Lead Game Designer for Riot Games, Greg Street talks about how one defines fun in video games.
During our interview with Greg Street, Lead Designer of League of Legends at Riot Games we talked about the first ever gamer cruise and what kind of person Greg is when on a cruise.
Greg Street joins us on the show and as current lead game designer for Riot Games and their mega hit, League of Legends and his former position as lead systems designer of Blizzard’s mega hit, World of Warcraft you might think we will be talking a lot about games, well you’d be wrong. We’re talking cruises!
Greg is going to be one of several high-profile guests on the upcoming, GaCuCon Game Cruise convention and event being held in Miami on January 26th thru 30th 2017. Hosted by the Miami based, Game Trep team and Make Games Miami, it’s the first of its kind so we wanted to get Greg’s thoughts on conventions, interacting with fans and being stuck on a boat with nowhere to run.
Don’t worry we asked a few gaming related questions too.
You can check on more on the GaCuCon and even book tickets for the cruise on the link below.
In this League of Legends ARAM match, I stated out with a quick yolo death trying to help out with an early push but after that we got things rolling and pretty much dominated the rest of the match until they surrendered a little before we reached their core.
Many moons ago we decided to create a podcast where everyone who contributed to Obsolete Gamer could come on and talk about what we loved, gaming. We got together at a local radio Miami station and began recording shows. Overtime, we started interviewing guests and then moved to our offices and changed to our Skype and YouTube format, but we always kept a podcast format as well because that’s where we started.
We wanted a podcast only show that was more gaming focused and so Siege Breaker Sessions was created based off of a group of gamers we play a variety of games with. These podcasts will cover mainly PC games, but we may talk some console games as well, however it mainly be about what we have played, what we are playing and what we are looking forward to in the world of video games.
In our very first episode we began talking about the game that all of us have been intrigued with since the beginning, Star Citizen and with 2.0 we were all dying to see what would be coming next. We went over some of the hopes and our concerns we had for the upcoming game.
We then moved on to Fallout 4 which took the attention of much of the Obsolete Gamer staff when it was released, so much so it affected the guest booking of the Obsolete Gamer Show. There was some discussion about how for one person it was not all they expected, but it turned out it was their own fault for the choices they made in the game.
Next, we talked briefly about the final StarCraft 2 campaign and the end of that series before talking a bit about mobile games and the strange celebrities that have showed up in commercials for them. There was a little EA bashing and disappointment over Star Wars Battlefront as well and with good reason as you will hear.
Finally, many of us got wrapped up when Blizzards, Heroes of the Storm was released. We played it a lot, but soon found ourselves returning to Riot games League of Legends, so we did a little comparison and discussed the differences and why we made the switch.
All in all it was a good first podcast and we think you will enjoy it so give it a listen and leave us a comment and let us know what you think.
Warning: The Siege Breakers Sessions Podcast is NSFW and and contains adult language, seriously if you get easily offended stay out.
You can find our podcasts at the following locations:
Stitcher (May currently be having issues)
So they finally released the AI update but it is still really easy. They increased the roster of PVE enemies up to around 40 and that’s a lot better than fighting the same 8 bots all the time but the AI still doesn’t know bush warfare or jungling or ganking to save its life. This patch introduces Dominion PVE which might as well be called free IP. Every match I’ve played ends with the human team having 400 out of 500 life left in their home base.
Riot Games said that the AI would be as good as human players and it is far from that. I would say maybe it’s as good as level 3 human players that just installed the game but even then, they at least know what a bush might be.
The AI is still flawed in the regular 5 vs 5 game because it doesn’t hide in bushes, nor does it know how to kill dragon, or kill Baron or even jungle. If you see an AI bot with a buff that means a bad team mate fed that buff to them; they will never get it on their own.
At least now there are new characters for you to SLAUGHTER, instead of the regular Ashe Bot, Annie Bot, Nunu Bot, Warwick Bot, Ryze Bot, Soraka Bot, Miss Fortune Bot, Shen Bot, Taric Bot, Renekton Bot, Trundle Bot, Cho’Gath Bot that you’re used to raping.
The full Rise of the Bots roster now includes:
Miss Fortune Bot
Xin Zhao Bot
Hey Riot Games, where is the Hard or Nightmare difficulty for PVE? That’s what I was expecting this patch to be.
Conclusion: YAWN… stick to PVP please.
E3 2011: My E3 Guide by Ignacio/honorabili
Before going, the first thing to do is see if you can get in there for free! Well, the way I did it is by having this website and registering as soon as I could for the event. Starting this year, E3 was capping the number of passes they would give out to media, requiring your website to have 8000 unique visits per month per media pass given out. If you don’t even get 8000 a month then they would make you buy your ticket instead, which could making going to the event really expensive.
