Earlier this week I had the pleasure to be at Riot Game's announcement of League of Legends: Dominion. While I had a lot of fun with the game itself, calling it "23 minutes of awesome", what I enjoyed even more was getting to talk to the developers and seeing how excited they were about unveiling what they've been working hard on. I got a chance to sit down with Travis George, Lead Producer, shortly after playing it for the first time and I picked his brain about details on the game type, the ideas behind Dominion and also how Riot Games designs new champions.
Travis George: So first of all, what'd you think?
The Escapist Magazine: So I actually wrote, in my notepad, 23 minutes of awesome.
Travis: That's great. That's the best, I'd want to put that on the theoretical box.
TEM: It was just an amazing and very dynamic map. I was just so surprised at how it different it played and felt from the normal Summonor's Rift map. Where the start of the game is you know, alright I'm going to last hit this mob, last hit this mob oh wait, here comes a champion, alright I'm going to harass you for a bit. And it was just right of the map, boom, hey I'm fighting other champions.
Travis: It's literally not the case of "Oh I accidentally got caught in the brush, and there was an accidental team fight at level 1 while we're waiting for minions". It's like when you're released, within 20 seconds there are some dudes, and they're trying to do the same thing you are so you better fight them, right? It's a completely different map and we're really, really excited about it. We've been playing this thing for a long time now, played like hundreds of games, and we're so happy that people are getting to play it finally, and see what we've been excited about for a long time.
TEM: So where did the idea for Dominion come from?
Travis: Well, you know, capture and hold isn't, well call it like it is, capture and hold isn't really a new concept and in fact it's a pretty standard game type that's pretty relatable and I think it conjures certain images and expectations of what players are doing, and I think we meet those expectations. We're capturing points in Dominion, but I think from there, you were kind of mentioning this also, that's kind of where the comparison stops.
So the idea was always kind of floating around, we're always kicking ideas, what should we do for players, what do we think they would like? How do we kind of continue to evolve the genre? Which is something that, we really, we really look at kind of something that we're always trying to do is give players new exciting experiences with this really kind of untapped genre of games almost.
So the idea itself wasn't the hard part, the hard part was kind of and I'm going to turn this into a verb before the end of the night I swear it, kind of League of Legends-ifying Capture and Hold. Cause we put in just the standard capture points and threw some champions in, and it wasn't what you see today. So through the iterative process that we really believe in and kind of admitting when something isn't awesome and fixing it, you know? We really took a long path. Actually we've been working on Dominion for about 9 months. We've been thinking about Dominion for a long time but actual heavy development for about that long and it's just through that process it's been kind of evolving all the things you see today. I was telling someone else upstairs it's like, we all sat down and drew out maps we thought you would play Dominion on in this Capture and Hold mode before it was really even Dominion, and we were all wrong. Right? All totally way off base, because it just wasn't fun, and we didn't know it. We had to solve, how do you make all the character types viable? Which is a goal we have. I wouldn't release something where you have a subset of champions because players have their favorite champions and we want all those to be available, right? We had to figure out what to do with minions, we had to figure out how to use items effectively, we had to figure out leveling up as you were talking about early, gold, we had to figure out all that stuff and it was through the iterative process that it really came about, tons and tons and tons of play testing.