We recently took some time to talk to the League of Legends Reddit community about the unveiling of the new Twisted Treeline. On October 26, a few Rioters involved in the map’s creation answered some of your most burning questions about design, lore and art of the revamped TT. Here are the highlights!
- Rob “rjcombo” Garrett
- Travis “Volibar” George
- Jesse “GTez” Houston
- Richard “Nome” Liu: Lead Designer
- Matt “Milizia” Milizia
- Christina “Kitae” Norman
Gershizzle: When will Treeline be out of beta?
GTez: We will likely bring it out of beta when we are comfortable with the overall state of the map and item balance. We don't have a timeframe for this yet, but we have a team of really smart folks working on it.
Accident_Pedo: What was the motivation behind creating the new map?
Rjcombo: The motivations were actually pretty straightforward. On the gameplay side we wanted to address the issues of champion balance and game length. On the presentation side we wanted to create the best looking map we've ever delivered, and reinforce the theme of the Shadow Isles as a flavorful, memorable region in Runeterra.
HecticD: How did you guys come up with the idea of the altars?
Nome: One of the design points we noted very early on was that a small map could not support the level of warding and counter-warding that Summoner's Rift could due to the presence of natural choke points and limited pathways. We knew that wards had to go, so we pursued alternative schemes of vision control. One thing we toyed with was the idea of capturable lanterns – neutral wards that the player could control, either through channeling or lighting with a consumable "lamp oil.” This idea slowly transformed into the idea of altars as we added more tangible rewards and purpose to controlling them.
We experimented with every aspect of altar capture and rewards, but found that players universally enjoyed altars more when there was a sense of permanence to their capture. It also pushed the pace of the game, as you could capture an altar without fear that your progress would be reversed as soon as you left or died.
Martinuggla: Why didn't you guys just release the new Twisted Treeline as a new map and keep the old one?
Volibar: When we started looking at Twisted Treeline really heavily at the beginning of this year, there were a lot of major issues that we and the community noticed. Turtling was rampant, the meta was pretty stale, and there were a number of exploits that had way too much of an impact on the game. There was no way to adequately address these by doing a few simple changes here and there. We tried many different layouts, some more dramatic than others, and a ton of other solutions. Buffs, items, altars, etc. all play into this as well and we playtested the hell out of it the whole way with the goal of preserving the fast paced, high action 3v3 feel that we thought TT should represent.
Nocticate: Can you keep the old TT as a custom game mode?
Volibar: We want to make sure that we don't split the focus of our players for each game type. For the same reason we probably won't ever go create a 5v5 map that's really similar to Summoner’s Rift, we didn't want to split the TT community between two maps – especially if competitive play is to grow on TT, having two maps, even in custom games, is detrimental to that.
Ghemba: Was one of the reasons you re-vamped the old TT to make this one more balanced for potential competitive play? More interest in Ranked TT, for instance? Was this design also created with the thought of Ranked solo queue TT in mind? Also with the professional play in mind?
Volibar: As you should know, we're pretty big fans of competitive play. I'm certainly hoping more people will try out Ranked 3s and find it fun and compelling. Personally, I think the future of competitive TT could be really exciting as we will start to see some new strategies and comps emerge and evolve.
If we get more people into Ranked TT and start to see some interest, a strong scene could emerge from tournament organizers as well. We will be keeping a close eye on this, but ultimately it's about interest and participation.
We discussed solo queue Ranked for a while, but liked team experience that 3s offers and found that it wasn't a big barrier to entry.
If we see more participation in competitive 3s going forward, this could be an option we add.
Rathedan: Are you guys expecting the meta to move away from a three bruiser lineup in any way? Or do you think it'll stay three beefy characters – one per lane and a jungler? I know the items are meant to address some of this, but being balanced around 5v5 really makes it tough from what I can see.
Nome: Bruisers will always remain the mainstay of Twisted Treeline. As you pointed out, the game is designed at its core for 5v5 encounters, so for Twisted Treeline and Dominion (since full teamfights are rare), design has to be adaptive and use levers unique to those maps and modes. In this case, three big factors are itemization, gold flow (more is better for AD carry and late-game champions), and the experience curve (bruisers benefit more from levels, so we slightly increased the amount of experience necessary for leveling). The levers are in place, and because we're monitoring trends very closely, we'll be making adjustments to make sure the appropriate champions are hit properly.
That's not to say that AD carries, squishies, and supports aren't useful right now. Try laning a Vayne and Taric together, for example, or running a Soraka/Janna solo lane. Caitlyn and Ezreal are both great AD carry choices as well. Caitlyn can trap the middle to prevent invades, while Ezreal can flash away from most threats. Don't be discouraged by triple-bruiser team compositions. The map is new, and players are bound to cling to existing paradigms. You'd be surprised what you can find with experimentation... I don't want to spoil too much!
Normanix: Did you design the jungle to be able to let a jungler level there or is it just there for some free farm? I really feel like three camps is a little scarce.
Nome: The camps are scarce, you're correct. Jungling on the new Twisted Treeline is designed to be an open affair and easier camps allow for quick invades; the respawns are timed so that with Smite, you are able to clear your side, heal, buy, and then continue the cycle. The jungle is in close enough proximity to the lanes such that if you shove, you can get a bit of extra gold or go gank.
It's certainly a paradigm-shift from the old TT or SR, both of which feature jungles as dominating map features. Junglers in the new TT can circle-farm (great for Amumu if he wants to rush 3 GP10 into Blackfire Torch), but quick-clear junglers like Shyvana who can use the extra time to gank.
StrangleletPL: Is TT more CPU intensive than SR? I get fewer FPS all the time and my laptop seems to be slowing down when a lot of stuff happens. I have no such problems in SR.
GTez: There is a separate global performance issue that we are currently investigating that affects all maps. Given the way TT is structured, your laptop may be affected more on TT than on SR.
xBaShBrOsx: What made you guys decide to limit the vision on the map to the alters and actives on items and remove wards?
rjcombo: There are a number of reasons for the changes related to vision. The reduced size of the map (we removed almost all of the top jungle) means a couple of strategically placed wards would make ganking overly difficult. We also wanted players to focus their gold income on items that empower their champion in combat instead of wards. Finally the temporary vision actives on Hextech Sweeper and Grez's Spectral Lantern add interesting gameplay choices without having to completely sacrifice the stats you want on a champion.