Ask @ZenonTheStoic:

Hey Daniel, I've always wanted to work at Riot Games as a champion designer, ever since I first played league 6 years ago. I just graduated highschool now, but I'm so lost on what direction to go, do you have any advice for me? P.S. Kayn is looking so good! (I love when people misspell him as Kanye)

The best answer I can give here will always be "if you want to be a game designer, start designing games today." Teach yourself one of the simple toolkits to make computer games (Unity is pretty hard but doable; Construct2 and Game Maker are pretty simple; Twine is wonderfully simple and a great tool to make interactive fiction, which some might argue is closer to creative writing than game design, but it'll still teach you to think about decision structures) or go and make a board game / card game with index cards and ugly hand drawn designer art. Get some friends to test it with you, it'll be fun! And then do it again and again.
I wished I could just point you to a good university course that guarantees you a game design job, but there is no such thing yet. You can absolutely take one of the few game design courses that exist at the moment (NYU has a great program), but that alone will not guarantee you a job as a game designer.

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hi! I just got blocked from your twitter. I asked about the interaction of DFT / refillable with kayn passive. Was that wrong? I really like your twitter, its super interesting and i'd love to be able to keep seeing what you post. My Twitter handle is @AntiAndTheBee .

No, you got caught in a blockchain. I've had a couple of high profile people sic their followers on me a while ago (hasn't happened in a bit--maybe I'm getting old?) and the only way to reclaim my twitter TL was to just block everyone following them. You got caught in the crossfire. Unblocked!
If this is true for anyone else, do message me here and I'll unblock you.

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Kayn is my favorite champion ever. I have never synced better with a champion. However, I'm scared that he'll be nerfed. He's pretty much pick/ban. But if he was nerfed, I think maybe it'd be ok if he lost a little aoe in blue form. I feel too good at teamfighting/lategame as an assassin.

Scylla
I know this was 3 months ago, so instead of answering what I think will happen to him, I'd like to invite you to reflect back on how we've dealt with Kayn so far and if you're happy with what we've done / not done.

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Thank you so much for making Kayn! He's such an amazing champion! I have a quick question. Is he designed around the idea that players should not be trying to get a specific form? I find myself avoiding fights past ~8 minutes that will give me the wrong form for that game so I don't hurt my team :(

Yes, absolutely he's designed around that. Ideally you should be trying to get a specific form, and the enemy team should be able to guess what form you're going for and predict your pathing accordingly. Not perfectly, mind you, but at the level of small hints and guesses.
This was the first thing we designed for Kayn. It was this core loop (transform permanently into one of two very different forms; you have to interact with the enemy to get those forms; and the enemy can predict to some degree what you'll do) that convinced us to make Kayn.
So I think completely avoiding fights is wrong. There's a reason you can still pick the other form after a 3 minute delay; we never want you to be screwed to the point where you can't contribute. Also, consider this: taking good fights early that push you toward the wrong form may still get you your desired form EARLIER if the other option would have been to wait more than 3 minutes for the correct fights.

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Thanks so much for creating Taliyah, best champion to ever hit League of Legends! I was wondering if you were happy with the direction she has taken since her release. In addition, I have been testing her on the PBE and I don't think the new runes favor her, do you foresee any changes to help her.

Thank you! I'm very happy with where she is, and I think both comet and aery work decently well on her. Electrocute is the riskiest strat on her, but I like it a lot in theory as well. It makes your all-in so powerful.

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How exactly does Kayn's transformation bar work? The general belief is that you get the form of whatever the style of last champion you hit is, but is there more to it? (Two bars working at the same time?)

Ege Kalay
It's two bars.
Internally, there are two variables that are entirely independent of each other. Think of them as numbers that the game server stores. Whichever one of them hits the threshold first, that's the first form you get offered.
As the game goes later and later, the rate at which you gain points is increased. So if you auto attacked a champion 3 times at 2 minutes into the game you'd get (pulling this number out of my ass) 9 points; if you auto attacked the same champion 3 times at 25 minutes into the game, you might get 60 points. This creates the illusion that only your last interaction counts. It's not true, but if you wait particularly long, transformation gets very "swingy" (as in, you could be at 20% of the points toward blue and 90% of points toward red, but if you attack and kill a ranged enemy at 17 minutes, that might give you enough blue points to push that over 100%).

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Being a game designer sounds pretty cool, but as League has so many variables in place (whether reworking a champion, balancing or creating a new one) what does it take to be a good designer in league?

This is surprisingly universal: in order to be a good designer, you must be a good communicator. This is in giving and soliciting feedback, but also in clearly communicating your vision and getting other people on board with it.
Other than that it's just sheer stupidity and persistence.

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Taliyah is the best thing that ever happened to League of Legends - thanks for that! Also, on the same topic, when can we get some skins or chromas that make her throw specific minerals? :D

Haha I love the idea of a base Taliyah chroma where the rocks are different minerals for each color, but that may go beyond the scope of chromas a little? I guess if we can make it happen with only texture changes...

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I would like your opinion on something for Kayne. Instead of his current e, what if kayne had a gap closer that allowed to 'leap' forward with his scythe, and if there are any targets that's hit by the leap, kayne heals for the same amount that he does when he moves through walls with the current e

A unit targeted dash sounds pretty boring? Like we have dozens of them in the game already. What new thing exactly are you bringing? How does this give him the back line access an assassin needs?

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So how does this stuff work? Do you write the code for the champions yourself or do you have teammembers who deal with that while you figure out whether the stuff you come up with is good gameplay? And what language do you use?

