pronounce it (and what your native language is). I say it somewhere in between Tah-LEE-ah and Tah-LEE-yah with an American accent ^_^"

When asked how old Taliyah is, nickstravaganza shared:
About how old is Taliyah?
She's about 16"
Riot Stellari  added:
How worldly is Taliyah? Judging from her story, not much since she doesn't know about the existence of Freljord or that dealing with Noxians never goes well.
Taliyah's been pretty close to home in Shurima for most of her life, so you're right to say she's not very worldly at this point--but she's a quick, and eager, learner!"
As for what she might fear the most, Riot Stellari noted:
What is Taliyah's greatest fear?
Her greatest fear is not being able to protect her family...and she's not keen on drowning."

Thermal Kitten  also shared that Taliyah is an only child:
Does she have a brother/sister?
Only child."

Thermal Kitten  also noted that Taliyah is not any sort of royalty like Sivir:
Is she Shuriman royalty like Sivir?
When asked if there are others who can weave elements like TaliyahRiot ShadowStorm noted:
If Taliyah is like a stone weaver. Who are the other elemental weavers in league of legends?
Taliyah grew up in a tribe of weavers, so weaving is how she understands to control her magic. That method of control is very unique to her - there aren't any other "elemental weavers" in Runeterra."

When asked how "stoneweaver" came to be, nickstravaganza explained:
"Whats appeared first - Taliyah as a person who needed strong power to show her personality or idea to create earthbender with strong personality? Did you consider any other types of powers to reperesent Taliyah as strong woman?" Asking for a friend
There were a few different mage types we were exploring early on, but one that we liked the most used stone with a sort of flowery motif. We liked the contrast of stone with a style and attitude that was lighter than the typical geomancer archetype. We knew we wanted an upbeat and optimistic mage, not a broody or tortured one, and we later came to the term "Stoneweaver", which maintained that contrast and just sounded really cool. In many ways, her personality is a natural result of her nomadic travels and how she grew up." 

When asked if Taliyah's powers are still growing, Iniquitee commented:
are taliyahs power still growing
Taliyah is still growing and learning to harness her power. As she gets older and learns more she'll be able to even further refine her control, allowing bigger and smaller stone manipulation and even more beautiful creations."
ZenonTheStoic  added:
Does her powers keep growing?
I do think Taliyah is still at the beginning of her journey in terms of power. Fear what a 40 year old Taliyah will be able to do."
 When asked if this magic was innate or if it could just be learned, Riot Stellari commented:

Is magic fully innate or can everyday people learn magic?
There's things in Runeterra that are infused with magic and could theoretically be used by everyday people, and there's people who're born with it. But in general, magic is super rare in Runeterra (which it may not feel like sometimes, since we have so many magic users...but this is League of Legends and not League of Ordinary People)."
When asked about Taliyah's attire, Thermal Kitten  shared:
Ohhh Man She iss soo cool 10/10 Guys Good job in creating a Great champion. 
I know there will be people saying is is so OP but ya' know they will cry.
But as for my Question. What was the Hardest/Biggest Challenge In Creating Taliyah?
Also How did you decide on her final Outfit , It suits her perfectly?
Awesome. Glad you're liking her! 
As far as her outfit, her sleeves grew out of the idea that she's growing into her powers (her sleeves were too big and she needs to grow into it). Also her coat is from Ionia and her inner tunic is Shuriman. "
Thermal Kitten  continued:
Traditional Shuriman garb.
Her coat is Ionian, the rest is Shuriman."

As for the sling shot Taliyah used in her story, Thermal Kitten  commented:
"The sling is definitely something she would have learned to use as a child in her tribe. As she learned to control her powers, she didn't need to use the sling to throw rocks. Some of that sling motion can still be seen in her auto-attack and Q."
When asked about Yasuo as Taliyah's teacher,  Thermal Kitten  commented:
I'd like to ask about her story. What inspired you guys to make Yasuo her teacher?
Taliyah is looking for a teacher that can help her learn to control her elemental powers. Because Taliyah uses stone magic in a non-traditional way (weaving, surfing it, etc.) I thought it would be interesting to pair her with an someone who could show her that rock doesn't have to be stationary. I thought Taliyah could also help show a different side to Yasuo."
Thermal Kitten  continued:
why choose yasuo to be her metor out of all the other ionians that have better understanding of peace and maybe better teachers
Sometimes a master and a student find each other because they both need to learn something from each other."
Thermal Kitten  also added:
Why doesn't Yasuo give a damn about anything? I mean look at him. He was sleeping. Again!
I think because of Taliyah, Yasuo remembers that he does give a damn about some things." 

When asked about Taliyah's thoughts about MalphiteRiot Stellari commented:
Is she fascinated by malphite at all?
I imagine that she must be! It's probably like meeting an extremely life-like robot/android to her."

When asked if Taliyah, as a Shurima native, would have encounted Rek'Sai and her brood, Riot Stellari noted:
Taliyah seems to have a quote with Rek'sai. Does Rek'sai terrorize her tribe as well or does she pick off those who are alone?
Also why does Taliyah fear the greatest quote of all time, other than Rammus, "Shurima, your emperor has returned"?
Taliyah and her tribe know to stay far away from the Sai where Rek'sai (and the rest of the Xer'sai) live."

As for what Taliyah might think of Annie and IllaoiIniquitee commented:
what does she think about Annie being able to control her fire magic despite her age?
she wants to learn and Illaoi likes to teach..., would be a good teacher for her?
Taliyah would be disappointed in Annie for her reckless attitude towards using and controlling her magic, but perhaps also impressed at the power she wields for her age. I don't think they would get along very well. 
Illaoi might be a bit of a harsh teacher for Taliyah - she's not quite as rough & tumble as the Kraken Priestess. Though the Stoneweaver definitely enjoys staying in motion as both a nomad and a rock-surfer, so maybe Illaoi would think that she's already on the right path!"

As for her thoughts on Demacia and Yordles, Thermal Kitten commented:
how does taliyah feel about demacia and yordles?
Demacia is not too fond of magic and people from foreign lands after dealing with Noxus on their proverbial doorstep for such a long time. Taliyah would try to avoid Demacia on her way home. However if she ran into someone from Demacia, she would try get to know them as an individual. 
She would think Yordles are adorable."

As for Taliyah's reaction to Azir's return and her family being enslaved, Riot Stellari  explained:
Hi guys! I just have one thing about Taliyah's story that I don't understand. So when she's coming back home she sees Azir's sun disk and thinks her family is in danger of being enslaved. Isn't Azir a good guy who just wants to see Shurima thrive?
Taliyah doesn't really know that--Azir planned to release all the slaves at the culmination of his Ascension ritual, but Xerath’s treachery and the destruction of the city left no one alive who might have known of that plan. Plus, all she's heard are second (third-fourth-fifth) hand rumors. It's like a giant Runeterran game of telephone!"
As for what happens when Taliyah finally returns home to Shurima, Thermal Kitten  teased:
Are you going to tell the story of what happens when Taliyah finally arrives to shurima, or are you going to leave it in the air?
Keep an eye out for her bio when she launches. :)"

Scrapped Concepts or Abilities and Funny Stories from Development

When asked about ability ideas or concepts that never made it out of development, ZenonTheStoic shared  a set of scrapped abilities for Taliyah:
Hey Guys! Thanks for doing the Q&A, Taliyah is an awesome champion! 
Are there any interesting stories from her development that would be okay to share? Maybe how things did or didn't work out/click with her design, or inspirations, or just random interesting tidbits. Hope you guys have an awesome day, and take care :)
I think I've told this story a bunch of times already between the podcast and the PBE stream, but the Q we ended up shipping started out as a placeholder ability. I wanted to try an ability where she used up nearby walls to empower her spells, but in the interest of getting her into playtesting more quickly, I designed it as "uses up ground" first--designing exactly how much of a wall she should rip up, how near she had to be, dealing with places on the map where there are no walls etc seemed like a lot of work. So I didn't expect anyone to like the "uses up ground" spell and was super surprised when everyone who played it loved it. There is a lot of surprising nuance to deciding where to use up ground, when to cast the spell from used up ground to safe ground, etc. Looking at the problems that the wall spell posed particularly with mid lane not having a lot of walls, I decided to polish the ground version of the spell and we ended up shipping a really fun game. 
Another really cool spell we tried was "stitching walls together". It was a skill shot she could ONLY fire through a wall (like Bard's magical journey) that would create a wall, but the wall only persisted if the missile touched ANOTHER wall. Really cool spell that made you think tactically about your positioning with regards to walls, but not a midlane mage spell."

