E3 2011: Spotlight On: League of Legends (in Spectator Mode)

Three new champions (and Spectator mode) make their appearance at E3 2011.

The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo in is full swing, and today we were summoned to Riot Games' booth to check out some of the updates coming to League of Legends. Travis George, lead producer on the game, was there to talk us through three upcoming champions, as well as show off Spectator mode. "Our driving belief has been to make a game players would want to pay for," said George, "and we've got a lot of people who are working on more than just champions."

Three champions that are in the works are Yorick, the grave digger; Leona, the radiant dawn; and Skarner, the crystal vanguard. Yorick is Riot's take on the necromancer archetype. Similar in concept to Sona's auras or Udyr's stances, Yorick is all about managing three abilities in harmony. Each of his three main abilities summons a ghoul, which dies fast and prioritizes attacking enemy champions. There is an immediate effect when the ghoul is summoned, and each ghoul type has its own special properties. His first (decay ghoul) causes a small blast of damage and slows enemies around him. This ghoul has its own aura that slows enemies and will automatically seek out enemy champions to attack.

The other two ghouls, ravenous and spectral, are still being worked on but will grant bonuses to life steal and attack speed, respectively. Yorick's passive will increase his stats so long as one ghoul is active, thus making skillful ghoul juggling a must for effective play. Finally, his ultimate is shaping up to be a skill shot that fires in a straight line, sending a wave of grasping skeleton hands that root champions. The skill may be modified so that nearby ghouls will focus on rooted champions, but it's still a work in progress.

Because Leona and Skarner aren't as far along in development, we didn't get as concise a breakdown. In broad terms, Leona is Riot's answer to the community's requests for a true female tank (sorry Kayle). Her character concept is built around the sun, with several crowd control abilities. These culminate in her ultimate: a global area-of-effect nuke that initially slows champions caught by it in a blinding ray of sunlight. After a moment, a beam of solar energy will crash down, stunning and damaging those hit. Skarner is a massive, purple scorpion made of crystal and built to focus on enemy champions one at a time while keeping others at bay. One idea George would share for this champion was the ability to physically pull enemy champions toward Skarner using its tail.

In addition to the new champions, Spectator mode was also shown. When doing research into how information should be presented to the player, George and the team at Riot turned to ESPN and other sports broadcasts to see how they formatted their information. At the top of the screen is a large blue-and-purple score tracker that tallies each side's total team kills, gold, and towers destroyed. The sides of the screen show vertical lists of each team's champions, with icons indicating individual summoner spells and the status of ultimates. Finally, the bottom has a full scoreboard that can be toggled on and off, as well as a chat window and minimap.

To help prevent foul play, Spectator mode has about a minute of built in lag (the exact number is still being tweaked). Riot is also still working on how many players will be able to spectate a match at once and would only commit to supporting one spectator per match at the moment. These additions, and many more that George was eager to reveal, are on the way and should be arriving before the year's end.

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Discussion

22 comments
Gothic-360
Gothic-360

looking forward to yorick and skarner..

GeorgeSyll
GeorgeSyll

Based on the abilities mentioned i could guess that Yorick and Skarner are also support/tanks. That's good and bad at the same it. Good because there are only a few truly good supportive champs in the game but also bad because almost none actualy ever plays those kind of champs. All go for dmg dealers. So in a sense its a bit of a waste of time and resources. But its good news to me because i like to be supportive. Anway,I like fresh stuff but Riot could focus more on some new maps or something like that.You know,things more vital to the game. Spectator mode is certainly a nice feature but not vital to the game.I only hope that high amounts of spectators won't cause lag to battles.

iBuSHiDo
iBuSHiDo

The main thing I expected to read about here was that new larger map they mentioned almost a year ago now. How could it take that long to bust out 1 map when they're so good at busting out great new champs every couple of weeks?

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Gamespot needs to set up a skin giveaway from Riot like they do with game betas and stuff. That would be awesome.

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

Even more champions.... where's that new map you mentioned months ago. That's what I'm actually looking forward to.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

I love League of Legends and this is great news.

geggy4674
geggy4674

These look cool, but what happened to the monkey king that they were teasing a while back?

Rice5phere
Rice5phere

When is it coming out for Mac?! Q_Q

voldo25
voldo25

Leona...how did you get Soul Edge from Nightmare

Treifla
Treifla

new champs, spectator mode, and yet any news on the magma chamber is suspiciously absent.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

Nice to see some good looking characters, the skill ratios (to ability or attack power) and damage will need to be worked out but just looking at them I'm quite interested in Leona and Skarner. Yorick sounds pretty good too but we'll have to see.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@megakick Most recent ones were Orianna, Vayne and Rumble. Rumble can be quite cheap but he's well made, Vayne is a little simple but a DPS dream, Orianna is good for long ranging and stuff. I think Orianna is quite awesome actually because she has useful skills, like when a leblanc with half health tried to hide in the bush and wait for me to face check the bushes she just got a ball smash her head and then go mad on her till she died.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

Skarner, huh? Anyone else remember when some screenies of him were leaked back in the Brand art spotlight? (And everyone assumed that he would be a type of monster in MC due to his recolors...) Enjoying his tiny description - a Bruiser/Assassin, perhaps? Also - gogo spectator mode!

Kh1ndjal
Kh1ndjal

"his ultimate is shaping up to be a skill shot that fires in a stright line sending a wave of grasping skeleton hands that roots champions" that's totally a ripoff of the guild wars 2 necromancer skill :P

megakick
megakick

These champions are 100x better then the champions Riot has been releasing since after Caitlyn.

okassar
okassar

Cool. I would like to see magma chamber pl0x

Jaxith
Jaxith

Indeed. I'm surprised I heard about this at Gamespot before the game's main site. I knew about Yorick, and that they were revealing new champions at E3, but not the details about them. Spectator mode is a complete surprise for me.

Skreba
Skreba

LoL getting some love on Gamespot. Very cool.