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Step by Step: Creating a "Transmutation Champion Kit"

D3Reap3R February 8, 2012 User blog:D3Reap3R

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Still work in progress - Only the beginning


Basically, this is my design approach of gathering and creating a concept to the "Transmutation Magician", who can transform things into anything they like. I am not going to create a story around him as for now, but these are simply thoughts around creating such a kit and beginning a design.

First: First Step

First thought: Creating a kit means having an idea. My idea for this kit is a melee to mid-range champion that focuses on short-duration changes (stats, etc.) to long-scale transmutation to either disrupt or break the enemy. A good kit usually resolves around a specific ability that is working as "core", as some kind of "shifting point". The actual second thought: Every character needs some originality, detail and something making it completely unique, completely expectational and possibly, a "trend-setting character". Taking this into account, we could bring several possibilities forth.

A magician is casting, weaving and channeling spells to make something happen. For this to happen, a catalyst/an "offering" of sorts ( in most cases Mana ) is used. Considering that transmutation is the art of deform, change and re-form something, we could safely assume that one does not simply transmute their way into Mordor. Note that I am differing "spell" and "ability" for this - spells are casted on a superficial level while abilities somehow revolve around the own abilities with a lot of gray areas for both.

Second: Second Step

Taking one of the more common examples as approach, we have "Fullmetal Alchemist" as leading trend of alchemists. Basically, alchemy in FMA (Fullmetal Alchemist) is based on "Equivalent Exchange" - Give something to get something else of exact resource value. This means that "Mana" was basically non-existant, "an unimportant point in FMA". With this as the greatest of all rules, everything can be taken apart, understood and re-constructed in a way you want. For this to work, the character had to have an immense understanding of the world and the (modern) chemistry research of elements. This leads us to the first important point: the users of alchemy required to have a certain intellect and the capabilities of understanding.

Now, we have more or less a basic construct: we have the character from the series, we have what they do, what their work is based on and the main requirement shaping them into what they are. Now, we can try to work our way forward; what is the "core ability" ? And more importantly, how can we make him "unique", "expectional" and "original" ?

First things first, so let's start with the ability: One thing I notice often, people forget that an ability can be simple. It does not always revolve around a completely amazing, completely complicated and twisted mechanic or system. So let's go for the simplest approach possible.

I brainstormed the word/idea "transmute" and got several words:

  1. Equal # Catalyst # Forbidden # Magic ? # Exchange # Change (-> Positive ? /-> Negative ?) # Material (-> Damaging ? /-> Restoring ? /-> Returning ? /-> Surprising ?) #

Third: Approach

Of course, I could have gone further into the actual theme, but I decided to keep it as that. Each # is one point # with each (-> being a sub-point /-> another sub-point). Also, some points with a question mark are "questionable". So I got the first, simpliest idea that would fit:

  • (Innate): <name> gets increased gold per kill.

-> Transmutation means changing something into something of equal value. Taking into account that we fight in an actual "war environment", one would surely wish to have more capabilities of buying things. So why not take things from an enemy, "transmute it to something you could possibly sell or similar" ? That being said, this is a passive that the magician would share with Twisted Fate, who also gets additional gold per kill he does. Would it be fun to play him with a passive shared by another champion ? I doubt so. This means that this take is not successful and would bring a bad start to it.

Another idea pops up:

  • (Innate): <name> regains the full mana costs whenever he hits an enemy with a spell.

-> Transmutation resolves around changing something, so a possible idea could be that he "transmutes" part of the damage/material from the enemy as personal magical power. However, this particular passive could be broken up into different possibilities:

  • (Innate): <name> regains the full mana costs whenever he hits an enemy with a spell.
    • (Innate): <name> regains a percentage of the damage dealt to the enemy as Mana.
    • (Innate): <name> restores the full mana costs whenever he hits a champion with a spell.
    • (Innate): <name> restores part of the mana costs whenever he hits an enemy with a spell

-> As you possibly noticed, there are far more possiblities in this area than I wrote down. Also, I focus myself on these specific four bases to work with. However, while each of them could bring a fun mixture to the champion, there are three central questions I ask myself when I write these ideas down.

  1. Are they balanced ?
  2. Are they somehow overpowered/underpowered ?
  3. Are they reasonable compared to other champions ?

-> Argueable, these three questions do thin the possibilities out.

  • (Innate): <name> regains the full mana costs whenever he hits an enemy with a spell.
    • Balanced ? - Under circumstances - however, the closest to balance.
    • Overpowered ? - Under circumstances - could easily get out of hand
    • Reasonable ? - Under circumstances - really depends on the kit
  • (Innate): <name> regains a percentage of the damage dealt to the enemy as Mana.
    • Balanced ? - would be weaker in the early phase, but possibly break out in late game
    • Overpowered ? - Could easily get out of hand
    • Reasonable ? - Depends on several factors, like "Manacosts", "Ability Ratios", "dealt damage", "Abilities"
  • (Innate): <name> restores the full mana costs whenever he hits a champion with a spell.
    • Balanced ? - Under circumstances
    • Overpowered ? - Depends on several factors, like "dealt damage", "mana costs", "ability ratios", "abilities", "enemy", "game phase"
    • Reasonable ? - Under circumstances - Mostly the actual focus of the champion.
  • (Innate): <name> restores part of the mana costs whenever he hits an enemy with a spell.
    • Balanced ? - Definitely the most balanced out of them
    • Overpowered ? - Possibly, however could also get very underpowered - depends.
    • Reasonable ? - Definitely.

As you can see, asking yourself these questions can quickly and easily fan the basics out.

So after considering each passive under these categories, I stay for this idea:

  • (Innate): <name> restores part of the mana costs whenever he hits an enemy with a spell.

Fourth: Moving onto the next steps

As I wrote, every kit is best created with one remarkable or central ability working as kind of a revolving or pivoting icon. The question is, do we want the passive to be it ? Do we want something else to be more prominent, more special, maybe stronger or even more remarkable ? This is individual to every kit, but I wanted (to remember my initial thought) that this champion is interrupting, breaking and altering to his enemies or allies. So I think that we should not focus on the passive, but on another ability: so I return to the brainstorming:

  1. Equal # Catalyst # Forbidden # Magic ? # Exchange # Change (-> Positive ? /-> Negative ?) # Material (-> Damaging ? /-> Restoring ? /-> Returning ? /-> Surprising ?) #

And add more to it:

  1. Equal # Catalyst # Forbidden # Magic ? # Exchange # Change (-> Positive ? /-> Negative ?) # Material (-> Damaging ? /-> Restoring ? /-> Returning ? /-> Surprising ?) # Creating # Raising # Falling # Energy # Seal # Rune # Emotions # Reminiscence # Building # Destruction # Restoring # Altering

I think we can safely assure that there are way more than I wrote down. But, I want to

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