As for scrapped ultimate abilities, ZenonTheStoic added:
How many ultimates did you try on Taliyah? How did you end up with this wall thing?
The first was an earthquake that grounded you (can't use dashes or Flash) 
The second was one where she removed a chunk of terrain. 
The third was the wall, but initially she couldn't ride it and instead curved it. 
If you want to deep dive, I told the full story on twitter: [link]"

As for passives scrapped during development specifically  ZenonTheStoic commented:
Aside from Taliyah's current passive, what other passives did she have during development?
Her Worked Ground used to be her character passive and would modify all her abilities. It was just too much. It clearly felt like that passive wanted to be a Q passive only. Sometimes designs have a mind of their own."
ZenonTheStoic also added:
Were you thinking about her abilities like a stone wall that would knock up enemies or a rock shell that would be her passive like if she goes under 10% she can activate her passive therefore making her invulnerable something like that ? :3
Good question! I had a rock shell passive on a paper kit once, actually. This is what it looked like: 
Passive: Stone-casket: After standing perfectly still for 3 seconds, Tectonic Marvel surrounds herself with a regenerative layer of stone. While in this stone casket, she regenerates health and mana rapidly, but gives up most of her vision radius and loses ally vision. Any enemy damage interrupts this ability and stuns Tectonic Marvel for 1 second."

nickstravaganza also shared:
What were some of the wackiest and craziest things that you tried out during her development?
It's been mentioned previously, but one of the things we tested out early on was terrain destruction, like smashing entire section of terrain to set up crazy ganks and escapes. There were real gameplay and art reasons we didn't go with it for her, but it did create some wacky plays"
ZenonTheStoic added on to the terrain destruction, noting:
What were some abilities that you scrapped during development?
Also, any particular reason why her outfit slightly resembles Azir's?
We had an ultimate that destroyed a part of summoner's rift for a good 15s. Imagine the enemy is doing Baron and you just take out the back of Baron pit, opening it up for an epic brawl. 
It was a cool ability, but not great on a mage kit."

Riot Keyserito  also shared that Taliyah used to have a different AA animation:,
Thanks for doing the Q&A Guys! 
Were there any super cool or maybe just interesting abilities that you had tried to put on her kit, but then ended up scrapping for whatever reason? I always love hearing about scrapped abilities :) 
For a long time, her auto attack was visually designed more like a trail of rocks ripped up from the ground, similar to what happens when you yank a rope or a garden hose and send a wave through it. We all liked how it looked, but it had two problems: 1. It looked way more powerful and significant than a regular mage auto attack (like it was a skill shot, or something similar to Malphite's Q). And 2: It didn't have a clearly defined leading edge to the projectile, to give clarity for when the missile was about to hit, or where it came from. It was on her for a few weeks, but toward the end, we realized it wasn't working for gamelpay, so we went with a more "needle-and-thread" feeling on the small stone she throws."

When asked about favorite bugs from development, Riot Keyserito  shared:
Favorite bugs in her development?
RK: For a brief time, when we added the stone she surfs on, it didn't have a unique texture yet, so Taliyah's face was stretched out over the surface of the stone.
Looked like this:  
 ZenonTheStoic added:
"I did an oopsie with multiplication on the W at one point where it threw you across the entire map. That was cool."

Audio - SFX & Music

As for how Taliyah's sounf effects were made, C3Sound  explained:

"No one asked for this, however it makes for a neat story. So ill tell it anyway ;P 
A sound designer's job is to create a wide enough sonic thematic pallet that conveys each of the champion skills in a unique way. This helps with game-play clarity, adds to the uniqueness of the champion, keeps it from becoming repetitive or boring, etc etc. 
That said, rocks are rocks. Rocks sound like other rocks - for the most part. However, such elements like size, density, shape, and other characteristics of rocks can create a different feel when hit or thrown or destroyed or used to suppress giant panicked wildebeests... a story for another time... 
But that wasnt enough for Taliyah - Taliyah had a more refined version of rock. "Woven" rock was her deal, and the task at hand was to try and figure out what that really sounded like. 
Here is the cool part (commence nerd out): 
A few of us took a trip up to UCLA's Anecoic Chamber. If you dont know what an anechoic chamber is, read up on it here: 

Its basically a "dead" room - one with "no" reflections or reverberations. It's crazy stuff. Stay in there too long and you can hear your blood rushing through your arteries.
What better place to record really detailed stuff. 
Recording really small sounds and capturing them in a way that sounds big is a challenge. One basic technique is to crank your microphone pre-amp so you can record a really small sound at a really high volume - recording all of the detail at a hotter level - making the sound "bigger" initially to work with. However, a lot of crap happens when you do this - when you raise the initial recording level you also raise the noise floor of the room which usually ends up with a nasty hum/hiss/buzz in your recording. 
This is why a dead room rocks for this kind of recording... 
So I packed up a bunch of tile for bathroom walls that I bought at home depot, showed up with these other Riot sound design cats at UCLA, and recorded all of Taliyah's more detailed building blocks inside of an almost completely dead room. 
The recordings turned out awesome - and you can hear some of these sounds sprinkled in and throughout her kit (Q - on her casts of the shards, W - on the directional input sound, E - as the 4 waves fall out into place, R - its somewhere in there buried beneath the madness) 
Here are a couple pics from the recording: "

C3Sound  continued, sharing his inspiration for Taliyah's AAs and who did the Taliyah login:
I don't really have any questions, but one thing I want to say; one of the things that hit me (pun intended) most when I first saw Taliyah, was the sound on her autoattack: it's just so,soooo satisfying! It really delivers this sense of hard, strong impact, it's not just a "tap", it a nice, full "stock". The freljord skins pushes a lot of right buttons with me (i have a very soft spot for ice-manipulating magic), but I'd be in doubt to get her because the autoattack sound on her base is just so good :D 
Also, I love love love her login theme!
Thanks so much! A lot of the auto attack was inspired by Lissandra's AAs. Until I started designing the attacks, I actually had Lissandras in the kit as a placeholder. 
The composer Sebastien Najand here at Riot did the login music! He is a bad ass."

Animations & VFX

When asked about the process of doing Taliyah's animations, nickstravaganza  shared:
Hey Nick 
As an animation student I wanted to know the process you follow when you are given a certain character to animate. Would you mind going over the things you do/did to show Taliyah's attitude and personality.
Sure thing! Usually with a character, we start with a Run and various idle poses that attempt to capture the feel of the character. With Taliyah, I wanted to go against the grain a little and avoid big, wide grounded poses that you'd expect from an earth mage. I like the idea of her being light on her feet to match her optimism and good spirits, so I focused on that. 
Early on there were still questions of how her powers looked. We toyed with the idea of her having these two discs that could pull up threads of earth between them and make a spool-like shape. That required doing a test spellcast. Not something to use in game, but purely to show how she might move. The kit evolved away from the spool visuals, so we dropped it, but i did use part of the cast test as basis for the E. 
But basically, early on our goal is to help define the character so concept artists and designers can finalize the look. This includes a lot of character tests, quick proxy anims for playtests, and anything we can do to work towards a final model and rig. the sooner we answer all the lingering questions the more time we have to drop the proxies and work on final assets."
When asked if it is easier to animate a mage or melee champion, nickstravaganza explained:
is animating a mage typically easier than animating a melee champ?
It depends. Mages sometimes have the benefit of being less connected to their abilities, so you can do one animation that works for any cast direction. And depending on the character, you can get away with a lot of aerial motions and unrealistic hovering. That frees you up sometimes. Also attacks don't usually involve physical hits, so you're more concerned with matching the feel of the projectile, but that still offeres more options sometimes. 
On the other hand, the physicality of melee characters means you have a lot of real-life reference for what feels right, plus a ton of great fighting and action games that have great examples. In that way, it's also a little easier to tell why an animation doesn't work. Hard to argue with the physics of a punch. 
It really comes down to preference and variety. After working on Taliyah, I'm now excited to do something more physical."
When asked about the challenges of creating Taliyah's visual effects, Riot Keyserito  noted:
I know there will be people saying is is so OP but ya' know they will cry.
But as for my Question. What was the Hardest/Biggest Challenge In Creating Taliyah?
For the VFX, it was a constant challenge to not let her rocks cover up everything on the map, especially with her Q rings. Some of the earlier versions were patterned disks of stone set in the ground. You can imagine how quickly those would cover up everything everywhere! The E wasn't much easier. We needed large, clear landmines that didn't draw all your attention to them, but still let you know where to avoid."


