Two months ago, lead champion producer Ryan “Reav3” Mireles commented on a Reddit post to discuss human, humanoid, and creature additions to the League of Legends cast. And today, he expanded on that conversation in a dev blog.
Riot continues to introduce new champions and gameplay mechanics to keep League interesting for the player base. But for those additions to “hit their goal,” according to Reav3, they need to be “picked and played in games.” And to do that, the devs made a goal in 2017 to ship more “broadly-appealing” champions.
“We did a lot of research into what makes a champion broadly appealing or niche by surveying players all over the world,” Reav3 said. “What we found was that one of the major things that made a champion more relatable and appealing was when they were human… based on our data, it looks like a champion’s playrate is a combination of actual power, perceived power, and thematic resonance, with theme being one of the BIG parts of that equation.”
Though there are some creature exceptions, like Kha’Zix and Yuumi, the most popular champs are those that resemble humans. Their popularity also varies based on regions, too. Jinx, for example, is more popular in Western regions because of her punk rock aesthetic. In contrast, Xin Zhao and Jarvan are selected more often in China.
Human and humanoid champs also give Riot the opportunity to represent different cultures around the world, another reason for the shift in direction. Reav3 specifically referenced Samira and Viego, who represent Persian and conquistador-era Spanish cultures respectively. It might be harder to provide cultural representation with a creature champ, however.
Reav3 did admit that the devs “leaned a bit too heavy on straight-up humans” in recent years. So the next creature champ is slated for 2022, a “darker” addition that will be a departure from the cute Yuumi-type champs.
“This doesn’t mean we’ll do a full creature every year, as they are pretty niche, but we do want to make more non-human champions going forward,” Reav3 said.
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