After months of waiting, League of Legends fans finally got a sneak peek at the Volibear rework today—and it’s un-bear-lievable.
The primal ursine force is quite intimidating. His teased character model mixes the veneration expected from a season war demigod while depicting the ferocity of a bear. Aside from a potential character model, not much else was revealed about Volibear’s role on the Rift.
Here’s everything we know about the visual and gameplay update (VGU) for the Thunder’s Roar.
The fans have spoken
To figure out which of the many outdated champions Riot would tackle next, League devs left it up to the fans. Players from around the world cast their votes, and in May 2019, it was revealed that Volibear and Fiddlesticks would receive VGUs. The ursine demigod amassed a staggering 24.69 percent of the votes, followed closely by Fiddlesticks at 24.42 percent.
Riot gameplay designer Nathan “Riot Lutzburg” Lutz claimed that his goal was to “preserve the spirit of the current Volibear” while integrating the champ’s “thunder god” aesthetic into his bruiser kit. And early concept art seemed to support that.
What does it mean to be a bear?
After three months of silence, fans heard rumblings again from the eager developers working on the VGU project in a Dev Update.
Initially, devs experimented with a “demon bear” route. Certain iterations gave the ferocious thunder god ripped clothing and coarse hardened armor that took the shape of a skull. Volibear is a veteran elder who’s had years of experience in war and his character model should exemplify that. Despite all the different artistic renditions, fans were still left with a tease and nothing concrete.
Narrative writers, on the other hand, had the difficult job of fusing Volibear’s in-game personality with how he appears in lore and short stories. Thus began the exploration of the bear’s personality.
Riot writer Rayla “Jellbug” Heide questioned Volibear’s relationship with nature and humankind. Is he worshipped by humans? Does the bear believe men should suffer for becoming weaker and domesticated? Or does he resent the fact that humans don’t depend on demigods anymore, forgetting their roots?
While everything was up in the air, it certainly was trending in the right direction.
Riot drops a bomb… well, sort of
Though not much information was provided, Riot touched on the Volibear VGU in today’s 2020 season teaser. Fans got to see a snippet of what the demigod might look like on the Rift—and it’s quite scary.
Sharp icicle-like armor protrudes from the bear’s arms, legs, and back, while his grizzled face is marked by scars. And long braids circle his head, tied up by what appears to be tribal ornaments. Riot also showed us what Voli looks like on all fours, likely a part of his kit when charging at his victims.
When does Volibear’s rework hit live servers?
Since fans haven’t even gotten a look at Volibear’s ability kit yet, it’s impossible to predict the release date of his rework. We’ll likely get a better idea later in the month when the official roadmap video is revealed, according to Riot champion designer Nathan “Lutzburg” Lutz’s Reddit post. But early 2020 is a safe bet, considering all the changes hitting the Rift with season 10.