Are those for junior / experienced / senior game designers? Coming up with 10 ways to fix a problem on the spot seems hardcore. :P

Even for juniors. Yes, it's hardcore, and really we are less interested in the answers than seeing how you think. It is rare in this business that you literally need to solve a problem in 3 minutes or less. But you can learn a lot about how someone approaches a problem. Do they go to the whiteboard? Do they start pitching categories of problems and then fleshing out specific problems within those categories? Do they talk just to fill the time? Do they freak out like a deer in headlights?

"Let's talk about a problem in a game you like. Now propose 10 ways to fix that problem. Now advocate for the best problem. Now imagine the tech director says your idea won't work. How do you pivot?" Now that's a kicker of a question. it definitely gets their gears in motion. A hard one for sure.

It's pretty common for a new designer to be able to come up with one solution for a problem and then be stumped if you ask them for another one.

If you're in an interview (for any job in any industry) and you are asked to solve a problem, I would say "Here are three solutions. I can elaborate on any of them if you'd like."

This solution doesn't work as well for questions with right and wrong answers of course, but those are often lame interview questions.

Are you part of the intern interview panel?

I interview design interns most of the time, once they get through a lot of the early stages (test, phone screens, etc.)

will the Summoners Rift ever change again like from s4 to s5?

Probably. Not any time soon though.

I know you worked on WoW but what do you think of the situation for Overwatch and the Sombra ARG as the super delayed release seems to be repeating the situation Riot had with Ao Shin, where they kept delaying and delaying till the point where I dont think the hype can live up to the expectations

I have no insight into Blizzard's strategy, but it looks to me like Sombra exists and they are just waiting for the right time to reveal her (I assume it's a her). From what I can tell, the issue from players is that they are coming to suspect that solving the mystery won't actually cause the release to come sooner. Maybe we'll see at Blizzcon?

With Ao Shin, we literally didn't know how we were going to design the champion and eventually ice boxed him. Twice.

You're right about the risk of building hype for too long. There are just different lessons to learn depending on whether you intentionally hyped something for a long time, or whether the something ended up getting delayed, iced or cancelled.

Are melee champions easier than playing ranged?

It depends a lot on the individual champ, but as a general rule, I'd say no. You end up having to focus so much on positioning as melee when as ranged you can often just hit the stuff you want.

If you could use choose one Blizzard dev to work with in Riot who would it be?

Brian

I think Blizzard might immediately make it harder to hire that person if I answered that in a public forum. :)

hi, im from germany. Give Riven some good items of buff her and i will send you some german beer. Kappa

While I love German beer and am excited for the prospect of all of the various bribes I could get from players in order to make personal changes for them, I don't think that would end well for any of us. :)

Are you heading to Blizzcon this year or virtual ticket?

Virtual. I gave away my ticket to another designer.

why did you repost some of the question you answered here on ask riot ?

If the Ask Riot team feels like the answer would be interesting to the millions of League players who don't read English, they ask my thoughts on reusing an answer for Ask Riot, since those articles are translated into many languages.

What types of questions do you ask when you do interviews?

Here are some of my standard ones. My interview style tends to be more conversational. I want to get people comfortable and talking so they slip out of interview mode and I get more of a sense for how it would be to work with them.

- What games are you playing now / what are some of your favorites of all time?
- What would be your dream game to make if you had a team and a budget?
- Let's talk about a problem in a game you like. Now propose 10 ways to fix that problem. Now advocate for the best problem. Now imagine the tech director says your idea won't work. How do you pivot?
- What do you when you disagree with the lead on your team about a feature?
- How do you change the culture of a company or team?
- How do you respond when your team gives feedback that they don't understand the vision of your feature?
- How do you react if player response to your design is really negative?
- What kind of conversations do you have via email, versus small meetings, versus large meetings?
- Let's talk about horrible mistakes you've made and what you learned from them.
- I'm going to walk you through a real or theoretical gnarly design problem for League (or another game you're familiar with). I'm going to challenge your answers aggressively to see if you cave immediately or irrationally defend your idea to the death.
- If we have time, we might do a champion design exercise.
- Why do you want to work at this company specifically?
- What would you do to make Dwarf Fortress more appealing? What about Dark Souls?
- Why don't we see new RTS games?
- Is the MMO genre going away or just resting?
- Design an absurdly hardcore game for a mobile device.
- If you had a huge insights team at your disposal, what questions would you ask them about your design idea?
- How do you evaluate whether your idea is a dead end versus just needing a couple more days?
- How do you balance a game with a hugely diverse player base?
- If you could give advice to you five years ago, what would it be?
- What are the costs and benefits of crunch in the game industry?
- What do you do if you suspect your compensation is unfair?
- How do you defuse an argument if a colleague just irrationally hates your design idea?
- For [some game with boss monsters] say you are making a new boss based on [some other character from a different game]. What abilities or mechanics does that encounter absolutely need to include?
- How does systems complexity relate to game depth?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of various business models (box, subscription, F2P, etc.)?
- What is the purpose of skill shots in League etc? What are alternatives to skill shots?
- What is the game with the best combat? Story? Characters? Systems outside of combat? Matchmaking?
- What is a sequel/reboot to an older game that the industry just absolutely needs to be making?
- When is it okay to ship a bug?
- How do you celebrate success?
- Have you ever had to fire anyone?
- When do you use data vs trust your gut?

