Let’s Talk Design

Posted: September 14, 2011 by thewoebringer in General

So today’s article for me is something triggered by DamnDirtyCat. He wrote this article here about how he disliked riven, and I’m inclined to agree. So let’s look at why we are always so furious about balance issues and what I think riot can do to address these issues.

The biggest problem I see riot having is their haste. They are cranking out a ton of new champions and in the long run it’s going to hurt them. They already have ~80 champions in this game and every two weeks they are trying to put out a new one. If riot is trying to make League of Legends a game that stays around for a couple of years I think you can see the problems they are going to run into. First you can only have so many interesting heroes. Even the most creative of people are going to start to run into problems making unique heroes if your pace is set so high and if you run out of heroes that people like than you are going to have a serious problem. The second problem are the issues with balance we keep running into. More heroes, more issues they need to balance on. It’s like trying to draw a nice line through a set of data points but each time you add not only more points but new dimensions.

So how do we solve this problem? Slow the fuck down riot. I like new champions as much as everybody but if they were produced once a month instead I doubt people would be super upset. This way you can make sure the champion works, is fun and flavorful. It also prevents that super awkward time where a champion is paraded out in front of everyone just to be a super weak champion. In addition it gives you more time to balance issues on existing champions. Will riot ever do this? Probably not as mo’ champions means mo’ money.

Secondarily riot has this kind of big issue with tanky DPS that they kind of hate. If you like this kind of article I’ll do a part two on how to fix their issues with tanky dps which I think has to do with their design philosophy. As always I’d love to hear what you think, and you can also email me at TheWoeBringer@gmail.com.

  1. Hol Hols says:

    I wouldn´t mind hearing your thoughts on tanky deeps.

    LoL still has less champions than DotA, and adding new ones prolongs the life expectancy of this game, if only because you´re introducing new content for the people who already have EVERYTHING. Ie. those already heavily invested, who are disinclined to pack up and leave once they get ‘bored’ of not having new stuff.

    Slowing down the rate at which new champions are introduced would be nice indeed, perhaps giving more time for bugfixes or balance patches.

    “First you can only have so many interesting heroes. Even the most creative of people are going to start to run into problems making unique heroes if your pace is set so high[…]”
    This could be true, though the problem here is that LoL heroes are usually not very interesting at all, and the ones that are are either overpowered, or get nerfed hard.

    Personally I notice that nearly all heroes get their kits designed by picking from the Big Pile of Kit Pieces.
    It contains all our favorites, roughly lumped into four categories;
    -gap closer

    Sometimes there’s a combination, but overall that’s what we get. The most creativity can usually be found in ultimates (Twisted Fate, Pantheon, Karthus, Vlad, Maokai, Morde) but those have a tendency to be the Supernuke to accompany the smaller nukes the champion possesses.

    There’s not much leeway in interesting design for AD carries or AP casters since there’s plenty of popular champions that define that role, and most new champions simply *fit in*.
    For example AD carries are pretty much interchangeable, most of them having a steroid and some form of cc etc etc.

    The interesting design options rest with the support category imo. Putting every support with heal aside for a moment, there’s Lux, Nunu and Orianna. (I’d count Blitzcrank too, really.)
    Three champions who are very capable of aiding their teammates through more than just heals.
    Orianna brings the shields and speed (de)buffs, Nunu brings the move/aspd buff and a slow and Lux brings the shield and snare, and it’s THIS that Riot could capitalize on.

    Since LoL is at its core very much a teambased game, we could use more champions that can actually interact with their teammates to buff them. A True Support.
    But Riot is focused on making each champion stand-alone; There’s 80+ champions that can go together with 4 other champions to form a team, but there’s not a single one that’s actually there JUST to support (and to support so well that it justifies essentially playing 4v5).
    (Before you jump to disagree with me, don’t forget the AP Carry Soraka/Sona/Karma you’ll run into from time to time.)

    Going out on a limb there’s no champion that directly interacts with Brush or jungle creeps (think Chen from DotA), or a champion that’s stronger in water etc.

    There’s probably plenty of design choices that can be pursued to create truly unique and fun champions, but at the end of the day Riot has to consider that each new champion has to be able to 1v1 and fit in with the others. The last time they truly went out on a limb was with Orianna.

    In closing I do think there will be an increase in stealth champions after the stealth rework.
    Considering we only have Teemo, Shaco, Akali, Eve, Twitch and Talon who currently use stealth (of which only Eve and Twitch use it for long periods) and there’s a lot of items coming up for Dominion focused around revealing stealthed champions, there could be some fun new champions coming out Soon(tm).

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