When asked how they decided on a Freljord skin for her release, Iniquitee commented:
When did you decide to give her a Freljord skin?
Every champion hits a point when their details lock down enough that we're able to noodle on skin ideas for them. Usually there is a spread of several ideas, and the Skins team will narrow down to the best ones until we select one. Sometimes it's really tough! Freljord Taliyah was selected out of several ideas (including a painting and Noxus themed skin) several months ago."
Thermal Kitten also commented on her skin's white hair, teasing:
What made you guys give Freljord Taliyah white hair? Seeing as Freljord Taliyah's hair is a lore skin, wouldn't it make more sense keeping it black?
People who come in contact with true ice sometimes have funny things happen to their hair."

When asked how involved the writers are in a champion's design, Thermal Kitten  shared:
Hey, I'm a big fan of all the champion lore and the work that goes into it. How deeply are the writers invovled in the champion creation? Did they spend less time than the others working on her, what were their main interactions with other parts of the team?
Each champ has a small dedicated DNA team (Designer, Narrative Writer, and Artist) that works together as a core group for every champs individual development. We're part of a larger champion pod that's made up of amazing 3d artists, riggers, engineers, q&a, production peeps, illustration artists, effects artists, and sound designers that help see the champion to release. 
As the dedicated writer for a champ, I sit with my team day-in-day-out and have constant conversation to help insure the champ is thematically cohesive (meaning that their art and game design make sense for their story and vice versa). I will see a champ from the absolute beginning idea to their launch. During development I write story sketches (like concept art, but with words), voice over, biographies, and short fiction. For Taliyah it was great to see a story sketch of mine written during development get released for her launch!"

When asked about the various teasers and way's champions are revealed, Riot Stellari commented:
why was Jhin so hyped up with all the teasers and some champion weren't hyped at all, is it because the amount of time spent into them?
There's a variety of reasons (that don't always apply to every champion): how long the champion is in development, our resources on the promo team at the time, what format and medium work best for the champion, what else is going on in the League of Legends universe (is it Worlds? is it start of season?) and a lot of other factors. 
Some champion stories are best told in comic form, or video form--some are best in short story form. For Jhin in particular, we had a lot of time to work on his promotion...and he's the sort of champion that evokes a sense of mystery, so secretive hidden teasers worked well for him. He was also released during a period where we don't put out a lot of other content, so he got the main stage (how fitting for him!) 
For Taliyah, on the other hand, we really felt her personality was best revealed through a short story and that the animation gave a good look into her play style. There's actually a very decent amount of content for Taliyah that came out, but there was also MSI and Mid-Season Magic happening at the same time so it may have not seemed that way. She did get a long lore piece (which is in addition to her bio) and an animated teaser, afterall :) Annnnd we're not quite done with her yet."
When asked about releasing Taliyah and Aurelion Sol - two mages- so close together,  ZenonTheStoic commented:
Why did you release another mage right after Aurelion Sol was released? Also why did you make the patches to her Q, why not just keep the five rocks at all times?
Good question! 
We generally do a thing called fantasy slotting where we plan out which types of champions we'll release in the next year or so. In fantasy slotting, we try to avoid making a champion for the same role twice in close succession whenever possible, but Aurelion was a bit of a special case. In his case we had a long-standing promise to you guys to get you this dragon champion and we did not want to delay him any longer. We decided that while both Taliyah and Aurelion go mid lane and build AP, there was enough of a difference that they don't feel like the same type of champion at all. Aurelion is all about his positioning with very infrequent spell casts (and only the Q and the R feel like traditional spells; the E is a movement ability with an ult level CD and the W is a modifier to his positioning game) while Taliyah should feel much more like a traditional mage in terms of slinging spells. 
Let me know once she's live if that bears out!"
Iniquitee added on to this, saying:
Why did you release another mage right after Aurelion Sol was released? Also why did you make the patches to her Q, why not just keep the five rocks at all times?
When we were working on Aurelion Sol, we were looking at an opportunity to fulfill an archetype - that is, making an awesome dragon in League of Legends and the world of Runeterra instead of filling a specific gameplay need. At the time, we weren't sure what role he would fill (though we assumed mage or tank were highly likely). Additionally, Aurelion Sol was originally slated to come out before Jhin, in late 2015. Due to complications during production, he was delayed in order to make sure he was up to snuff and ended up landing next to Taliyah, who we had specifically intended to be a mage from the get-go (when we planned that, there hadn't been a pure mid mage in a long time). In the end I think their playstyles are wildly different and their fantasies appeal to different people and don't mind them being neighbors so much. But you're right - typically we like to give a high level of variety in the roles that we release!"

Group Questions

ZenonTheStoic Group Questions #1:
I absolutely adore this character and her design and I just can't wait to play her, but being an artist myself makes me wonder
  1. What the inspiration for her design was?
  2. And what came first, her lore, her design or her gameplay?
  3. Did you have any other ideas for her design? If so, what were they?
Ideally, all three of these grow up around each other. We had the idea for an elemental mage first, and then very quickly had a bunch of REALLY cool pieces of art that gave us great direction. Here is the very first piece of concept art we had.
If you look at Stoneflower in this lineup, you can see a LOT of Taliyah in there already. If you look at Thunderbird, you can see her run pose and her sleeves as well. Tectonic Marvel served as a great example for what we did NOT want to do (big chunky rocks, large cracks in the ground etc) I would say that except for Storm General and Spite Mage, all of these ended up going into Taliyah. 
I had a very early paper kit centered around "Exhausted Ground". Paper kits look like this:
Exhaust Ground Kit 
P: Standing on unexhausted ground while casting a spell empowers that spell, but exhausts the ground for (40s-3m) (scales by game time) 
Q: Throws a rock in target direction, stopping on first unit hit. If cast on unexhausted terrain, sends another flurry of skillshots in the same direction after a short delay. Each additional hit applies 20% of the damage. 
W: Rupture-like timing circular AOE. Damages enemies hit. If cast on unexhausted terrain, the ground grabs onto the enemy, rooting them additionally. 
E: Throws out ribbons of rock in a fan shape in front of Stone Weaver. Enemies hit are damaged and slowed, or if she is standing on unexhausted terrain, become leashed to her. If there are leashed enemies, Stone Weaver can reactivate this ability to either push or pull them (click nearer to yourself / beyond the enemy). Enemies can break the leash by moving away from Stone Weaver. 
R: Earthquake: Causes tremors in a larger area, temporarily rejuvenating all the ground so that the empowered versions of spells can be cast. For the duration of the earthquake, ground in its area cannot be exhausted. Slows and damages all enemies in the area + cripples them. Crippled enemies cannot use blinks or dashes. 
When the earthquake ends, all ground in its area becomes exhausted.
At the same time, our writer wrote a story sketch called "The Sunrise Stone" where Taliyah is wading through a river near her tribes camp, picking out interesting rocks from the riverbed, when a bunch of local boys show up and bully her and she is forced to use her rock magic to defend herself. This gave us a pretty good idea of her personality and how her magic would express herself. 
With the three disciplines having a good idea of what they were making we then moved forward into pre-production, where we answered all remaining questions about her."

