I love this thread!
In regards to some of the recent splash art changes, I really like the changes done to Lux and Soraka. I know that the forums have had missed opinions over the whole thing, so I wanted to give my opinions on the matter.
Soraka's new splash art does a much better job of explaining her character. Her new lore explains her fall from grace as being a direct result of her naivety and innocence; she trusted Warwick and his betrayal led her to joining the league and so on. Her new splash art and model does an excellent job of portraying her innocent and childlike nature that her lore expounds upon, and I'm a big fan of having consistency between the lore and the visual design for a character. My only complaint for Soraka is that she seems too tall, but that could just be because I'm used to her being shorter. It seems like she is larger than any carry she supports...
Lux's old splash art was essentially just her standing there. It didn't do anything to capture her energy. I love how dynamic her new art is, and I feel that it captures her enthusiasm much better than the old art does. I'm not certain that it is anatomically accurate, because I'm not certain that the spine can contort that way, but it's not on the level of say Fiora so I'm not really going to complain.
In terms of UI, I definitely agree with the sentiment that some of the face icons need to be zoomed out. I know you guys are working on i, but this is my favorite solution so far...
Another minor UI thing... would it be possible to get an option to put transparency on the health/mana/name icons over a champion? There are more time than I'd like to admit where minion health bars are blocked by my health bar. It's not a huge deal, but it would be a nice option.
The spectator mode for League allows you to at a glance see the cooldowns on ultimates and summoner spells. Could we get something like that for the standard game client? It's nice that we can see when ultimates are available, and it would never matter for organized teams who can just tell each other when something is up, but it would be pretty useful in solo queue.
I'm not sure if this is really something your department could do... But it would be nice if there was a way to change the recommended items in the shop UI. If I am playing a champ in the jungle, I'll be building different items then I would playing them as a top laner, etc etc. It's not a huge thing, but it would be pretty handy.
Recently, Summoner's Rift received a texture update that made it look a lot crisper. I'm wondering if there are any plans to give it a model update as well. As much as I'll miss Annie being larger than a pine tree, I think there is a lot more potential there.
Several of the new champions and skins have had new animations/voice overs for things like recalling. I really like this! It's small things like this that add more character to the different champions!
There has been a lot of chatter on the forums recently about the diversity of female champions and the over sexualization of them and so on. Personally, I don't feel as though there is a problem with diversity so much as there is a problem with consistency. For example, Sivir, Irelia, and Karma all fought in the war between Noxus and Ionia that happened ten years before current times, and yet they look to be the same mid twenties that Caitlyn or Miss Fortune or Janna look to be. Vayne (and other champsions) wears high heels and then expects to tumble around the battlefield without spraining an ankle. If the visual design of those champions better matched their lore, if warriors who were fighting for 15+ years looked like they were and if their attire better matched their fighting style and so on, I think the community would like it more.
Not that this is really your fault or anything, and not as though I or anyone else are expecting changes on older champions. Just something to think about for new projects.
In terms of the sexualization of female champions, I'm only against it when it serves no purpose to the character. Some of them, like Ahri or Miss Fortune or Leblanc have design reasons that reinforce why they should be more sensual. Most of them... don't.
But having said that, I feel as though there is a misconception on the forums about what is or is not sexual. For example, a lot of people would consider Sejuani or Sona to be sexualizaed and I don't agree with this. Yes, it's true that Sejuani is riding around the fields of battle in what is essentially a fur bikini. But consider her pose, her dialogue, her actions, etc. She holds a combat pose in her splash art, her dialogue is all straight forward, and while I would certainly find it suspicious for her to wear nothing in the frigid cold of Frejlord... Summoner's Rift isn't anywhere near that cold. I would imagine that removing clothing until it was no longer hot to be exactly the sort of simple solution that a Barbarian Chieftain would settle for. Tryndamere did the same thing, after all. So I don't have any problems with Sejuani because her character design reinforces her visual design.
As for Sona, you can look at the same things. Her pose in her splash art is her playing music. Her animations in game are her playing music. She doesn't say (through telepathy) anything that would sexualize her character. Her attire is a blue strapless gown, which is fairly traditional for female musicians. She just happens to have large breasts. I'm not going to consider a character who does nothing sexual to be sexualized just because they have a nice model. I may consider them to be of an over exposed body frame, but that's a completely different issue.
What else did I have to say...
Pool Party Ziggs. I love it. Great work!
Battle Bunny Riven. Normally, I would be of the opinion that non canon skins shouldn't be considered to have any impact on a character's design, but I was really against BBR conceptually since I did not feel like it matched her character at all. But I was really impressed with how her splash art made it feel like it was extending her lore. The way she is smashing up the entire place to the obvious surprise of the people around her, combined with the determination on her face, it completely changed my opinion of the skin. I think it's a perfect example of how to release splash arts that are still consistent with character design.
Oh! And I've been continually impressed with the particle and model quality of recently released skins. The fire effects on FireFox Ahri and Wildfire Zyra, the mecha effects on Cho'gath/Rammus/Kha'Zix, the attention to detail on the Special Forces Gangplank and Pentakill Olaf skins... they're all top notch! Good work on those!