Morello offers up design direction


A couple days ago, Morello took the time to write out some thoughts on design direction for the future of LoL. It sounds to me like Riot has some good ideas, but there are a few issues built into the design direction that I find important.

Here’s the most relevant part of Morello’s post:

So while a player’s first few games with a new champion should make sense and they can get to “I didn’t completely -suck-” in these few games, we want the “do well/own” portion to come in with more practice, mastery, and understanding the champion’s little idiosyncratic deatils that makes you a great player compared to an average player.

Love it. Absolutely love it. This is why I really liked Orianna on release. She was fun, but challenging – a whole new way of thinking about the game. Since her release there haven’t been any similar champions, but I’m glad to know there may be more coming down the pike.

Morello calls this kind of design “optimized nuance.” It’s great for the game, but it needs to have a place, and nuance isn’t really what League is about right now, at least not at my ELO. Right now the game is about safety. That’s what the massive health pools and the support lanes are all about. Safety.

The good news is, if Morello really wants to introduce optimized nuance, he’ll have to also change up the metagame, and that’s a very desirable design direction.


What’s your top priority for the League?


This post started as a brief thought the other day and has since been echoed in forum posts by other players and an email chain between a couple of my friends. League of Legends is definitely in a bit of a lull after the end of the Season One Circuit. Dreamhack was a very cool event, and Riot did a nice job getting players excited to see the top teams compete. It was an event that made me hungry for more, but my excitement has waned a bit over the past month and I’m not alone.

There have been quite a few threads criticizing Riot lately, some of which have received very thorough response. Most every communication from Riot involves a breakdown of priorities and why it’s hard to put some features over others on the to-do list. Players experience the game very differently depending on level and skill, so how can Riot prioritize one group’s expectations over another?

I’m curious what your top priority would be when it comes to LoL. You can only pick one, so pick carefully. I’d like to suggest avoiding server stability because frankly, the servers are remarkably stable for a game that scaled as quickly as LoL. Also, server stability is such a tired subject I don’t think I can take much more. Give me something that you think will have a dramatic effect on the game.

For me, it’s new game modes. I loved the different game modes that were available in DotA. Hvaving different rulesets available that modify the experience of the game would add incredible replay value. Random Deathmatch would be fantastic, but I’d love to see other custom rulesets like the progressive draft we occasionally play on FG LoL Mondays. New game modes would also carry over to newer maps, should they release, giving players additional ways to enjoy the new maps.

What about you? What’s your top priority for the future of League of Legends?


Where are all the patched champions?

new_champ_spreadOne of the great things about LoL is the endless possibility for expansion. There can always be new heroes, new maps, new game modes, etc. Those things need to fit well into the game to really serve as expanded material, though. If no one’s playing those modes/champions, they have virtually zero effect on the game.

That’s exactly what I’ve been seeing in the new champions. They get played for their launch week and the subsequent free week and then fall completely off the radar. I almost never see Olaf in game any more, and when I do I tend to smash him. Malzahar? Never. Akali? Less than never. Garen? Rarely. Kennen? Nope. Mordekaiser? Occasionally. The only patched champions I see on a regular basis are Shen (who is in nearly every game), Ezreal (same, almost every game), and Pantheon (only because Heartseeker is crazy broken right now).

If you take a look at the champion list at LoL Base, you’ll see that the only one of the champions I never see that has a positive win/loss ratio is Mordekaiser. The rest are negative, in some cases drastically so, which says to me a couple things. First, and most obviously, those characters suffer from some kind of serious design flaw. Though I think several of the champions I mentioned are solid (Kennen and Garen for the most part), the others have trouble providing serious support to a team. It could be that players just haven’t figured out how to play these new champions, but most of them are old enough that someone, somewhere should be playing them or singing their praises, and that’s not really the case.

It’s too early to say where Kog’Maw will fall, but if he follows the current trend, we’ll see him for two weeks and not much more.


LoL: Sneak Peek – Olaf the Berserker

Olaf, the Berserker.

Ho ho ho, Riot! What have we here? You know, I was starting to get a little concerned about the art department at Riot. The most recent new champions have had their own distinct flavor, but nothing screamed badass like this axe-wielding norse maniac.

Since it’s just a sneak peek, the initial details are very slim, but I would highly encourage interested parties to avail themselves of tools that may be disappearing over the next month or so. Though I am a little concerned to see yet another melee toon, Olaf does have that special look – a certain flair for disaster – that makes me want to use him for some good old fashioned face stomping.

You can see what Riot has to say about our viking friend in the announcements forum.


LoL: Garen and Mordekaiser are so similar it’s silly

Garen, Might of Demacia.When I first saw Garen I thought, hey, he’s just like Tryndamere. At a second glance, though, I realized he’s actually more like Mordekaiser than any other toon, to the point that I wonder if the two champions were designed by the same person.

Consider the following: both champions have an attack damage modifier in the Q slot. Both have damage mitigation for the W. Both have a limited AOE attack for the E, and both have a finisher for their ultimates. Now, I realize the comparisons seem a bit arbitrary since most champions skills are based on one of these systems (attack damage modification, AOE, etc.) but in terms of playstyle I think these two will be more similar than most. Both are best built for heavy health regen plus a nice dose of attack damage, and both can soak a lot of damage for a team but offer very little utility.

The only reason I mention any of this is because it explains some of my disinterest in Garen. Mordekaiser was only interesting for a few games for me – I just don’t enjoy his playstyle – and I think Garen will suffer the same fate. I’ll likely play him in a few games, but the stand-and-try-to-deal-damage-with-no-CC isn’t really compelling.


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