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Victorious Champions

Honoring opponents, channeling spells in bushes, and choosing who becomes Victorious.

By IAmWalrus, RiotScruffy & BionicNinja

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

This week, it’s Victorious skins, honoring opponents, and why you can’t see Nunu ulting in a bush.

Q

What method or criteria do you use to choose which champion gets the victorious skin each year?

A

We start looking at options for the Victorious Skin in the Spring. Making any skin takes time, but the Victorious Skin is also teased one month before it’s released. With this in mind, we need to plan ahead for the Victorious skin, especially in comparison to a normal skin.

To begin, we take a look at champions that had a big competitive impact so far that year—this is largely based on Ranked and Pro play. Once we have some ideas for potential champions, we narrow down that list by eliminating champions who:

  1. Already have a Victorious, Championship, or Conqueror skin. We wouldn’t do Conqueror and Victorious Karma in the same year, or Victorious Elise 2.0.
  2. Play the same role as a recent Victorious Skin. Since we had a top laner last season, we tried to avoid picking a top laner again this year.
  3. Have another skin coming out soon. We try to spread out skin content across our whole champion pool rather than drop a bunch of skins for one champ at the same time.
  4. Have a very small number of skins. Since the Victorious Skin can’t be attained by everyone, we don’t want that to feel like the only skin your favorite champ gets.
  5. Have a big balance change incoming. This is definitely the hardest criteria to figure out because balance can be fluid and we’re trying to predict the state of the game six months or so in advance.

After running through that list of criteria, we came down to Graves. As one of the stronger junglers at the time, he was towards the top of the list for both Pro and Ranked play. He’d never been featured in one of our competitive skin lines, wasn’t primarily a top laner, didn’t have a skin planned, and already had several skins available. As it turns out, he did receive some substantial balance changes, but those came after work on the skin had already begun.

Designer, Competitive
Q

Why are some spells (like sion knockup, nunu ult, zilean bomb, etc.) invisible to the enemy when cast in/from a bush while other similar aoe spells are not?

A

The general rule for brush visibility is: “When I damage an enemy, I am revealed.” We make sure to follow this rule always because we think understanding and responding to direct damage or spell hits is an important part of LoL’s clear gameplay.

In cases where the spell is casting but no damage has happened, we take a less uniform approach.

Why we would not show an indicator: We think the spell is risky or limited enough that allowing for the element of surprise adds a reasonable use case. For example, Nunu ult has a significant cooldown and a very long, easily interrupted channel. Allowing Nunu to use brush to his advantage is a strong pairing that we think brings out good use cases rather than unfair ones.

Why we would show an indicator: When a spell is very low cost, low risk, or high range. Some spells would project far too much threat too frequently from brush if they could be cast without a reveal. Xerath Q is a good example here—if he could repeatedly cast invisible Qs from brush, we think it would degrade the overall play experience rather than enhance it.

Lead Champion Designer
Q

I do prefer the new honor system, it’s great. that being said I miss being able to honor an opponent, it’s a respect thing. if you can bring it back to the game at one point I think people would like it. have a good day.

A

We agree! Showing respect for your opponent is an important part of sportsmanship and we spent time playtesting several versions that included honoring your opponents. In the end, there were a few reasons why combining team recognition with opponent recognition wasn’t working.

For example, we spent a lot of time on the categories and what matters when it comes to sportsmanship in League. In general, you have a very different picture of your fellow teammates compared to your opponents, so we’d need to have categories that were meaningful for both. For instance, getting outplayed 1v1 feels different than a teammate helping the team stay cool and focused on winning. If we solve that by collapsing to more generic categories for teammates and opponents, they wouldn’t mean as much since they could stand for anything. But if we had a bunch of really specific categories you wouldn’t have time to choose between them (assuming you could even find the right one).

Also, honoring your opponent and honoring your teammate just felt like two separate things. Testers not only felt the vote screen was crowded, but due to the incomplete information you have, it was hard to have the confidence to pick an opponent that really stood out. We tried a few iterations, including having the system choose for you some “finalists,” but ultimately it felt best when it was wholly a player decision.

So in the end we made the call to focus on teamwork right now, including improving the system for 2018, and revisit honoring your opponent in the future.

BionicNinja
Senior Systems Designer, Player Behavior Team

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