League of Legends 2011 E3 Preview
I had the opportunity to meet with Riot Games, and if there is one thing I can take away from it, it would be that Riot definitely listens to its fanbase. Riot revealed three characters under development and even showed a working version of the spectator system.
The first character showcased was Yorick, the Gravedigger. Yorick is a tanky, caster type character. He is Riot's version of a Death Knight. A shovel wielding giant, he is able to summon three different ghouls to fight alongside him, each with a different effect. One ghoul features a life steal ability, draining the enemy health and returning it to Yorick. Another ghoul will increase Yorick's attack speed and slow the enemy. Yorick's ult is a line of roots that drastically slows the enemy's movement speed.
For those clamoring in the forums for a female tank, you are about to get some good news. The wait is not going to be much longer. Riot showed the plans for a female tank currently in-the-works. Her name is Leona, and while her specific abilities remain undisclosed, she will harness the powers of the Sun. Artwork for her was revealed and will be posted shortly.
The third character, Skarner, is going to introduce a new race and will also be somewhat tanky. Other than that, not much detail was given.
In addition to these new characters, Riot mentioned that some characters would be reworked. They didn't go into much description, but from what I could tell it would involve mostly art design changes.
The new spectator system (to be used live in the Championships at Dreamhack) was the cherry on top of their E3 presentation. Players now have the ability to invite friends to watch their games. This system enables the viewer to see virtually anything in the current match. Spectators have multiple viewing options, ranging from revealing the entire map to seeing a single team's fog of war view. They can even lock on and track a single player.
Overall, the spectator system allows the viewer to see many details, including which skills have been taken, the players items, deaths, cooldowns, and more. One of the neatest features in the spectator system is the ability to see the total gold for each team. This is generally a good way to tell which team is farming better, getting dragon more often, winning the team fights, etc. It really is a quick way to judge who is winning the match.
While the spectator system does mean we are a step closer to a built-in replay system, Riot was quick to emphasize that it is a long, complicated process and that we shouldn't expect it right away. At the least, it is good to see that they are thinking about and working on a replay system.
Unfortunately, when I asked about the release of Magma Chamber, they replied that they may have leaked that information too soon. In other words, I wouldn't hold my breath for Magma Chamber's release any time soon. Although this was a bit disappointing to hear, it's hard to be upset considering just how much Riot has introduced to the game. With the recent addition of the Tribunal and the newly created spectator system, along with the launching of League of Legends in China, it's easy to understand why it isn't exactly a high priority on their to-do list.
While Magma Chamber might not be released any time soon, Riot made it clear with these upcoming releases that they do listen to fans and players. It seems Riot remains very secretive about many of the projects they are working on and release things suddenly, without warning. But if this brief E3 preview was any indication of things to come, I'd say we are in store for a pretty great year.