Gameplay designers do script, which is part of "writing the code". For anything more involved that changes how the underlying game works, we need help from engineers, who write actual code. For instance, on Kayn this was everything from big stuff like "be able to walk through walls" (which I could mock up in a very shitty way in script) to small things like "change his portrait when he transforms" (which I couldn't even mock up, but was a no-brainer for us).

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Hey, what are you thoughts about Soraka? She is really hated in League community despite having a lot of counterplay which upsets me and other people who mains her.

Yeah, Soraka is a tricky problem. I believe Soraka would be the number one hardest champion to do a rework for. If I ever want to be super hated, I'll take on the Soraka rework and find a way to make the champion work with no healing ;P
Seriously, healing is a problem: it makes boring wars of attrition optimal, it permanently undoes action, and if the answer is supposed to be "just kill the healer", you're putting yourself into a situation where the healer is either accessible to enemy action and thus removed from the game given enough skill on the enemy team, or a situation where the healer can stay permanently safe and where there is nothing to do for the enemy.
Really, the idea that league should have a premiere healer is fundamentally flawed.

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What are your thoughts on DotA's buyback system A) In the context of DotA and B) In the hypothetical context of LoL?

I don't play a lot of Dota, so I can't answer in the context of Dota. I know that buybacks would not be a great idea for League; they stall games out long, they incentivize sitting on gold because sometimes coming back sooner is more powerful than having a big item, and they just generally push power into things that aren't fun. I'm very against.

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Are there any changes Riot would consider "too drastic" for a VGU, even if they were cool ones? For instance, we've never had a VGU that shifted a champion from melee to ranged (or vice versa). How far are you guys willing to go with a full-scale update?

I'm not the person to ask for that! My uneducated opinion is that you have to identify what's at the core of a champion. I can see cases where melee/ranged isn't relevant, and I can only see cases where it's VERY much relevant. It's case-by-case really.

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I know Akali will get a VGU in the future, but i don't see many possibilities in modernizing her kit without twist it completely. If you were his designer, what would you change and what would you keep?

I think if I was the designer working on an Akali VGU, I would start from scratch, sort of how we did on Sion. What makes this champion cool? What part of that do we want to support? Who is she, what gives her power? And then basically just design a new champion from that point. Of course, whenever possible you'd want to give nods to her existing kits.

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Could Azir receive a new Passive in the rework that he will receive? His Passive Right now is Useless before 10~15min(maybe 20min or more), His passive does not help him in the Early game,and in the Late game the Enemy team destroy it easily,if not they just wait until his tower breaks it self

I don't think a passive being useless in certain situations is a bad thing at all. Anivia's passive is entirely useless in games in which you never die; Rumble's passive is literally just a convenient place to explain how his spells work.
I do hear you on turrets become less useful as time progresses, and that's something Wavebreak is looking at with the update. Expect turrets to be a little more useful and a little less easily destroyed.

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Hey Daniel what are your thoughts on the Catcher subclass since I feel its a little tacked on just to make Blitzcrank feel not lonely since all the members in it aren't really similar

Honestly, classes only make sense as a tool to look at existing champions and make sense of them, not as a tool to rigidly guide future work. I think if we look at the play patterns that the likes of Thresh, Morgana, and Bard exhibit then it very much does make sense to put them into the same class as Blitzcrank. They're the most opportunistic class of champions in the game, constantly looking to catch someone out, and their outputs tend to be the most swingy (as in, really really good or really really bad for their team). Obviously there's nuance within the class: Thresh is WAY less committed to an action than Blitzcrank, and Thresh does have very useful and apparent fallbacks (lantern, peeling with ult). Still, I do think the class makes a lot of sense.

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Do you feel any decline in the ability to speak your native language, now that you have been living in the US for such a long time?

Oh yeah, absolutely. More and more often I can't find specific terms in German and have to actually look them up online, but I also have a much worse feeling for what "feels" right in terms of collocations, expressions etc. I know that I have to spend about a week in Germany before I can speak without feeling like a foreigner who hasn't quite learned the language yet. Still I throw in more English words than I'd care to admit because I just can't find the right words in German anymore.
This year marks ten years that I've not lived in a German-speaking country anymore. My English has become much better (at least in terms of vocabulary, real world usage, idiosyncrasies of American English etc; my pronunciation is as sucky as ever), but you do give up stuff. I want to work on becoming more literate and well-spoken in German as well. Probably incorporate some German newspapers in my daily reading?

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How come champions don't have an innate AP value? What is the design reasoning behind this?

You have no idea how hard this question is. Or maybe you do? Anyway, I've been thinking about this for a while now.
First, the boring and straight-forward answer is that historically we had no idea what we were doing with AP and the power growth of *spells* over game time was a completely novel concept that we probably didn't connect sufficiently with how AD grows over game time. I suspect (and remember, I only joined our game design team in 2013) that we didn't fully grok what base AD growth over game time did to abilities with total AD scaling (such as Ashe's Volley, which released with a whopping 1.5 total AD scaling) compared to abilities that scaled with AP.
But whatever the historical explanation is, it is still the case that characters grow their base AD by level but not their AP, and we now have a great many smart designers (and me! I'm also here!) who could change this if they so desired. The fact that they haven't means either that there's no good reason to make the change and they're scared of the unintended consequences of such a large systems change, or that there is a good reason for things to be that way.
I honestly can't grasp the full consequences of this difference right now, but I'll bring it up and discuss it with my future team mates in systems because I think it is a very good question indeed. Thank you!

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