ZenonTheStoic Group Questions #2:
First, let me say I love love love Taliyah's design, and I want to give a big big brofist to ZenonTheStoic for his tweets about Tal's design (because her nickname is Tal, isn't it? :D)
I think her nickname is Tali, actually!
I've been following these Q&A since around the release of Gnar, and I noticed how you sometimes mentioned mechanics that you would like to make, and then some time later a champion comes out that does exactly that. So we have Tahm Kench who swallows a champion (IIRC that was one of the prototypes for Gnar's ult), we have Aurelion Sol who flies and a few more. IIRC the "directional knock" was first meant to be Vi's ultimate, then became Gnar's ult, now it's also on Taliyah's E. Are there other mechanics you managed to sneak into her kit? Or are there ideas you didn't manage to fit, but want to recycle for some future champ, if possible?
Seismic Shove was nicknamed Rupture Toss for the longest time. It wasn't on Vi's kit or Gnar's kit (Gnar's ultimate happens at his position, which makes it quite different), but August Browning had it on an early Azir kit that he made during "Azirdome" (an event where everyone in the champ team made a quick and dirty Azir kit to explore what he could be--I won the dubious distinction of then going forth and making the champ :P). We knew since then that it would be a cool skill. 
Her passive I stole from an exploration of "terrain boots" that never made it to live. 
I basically steal everything and polish it. That's how design works in general. 
She had an ult where she made a chunk of terrain disappear for a while. That was cool, but not a mage spell. It may come back one day in some form, but there are some seriously tricky tech and art questions to answer first.
In the Champion Insights, you say you wanted to do a "traditional mage" and got on the idea of an earth mage from shurima, but how exactly was the thought process? What were other concepts you considered? What in particular struck you about this one?
We looked at expressions of elemental magic in our game and identified that while fire, ice, water, and lightning were pretty well served already, rock wasn't--Malphite IS the rock, rather than manipulating it. We did consider a more magical version of Lightning than Kennen (who's a ninja who happens to use lightning), but weren't as excited about it as we were about earth magic.
What was the most difficult thing in creating her, design-wise, lore-wise and/or kit-wise? What was the most fun?
Making her power apparent and clear on first read was pretty hard, but I'll let our concept artist speak to that!
Any funny bugs that came up during developement?
She used to surf on her face instead of a rock for a while.

Kudos to the animator who did her Q, it's soooo nice to see, it's got a very strong Avatar vibe and is soooo smooth :D
I gave your kudos to the animator, who's sitting next to me."
ZenonTheStoic Group Questions #3:
I have a few questions.
1) How long did it take to make Taliyah, start to finish?
2) How (if at all) did the MYMU change Taliyah's kit?
3) Any interesting abilities that didn't make the cut?
1) We started last year in the end of June. 
2) It's very useful to me as a champion designer to see my colleagues in Champion Update work through what a mage should and shouldn't do--it definitely help me laser-focus her strengths and weaknesses. 
3) Read this thread! I spoke about a whole bunch of abilities that didn't make the cut in other answers."

Thermal Kitten Group Questions #1:
  1. What is the name of her tribe?
  2. Does she have any siblings?
  3. What does her tribe do? Some of her quotes say her father is a shepherd, but is that the job of her entire tribe, or just her family?
  4. What area of Shurima does her tribe reside in?
  5. What are the nations Taliyah has visited in her journey for control, as well as on her way home to Shurima? We know of Ionia and the Freljord, and it's implied she's been to Noxus, but are there any other major places?
  6. Is her appearance in her Freljord skin a reaction to the ambient magic of the north, or did she feel like blending in more while there?
  7. Did she actually meet Ekko in her journeys, or is her taunt regarding him just a bit of silliness?
  8. Since the Noxians tried to drown her and she escaped, does that mean she learned to swim at some point? Or did she just use her powers to get herself to shore?
  9. Does she need to be able to see stone to weave it? Is seeing it in the past enough? Or can she just feel the stone to manipulate it?
  1. No siblings.
  2. Her tribe is a group of nomadic weavers. Her father is the Master Shepherd and Headman for the tribe. Her mother is a pattern mistress.
  3. They're nomadic so up until the rise of Azir they followed the seasonal waters around Shurima.
  4. Taliyah's passed through Noxus, Ionia, and the Freljord. So far.
  5. A bit of both.
  6. A bit of silliness on the rift. Although it's not out of the question that they might run into each other.
  7. She's not the strongest swimmer having grown up in the desert.
  8. Taliyah doesn't need to see stone to weave it, but she needs to be fairly close to it. It can be covered up with snow or grass. She has better control over it if she can see it."
Thermal Kitten  Group Questions #2:
loving the lore and am hype for taliyah but I do have a few questions
  1. how is tali able to remember azir and shurima having slaves? I'm sure she was told storys but she acts like she was alive during the time azir was betrayed
  2. will we learn of other acended champions? the acended are very old and able to live long beyond people but would and could there be more?
  3. last but not least with the small cameo of brand would this mean we are going up north for the next lore update?
I am loving the lore here guys and am super stoked for taliyah keep being awesome guys!
  1. Up until their return, the legends of Azir, Renekton, and Nasus were stories the people of Shurima told around campfires. In some places in Shurima they because almost religious figures. The stories of Shurima's destruction have been passed down for a long time so some of the details may have gotten confused.
  2. More information on Ascended champs is being released now! With the rise of the Sun Disc, there is a certainly a possibility of more Ascended champs.
  3. Possibly?"

Thermal Kitten  Group Questions #3:
Some Lore Wise Questions:
  1. How does Taliyah know Sivir? When Im thinking correctly Sivir is just a mercenary who works for anyone as long as the coin pays. And the Shurima Event is not so long ago lore wise so I think Sivir should not be so famous that Taliyah knows her that she can taunt her like she is doing. But there is still the new Sivir Lore coming so that could answer my question also.
  2. Whats her Opinion about Renekton and Nasus? How exactly does she know them, like stories about them or so.
  3. How long did she spend time with Yasuo? I want to know how long she trained to get stronger in Ionia, also is she know wanted in Ionia because of Yasuo?
  4. Whats her favourite meal?
  5. How is she accepted in her village/ tribe with her powers? Are her powers rare or do same powers exist?
  6. Who is the great weaver she believes in? Is it a godlike being like Nagakabouros or is it more like Lissandra and the Watchers?
I really like her Lore and its just so cool how Yasuo got brought in there (not even a Yasuo fan), so an Off-topic question to finish of. How is Yasuo advancing with his search for the murderer, and whats his favourite meal?
  1. Taliyah has heard of Sivir as she's a fairly well known mercenary around Shurima.
  2. She's heard scary bedtime stories about both of them. She would want to protect her family from Renekton. As far as Nasus, she would feel for him and what he's gone through. 
  3. She was with Yasuo for a little while. It's not so much that she was training (like doing push-ups), but she was learning to control her power.
  4. Spiced tea and sweet cakes. And rocky road ice cream.
  5. Her powers are very rare. Her tribe cares for her and wants what is best for her.
  6. The Great Weaver is a force of nature that her tribe believes watches over them.
Yasuo got a renewed sense of purpose from his time with Taliyah. He fond of Ionian Pale Ale. And rocky road ice cream."

Thermal Kitten  Group Questions #4:
hey, i have a few questions 
  1. what does Taliyah think of Ekko? and vice versa. her quote says 'did the earth move for you too' which makes it sound like she has a crush on him, but what about ekko? going by his lore, i think he'd like her too, since a key point of his character is 'fighting for your home' and taliyah dropped her training to try and save shurima 
  2. What would Taliyah's relationship with Azir be? at first from her lore, i thought she was returning to shurima to fight against the newly risen Azir, but after reading Nasus' lore, I think she's going to be fighting against Xerath. How would she respond to Azir, who wants to bring back the glory of Shurima, but not with slaves? I don't know much about azir's character, but i think he'd be a good leader
  3. I'm not sure if the designer for Taliyah's art is present, but first, i wanna say I love the overall design with her having several bird motif's, however, it feels like her face is lacking detail, almost to the point where it's a little unnerving, is there a particular design choice with that? It seems to stand out a bit, compared to how much detail is in the rest of her outfit
  4. I haven't had a chance to play Taliyah yet, but just looking at her design, it feels like she's trying to wear too many hats. She's got good poke, but can run out of poke, she's supposed to roam with her passive, but needs to set up with her q. she's supposed to roam, but she lacks hard cc to really initiate/catch people with besides a tiny knockup on her w that seems really difficult to land, or her ultimate which has close to the longest cooldown of any ult i know of in the game. and she's an initiator who is far to squishy to survive initiating. i see her getting destroyed ulting into the enemy team or getting caught out trying to set up a good angle to ult from. I apologize if this seems overly critical, but it just feels like her kit doesn't have much cohesion overall besides they are all rock based. What's your opinion on how her kit comes together overall?
  5. i heard in the podcast that there's a lot of really interesting concept art for taliyah floating around, any chance we could see some of those? i'm really interested in seeing the 'stone flower' piece mentioned
  1. I think being 16 and Ekko being a rebel-bad-boy, she'd have a little crush on him. I think if they meet up, they'd have some common interests. 
  2. Taliyah cares about what happens to her family more than she wants to pick sides for the empire."

