If you played League of Legends before April 2013 but stopped to take up hockey or something, you’ll know Trundle as a plague troll and a martyr. If you’ve picked up the game since April 2013, you’ll know him as a frost troll and underdog bruiser.
If you were around for the tumultuous time in between, you might have contributed to the angry threads in his name. Speaking at PAX Prime this weekend, Riot’s champion redesign team admitted the shift “could have been handled a little more delicately”.
“We learned a ton on Trundle’s relaunch,” said senior character artist Joshua Singh during the PAX panel. “My personal opinion is that I freaking love new Trundle, he is badass. But it was very abrupt and I think it could have been been handled a little more delicately as far as the lore [was concerned]. It caused some controversy and a lot of threads.”
Creative designer Randy Begel explained the process by which the team go about redesigning their champions.
“We tend to take a champion, examine it, break it down to its core elements and hone in on the really iconic elements that build up the champion,” he said. “The things that if you alter fundamentally change who they are and what they represent. We use those as a guide or to decide whether or not we think a change is really important to do for the benefit of the character.”
In Trundle’s case, the team decided it was important that they make an “alteration to his thematics”.
“Trundle’s story had nowhere to go, he had no destination,” reasoned champion designer Ryan Scott. “It was finished. There was nowhere else to go with that character.”
That said, Scott told the PAX audience that his team had “talked a lot” about more sensitive ways Riot might introduce similarly seismic shifts in character development in the future.
“I think we’re really happy with the end result on Trundle – I think he’s objectively better from a number of standpoints,” he said. “But I think the difference is when you make a big thematic shift like that, when you change something, you’ve got to ease people into it and take them on the journey with you.
“If we’d taken a little more time to ease into the changes, and told a complete story that eased Trundle into new Trundle – the same character going on a journey – I think that would be a much cooler way to get to that same result. It would have been a lot less like a splash of cold water to the face.”
Does the motivation of your champion matter to you? Or are you more concerned with their skillset / totally rad alt skins?
Thanks, Reign of Gaming.