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Champion Roadmap: August 2018

By Ryan 'Reav3' Mireles[1]

Hey guys, we’re back with the final Champion Roadmap of the year. This season, the Champions Team has been focusing slightly more on VGUs and slightly less on new champs, so I won’t be mimicking the last couple blog posts exactly. Instead, I’ll be focusing mostly on the upcoming VGUs. We do have a few new champions in development—including a rather colorful mage that won’t stay hidden for too much longer—but it’s a bit far away to go into specific details yet.

Neeko teaser 01

Champion Reveal: Neeko

Neeko OriginalSkin
Neeko Divider 01

Who is she? That depends—who are you? A shapeshifter from a long-lost tribe of vastaya, Neeko watches the world with wide eyes and endless curiosity, always looking for something new to be. She may not seem dangerous at first glance, but keep a close eye on her—with Neeko, things are never quite as they appear.[2]

Neeko Divider 06

Inherent Glamour
Inherent Glamour

Neeko can disguise herself to appear as an ally champion. Damaging or taking damage from enemy champions or casting either Blooming Burst Blooming Burst or Tangle-Barbs Tangle-Barbs breaks the illusion and increases the cooldown.

Blooming Burst
Blooming Burst

Neeko propels a seed into a target area, which blooms and damages enemies. If the burst kills an enemy or damages a champion or large monster, it will bloom again up to two times.

Shapesplitter
Shapesplitter

Passive: Every third basic attack resonates with spiritual energy, dealing bonus magic damage and briefly increasing Neeko’s movement speed.

Active: Neeko briefly slips out of sight, becoming invisible, gaining movement speed, and sending a temporary clone of her current form sprinting in a chosen direction.

Tangle-Barbs
Tangle-Barbs

Neeko slings a magical spiral in a direction, damaging and briefly rooting enemies it passes through. The last champion hit is rooted longer.

If Tangle-Barbs Tangle-Barbs hits at least two enemies, it grows in size, speed, and root duration.

Pop Blossom
Pop Blossom

Neeko begins charging herself with spiritual essence. A moment later, she leaps into the air, gains a shield, and slows nearby enemies, releasing energy upon landing to massively damage and stun enemies in the area.

When disguised by Inherent Glamour Inherent Glamour, enemies won’t see Neeko’s initial charge-up.

Playing as Neeko
Gameplay - Playing as Neeko

Gameplay - Playing as Neeko

As Neeko, you slip into the skin of your allies to bewilder enemies and surprise them with bursts of colorful primordial magic. Trip up foes you encounter with Tangle-Barbs Tangle-Barbs, rooting them within the painful petals of a Blooming Burst Blooming Burst as it flowers again and again. When you’re ready to seek out something more exciting, draw on your Inherent Glamour Inherent Glamour to mimic the appearance of an ally and scurry off to a new encounter.

Once your curiosity startles foes into combat, use the clone from Shapesplitter Shapesplitter to keep opponents confused while you reposition and prepare a special surprise. When you’re ready to reveal it was you all along, jump into the middle of the fight with a prismatic Pop Blossom Pop Blossom and leave them all stunned.

Hello, enemy!
Neeko Divider 03
Tips and Tricks
Neeko Screenshots
  • Neeko’s tricks change as she does. Here are a few ways to use the shapeshifting magic of Inherent Glamour Inherent Glamour:
  • Copying an ally with melee or shorter range is a sneaky set-up for a Tangle-Barbs Tangle-Barbs and Blooming Burst Blooming Burst combo; you’ll catch foes who think they’re at a safe distance completely by surprise. Similarly, transform into an ally with a hook and watch as foes outplay themselves trying to hide behind their creeps—Tangle-Barbs Tangle-Barbs will still hit them, and they’ll be rooted for even longer.
  • Disguise yourself as your jungler to fake a gank in another lane—foes will burn their escape moves out of instinct or be distracted when the real threat strikes. Alternatively, appear as a low-health teammate to bait the enemy team into diving you right as your Pop Blossom Pop Blossom explodes.
  • Coordinate with your team to maximize NeekoSquare Neeko's mimicry. Switch with a recalling ally to keep opponents wondering who’s really in lane, or cast a clutch Shapesplitter Shapesplitter in the midst of battle to befuddle foes with a triple-champ guessing game: is it the real one, Neeko, or the clone?
"I want to become everybody.
Who says I cannot?"
Neeko Divider 03

Ask Riot: Neeko Edition

Neeko Banner Crop

This week, it’s all about Neeko, the Curious Chameleon![3]


Did Neeko have any crazy abilities during development that didn’t make the cut?