Thermal Kitten Group Questions #5:
  1. Why didnt you let her ult do damage if it hit someone and knocked them aside?
  2. Why does she hold a grudge against Azir? Wouldnt it be a good thing where he brought back Shurima from the sands?
  3. What does she think about Nasus? Does she want to learn from him?
  4. How will she be accepted in Piltover? How about Demacia?
  5. Are you guys gonna give her a pool party skin? Like come on, her kit matches perfectly.
  6. how can i become a rock mage in 5 months so i can throw rocks at people at new york comic con (cosplaying her)
  7. If Taliyah and Taric talked more, what do you think their friendship would be like?
  1. Taliyah would have heard stories and legends about the last emperor of Shurima. All the modern people of Shurima know about Azir is that he performed the Ascension ritual and the capital of Shurima sunk into the sands. It's debatable whether that his return is good for everyone or not.
  2. She feels bad for Nasus and his loss of his brother.
  3. She would be accepted in Piltover, possibly not as much in Demacia.
  4. I think a pool party skin would be sweet. Jr. Lifeguard Taliyah.
  5. Rock magic is something that would have been born with. So learning in five months probably isn't an option. :( Also, please don't throw rocks.
  6. Fabulous. They would probably be able to talk for hours about precious stones.

Thermal Kitten  Group Questions #6:
1) Is Taliyah's E - Unraveled Earth arranged in a grid to symbolize/resemble the weave of a piece of cloth?
I was thinking at first that the grid looks very non-rocky and unnatural, but basing it off of cloth makes more sense to me.
2) When in development was it decided to link her to a sparrow? Was that a spur-of-the-moment narrative decision?
Weaving definitely played a part in FX exploration. Mechanic wise we needed to be a certain shape and working with a weaving pattern felt natural. 
It was a bit of a spur of the moment narrative decision. I wrote a version of story about Yasuo and Taliyah early in her development. We liked it on the team and pushed for that more. It felt right that she was a bird of the people if Azir was this ascended hawk being."

nickstravaganza  Group Questions #1:
Here are a couple of questions from me, I must say I love Taliyah, I've been wanting an earth mage since I joined league and Taliyah is more than I've expected!
1. Was Taliyah or her lore inspired in any way by Terra from Teen Titans? They both struggled to control their earth powers which caused them to escape only to be later used by evil people for their own intentions.
2. Why did you choose the name "Taliyah" for her, were there any other candidates?
3. Gameplay-wise Malphite is listed as someone Taliyah struggles against, but "irl" or lore-wise, how would their duel go?
4. What does Taliyah think of Nagakabouros and/or Aurelion Sol?
5. How old is Taliyah?
  1. We gather inspiration from all over, but it's hard to make a geomancer without thinking about Terra. Definitely one of my favorites from the show, partly because earth magic is just a cool thing to play around with.
  2. There was another name suggested that was similar to Petra, which I thought was a cool RL desert/stone reference, but we landed on Taliyah.
  3. From our discussions, I don't think she'd be able to directly manipulate him, but could probably unleash enough power to knock him around. That said, I imagine she'd be more fascinated with sentient stone and less in a hurry to fight with it.
  4. 16-ish"
For more on Taliyah, check out our 6.10 cycle PBE coverage!

Shurima Story Q&A #2

With new stories for Sivir, Skarner, and Amumu out, the team has gathered on the boards for another Q&A session!

Here's ADillonMostDirty to kick off the Shurima Story Q&A #2:
"Hey folks!

We've nabbed a few members of the Narrative and Foundations teams for some Q&A about all the new champion stories that have hit the Shurima story page! Whether you're interested in Shurima, its champions, or the latest thinking behind League's background, ask away and they'll be happy to answer!

On hand for questions today we have:

Anthony "Ant in Oz" Reynolds - Foundations Lead
Ryan "Riot Rubinio" Rubin - Foundations Dev Manager
Scott "Jaredan" Hawkes - Narrative Lead
Graham "Dinopawz" McNeil - Senior Writer
Chanel "Riot Tiger Lily" Dawnee - Writer / Editor
Rayla "Jellbug" Heide - Writer"

I've sorted the Shurima Stories Q&A based on champion (or story) specific questions!


When asked about Sivir's mercenary work and if she has worked outside of Shurima,  Jellbug  noted:
Has Sivir ever done work outside of Shurima? 
.......I feel like I should post more question, but I know most of them are the "no no,can't answer" question. So I'll just drop that simple one here.
It's possible - Sivir certainly would work for those from outside Shurima. She would have no moral quandaries, as long as they pay well. That said, since Shurima is such a large place with many in want of mercenary and treasure hunting assistance, she rarely has a hard time looking for work locally."
Riot Rubinio continued:
So I assume that Sivir didn't stay in Noxus.
The Noxian empire is actually quite large and constantly expanding, so they could well have a foothold in Shurima. It's entirely possible Sivir could have done mercenary work for Noxians without actually being in Noxus proper. "

When asked about what Sivir's morallity and what she's willing to do for gold, Jellbug  commented:
"Quote: seems to bother me that Sivir has killed a lot of innocent people for money. Is that true? I mean in her story, she did kill a lot of soldiers with arguable moral outlooks but not sure if they got what was coming to them.
Hey LightTrack! You're absolutely right that Sivir has killed innocents. She's a morally questionable character. 
She's a mercenary - she's killed lots of people to achieve a certain end, whether her own or the goals of those who hired her. She has no problem selling her sword for money, but she doesn't kill people needlessly. She always has reasons."

When asked about Sivir's bloodline and how she is related to Azir if his children were wiped out in front of him, Riot Rubinio  commented:
I'm really curious about Sivir's connection to Azir. Who survived the destruction of the empire that had Azir's blood to pass down. Because in the text of Azir it said that he had multiple offspring with different people, and it also says that at his ascension ritual, when it all went bad, that his son who's on the brink of manhood and his young daughter were caught in the destruction. So does that mean that one of the multiple children Azir had escaped, was exiled or survive the down fall, lived?
Hi Armed and Sweaty! 
Yes, so it certainly seems all of Azir's legitimate children were killed in the destruction Xerath caused...but indeed Azir did have children out of wedlock and Sivir does carry Azir's bloodline so it sounds like you've hit the nail on the head!"


When asked if we will ever get a look at who Amumu was before he became a mummy, Riot Tiger Lily commented:
So are we never going to get a definitive answer on who Amumu was when he was alive?
For me, Amumu is like a fairytale, his story passed down from generation to generation, twisting and turning along the way. If I knew exactly who he once was, my imagination wouldn't conjure him as an excuse for an item gone missing or a lesson to be heeded, reminding me to cherish my loved ones or be generous with a stranger. I like that he can be anything from a warning to a threat, the thing that goes bump in the night or a guiding voice on the wind if you listen closely."

