Interview: League of Legends: Dominion and Riot Games

Justin Clouse | 5 Aug 2011 22:30
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TEM: So certain items, like the banshee's veil, are out. What was the reasoning behind some of the changes like that?

Travis: One of the main things that we wanted to do was again make sure every champion was viable and playable in Dominion. And so, the way we went about doing that instead of changing core things about champions, is we did that through itemization. So, for instance, one of things is is, that early on in development, tanks and fighter-tanks were super, super dominant in Dominion. Health is itemized cheaply in Summoner's rift, versus carry items like infinity's edge. Giant's belt is a huge advantage versus infinity's edge which takes a lot more gold. And so, this was a problem that we were encountering in Dominion. So we addressed this through kind of itemization rebalancing, and removing problem items like banshee's veil, because you get more gold at the beginning, you can start off with a catalyst and have a banshee's veil five minutes into the game. And everyone would just get Banshee's Veil, and it made it kinda unfun, made it unbalanced, it biased character selection towards a certain type of champion, and so we really used the item shop to level the playing field. So you'll see quite a few items that aren't available, elixirs aren't available at all, but we've also added in a bunch of items that are Dominion specific that really kind of fill some of those gaps, and help characters of certain archetypes be really viable and competitive and fun in Dominion as well.

TEM: What was the reasoning why you were starting everybody out at 3rd level, with 1375 gold? Just to kind of minimize that "Ok, you got the early, powerful champions versus the long-term carries"?

Travis: So the experience and the gold gain were two of the challenges we had to translate when we were League of Legends-ifying Capture and Hold. So we knew we wanted shorter games, and one of the challenges with goals, specifically was, it's really fun to get awesome items and we didn't want to change the cost of existing items to confuse players even more. So we didn't want to have infinity's edge cost a different value in classic League of Legends versus Dominion. And so, one of the ways we solved that was, we essentially kind of increase gold gain as a whole in Dominion, so that you'll have essentially the same amount of gold roughly within the same target as a 45ish minute game of Summoner's Rift. And so, that allowed you to actually kind of itemize, with those better items because it's fun to get better items. That's part of the depth of League of Legends and we wanted to preserve that. And so, gold gain across the board, not only just starting value is different. For some minions you get like 75 gold for killing them. So if you want to farm up, you can farm up. And the ambient gold gain is also faster, and that's really just because of the condensed game length, that we wanted players to be able to buy items and diversify and change strategy and have the same amount of fun in as in classic League of Legends.

With the experience system, the reason we did that, we start at level 3 and also that was another one of those challenges we had to solve because traditionally you earn experience by killing minions, and champions and towers in classic League of Legends. Because of the extremely dynamic nature of Dominion, what we found is farming sometimes isn't the best move for your team. Now minions can help, minions can actually help you capture a point that's under enemy control. But sometimes you just need to run past because sometimes it's a race to a capture point. So we didn't want players to have to choose whether they should level up or do the right thing for the team. So one of the things we did was we started all players at level 3, and also there's ambient experience gain throughout a match of Dominion. And it's influenced by champion and minion kills, but not nearly as much as in classic League of Legends. Because we didn't want to create a huge level disparity for people to have a weird choice of "should I gain personal power, or should I do what's right for the team?"

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