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LoL Dominion: A closer look

By Tamara 'VANiLLACORE' H
Mar 13, 2012 21:44


ImageThe only thing you know about Dominion is that HotshotGG said that it's "fast and fun"? Always wondered what it was like for Riot to design a completely new map? Then you should give this a read.

Most of you can probably imagine that it isn't that easy to come up with a new mode for any game. Doing this for a community that has only been common with one specific gamtype is even more of a challenge. Travis George, League of Legends' lead producer, spoke his heart and mind at GDC post-mortem panel yesterday. He stated some interesting facts about Dominion, the biggest update since the launch of League of Legends.

"We wanted to design a map that cuts out the laning phase."

When Riot realized how fast the popularity and the community of League of Legends were growing day by day, they decided that it might be a good idea to bring a new map to the game to fulfill the wishes of many players.

After releasing "Twisted Tree Line", George came up with the idea of the „Magma Chamber“. As Summoner's Rift already had the ideal back-and-forth balance, Riot decided to stop developing „Magma Chamber“ and set it aside. Even tho the map's layout totally differed from SR, it was also based on a three-lane, pushy game play.

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Project Odin (which was renamed to Dominion later) was born due to the fact that Riot wanted to go for a complete different gamestyle instead of brining a map to the game that was similiar to SR.

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"We actually had to build tools for Dominion, while we were building Dominion."

Still the production process of their new idea turned out to be pretty challenging. Having a concept that focuses the release of a new champion every two weeks, Riot had to find a way to keep working on Dominion without losing sight of their usual schedule.

While the version of Dominion we know today is all about capturing the five points around the map, there has been an impressive number of other ideas concerning the core mechanics of gameplay.

One of the ideas was to reflect the gameplay of Counter-Strike. Champions could plant a bomb at certain spot, and protect it until it effectually blew up. But this idea wasn't what Riot wanted. George Travis explained that the fun of League of Legends is based on fighting with the champion and using your abilities. When forced to carry a bomb, George stated, it kind of takes this fun away.

Riot came up with a few more plans for the core mechanics, but in the end the idea of making Dominion all about capturing points and fulfilling quests got carried into effect.

"We viewed Project Shiny as an opportunity to sharpen LoL’s graphical fidelity quote."

Furthermore George stated that one of the hardest tasks the team had to solve when Dominion was being developed was its connection with Project Shiny (quick catch up: Project Shiny was a separate project that was created to fix the graphics in LoL. It was meant to be a texture-and-model-wise improvement to look better on faster rigs). George is deeply regretting the fact that the teams who were working on Project Shiny and Dominion were brought together mid-deveolpement, which caused the work of both teams to be imbalanced.

As something had to be done to erase the tension that was building up between the teams, George, who seemed to blame himself for this mismatch, made a big decision: Dominion and Project Shiny got separated, even though they have been connected to each other tightly.

George Travis about the trouble between the teams caused by his decision:

"The entire tech team had to spend weeks pulling apart lines of code to rip Dominion off of Project Shiny. That was really painful for me. It was a morale hit to the team, and a huge downer for the whole project—but ultimately, we had to do that, and I had to admit that mistake."


Nevertheless the launch of Dominion began with a very positive surprise. At first, a weeks-long schedule was announced but in the end it was reduced to a span of only three days. The common length of Dominion game is around 20 minutes, while the battles on SR usually take around ~40 minutes. Loadtests showed that the servers would be likely to crash if players created twice as many games due to the short time span of Dominion. The live beta test revealed that the measures taken by Riot's Operations Teams were showing a better perfomance than estimated. Due to that, Dominion was launched three days later in September 2011.

Reading through these statements of the League of Legends’ lead producer Travis George makes us see how much Riot cares about their game and the community and that they are passionately try to keep their promise "to be the most player-focused game company in the world".

Got curious and wanna read the detailed article by PC GAMER?Click here.

Source of information & pictures: PC GAMER.

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