Daniel Zenon Klein

do you think league has a possibility to have a 2 in 1 champion? like the Vikings on Heroes of the Storm

Short answer is it's unlikely.
Long answer! When we made League, we looked at the obvious inspiration, Dota, and made some baseline changes to the game that Dota, being a War3 mod, couldn't make. One of them is the "stickiness" of self selection. In League, you cannot "unselect" yourself as a unit, and this has a lot of positive implications, but it also means that RTS-like controls are out of scope. This is the most intuitive control scheme for multiple units.
So if we wanted to make a champ that was two independently controllable units, we would need to do a LOT of work on the UI / input side. Additionally, many skills learned on this champion would not be transferrable to other champions and no other champions would prepare you for this dual champion. And finally, because brain cycles are a finite resource, there is only so much complexity we could put into the champion's actual kit--most of its complexity budget would be eaten up already by the mere fact that you're controlling two independent units.
TL;DR: I don't think this kind of champion would be a good fit for League, but as always I could be wrong!
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Latest answers from Daniel Zenon Klein

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.

Was Azir one of the hardest champions that you have designed?

Absolutely. This is what designing Azir was like:
Was Azir one of the hardest champions that you have designed

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.

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.

How much experience did you have in the industry before joining Riot?

3 years of customer service and quality assurance, including leading a team of 7 in QA. But mostly I was one of the very few people in Europe with experience working on LEAGUE that got me hired.

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.

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?)

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.

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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