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League of Legends: Before Riven, There Was Omen

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Not every champion Riot thinks of makes it into League of Legends.  As is the case, with Omen, a demon-like champion scrapped in favor of Riven.

You have probably haven't heard of Omen.  That's because Riot never made him known to the general public, until recently.  Speaking at GC Online, Riot Games design director Tom Cadwell delivered a speech "Designers Are Humans Too--Causes of Poor Design Decisions."  In the talk, Cadwell shared some personal memories of bad decisions in free-to-play online games and the thinking that led to them.

After an opening that emphasized even really good designers can make poor decisions, Cadwell shared a specific story relating to how designers accept unnecessary constraints that can convince them a compromise is necessary, while a different approach could get them around that supposed constraint.

This may seem like mumble jumble to some of you, but here is where the story of Omen came up, and the reason he isn't in the current League of Legends game.

Here's what we learned about Omen and why he was replaced by Riven.

  • Omen was a quadreped demon-like creature
  • It wasn't clear from the design if it was a ranged or melee character
  • It had some overlapping design with other League of Legends heroes

As you can see, Omen was never fully on the right track.  From the beginning things about the character were unclear, and as Cadwell stated, "the team realized it wasn't getting any better."  The result, Omen was scrapped and Riven, the Exile.  Not that it was a bad replacement.  Riven is quite fun and her combo style gameplay is a nice change of pace. 

Still, one has to wonder what Omen would have been like if he had made it into League of Legends.  Having a demon-like creature would definitely be different.  And who knows, he still might make a comeback.  I remember how long Monkey King was rumored to be in development, and Urf-rider Corki skin.  People always thought that was a running joke.

So don't count out Omen.  He's not finished.  He's just hanging out with Priscilla, the Spider Queen.

Matt-liebl-profile
Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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