When asked about Amumu's race and if he is a human, a yordle, or something else Riot Rubinio noted:
So is it still up in the air as far as Amumu's race is concerned?
Yes! Amumu is the stuff of legend, or like a fairytale. Perhaps some out there claim to know, but no one knows for sure..."
Jellbug  added:
While I'm not particularly fond of doing so, I feel the need to play the devil's advocate regarding a specific trend I've noticed in certain champions' lore such as Kindred, Bard, and now Amumu. Well to get to the actual question at hand, do you guys feel it's a bit lazy to remain so vague and cryptic about the details of champion's history? I know a lot of people who really only play league for the incredible stories each champion has, and they feel a bit upset when you guys do the whole "Oh this champion is so ancient that nobody really knows their story" thing. I guess what I'm asking for is why do you choose to go this route as opposed to giving the champion a more fleshed out backstory?
Hey Riku Solis, 
In my mind, Amumu is a kind of fairy tale or legend in Runeterra. Sometimes he's used as a scary story to frighten children, or a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and hubris. For some Shurimans, he's a tale of loneliness and the need for something as simple as friendship and kindness. It's kinda cool to imagine the different ways people might view him. 
Since Amumu has been around so long, his story has been warped and twisted over time so much that the tale has branched out into iterations of the "real" story. And as with most myths, there's truth under all those layers of stories."

When asked how they develop the story for such an enigmatic champion as AmumuJellbug  shared:
So then how do you develop a character like Amumu, if at all?
First we try and outline the core characteristics and themes of the character. So for Amumu that would be things like his loneliness, his cursed touch that prevents him from making friends, the fact that he's existed a long time and so is embedded in Shuriman culture and myth, and the mysteries surrounding his origins. Then writers and editors pitch different ideas for what he could have been in life, get feedback from the Foundations and Narrative teams and develop those ideas further before writing his bio."


When asked about the woman in Skarner's new story, Jellbug explained:
It seems that the woman in Skarner's lore is important (especially because she doesn't die)... I feel dumb but I can't figure out who it is. Can we get anymore hints?
Hey Dantone - 
She's certainly important as a survivor of the Brackern lifestone exploitation. She's the only one who can pass on Skarner's dreamsong to the other humans. But I don't think you'd know her any other way - she's not a champion :)"

Jellbug continued, discussing how the Brackern communicate:
so the bracken communicate in song? does that give them any special connection to bard?
They communicate telepathically by sending emotion and images into each other's minds, and it sometimes sounds like poetry or song.
No specific connection to Bard, but I'd certainly love to hear Skarner and Bard sing a duet."
Jellbug continued:
Let me just tell you that you've cemented Skarner as one of my favorite Characters. 
He's got a special place in my heartstone^^ 
Anyways, I'd really like to know how deep his connection to his kind runs. Can he hear their Dreamsong from miles away and do the stolen namestones reach out to him? 
Also, can Skarner talk the human tongue as well or do we have to start having our very own Dreamsong.
Skarner has a special place in my heartstone, too! <3 
His connection to his fellow Brackern is very nearly unbreakable. Their minds reach out to each other and sing over great distances, even while they are unconscious - for example, they can hear each other's dreamsongs while hibernating. 
Skarner doesn't communicate the way humans do with language yet, but they certainly find ways to understand each other. It's possible that humans (like the woman at the end of Dreamsong) may start hearing Skarner's song in their minds..."

As for if the crystals existed before the Brackern and if they will ever run out, Jellbug commented:
My question is about skarner and the Brackern. It says in his lore that there are a finite amount of lifestones. It also says that they can be destroyed. Is there a way to create more of the lifestones, or will Skarner and the Bracken eventually go extinct? Please answer.
That's a great question, Ptalbatross. The crystals existed before even the Brackern, who evolved with the life stones' power. I don't think the Brackern would know how to create a new one, so it's possible they could eventually run out of stones if they're all destroyed. I do think certain factions would be very interested in creating something as powerful as a life stone, even if it's synthetic."

When asked if all Brackern are scorpions,  Jellbug explained:
I would assume all brackern are scorpions, because Skarner seems to bare absolutely no characteristics of any other insect. Also it is possible that the brackern near the bottom are still in their deep slumber, not having heard anything that happened, or possibly that the rest died from old age (it was not said how long the brackern were asleep.)
I do think it's possible that another Brackern could eventually wake up from deep within the ground and help Skarner in his mission. But for right now, he's alone in his quest for the lost life stones. 
Yup, all Brackern are crystalline scorpions."


When asked about future stories to tie Shurima's champions together more, Dinopawz replied:
With most of the storys up i questioned myself if we will get some more lore around the connection between all these characters. We were told that we would get some. For example between Nasus and Sivir. Also what about connections with Skarner?
With all that's happening in Shurima, the stories of each of these characters are, I feel, bound to collide, overlap and clash at some point."
Dinopawz also commented on the mighty Sun Disc:
Is the Sun Disc a reason why Shurima became powerful or it was built after Shurimans estabilished their empire? 
What else purposes than Ascension serves the Sun Disc? Eg. does it make ground more fertile in some way?
There was certainly a Shuriman people before the creation of the Sun Disc, but they certainly weren't the empire it became after they were able to harness the power of the sun in their rituals and wield its magic to make their land more bountiful. Quite how the Shurimans discovered (or were gifted with) the Sun Disc is part of their ancient history (which is pretty ancient to begin with...) and cloaked in legends. The Sun Disc is the centre of Shuriman culture, it permeates every aspect from religion, to icons, to dress and so on. What power it had back in the day is the stuff of legends, but what power it might have now....well, maybe we'll find out in the strife yet to come."

When asked if Renekton could ever regain his sanity, Ant In Oz commented:
Can Renekton regain his sanity after eons, or is what Xerath has done unreversable? 
I could see this being Renekton's big struggle, really - him trying to regain his sanity, but constantly slipping back and forth between lucidity and utter madness. I certainly think that Nasus would believe that he can bring his brother back - but will he succeed? Who knows..."
When asked about an alternative situation where Nasus was locked in with Xerath instead of Renekton,  Dinopawz  commneted:
What would have happened if Nasus was locked in with Xerath instead of Renekton? Would he have been able to retain his sanity, or would he turn out like his brother?
DPZ: Good question.... I suspect Nasus might have held out longer than Renekton, but that he'd have broken eventually. It was Renekton's passionate nature that saw him make that ultimate sacrifice, so I'm not sure the more scholarly Nasus would have made that call... yet another reason for him to feel guilty for shutting his brother away. And what torments Nasus as well is not knowing whether he'd have held out or not..."
 Ant In Oz also replied:
"Huh, that's a good question. Who knows. Nasus is much more cerebral than his brother, and Xerath seemed to prey on the worst aspects of Renekton, so I don't imagine Nasus would have turned out quite the same. Having said that, I'm Xerath would have done a number on him as well - it would probably just have manifested in a different way."
As for Nasus and Xerath ever meeting, Dinopawz  theorized:
A rioter said wait until Nasus and Xerath meet, did it happen or is it going to happen? If it was Nasus' killing Xerath's men, it was disappointing then.
I'd be very surprised if Nasus and Xerath don't meet at some point. Whenever that is, it'll be more than just Nasus killing a few of Xerath's hired swords."

Dinopawz   also commented on Xerath's power and if he'll learn to fully control it:
Do you think Xerath would learn to control all of his power and reach to his %100 potential? Without experience, it is unlikely. But Xerath seems like a super intelligent being, even when he was human, he became master of dark magic without anyone's help. He made plans and destroyed Shurima as slave, I think he is clever enough to know his limits and try to avoid the fatal ending. 
Also, in two of his quotes, he says, '' I'm the will of man unbound by flesh '' and '' Emotions are only distraction. '' Does he still have a human mind? Does he have emotions like mercy, love (ofc not in the sexual way), hate, anger, sadness or whatever?
With enough time, yeah, I'm sure Xerath could control his power, but time may be the one thing he doesn't have, what with Azir gearing up to fight him. I'm sure he does know how volatile his power is and is actively taking steps to limit this vulnerability. And, yeah, he is indeed prone to hate, bitterness, anger etc.... But any emotions would play much more towards the negative end of the spectrum..."