You may not remember. About a year and half ago I asked you about advice on breaking into the game industry. When I asked I worked at a local thrift store working on their website. Now I work as a Software Specialist for AEP! I'd like to thank you for the motivating push you gave me! Thank you!! 1/2

Casey Tucker

That's great news. Thanks for sharing!

When questions appear in your inbox, are they in chronological order or not?

Chronological. Ask.fm isn't really setup to handle the number of questions I tend to get. For example, if I answer a question and don't remember to open it as a new window, the question list refreshes back to the newest one again and I lose my place. I'm not sure there are ways to filter say "all questions since last Tuesday." This causes me to lose good questions sometimes.

It's like a version number. We released Chromas as a feature some time ago , version 1, and this is a change to the way they work, but not such a massive overhaul that it made sense to go to version 2.0.

It's similar to how League patches are numbered.

Since you recently gave your thouht on Metzen retiring can you tell me about Rob Pardo, even thought he left way sooner, due to him recently opening Bonfire studios

I respect Rob a lot, and we've kept in touch since we both became Blizzard alumni. He tried really hard not to become just an executive at Blizzard and still stay involved in actual design discussions. He has a really good razor for cutting through bad ideas, and isn't afraid to tell you when they are bad, which is actually really valuable and rarer than you might imagine. He was one of the hardest interviews I ever had before I first went to work on WoW. (Tryndamere was a pretty tough interview for Riot.)

Rob's biggest weakness, which I'm sure he would agree with, so I don't feel like I am dissing him, was that he was so busy, it was hard to keep conversations going. Sometimes we'd have a good discussion on a feature for WoW, but not be able to follow up on that discussion for several weeks. Probably the two features that I worked the most closely with him on were Dungeon Finder and the social experience for the relaunched Battle.net (and yeah, I know they are retiring that name). I think both of those were definitely better for having Rob's involvement. We also had some fun meetings charting out possible future directions for WoW expansions. It will be interesting for me to see how much those plans have changed since I was there.

Do you use ask.fm on mobile?

Sometimes. It's a lot faster to type with a real keyboard, and some of my earlier, shorter Ask.fm answers made on mobile were among the least well received. It's hard to provide enough context or nuance with very short answers.

If I want to learn to make games and apply principles of game design, how much would it matter if all my work was done in RPG Maker or using redstone in Minecraft rather than something like Unity?

When you use an in-game editor, the kind of game you can create is more limited, which could lead you to have to be even more creative, or it could lead you to fighting with the editor rather than making cool features.

Also consider whether or not the company you are applying to will be able to see your game. If I have to fire up Mario Maker, there's less of a chance I'm going to look at what you made.

If you feel like Unity is out of reach, one option is just to make a board or card game. The principles aren't all that different and it can still demonstrate how you think about rules, iteration, fun, polish and so on.

If you could delete current champions without backlash, which would you delete? Frankly, many of the older champions aren't iconic or interesting kit-wise and are just padding the champion count.

I don't honestly think any of them are worth deleting. I think some aren't original enough in their thematic (say Volibear and Pantheon), and others don't have abilities that really keep up with more recent champions (say Volibear and Pantheon).

How do you decide which bugfixes to document in the patchnotes?

It's a subjective process. If we think players will really notice the difference, for example if we fixed a small exploit, or if players were used to having to work around a glitch that they don't need to work around any longer, then we definitely try to document it. If it's something that has been an ear flick for a long time (developers love that term), or something players have requested for a long time, we'll mention it.

We fix a lot more bugs then we feel like we should document though. The patch notes can be pretty long and overwhelming already, without players having to sweat about "If you click this button, and then click this other button, the first button will now lose its highlight as it should" sort of deals.

