League of Legends lead gameplay designer Mark “Scruffy” Yetter explained the framework that guides early development for new champs in a dev blog.
Making early decisions on a champion’s direction is pivotal and needs to be handled with care. So Riot created a simple framework and an eight-week process to discover a new champ’s gameplay design and overall potential.
Gameplay thoughts for today:
-Our “gameplay discovery” process for new champs
-Clash build-a-team features
Check it outhttps://t.co/kwj2smXJDy
— Mark Yetter (@MarkYetter) September 4, 2020
“One of, if not the most difficult parts of gameplay design for a new champion is figuring out the high-level direction in the early stages of development,” Scruffy said. “These early decisions will affect the eventual possibilities and overall potential that the champion can achieve.”
Riot devs ask themselves four key questions before moving forward with a champion’s gameplay design.
Does your direction open a door to new gameplay spaces? Is your theme resonant with the intended player base? Does your gameplay hook deliver on the theme? Does your gameplay direction have room to be satisfying and healthy? Since there are over 150 League champs, new releases need to be unique and innovative. But their theme has to match player expectations. A deadly assassin, for example, can’t have a fluffy duckling theme, according to Scruffy. And new releases have to be balanced with counterplay, while also being satisfying enough that players keep coming back.
A gameplay designer then takes on the project through an eight-week cycle involving brainstorming, prototyping different directions, refining it, and solving problems along the way.
By trying out different ideas, Riot devs won’t get attached to anyone direction when there might be a better option. Riot has recently updated old icons as well.
The old B.F. Sword icon is certainly outdated. The updated icon gives a new look to its grip and guard, creating a more aesthetically pleasing sword. Bramble Vest now looks like armor made out of bones and is more unique than its predecessor. And Rabadon’s is brighter and more magical, encapsulating a wizard’s hat perfectly.
Since TFT‘s fourth set is right around the corner, a lot of these new icons will debut in Fates. And League is set to get a major item system overhaul, so these icons will hit the Rift in the preseason patch later this year.
It doesn’t seem like these are the final renditions because Riot is “definitely welcome” to feedback. But fans will get to see a bunch of new item icons when TFT Fates launches in mid-September.
These updates will be applied to every item in the game, whether it be a full redesign of the icon, or a simple retouch and modernization of an item icon. There are five goals that these updates should hit for next year.