As for Cassiopeia's curse, Dinopawz  commented:
What's your definition of a curse? Because I'm really trying to convince myself that Cassiopeia's transformation is a "curse".
It's a curse in that, 'one man's poison is another man's meat'. Most people transformed into a hideous snake beast would probably be a tad upset by their monstrous new form, and while Cass probably was probably somewhat put out by being unable to go out normally, she's probably learned to embrace her monstrous side now. And revel in it now..."
When asked about how Azir might feel towards Cassiopeia after her encounter with SivirRiot Tiger Lily noted:
If Cassiopeia asked Azir for a favor, would he think about it? Afterall, she did free him. 
In other words: 
Would Azir forgive Cassiopeia for stabbing Sivir in the back because it caused his revival?
Cassiopeia almost ended Azir's bloodline forever, with no hope of return. I doubt he'd be able to forgive her." 

Non Shurima

When asked about exploring the region of Icathia, Ant In Oz  commented:
One thing I would personally love to know, what exactly is Icathia? We know its related to the void as a sort of conduit between the Void and Shurima, but how did it become that way? Was it just an out of the way city taken over by a cult?
Icathia is definitely a place we want to explore deeper... but that's a tale for another day, really. Sorry that's incredibly vague!"

As for if we'll hear more about Rek'SaiJellbug   commented:
Why is Rek'Sai not listet on the Shurima Story Page? she is a void Monster but I'd still count her as Shurima resident.
While she does burrow through Shurima, Rek'Sai is very much linked to the Void. We'll be telling her story along with other Void champs in the future."

Group Questions

Last up we have several sets of group questions, including general and champion specific answers! These are grouped up by Rioter rather than by topic since most touch on different subjects!

Jellbug Group Questions #1:
Alrighty! Most of these ones I put down are gonna be related to Skarner I feel but we'll see!
  1. Skarner mentions "thousand spins" and "three turns" when referring to the passage of time, and it seems to give an indication of humans being around for a VASTLY shorter period of time than the Brackern, which I guess would make sense with them being almost elemental in origin they'd likely be one of the first organisms to appear in a world with as much magic as Runeterra. My question here is in relation to other species like darkin, targonians and humans, who've all been around on Runeterra for ages in some capacity, how ancient are the Brackern?
  2. Skarner tried to communicate with the thieves in the general Brackern way, but was unsuccessful, so two questions: firstly, is Skarner incapable of communicating like humans do or is it just difficult/not a thing he'd like to do, and secondly how does the Brackern's form of communication work? Is it almost like a telepathic link connecting the Brackern to each other and the earth or something different?
  3. When is "Greed and Tears" set? Because given the rumors and speculation in the lore about Amumu, I'm inclined to believe it's set a long, long time ago.
  4. Given the fact that the Rune Wars have been mentioned once again for the first time in YEARS, is there anything you guys can tell us about them? I imagine the specifics aren't up for discussion but are there any broad, sweeping things you could say about them? Like a general estimate as to how many there have been?
Alright that'll be it for me at the moment. Thanks for doing these stories and, to the fellow who wrote Skarner's colour text; it's one of the best if not the best of any I've read so far, so kudos to you on writing such an awesome piece!
Hey Sharjo! 
1) You're right, the Brackern are VERY old. They've been around far longer than humans, and because of their long life they experience time in a very different way than most other beings. As to whether they're older or younger than other species, I'm not sure! 
2) Skarner certainly had trouble communicating with humans. The Brackern use their life stones to communicate telepathically by sending raw emotion, images, and thoughts into each others minds in a kind of melody. That's part of why Brackern without life stones cannot communicate as well with their species. Skarner has never spoken in any other way, so he doesn't understand the human tongue, at least not yet. By the end of "Dreamsong", he does learn to understand (and speak) their language of violence. 
3) I think "Greed and Tears" could have happened at almost any point in time. It depends what you believe what happened to Old Khaldun's arm :) 
4) The Rune Wars were absolutely catastrophic for Runeterra and many of its inhabitants (including the Brackern). I certainly hope to tell more stories about what exactly went down in the future."

Jellbug   Group Questions #2:
So are we ever going to get confirmation on Amumu being a human or Yordle, or is this just "part of the mystery" and we have to deal with it? It's been a huge, unanswered question for years that is slowing driving fans of the lore absolutely insane. 
I'm also not really a fan of the new Skarner lore to be honest, it makes him seem super intelligent but also ignorant to the entire world around him at the same time. While I like the backstory, the actual Skarner on the surface story just seemed a little unusual. His confusion at their fires and cooking and things of that nature seem a little off since the Brackern knew of humans before they went into hibernation. Related to this, the actual question: Do the Brackern know of Rek'sai and the Void? 
Sivir's story seems pretty straightforward and doesn't leave a lot of unanswered questions other than what will happen to her in the future, although I'm not really a fan of her finding her weapon by betraying a contract; it seems to go against everything that she stands for as a mercenary. Any insight as to why this happened? Was she not happy with the contract, or was it just the magical weapon saying "Hey gurl, I belongs to you now kthx" type deal where she couldn't resist the calling from her bloodline?
Hey Cronovey, thanks for reading! 
I don't think the Brackern know about Rek'sai and the Void specifically, though they can certainly sense magical disturbances over great distances, so would feel their presence. 
They've also been in hibernation a very long time. As you mentioned they did know about humans before going into the long sleep, but they hadn't interacted with them directly so weren't aware of human behavior and technology (like fire). 
Sivir does honor her mercenary agreements 99% of the time, but she offers her services to the highest bidder. When she found the crossblade weapon, she felt such an unbreakable connection to the blade that its value to her surpassed the money she'd get from the Lord from Nashramae."

Jellbug Group Questions #3:
Hi! I loved all the stories but just a few quick questions:
  • In relation to Skarners story, since this woman seemed to have discovered the power of the crystals (I assume it would of taken great intelligence to unlock their powers for a human) could we see her in any lore at a later date? It could be interesting that this woman could be like the gate-way between humans and the Brackern :)
  • What was Cassiopeia's reasoning to travel to Shurima? to specifically go to the very tomb that Xerath and Renekton were contained in? I'm not sure if I'm missing something here, (I know she's not really important in the scale of things, I'm just curious!)
  • What's stopping Xerath from just returning to the capital to face Azir? and on a side note could/would Azir team up with Nasus? I feel like Xerath could come into contact with Renekton once again and it could end up in something like a 2v2 between the two parties considering Xeraths influence on him.
So many more questions but I don't want to overload the board with them!
Great questions!

The woman at the end of Dreamsong is definitely going to spread the word about her encounter with the Brackern. I'm interested to see if she understood any of Skarner's song and the tragedy of what she did, or if she will continue singing of violence.

Cassiopeia heard about a secret power hidden beneath the ruins of Ancient Shurima, and as an ambitious Noxian she probably wanted to claim it for herself. I don't know that she knew she would find Xerath and Renekton specifically, though.

I think if Azir wants to restore Shurima to her former glory, he will very much need Nasus' help. I'd love to see that 2v2 battle of the Ascended go down."

Riot Tiger Lily  Group Questions #1:
A couple questions: 
Is Amumu confined to Shurima, or can he wander all of Valoran bringing sadness with him? 
Does Skarner primarily travel under the sands by burrowing? If so has he ever encountered Rek'Sai, who would win that encounter canonically if it happened? 
Thanks for the Q&A!
Amumu is not confined to Shurima and I imagine could show up anywhere in Valoran. Although, and this is just my speculation, Shurima was once his home, so I imagine he shows up in Shurima more often than other parts of the world, out of homesickness. If you can't have a friend, at very least, you can remind yourself of times you did, surrounding yourself with memories. 
I believe Skarner travels above land, but occasionally goes underground to restore his strength/for safety. As far as I know, Rek'Sai and Skarner have yet to cross paths..."

