Red Post Collection: Champion Insights: Kayn, Ask Riot: Honor Edition & More

Posted on at 4:39 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes champion insights for our most recent release, Kayn, as well as a new Ask Riot covering all things honor, a few reminders and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Champion Insights: Kayn 

With the release of our newest champion, Kayn, a champion insights devblog has been released, covering his ideation and creation:
"The year was 2k17, and League still didn’t have a champion who actually used a scythe in combat. Combine this with a lack of darkin characters, and it seemed like a match made in heaven… or hell. 
Enter Kayn, a semi-darkin composed of equal parts arrogance, power, and xXedginessxX. 
Legends whispered across Runeterra tell of a time long ago when the darkin entered the world and wreaked bloody havoc. While what happened during the invasion remains a mystery—for now—it is certain that, in the end, there were some dangerous darkin weapons left behind. 
Fast forward to current-day Runeterra, where one of Zed’s disciples learns the whereabouts of a scythe of immeasurable power. This young shadow master decides immediately that he just has to have it. “Kayn is extremely confident in his ability to beat anybody,” says narrative writer Michael “CoolRadius” McCarthy. “And he thinks he can not only wield the weapon, but also destroy the darkin within.” 
The instant someone lays hand on a darkin weapon, a battle of wills begins. The darkin trapped inside fights to control the wielder’s mind and body, and it’s a contest the average person can never win. Most are instantly overpowered, their bodies becoming no more than a vessel the darkin occupies while searching for a more worthy host. 
Many have tried to wield the scythe Kayn seeks, and all have failed. But to Kayn, none of that matters. Those scrubs were all just too weak, and he believes he will triumph where everyone else crumbled. 
Kayn finds the weapon and ends up locked in a struggle of wills that’ll end in one of two ways: Either he will destroy Rhaast, the darkin sealed within, and wield the no-longer-sentient blade, or he will lose the battle and become a Rhaast’s vessel. 
This conflict became the foundation for Kayn’s transformations in-game. 
Unlike most champions in League who have multiple forms—like Nidalee, Elise, and Gnar—Kayn is unable to swap between his during the game. Instead, Kayn begins in his base form, and his actions in-game determine which irreversible transformation he can take. Game designer Daniel “ZenonTheStoic” says, “This is the first time we’ve really bound a champion’s ongoing story to the gameplay so tightly.” 
Darkin Transformation Concept Art
Kayn’s in-game transformation system really needed to do three things. 1) It had to make sense for the story. 2) It should allow players to get better at managing transformations as they play Kayn more. 3) It could not do anything too crazy to the game, such as requiring you to feed your ass off. 
The final result, where damaging (or killing) ranged champs unlocks assassin form while targeting melee champs unlocks darkin form, seemed to make sense thematically: The assassin wants to prey on weak yet high-value targets, while the darkin only wants to fight the worthy—beefy, hard-to-kill frontliners. Devs didn’t want the system to be too punishing, especially while Kayn-mains-in-training were still learning, so you can choose to reject the first form and wait out the other one. It’s locked away behind a meaningful timer so it still feels important and rewarding to manage forms properly, but you don’t ever have to be sad for thirty minutes because you accidentally unlocked the “wrong” form first. 
Assassin Transformation Concept Art
Kayn was always designed with the jungle in mind, and all junglers need pretty much the same tools during the early game: a way to get in for ganks and some follow-up CC. Typically their strengths and weaknesses diverge in the mid-game, when tanks start to be able to absorb damage and initiate fights, and assassins can probably start wrecking squishies. For Kayn, this means once he transforms into the shadow assassin, he gets the extra speed and damage needed to threaten the enemy backline, while his darkin form gains the sustain and CC needed to thrive in chaotic fights. 
Balancing the two forms against each other means constantly asking, “Are there enough scenarios where each form is clearly preferable?” Even if, say, darkin form generally did more damage to champions, that could be okay. “As long as there are games where you must get to the backline to blow up a fed ADC, and the shadow assassin does a better job of this,” ZenonTheStoic says, “then we can be happy and consider the two forms balanced against each other.” 
Creating concept art for a new champion normally means communicating the story and gameplay for just one character… but not for Kayn. “When we heard he had three forms,” concept artist Hing “Hdot” Chui says, “We were like, ‘Well, that’s terrifying. That’s a lot of stuff!’” 
Of the three forms, the darkin one was the easiest to approach. Even though darkin aren’t actually demons in Runeterra (that title is reserved for characters like Tahm Kench), the darkin’s appearances are often inspired by underworldly characters. There’s a lot of familiar visuals to play with that communicate this particular flavor of darkness: massive horns, glowing red eyes, and a face straight out of nightmares. Hdot says, “It was basically like, ‘Take some demons and turn them into a really awesome darkin.’” 
Everyone can thank anime for Kayn’s base form—his appearance was heavily influenced by cool and collected anime villain tropes. “I drew a lot of inspiration from the unflappable, super bad guys in anime,” Hdot says. “The ones who are uber badass and not afraid to just stare you down.” Base Kayn also doesn’t wear any armor, which is because he’s so certain he’ll be the fastest one in any fight: If you can’t catch him, what does he need armor for?

