On Power Fantasies, Armour & Change In League Of Legends

On Power Fantasies, Armour & Change In League Of Legends

Here's a cool post by Riot's Michael Maurino on the thinking that goes into women's character/armour design in League of Legends in 2015.

We as artists at Riot have different ways we interpret power fantasies. We express it in different way. All of them are valid I feel. Whether that's Riot Zeronis making extremely badass and conventionally sexy ladies, to TheBravoRay who designed Kalista and definitely bucked trends there, to myself who likes diving into what actively challenges conventional gender roles.

I think my own understanding is evolving, I think Riot's understanding is evolving, and I think the games industry is evolving. I think that's absolutely fantastic, and I'm so happy to throw my hat into the ring when appropriate.

Armoured ladies aren't the only solution to gender diversity in roles and character development. I think each power fantasy has a niche and can be expressed in so many ways. In the end it all works! It's all about what works best at what time in what context!

One of League's biggest issues visually is that it's all over the place, with no single unifying style or trademark unifying the game's various character designs. Sometimes that counts against it, in that it's difficult to point to a LoL character and say, yeah, that's definitely an iconic LoL character (like you can with, say, DOTA 2).

But other times — like with this — it works in the team's favour, as by gradually adding to LoL's roster and tweaking stuff over time, they can roll with the times and tweak things without having to scrap the entire game's style at once.

Maurino's thoughts on why they're doing it should also be noted, bolded, framed and hung on a wall:

I'm also really delighted that other companies have made intentional strides to expand female character pools. Not for the sake of appeasement or agenda, but for the simple fact that so many amazing character possibilities lay undiscovered or have not been capitalised.


    The characters that Michael Maurino (IronStylus as he's better known) has made - Diana, Leona and Quinn - are among my favourites in League, Diana being my favourite champion by a long, long mile.

    To me all Dota2 characters feel the same. They all feel like generic good guys or generic bad guys when you first see them.

    You may be able to tell at first look that they're Dota 2 Characters, but I find it hard to say any of them are iconic.

    I really like LoL's diversity in character design, it makes it VERY easy to identify who is who in the heat of battle and really allows you to find a character that YOU really like. (As opposed to being bound to a elves and orcs fantasy setting)

    You may not be able to tell if a new character is from LoL, (IE: Generic futuristic guy, Ekko, Big bug, Rek'Sai) but some of the older ones are pretty much staple icons of the MOBA genre by now. (EG: Garen or Ryze)

    And then you also have those radical outstanding character designs like Jinx or Vi that take awesome to a new extreme.

    Last edited 22/06/15 10:20 pm

      I don't see where you're coming from at all. Dota's characters cover a wide, wide range that's definitely more than just generic good/bad guy.

      They may not be iconic, because they're all based on Warcraft character models, but to say that there's no diversity when there's Pudge, Puck, Weaver, Timbersaw and many more is ludicrous.

        I guess what I'm saying here is, they're all medieval themed. Its either glowly magic or leather, steel and gunpowder. They all share a very similar color pallet. LoL likes to mesh characters with crazy technology with time traveling tinkerers and brutish zombie revived by what can only be explained as a soul furnace.

        This is opposed to guy with sword and does magic, girl with bow and does magic, magic guy that does magic, Big undead guy who DOESN'T do magic.

        i dunno really.

    Armoured ladies aren’t the only solution to gender diversity in roles and character development.

    A step in the right direction.

    Now, lets see if they can go that little bit further and not have all ladies, armoured or otherwise have giant tits, pardon my French.

      Jinx and Kalista seem to follow that requirement. Probably a couple more if I looked through all 120 of their champions.

        You're absolutely right. The feminist rhetoric you're replying to is getting really stale.

        Just off the top of my head: Kayle, Katarina, Janna, Vayne, Quinn, Diana, Sejuani (is she sexualised? I can't remember)

        There are probably more. Slight caveat - skins that aren't the 'default' might disprove me.

      They did explain this - it's too hard to animate women without giant tits.

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