Exclusive Interview with League of Legends Game Design Director, Tom Cadwell
scholar and a gentleman folks, Im proud to be here
with Tom Cadwell, Game Design Director of Riot Games.
Without further ado, lets talk
Dominion! In the
current state of game
balance, youve been nerfing global ultimates left and right. style=""> Is this in preparation for
global teleporting would be pretty gamebreaking in most
Cadwell Not directly.
However, through Dominion, a lot of potential problems of
the main game
were completely exposed in a bigger way.
Take for example Rabadons Deathcap, on release it was
but it was expensive and hard to get.
With the changes to the gold income system, everyone in
getting a Deathcap consistently rather than having to farm for itwe
as a flaw in the item, which we can balance independent of heroes or
Going back to the global ultimates,
weve always had a
problem with them. They
aggressivenessyou have to always consider the situation plus the
the global ultimate potentially joining the fight.
Couldnt you say the same
thing about stealth?
Stealth has a lot of the same
problems that were doing
a lot of work to improve, but in Dominion, you can have a cohesive team
strategy about holding a point or series of points.
Mitigating the global ultimates makes it much
easier to hold your dominion so to speak.
We looked at it for Summoners Rift as well and saw it as
a win-win so
we implemented it there as well.
Weve seen a lot of creative
items in Dominion both
in our time with the game, and with the various previews at sites and
like. Will we be
seeing those items on
Summoners Rift and Twisted Treeline as well?
A really interesting question! One
thing we found with
Dominion is that
since the type of gameplay favors 1v1 and 2v2 type battles a lot more
than the massive team battles that inevitably happen in Summoners Rift. style=""> A lot of items that were
Summoners Rift, such as Banshees Veil, wont be in Dominion until
I hate that item.
The community does as well.
do you guys think about it internally?
What can we do to that item to make it anything less than
counter to all initiation?
I cant exactly comment on the
current state of the
Veil, but I personally think it is borderline unfair for Summoners
it was extremely problematic for Dominion.
Dominion has so many small fights and 1v1s that are
completely ruined by
the potential for a 100% spell block.
youre Annie and you run into someone with your stun up and they have a
you cant have someone else take care of the shield first.
Back to Dominion Items, we wanted to
add more items better
suited for small-scale fighting.
might add those items to Twisted Treeline as well at some point in the
because they both have similar problems.
How long has Dominion been in
I think its been in active
development since late last
year. One thing
weve found as we were
working on it, it initially started as something much less ambitious. style=""> We could have just made
another classic League of Legends but
the more we
thought about it, the more we realized that in order to meet the needs
growing genre, we needed to give the players a new experience.
So well never see Magma
Haha, thats another discussion.
But we feel that Dominion
will meet the
expectations of gamers possibly more so than Magma Chamber would right
In making Dominion, weve had to
cycle through a lot of
iterations to make it great. Some
minions, others had neutrals, and more than you could possibly imagine. style=""> For the past 3 or 4 months
weve done nothing
but tiny tweaks for balance and pacing.
We believe theres a big difference between pretty good
so we want to make sure that when Dominion is live, it is up to that
standard we maintain.
You wouldnt be 15 million
strong if you didnt up
until now, and Im looking forward to seeing the numbers after Dominion
live. Now during
the press unveiling,
you said this is the first map for the mode.
Will we be seeing more in the future?
will continue to create content for the game.
So should we expect a 3v3 or
smaller variant next
No, I think our next map wont
be a Dominion specific
one. We may do that
eventually, but one
thing weve really learned through Dominion is that creating a new map
new mode creates a lot more new gameplay than simply a new map.
We also had no idea going into
Dominion that wed have to
make an entirely new item system.
didnt think wed have to make a global buff system to change how
interact with each other defensively and offensivelythat (de)buff is
constantly active from the start!
champions benefit from improved defensive penetration to encourage
I could definitely feel that
as Vladimir. Even
with armor items, Pantheon was still
tearing me apart!
Tanks and Tanky DPS had a lot of
advantages in our
earlier iterations of the game. They
throw their weight around better, and thus hold points more effectively
someone with good
self sustainability on a point, such as Garen, was proving frustrating.
Thats definitely true.
You could have
supports and speed demons
capturing elsewhere, while a Singed is just being a complete pain in
We still want tanks to feel like
tanks. We just
wanted to make sure that all
character types are effective. The
original map didnt even have minions, but because certain champions
with additional farm or experience, we had to include them. style=""> Fights were also just less
no minions around.
One of the parts about
Dominion that makes me more
than pleased is the fact that lane control is no longer a factor. style=""> Youre not just standing
around trying to
last hit or avoid harass for the first 10 minutes!
While thats true in comparison
to Summoners Rift, as
you gain a mastery of the map lane control does begin to come into play
not nearly to the same extent.
Some of the power ups seem
weak though. The
Health Pack, for instance, only restores
about 10% health and mana.
That is a decision we made to
ensure that there still
is some form of attrition in battles.
you could just retreat to a pack and join the fight again, that would
for the defender. We
dont want it to
turn into Team Fortress 2 where a Medic and a Heavy cant be displaced
easily, or a Druid in WoW.
Our audience certainly knows
how annoying those
Druids can be.
But at this point weve played
thousands of games
internally of Dominion, and we are working to ensure that everything is
balanced twice over before suddenly millions of players are playing
games daily of it. We
might not be able
to catch everything, but we remain committed to fixing everything that
brought up ASAP.
Speaking of balance, about a
month ago we received a
major forums post about the new stealth changes, featuring permanent
but all heroes having a stealth sighting radius.
That sounds like its going to be hell to
balance for this game mode!
Were assessing it very
carefully, and were going to
make sure we do the right thing and make these heroes both fun to play
not awful to play against. There
lot of subtle changes we can make to make it work.
Just like we went through with multiple
iterations of Dominion internally to make it the game it is today, it
take multiple iterations of the Stealth system before its ready to go.
Hopefully both it and Dominion
are ready to go
soon. Thanks for
your time, Tom!
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