Dinopawz  Group Questions #1 .
  • Would Xerath explode if he didn't have sarcophagus? A rioter said his power goes beyond than a out of 10 scale, and hinted he would explode. Is it true? If it is, is Xerath aware of it? What would he do to avoid exploding? Even the most impotant one, can he avoid it?
  • And for this sin, Xerath had been punished with a horrible, maddening promise: Freedom. Unobtainable. Forbidden. Should the thought even dart through a slave’s mind, it would be punished by death, as the Ascended could gaze past flesh and bone, deep into one’s very soul, to see its dim traitorous glow. And yet, there it was, spoken by the young princeling he dragged from the embrace of the mercurial mother-desert. Azir, the Golden Sun, vowed that he would free his savior and new friend.
How couldn't Nasus and Renekton understand the real purpose of Xerath then?
  • Xerath's story says Renekton and Nasus were there when Xerath just finished his ascension. They imprisoned him without any reaction and fought with Bound Xerath. But When I read the story of Renekton, it says when the shockwave shows up they were 1 day away from the Capital. Does it mean Xerath's Ascension was for 1 day? Dıd Xerath just dry up the Sun Disc's power?
  • Xerath's power is a simmering reactor, hand-grenade with the pin half-pulled. He keeps it in check with his own will, his mental discipline (and possibly the binding chains and shards of sarcophagus help him, they were, after all, something that kept another vastly powerful being contained). The 11 comment was a Spinal Tap reference, not literally saying he's more powerful than any other champ.
  • I think someone with the power of dark magic would take steps to ensure his mind couldn't be read or if it was, it'd be read as having only benign, faithful thoughts.
  • The Ascension Ritual takes a long time and Xerath kept it going far longer than was normal (hence his body was all but obliterated...) so that gave time for Nasus and Renekton to get back (and a day for mortals, might only be a few hours for Ascended beings...)."
Dinopawz Group Questions #2 .
-Is Xerath planing to create a rival empire in order to start a war?
-Is it true that Xerath is the emperor of a new epire?
-If an ascended met Ammumu, whould he die?
  • I think Xerath wants what he never had while a mortal, he want to take Azir's empire and become master of all he surveys... 
  • I think that's the story that's going ahead of him, and given that he's likely already gathered warriors to him, it's not a bad comparison. 
  • Who knows? Perhaps Nasus might be immune..."

Dinopawz Group Questions #3 .
What drove Xerath to go basically mad with power and become completely evil (manipulating Renek, etc.)? Prior to him getting locked up, he didn't seem like a great guy but at least felt regret over killing Azir. 
If the League isn't around in the new lore, what's preventing another Rune War?
Xerath was tipped over the edge when the maddening promise of freedom that was dangling over him all his life (after meeting Azir) was never realised. Everything he did - heinous as his acts of murder were - were all done out of a twisted sense of loyalty to Azir. The young emperor was, in his mind, his friend, and he did what he could to protect him, even if that meant doing horrible murders along the way. So it was when, even after all this, freedom stillwasn't his, that was the final straw for him... 
What indeed...?"

Dinopawz   Group Questions #4 .
Isn't it a lot out of character for Xerath to want to become a ruler? 
Wouldn't it be more fitting for him just wanting to destroy the arisen Shurima? 
Will Xerath be able to "redeem" himself in the eyes of Ascension (and make Guardian of the Sands Xerath skin sort-of-canon)?
I think that's part of Xerath's tragedy, that in his assumption of power he's become the very thing he hated... 
As to him being redeemed...? I think he's gone too far for that and done too many horrible things, but he might have a moment of clarity towards the end of his arc that sees him at least maybe regret what he's done... "

Dinopawz Group Questions # 5.
Was it difficult to write for any of the shuriman champs? Like trying to find what excites you about skarner for example? 
Not really a question but usually bounty hunters and mercs, like miss fortune, are portrayed as overall good people, I liked that Sivir doubled down on her not so heartofgold morality 
I gotta admit I'm worried that taliyahs bio won't cover as much ground on azir and shurima as id like, how much do you have follow up stories planned for shurima and other stories that were left ready for sequels? Ie gangplank/mf, jhins story 
When you started doing these bios did you guys sit down with every champion to find the qualities that excited you or the story beats you were interested in or is the process more piecemeal or organic? How do you avoid writing 2 champs too similarly in terms of motivations or personality etc? 
Lastly, do you guys already know where we're going after shurima? Any hints? Is it difficult to tackle large regions like ionia or demacia?
"When we started off the Shuriman champs, we chose ones that already excited us, so it was pretty easy to get into that headspace to write them. I loved the interplay between Xerath and Azir and how their story was a tragedy of pride and vaunted ambition. And what's sad is just how easily it could have been avoided if hubris and bitterness hadn't got the better of them. 
Yeah, I think it's absolutely fine to have characters who aren't good. We need a broad spectrum of characters in our champ roster, so having a character who is unashamedly 'morally questionable' is sometimes necessary. And though she might not have a heart of gold, I don't think Sivir is a 'bad' person. She's been moulded by the life she led and did what she did to survive and her ruthlessness came out of what was neccessry to survive as a mercenary. 
Taliyah's bio covers what it needs to to tell her story, and though Azir and rise of Shurima is certainly part of her story, it's not the meat and gravy of it. And as far as following up previously released stories, such tales will be told in time. 
I think that's just a matter of personal taste. Each of us gravitates to different things in a champ, whether it's a redemption arc, a revenge story, a love story or whatever. So it was pretty easy for us to divide up the work. It was a very organic, natural process and there weren't any pistols at dawn to decide who wrote what. As far as working out the stories, we each share our work as we go and talk a lot about what themes we want to hit, so it all comes together nicely as a team effort. 
I don't know about the others, but after Shurima I'm going to Harry Potter's Wizarding world..."
Jellbug added:
"Hey Monando II-- 
I wrote Skarner's story, and it was definitely tricky at first to figure out how to make a ferocious giant crystal scorpion someone I would empathize with, but I eventually fell in love with the character. I tried to imagine how isolating it would feel to be the only member of your species awake - especially for a creature who depends on interconnectedness. 
Ultimately Skarner's voice brought me through the piece. I wanted to make him sound very non-human, but also highly emotional and sensitive, so I used the compound words (e.g. dreamsong, longsleep, deepdark, skywhite) to try and convey the feeling of what Skarner was going through. Kinda in the way that Skarner communicates with his fellow Brackern through song."

Dinopawz Group Questions #6 .
Hi! Love the stories. The amount of work you guys put into fleshing out these characters is really palpable. Keep up the good work!
  1. Is it possible that Renekton's mental trauma and the intense hatred brought on by it could be cured by some form of ionian healing magic? I'm thinking someone like Soraka or Sona might be able to have some positive effect on his condition. What are your thoughts on this?
  2. How aware is Azir of the other prevalent city-states? If he is aware of these city states, does he currently have any plans for establishing relations with other nations? What type of relations might he establish?
  3. Do you think Noxus might ever attempt an Ionian style invasion if they determine that Shurima has abundant natural resources to be exploited? Is Azir strong enough to counter a threat of this magnitude?
  4. If given an ultimatum, would Azir ally with Piltover/Demacia or Noxus/Zaun? Why?
  5. Does Azir have any plans for dealing with the void infestation?
  6. What is the process for creating these stories?
Thank you!
Thanks man, and these are good questions... 
1 - I think Renekton is still in there, just somewhere deep down, and maybe he could come back, but only with the right motivation... It's touching how much people have the feels for Renekton's madness... 
2 - I think Azir would view any nations and states that arose in his absence as upstart places he'd want to destroy or reabsorb back into the empire. 
3 - I think Noxus already has a foothold in Shurima, but whether they'd ever attempt a full-scale invasion...maybe, if they ever decided there was worth to be gained by undertaking such a dangerous, costly effort. 
4 - Maybe. Depends on what he thinks he could gain from it. 
5 - Probably in time. It's like waking up to find your house is on fire and that there's rats in the basement. Which one are you gonna deal with first? 
6 - Getting a bunch of writers together and thrashing out some ideas, then dividing them up between the team."
Riot Tiger Lily  also chimed in on #6:
"Re: 6-- We try to be quite thoughtful when deep diving into these characters, considering the stories that have come before, identifying each character's core traits, while also imagining how they got to be that person and where the character might go in the future. While the main bio is a chance to understand how these characters were shaped and where they are going, the color text is a slice of that character's life in action where we get to walk a mile in their shoes and see the world through their eyes. Artists, writers, and editors work together to ask and answer all these questions, while always trying to remain true to the core and future of the character to shape their story."
For more on Shurima and the new stories, check out these links:

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