Pinning down Shadow assassin Kayn’s visuals proved elusive. Hdot says, “What does a master of shadows even look like?” He needed to seem like a total badass and insanely powerful, but not inhuman or hellish. While he should look evil, it needed to be the controlled type rather than the unrestrained wrath of a darkin.
Shadow assassin Kayn is like a limitless version of himself—a true master of shadow magic. This manifests on his body in the form of white markings, which, in Zed’s Order of the Shadow, indicate one’s control over the shadows. Base Kayn only has a few markings on his hands and forearms, but shadow assassin Kayn is nearly covered in them. His free-flowing hair also reflects the unrestrained power he now possesses, with shadows emanating from the luscious locks. 
Master the shadows or embrace the darkin: Kayn’s fate is in your hands."

Ask Riot: Honor Edition

The updated honor system has been out now for a month, and this week's Ask Riot is covering all the questions you need answers to:
It’s been a month (that was fast) since Honor launched, and in the first couple weeks alone more than 56 million honors were awarded. Now that we’ve all had a few games with it, let’s kick off an all-Honor edition of Ask Riot. 
What if I already own the Warwick and Twitch skins? Will I not be rewarded at all?

You’ll still be getting key frags, loading-screen flairs, end-of-season rewards, and the rest of the goodies in Honor Capsules. We hear you that they’re not quite as exciting if you have those skins already, but the good news is that we’ll add new things to the capsules over time, so more stuff is coming. 
Design, Player Behavior 
Why can you only honor just one person in the new system?
The goal was to make Honor feel good on both the giving and receiving ends. Honoring one person per game prompts careful consideration of who you give your vote to; Honor should not feel like the equivalent of shaking everyone’s hand at the end of a game. Think of it more like an award you get each game to give to a teammate. It’s also why we have categories. When you get an honor, you know that someone chose to award you the only honor they had in that game for a specific category. 
Early on we did look at concepts that involved multiple choices, but we ultimately went with a single choice to make it feel more valuable and also to keep the voting process quick, since now you do it every game. 
Experience Design, Player Behavior 
Do you plan to replace Honorable Opponent? Enemies can be honorable too!

Enemies can definitely be honorable too, but generally when you play League, you chat with your team much more than with the enemy team. You have a better ability to judge how honorable players were on your team than the enemy team, so we wanted teammates to be the focal point of Honor. Also, we wanted to simplify the Honoring process and make the decision-making as straightforward as possible. Choosing among two to four options is less taxing than choosing among five to nine. 
We are exploring some options that allow opponents to be recognized, but don’t have anything concretely in the works yet. 
Design, Player Behavior 
I had hundreds of Honors in the old system. Now they’re all gone. What gives?

We feel you. We’re planning a small gift for folks who were big into old-school Honor. In terms of design, we want to tip our hat to folks who really cared about and engaged in old-school Honor. We’re still ironing out the details and we’ll let you know as soon as they’re ready. 
Comms, Player Behavior 
What’s the best way to level up? Why isn’t there a level up meter?

The best way to level up is straightforward: Get games in, steadily rack up honors, and don’t get penalties. The whole team gets a small bonus when all teammates give honor in a game, too! The meter question has a more complex answer: 
It sucks to feel like you’re not making progress towards leveling up, and missing feedback about your forward progress is a clear pain point so far. It’s something we want to fix, but not with a progress bar. Since Honor levels are meant to stretch across a whole season, a slow-moving progress bar might feel like an awful grind. 
The answer to the problem is most likely more clear and more frequent notifications about the honors you’re receiving as you move onward and upward. These notifications can give you cool info, like if a majority of your honors are around shotcalling. Tidbits like that can help you sharpen your strengths as a player, while signalling forward progress in the level system. 
Comms, Player Behavior

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. Have a question? 
Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, then ask away. 
We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points). 
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about."


Last up, a few reminders on upcoming and ending soon promotions and sales!
  • The Omega Squad 2017 content is now available, including new skins for Tristana, Veigar, Fizz, and Twitch, as well as chroma, bundles, and missions for each! The bundles will last through 7/31 and the missions have an expiration date of 8/21. Make sure to check them out!
  • As mentioned in 7.15 notesAscension returns to the RGMQ on 7/28/17 12:00 PT - 8/1/17 04:00 PT and 8/4/17 12:00 PT - 8/8/17 04:00 PT.

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