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.