"In the end, I think we will have forgotten that there were two pet champs back to back in a few months from now" You say that, but I still hear jokes about revive passives 3 years after the fact. And % max health true damage more than a year after Fiora and Garen's reworks.

I know there are memes about them, but does it really affect enjoyment of those characters, or is it just a community in-joke?

Have you played Ori and the Blind Forest? :D If not, I recommend it! I'm guessing the backlog must be large though. :P

Stephanos

I loved Ori and the Blind Forest.

The game suffered from a wee bit of cognitive dissonance because it was so cute and beautiful that I bet a lot of players like me didn't expect for it to be legitimately difficult, which it was.

I wasn't a fan of some of the blind jumping in the timed sequences. They felt like the sort of deal where you have to memorize a pattern and couldn't possibly nail it on the first try except through luck.

That's nitpicky though. On the plus side, some of the tools really redefined the game in a way Metroid games do. Thinking of Bash in particular.

Lets say I apply to Riot as a game designer. I have some gaps in my game knowledge (e.g. haven't played some big ones like zelda or final fantasy). Does that mean I'm unlikely to be successful?

You would have to over-index in some other areas for sure. We'd also want to understand why you never got around to playing those games. I have some gaps in my gaming history (I was never a big CCG dude), and that is true of almost everyone. You just have to keep an eye on the size of those gaps. If you didn't play those games because they don't appeal to you, and only funky indie games ever appeal to you, then there might be a question of your game taste and whether you could make good judgment calls on a game with millions of players.

I've conducted hundreds of interviews in my career, and occasionally you do get the hipster candidate who doesn't get the appeal of Metroid of Left 4 Dead, but loves Dwarf Fortress, and by the way, they think League should be more like Dwarf Fortress and every game should be more like Dwarf Fortress. That's for sure a red flag for me. Not a deal-breaker, just a red flag.

My beef isn't with Dwarf Fortress, mind you. My concern in that situation is that a candidate may not have a really firm grasp of what players want and may not be able to separate what they enjoy as a player from what other players may enjoy.

I've also had candidates where I literally said "Go take 6 months, go play these 10 games, try to really understand what they accomplished and why, and then give us a call."

What is with the eternal crutch that is the engineer's turret in character design. Mobas, FPS, RPGs, the turret is garbage in all of them. It's terrible to balance. Why does it keep showing up. Combat engineers DON'T. BUILD. TURRETS. Please GC, give me an engi design that isn't derivative and boring

I agree with you. I think it's a missed opportunity, and I know League is guilty of it.

There is a narrow line sometimes between an archetype and a stereotype. I've seen games that tried so hard to present unusual characters that the player reaction to them was that the characters are weird and unrelatable. I think that's one extreme. The other is that you get all of these tropes that feel a bit tired. Does every game need a ranger (typically a lady) with a cloak and a bow? Does every demon huntery lady need a crossbow and acrobatics? Can combat engineers do things besides bang on turrets with a wrench?

I feel like League has been able to branch out more lately. Yeah, Jhin is a sniper and Ivern is a tree man, but hopefully they go beyond that. And clearly there is a lot more we can do.

Yorick ult now Ivern ult. Is this gonna be the year of champion pets? Also on a serious note, Tibbers, Maiden & Daisy are so similar that all their uniqueness diminishes.

There is a limit to how many distinctions you can make in gameplay over an AI entity over which you have limited control. You have a point about Yorick and Ivern coming out so closely together, but give Ivern a whirl and see what you think.

Realistically, when you're in situations like this, you can tell the Ivern team to change their champ or tell the Yorick team to change their champ, or delay one just to avoid the collisions, but from a player-facing point of view, those are all pretty shitty solutions. In the end, I think we will have forgotten that there were two pet champs back to back in a few months from now.

Have you had any time to "talk shop" with your old Blizzard buddies and discuss design from different points of view, if so what were these discussions

Yeah, we do this all the time. We have to be a little careful since we technically competitors, so we avoid current projects or design dilemmas. As much as I would love to bounce some ideas about stuff I'm working on by them, clearly I can't.

We talk a lot about trends in gaming or specific games we've played that neither studio is involved with. We talk about the rise and future of esports. We talk about games that came out of nowhere (e.g. Rocket League).

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About Greg Street:

Design Director, League of Legends @ Riot Games Before that: Lead Systems Designer, World of Warcraft.
Before that: Lead Designer, Age of Empires.
Before that I was an oceanographer.

Los Angeles, CA