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Let’s talk assassins, chromas, deleting champions, and what it’s like to pet a space dragon.
Why do you feel that assassins are a healthy class of champions in terms of game design? Each player should have the ability to impact the game equally, but with an assassin in the game, the success of your team can be almost entirely based around them. For example if a Rengar pops off, he can one shot the enemy back line and carry, but if he falls behind, you’re effectively playing a 4v5.
Assassins are a high-risk, high-reward class that’s on the high end of how much snowball is good for LoL. This is probably why they are so appealing—there’s the chance you can “carry” a game with an incredible individual performance, and that’s something a lot of players want.
In League, and with assassins in particular, we want snowballing to be something that can happen while still not completely removing all gameplay. For example, it’s natural that counter options become more and more limited as an enemy assassin gets more ahead, but even when they’re 5-0, there should be something you and your teammates can do against them. Things like focus fire, CC peel, and Summoner Spells hold up well even when behind. On the other hand, we think a 20-0 assassin should probably win with little rebuttal—there were 20 previous chances to beat them, and they came out consistently ahead.
In short, we think assassins are a healthy part of League, so long as there are sufficient opportunities for counterplay. (Changes like the removal of Talon’s silence may seem small, but they’re often enough to open up the chance for survival in many cases.)
Has Riot ever considered retiring a character? Perhaps before full-scale reworks became common?
Retiring a champion is not something we have ever considered, and likely we never would consider this. We would much rather go back and update our older problematic champions with either small reworks or through big VGUs. Retiring a champion would set a weird precedence where players would always be worried that the things they invested in would be taken away from them at some point, which isn’t something we want our players to worry about.
How do you choose which skins to make chromas for?
We look at chromas as ways to add extra flair to a champion and try out different color combinations that hopefully give you different ways of expressing yourself. Chromas are generally restricted to model texture changes and mostly don’t touch particle or visual effects. This is why some skin lines like PROJECT currently don’t have chromas. With the PROJECT skin lines—let’s take PROJECT: Leona for example—the yellow extends past her shield and sword; it’s also integrated into her autottacks and abilities. Changing the color of her model’s textures without addressing her particles and would feel off. While it may happen in the future, at this time, we’re not committing to it.
We’re currently trying to make chromas for every new skin except for Legendaries or Ultimates. With these tiers, we’re focusing on capturing the essence of the experience. While Chromas do provide option value to the skins, we’re choosing to focus our efforts on the base experience of Ultimates and Legendaries at launch.
But what happened to chromas for older skins? Our initial focus on chromas was to target previously released skins. After doing a few tests in 2018, we saw that the chromas for older skins didn’t seem to resonate as much as the chromas for the newer skins. It was something like a 10:1 difference. We’ll still opportunistically look at chromas for older skins if we’re doing related themes (like how we recently did with the Dragon Trainer lines.) Aside from those, we’ll probably minimize the amount we’ll be creating for the older skin lines. We’ve recently tested pairing chroma releases with Champion Updates (recently with Mecha Aatrox and Headhunter Akali) and are waiting for the results to come in.
If you were to pet Aurelion Sol, what texture would his skin have?
His scales are like piano keys, each one emanating its own unique, piercingly sweet note as you drag your fingers along his endless tail, creating a haunting song you’ll never be able to get out of your head. His skin, like mirrors, is smooth to the touch, with the depth of infinity hidden within. Then he becomes silken, like the golden strands of your little sister’s hair as you braid it quickly before school. Then cold, like ice to the touch, but you can’t take your hand away. You let it sting until it becomes an unbearable burn that never numbs. There’s something ancient and unrecognizable, like bones dug up from the deepest dust, that confuses the pads of your fingers. It’s coarse as coral, molten as metal. Strong and soft, all at once, with the same slippery meatiness you get when you pinch your tongue between your fingers. To touch him leaves a fine stardust on the tips of your fingers, like Cheetos do with that powdery, orange proof of their once-existence, that only your guilt can corroborate.
Just make sure to scratch under his chin. It makes his left leg stomp and wobble uncontrollably and he looks ridiculous. He can create the cosmos, but he can’t stop his leg from shaking during a good chin scratching.
He’s a very good boy.
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