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Nov 12, 2013

Xelnath Discusses Shurelia/Philo Stone Name Changes

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Last weekend, Riot's brought it among themselves to change the names of Shurelia's Reverie and Philosopher's Stone in-game to three new items: Ancient Coin, Nomad's Medallion, and Shurima's Reverie (see below).

  • The new items will be keeping their new names
  • We add a new character who discovered these items – Historian Shurelya
  • We’ll rename “Icon of the Sun Disk” to “Shurima's Reverie”
  • We’ll make add ‘Shurelya’ shows up when you search for the item in the search box of the item shop
While they have their reasons for doing so, check out the full scoop below:

New Item Names
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Official Post by RiotXelnath:

Hello Players,

Recently, a lot of discussion has kicked up about some recent item name changes that went out late last weekend. Specifically, a lot of people were concerned about the name changes to Shurelia’s Reverie, Philosopher’s Stone and Philosopher’s Pebble.

We really do care about how attached you guys are to the game, its items and the development team that got League this far.

Let me see if I clearly understand your concerns:
  • Concerns about the removal of Shurelia’s name and respecting her legacy
  • Unclear why the changes to the item names occurred
  • The new theme was inferred, but not clearly understood
  • Sad about the removal of the Harry Potter reference to the Philosopher’s Stone, (as well as the Medieval reference IRL)
  • Difficulty finding the new item in the shop

Is this correct? Please let me know if not. 

Why do this? 

Next, let’s talk about the changes and why. RiotRadioblur will be talking about the artistic direction, while I talk about the mechanics, theme and overall direction. 

When I approached the task of adjusting the gold income streams for Season 4, I initially did my best to keep the old item names and themes. This was great – people jumping into the game easily figured out the relationships between the old items and the new ones. [e.g. Pebble -> Stone] However, some of them just didn’t make sense (Philosopher’s Stone -> Shurelia’s Reverie). My initial reaction was to accept that these kinds of strange things will happen when you change items and leave it alone. 

Playtesting and feedback 

Then we brought in a large group of players from a wide variety of skills and backgrounds to play the content for next season. These players would consistently give us the feedback: “Oh, why doesn’t Philosopher’s Stone still build into Y? You guys should just make new items, since they are completely independent build path.” After hearing this enough times, we decided it was the right call to go back and revisit the items and their icons. 

About the same time, we decided it was the right call to make the gold income items exclusive (Madlife and H4ck3rv2 destroyed internal playtests by smartly stacking and optimizing the items). Combining these two concepts lead us in a clear direction:
  • Make each unique income stream item themed to a different faction.

Naturally, our first choice was to go through a long process of evaluating which factions were the best for each of the concepts. Leona and Pantheon are great representations of the dangerous, headlong risk-taking playstyle we wanted to encourage, so the ancient relic shield of Targon became the clear choice. Shard of True Ice’s new active was a perfect fit for a Freljord item. Finally, we came down to the passive gold generation item. 

Initially, we kept the Philosopher’s Idea, but as we looked at the goals of picking an item name which matched the goals of:
  • Fit the mechanics
  • Fit into the story of league of legends
  • Be a clear story and path as the item evolves with you

We realized that telling the story of a Philosopher’s Stone was very subtle, hard to convey and harder to fit into the story of league. So we decided to explore a direction that helps expand upon the realm of Shurima. Recently, as we’ve gone back and worked on Nasus, Sivir and Xerath, we’ve realized the world of Shurima is far less well-understood than the other major regions of League of Legends. There are potentially a lot of awesome stories can tell here, but we haven’t done a great job of getting there. 

So we wanted to help integrate the contribution of the fallen Shurima Empire into league better. Sunfire Cape (an awesome item on both Nasus and Renekton) has been rethemed to carry the logo of the fallen empire. Similarly, we thought the story of an ancient coin that turns out to be a part of an ancient religious icon was also a cool way at gently introducing lore with the preseason. 

