Why I Think Overloaded Character Kits Are Good For League

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200 years of game design experience might be good, actually

Story Highlights
  • Fans claim Riot’s downfall started with them overloading every other champion on release since Aphelios.
  • The latest champions are simpler to grasp with less text in their kits, which I think is a bad direction for the game.
  • Overloaded character kits give players more options in how to approach a situation and increase outplay potential, hence they’re good for League.

League of Legends has been up and about for well over a decade now. The game started very differently than how it is today. Riot’s been constantly under the spotlight in terms of champion design, with League players accusing them of making every new champion overloaded. Riot refuses this claim, and so do a lot of other fans. Personally, I believe that not only is this true, but it’s actually a good thing!

200 Years Of Game Design

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Riot’s always had some champions more complicated than others, but this issue wasn’t obvious before a Tweet made by Riot’s design team after the release of Aphelios. The tweet called out Riot’s design choices with Aphelios and also talked about worry regarding Wukong’s revamped passive.

A Brief History

Darius Splash Art
Darius Splash Art by Riot Games

It’s important to quickly talk about a former lead designer at League, Bradford CertainlyT Wenban. League and DOTA were barely different at their initial stages, but this one person pushed the boundaries and gave League the theme it has today. The first truly “overloaded” champion was Darius, designed by Certainty. The term overloaded is described by Riftfeed as “Overloaded kit just means a champion has multiple aspects within their kit squished together. This does not mean that the champion is inherently overpowered.”

The champion was met with insults and slander because he was someone that was just more fun to play than anyone else, and less fun to play against. CertaintyT went on to make Yasuo, Zed, the revamped Akali (the best-designed champion in-game), and yes, Aphelios.

Post Aphelios

The champions that came after Aphelios had the community calling them out before they even got their official skill reveals. Sett’s true damage dealing W, Haymaker, made him the most controversial bruiser. Yone and Samira came with kits that had no weaknesses and all. This continued and escalated with Viego, whose ability to possess enemy champions, including all their items, made certain users just ever so slightly pissed

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This continued to worsen with Akshan, who I personally think is the most overloaded champion in the game, and many others agree. Multiple auto-attacks, shields, movement speed, invisibility, bonus gold, vision on enemy bounties, mana regen, a hook that deals damage and resets on takedowns, and the accursed ability to revive your entire team if you manage to kill the enemy champion that killed them.

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K’sante was similar, bringing hypermobility on a tank and the the strongest isolation ability in the game after Mordekaiser. He also shielded allies and had his damage scale off of defense.

Why Overloaded Kits Are Good

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Riot seems to have taken a different approach to new champions. Milio, Naafiri, Briar, and Smolder all have relatively simple kits. This should’ve been what the community wanted, but no one really hears of these champions. I play League almost every single day, but I had to open up patch notes to even remember that Milio was in the game.

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Essentially, overloaded kits give players more ways to approach a situation. It gives them more variables to work with, which results in a lot more hype moments. I believe there’s a balance to be had, sure, but comparing the League of today to that of 2009, no one would choose the latter.

How Are Overloaded Kits Balanced?

Taking the earlier culprits into account, Aphelios has an extreme learning curve. Keeping track of all your weapons and then being able to combine them properly takes both macro and micro-managing skills. Even then, mistakenly getting the wrong gun can result in a harsh punishment. Samira’s lower range and her inability to cast an ultimate on command balances her ability to 1v5.

Akali’s ability to one-shot squishies and run away is balanced around the fact that, unlike Katarina, she can’t teamwipe and has to retreat cause of her energy after 2-3 kills. Yone’s tools to deal damage are the same ones he has to use to retreat, so a failed encounter leaves him without a way to save himself. I can’t justify K’sante cause I think he’s on the bad side of overloaded kits, where there isn’t a specific theme.

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