Riot Games reveals how new LoL champions are created

Christian Vejvad • September 6, 08:01

League of Legends fans recently got an insight into the champion gameplay discovery process, through a dev post by lead gameplay designer Mark “Scuffy” Yetter.

The process includes four key questions that have to be checked off when the Riot Games development team works on a new champion for the game. But will this continue to be possible in a game with over 150 champions?

Eight weeks is how long the discovery process takes when making a new champion and establishing its gameplay design. The discovery model was created to figure out the high-level direction in the early stages of champion development. To achieve this, Riot asks themselves the following four key questions.

  • Does your direction open a door to new gameplay spaces?
  • Is your theme resonant with the intended playerbase?
  • Does your gameplay hook deliver on the theme?
  • Does your gameplay direction have room to be satisfying and healthy?

The four questions ensure that Riot moves forward with a champion that is unique to the game and brings something new to the gameplay. Riot also want to make sure that all new champion themes aligns with player expectations

Have Riot failed the process with Yuumi and others?

Scuffy mentions that new champions need to have a playstyle that keeps players coming back. This is a part of the fourth key question, but it’s not always the case for champions in the game. 

While Riot has been designing innovative champions for years, some have not been popular according to the community. Yuumi is the most recent example of a champion that doesn’t always make players want to come back.  

The magical cat has a very different playstyle, but maybe too different. Many players have been frustrated with Yuumi because she is hard to target, especially in patches where her sustain has been straight up overpowered. When played together with certain late-game carries, Yuumi can be unstoppable and a big win condition. The frustrations have gone so far that some fans want her completely removed from the game, even though Riot has said it won’t be doing so.

Recently, the community has also been pointing fingers at Riot for making champions that are too similar. The newest champion Yone has a kit very similar to his brother Yasuo, while their themes are also alike. Even though the lore explains why they are similar, it still goes against the first key question of making champions that bring something new. 

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