About Shurelia

At no point did we intend or want to change this item to exclude or forget about Shurelia. However, when you see a name go out without the new icon and art, it’s easy to feel like it was made for some reason like that. However, while we love Shurelia, we do not want to imply that Shurelia is the sun god of Runeterra. (Besides, if you knew Shurelia, you know she much, much more preferred the Darkness. Clever girl.)

So, since we are taking that away, how do we intend to remember her legacy? Here’s what we propose: (New Icons weren't ready when I made the screenshots, but RadioBlur will be posting them shortly!)


RiotRadioBlur Follows Up With Icons

Hello again!

As Xelnath has stated, there’s a lot of purpose that went into the change, and I feel he’s really captured the essence of what we’re trying to accomplish. Many of the points the community has made about the decision have been totally valid, but there are definitely some that could use more context before being set in stone. My hope is that I can provide that context to explain how these new objects fit into League, and how they serve to enhance both gameplay and the continued development of our world. So let’s take a look at the art, shall we?

The original Philosopher’s Stone is pretty mediocre, in that it is basically a rock with a swirl on it. It looks pretty bland, and the fidelity is super low. When we talked about reworking the icon originally before Preseason changes were even in our minds, we talked about what kind of people we would expect to have a Philosopher’s Stone, and the closest we could come in our minds was Zaun. The problem here is that the fit just isn’t clean enough. Zaun is into nasty chemistry, and the Philosopher’s Stone is some sort of magical item alchemists could use to change lead into gold. It’s not visceral or gross enough to be Zaun, who are by far a lot more practical and scientific in their approach than alchemy is. Still, we made an icon originally for this theme. The icon itself has good quality art by our measure, but the thematic sell just wasn’t coming through. The storytelling isn't strong enough.

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We might find a home for this item later, but I doubt it will make it in without some substantial tweaks and re-theming to make it really work with the world we’re building.

So as Xelnath was saying, Philosopher’s Stone saw some interesting shifts in the way it was built that ended up being confusing for players who expected the item to build the way it used to. In thinking how to resolve this, we toyed with various idea (including running with Philosopher’s Stone and finding a way to make it fit), but the best path we eventually decided was to make something new. We sat down with some writers and tried to suss out a cohesive story for these items and how they fit into our world. We noticed a few themes in Shurima were working really strong for this item.

The first step becomes a coin. We drew references from Chinese coins, which have a hole in the middle allowing them to be fitted on strings for carrying around. This gives a sense of showing off one’s wealth outwardly, as a string of coins could really push the opulence we’re striving for here. The long shape we’ve chosen is to highlight the radial motif, and the flares mimic many of the shapes seen in our Shuriman champions’ armor. The result is something simple, but unique. It really feels like it belongs in our world now, something we can tangibly expect to see our characters showing off.

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The next step is an emblem. Nomad’s Medallion does not currently have art, but we are looking again to themes of gold and trade for this design. It will likely feature a subtle sun motif and will have some hint of the desert from which it comes. A good luck charm for merchants, it should reference and reinforce Shuriman cultural motifs.

Lastly comes a symbol with power. An icon, not in the sense of simply being representative, but in the sense of being of an almost religious importance. Something a person of great dedication to the sun might wear to invoke the favor of the kind of higher beings Shurima is home to—Nasus, Renekton, etc. But an icon carries so many connotations now, the phrase doesn’t have the same meaning to most people upon reading it. This is why it makes the most sense to add the “Reverie” back into it; a celebration of the sun, not simply an image of it. Ultimately I think this will be a really good direction to take the item, both in theme and name.

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I can’t stress enough that we are still on good terms with Shurelya, by the way (actually, she recently emailed me to send me feedback on some other icons that are going out). This change is not meant to slight her in any way, but instead to build an item more into the storytelling of our universe. I understand the confusion, but I want to be clear that it was not part of our intentions at any point.

As for the art, I think we’re going to end up with something really clear and good for gameplay here. (Gold item gives you gold? Win in my book!) The initial confusion might be strenuous, but the long term payoffs should be beneficial based on what we’ve come to understand about the changes.

Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!



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