In order to maintain a sense of structure within such a massive and sprawling project, it's been important from the start to keep it driven by a defined criteria meant to keep the quality of each redesign consistent. After all, I wanted to ensure that the changes I proposed had some sort of rhyme or reason to them, rather than simply being things I thought were cool at the time. These criteria have evolved over time, but they initially looked something like this:
Holism & Readability
1. Every character should have a specific gameplay goal supported by their kit in whole; every ability should either encourage, enable, or reward a specific play-pattern.
2. The gameplay goal and play-pattern of each kit should be informed by the character's visual design and thematic identity, allowing players to understand the gist of every character at a glance.
This has recently been referred to by Riot as the "throughline" - and it's very important!
3. The purpose of each ability should be clear, both on an individual basis and in regards to its role and synergy within the kit.
1. Avoid harmful anti-patterns that create cumbersome interactions within the kit, or otherwise create frustrating scenarios for the player, their allies, or their opponents.
2. Provide accessible counterplay that doesn't depend on purchasing specific items or picking specific characters.
3. Don't overload kits with excess tools; each kit should feel complete, but with room to benefit from ally cooperation.
1. Beyond the strengths and weaknesses associated with specific roles or archetypes, every character should have prominent advantages and disadvantages.
2. Both within their role and within the roster, every character should have an established strategic niche; this niche should be driven by the kit as a whole, rather than a single ability.
3. While using existing mechanics to remain approachable, every character should have a distinct path of mastery and opportunities for skill expression that don't carry over to other characters.
With the start of LoLReDux, I'll be adding a few more criteria on top of these, which are a bit more granular but are the driving force behind these revisions:
1. Where possible, dig deep and use elements of the character's personal narrative to inform gameplay. Even in cases where other MOBAs may have a character with a similar theme, leverage the elements that make League's characters unique in order to distinguish them.
After all, another game might have an eastern swordsman, but do they have Master Yi, a master of Wuju who is seeking promising disciples to whom he can pass down this ancient martial art?
2. Where sensible, use the character's original vision as the basis of the kit's theming. Prioritize what makes them iconic if it doesn't run counter to readability.
Rather than focusing on how Cho'Gath looks like a Xenomorph and making a sneaky, map-infesting Xenomorph kit, double down on the eating-and-getting-huge gameplay and find a way to make it more intuitive and exciting.
3. Preserve as many displaced abilities and gameplay niches as possible, provided they represent something unique and positively affect game health.
While Singed's whimsical chase-and-flip gameplay doesn't exactly make sense on a terrifying biochemist, it is both unique and beloved, and would be right at home on the already whimsical storybook duo that is Nunu & Willump.