League of Legends is complex. At the time of writing, you have the choice of 160 different champions to play while you contest the Rift. Each champion goes through a strict design process to make sure they offer something unique, something that ensures they deserve their place in the crowded lineup – but where does this end? At what point does Riot call it a day on adding new options for players?
According to Leung-Harrison “[Riot] have still got a lot of flex to go”.
The designer goes into some depth on how and why a champion is added to the game, stating that anything new has to be exactly that – new. “Every champion that gets released is unique in some aspect, we try to make sure that the thing that is unique is as intuitive as possible so as not to consume that mindshare budget.”
The ‘mindshare budget’ Matt speaks of is the huge pool of champions, and how players need to recognise and understand every single champion to be an effective part of their team. “That becomes a lot more difficult when every hook champion has their hook function in a slightly different way.”
“Let’s say I run into Thresh and he throws a hook, that looks like a hook, but then it just goes over somebody. You’d be like ‘what the hell is that? I’m so used to something that looks like a hook, that hits me but it’s like changing direction.”
The question of ‘is there a cap on champions in League of Legends?’ boils down to this, according to Matt: “If we make unintuitive champions, then yes, the cap to making more champions is an issue.” He goes on to say: “It’s only when we do something that completely subverts the expectation of what that spell, or what that missile, or what that VFX means then we get into problems.”
For now, at least, it seems like Riot still has ideas for new and fresh champions that warrant their place in the League of Legends lineup. Who knows where we’ll be in a few years’ time – is there a point where a 200+ pool of characters is far too diluted to be pleasurable to play or to watch? If you’re getting started, and are wondering which of the 160 champions best fits you, it’s worth checking out the best League of Legends champions for beginners. Also, for the current meta, here are the patch notes for 12.15.