The design of League of Legends champions has changed so much since its inception that even Riot Games’ own employees scoff at some of the company’s old decisions. At the time, a new champion had to be released every fortnight, and that sometimes forced developers to choose the simple route, to meet deadlines. Thus, at the start of the game, skillshots were relatively rare, and targeted spells were much more numerous. Since then, Riot Games has backtracked, and they are gradually disappearing.
Simplicity is not necessarily fun
A targeted spell is an ability where the player directly targets the opponent by clicking on it. Once he has clicked on the latter, his spell is cast and cannot be avoided, with rare exceptions (E de Sivir, Banshee, Zhonya). The perfect example of this kind of spell is Annie’s Q, which despite its immense range, is cast by clicking on the enemy champion. Here are some statistics about these targeted spells:
- More than half of the champions (84) have access to this type of ability. The total number of skills with these characteristics in the game is 96.
- Of the 96 point and click abilities, most have damage as their main characteristic (43).
- In League of Legends, there are only 20 non-ultimate abilities capable of applying powerful control effects on the enemy by clicking on them. Of these, 8 have additional requirements (hitting against the wall, accumulating marks…). Nasus and Zilean slows have been included as great CCs.
A mechanism that is gradually disappearing
The choice of this target focus mechanism was largely explained by its simplicity. The spell went directly to its target, ignoring the terrain and the other protagonists (champions/minions). This avoids many potential bugs, but the gameplay is not the same as with a skillshot. Now that the outings of champions are more and more spaced out, this choice is almost no longer made. This can also be seen in champion revamps. For example, Sion lost his targeted Q during his full gameplay update, and he’s not alone. Warwick’s R also asked to simply click on the opponent, which is no longer the case today.
This disappearance is partly explained by the pleasure of the players. Casting your spell at the right time is satisfying, but casting it at the right time while knowing that you had to aim well to dodge the unwanted elements between your champion and his target, is even more exhilarating. This also allows you to push the limits of gameplay, for example, it is easier to put heavy damage on a skillshot, because it can be dodged. Putting huge damage on a spammable target spell generally means offering no means of countering to the opponent, which requires balancing the spell well. Although targeted spell mechanics are increasingly rare, they are not disappearing completely. Sylas’ ultimate uses this mechanic to prevent the champion from being unable to steal an opponent’s ultimate.
We know almost all the teams that will compete in the League of Legends MSI this year. As in 2021, the competition will be divided into 3 stages. The first should only be a formality for G2 Esports, the European champions, even if their group will be a bit special…