At one point, she had a high-range trap nest (think 2000 range) for her ultimate which took a long time to arm but did a lot of damage. The idea was that you’d lay it in a place you thought the enemy would go, and disguise yourself into an ally to lead them there. It turned out to be ridiculously frustrating to play against because people didn’t feel like they could go anywhere since they did not have any clue to where she could have cast the traps.

SolCrushed
Game Designer



What did Neeko look like in early concept art?

Since we hit the idea of “a chameleon vastayan” pretty early on, she looks pretty much like the initial concept. In the early explorations, she was wilder and less influenced by civilization. But actually, the way she’s evolved to look now is because she’s constantly learning from and mimicking other people, and that makes her less wild and more like a human being.

Skekses
Senior Concept/Character Artist



What were some inspirations for Neeko?

Skekses: One of the early inspirations when I pitched the “chameleon vastaya” idea was Leeloo, one of the characters from the movie The Fifth Element. I love the way she learns, the way she moves, and how curious she is.

FauxSchizzle: Personality wise, there was also Starfire, Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy, Eleven from Stranger Things, X-23, Stitch… very quirky, fish-out-of-water characters who have tremendous untapped power potential. They’re often stronger than they know, but always good-hearted and open.

Skekses: All of this combined with the gameplay hook of “a champion who can copy the appearance of other champions” made for the perfect ingredients to make Neeko. :)

Skekses & FauxSchizzle



Is Neeko a vastaya, with human blood? Or is she a Vastayashai’rei?

Neeko is not a pure Vastayashai’rei, but she is closer to it than most of the other vastaya. The Oovi-Kat tribe splintered off from the vastaya tribes very early and have largely lived in isolation, so their magic is more pure and ancient than other vastaya. There is very, very little human blood in Neeko’s lineage.

Someone like XayahSquare Xayah—who longs for a time before the vastaya were diminished by the pact made with humans—would freak out upon meeting Neeko. She’d probably feel a little envious because Neeko is so strong with spirit energy, but it’d also make her hopeful that the vastaya aren’t as diminished as she perceives.

FauxSchizzle
Senior Narrative Writer



What’s Neeko’s favorite food?

Neeko loves to try new things, but her current favorite is cheese breads, both the ones found in Valoran and a similar pastry made by her home tribe. I wonder who invented the cheese bread recipe first?

FauxSchizzle
Senior Narrative Writer



How’d you get Neeko’s passive to work?

Even though we had a mimic mechanic in Black Market Brawlers in the Trickster's Glass item Trickster's Glass item, it was created by combining a bunch of existing code rather than being a custom-built system. With Neeko, we needed to engineer something that could fully support the disguise mechanic. This was not only a rewrite of the disguise code, but also cleanup for existing systems like clone interactions with buffs and debuffs. There are some small bugs and edge cases with Neeko’s passive that we need to fix, but with the new code we can solve them systemically rather than build a million special casings.

SolCrushed
Game Designer



Why does Neeko have to be in the center of the fight to use her ultimate when she’s a mage?

We kept her range relatively low because the disguise and clone gameplay was much more interactive when she had to take risks herself to be effective (this connects back to why we moved away from the “trap nest” ability as her ultimate). Having unusual win conditions like “jump into the frontline as a ranged champion” also gave the Neeko player more feedback on when they tricked the enemy.

SolCrushed
Game Designer



… does Neeko lay eggs?
Stop. Asking.
(no)
FauxSchizzle
Senior Narrative Writer


Media

Neeko, the Curious Chameleon - Login Screen

Neeko, the Curious Chameleon - Login Screen

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Light and Shadow Star Guardian Animated Trailer - League of Legends

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References

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