Like most of these kind of events, try to book as early as possible, both your travel arrangements and lodging. We booked 9 months before and paid 700 dollars a person for 6 days. We used Orbitz and that price included complete air fare (flew American Airlines), lodging (we stayed at the Ramada Inn in Koreatown, which I found to be a great place and neighborhood), and a rental car (Avis, which broke down and then they tried to rip us off when we returned the car; listen to the podcast to hear Laraque complaining about that!). I really recommend going to E3 especially if you already live in California or nearby, so it’s much cheaper.
When you get to the event, get one of the free magazines that is pretty much a quick guide to the event plus the IMPORTANT PART is the map in the center of the magazine. You can simply look at the map and see which booths interest you the most. If you mainly go there to see the next big game, you can easily find them on the main floor in megabooths. If you have media passes, you can go talk to their reception desk and they give you priority to test them, instead of making you wait in line most of the time.
Some people like to go to E3 to demo the new games and hardware, mainly from the megacorps. Other people like to go to see what small companies are there and to see what big thing they brought to the show. Many of the small companies or the companies that are not coming out with a big product usually have a booth in the meeting rooms in the Concourse Hall. Those are better for you if you are into networking and seeing more unique things that the public usually cannot. There’s a more private version of that area on the second floor that you can only access if you have a VIP pass. There’s where you can see unreleased stuff more and negotiate business deals.
If you go, don’t expect to sleep much. You pretty much walk and stand most of the day and after the show, if you have connections expect to go to a ton of after parties (there’s one pretty much every day); this is where you can really make connections with developers, vendors, etc. If you go there trying to setup some business deals, bring a stack of business cards and some nice clothes. I made more contacts wearing dress clothes than simply the Obsolete Gamer T-Shirt.
As far as being in L.A., bring a lot of money because things there are PRETTY EXPENSIVE. Most places we went to charge a bare minimum of 3-5 dollars an hour to park, with many places having a 15-30 dollar parking fee, even like going to a local mall. Food at most restaurants will cost you about 20 dollars a person unless you want to eat a lot of fast food. At E3, the food is very expensive and we’re talking like 6 dollars for a pizza slice kind of expensive and 5 dollars for a can of Monster (no Red Bull, which is my crack). A cheapskate trick is to go to the Concourse Hall and munch on the snacks (cookies mainly) and free soft drinks that a lot of the companies have there. Hey! You wanted a real guide, now you know how cheap I am!
When at E3, try not to take breaks. Be smart and go have a meeting where you can sit down to rest, while you keep working and networking. Again, I mainly recommend going to the event if you are in the industry, whether you have a game company, gaming website, resell video games, blog, shoot funny videos (like Mega64), otherwise, you can pretty much watch everything at the show for free on the internet on some of the mega video game sites or directly from the main companies websites, in the form of trailers.
If you are media/press, pick up every free bag of goodies they give you. The best stuff I got was from World of Tanks, which gave me a bunch of toy tanks, a special bag, a World of Tanks T-Shirt, mouse pad, and special game bag, as far as the main floor went, and the biggest gift I got was from Topware which gave me a Collector’s Edition of Two Worlds 2 and a ton of T-shirts. Even if you don’t like a game, who knows, a friend of yours might like it! If you have a gaming website, some of this swag would be great to giveaway in the form of a contest.
The day before E3 I was rushing to get some Obsolete Gamer shirts over to J.A. Laraque’s house as well as a camera I bought him and some micro SD memory cards when the engine of my 1998 Mustang GT decided to die a block away from my house. After pushing the car with some neighbors up my driveway, I had my mom help me to drop the OG gear off at JA’s house. I stayed up pretty late playing League of Legends with my brother and his friends until we lost so badly that I had to go do something else. I remember drinking some rum while watching episodes of The Three Stooges on Hulu.
My old man took J.A. and I to the airport like around 5 PM EST on Tuesday, the first open-to-the-public day for E3 2011 and we quickly met up with Alienware’s Patrick Theodore and Ashley Brito. Even though Orbitz booked us on Alaskan Air, we quickly had to go running with all our luggage to the American Airlines concourse and go through the TSA checkpoint. After seeing old ladies from Miami Beach get checked to see if they have C4 in their shoes, the terrorists won! Anyways, they let us through and after a short while we were on the plane. I played the living shit out of Solitaire on the plane, which going to L.A. we had a 777 (great ride). Laraque played a lot of games on his iPad like Streets of Rage and some Homer Simpson game which was a lot like the original Simpsons arcade game. I slept on the plane but for the duration of this trip I was pretty much tired a lot.
As soon as the plane landed we hauled ass to Avis, and then drove fast to the show. Parked (see me bitch above about the parking, which in this case was 15 dollars cash [be sure to bring a lot of cash]) and then we got some of the food they sell there (again see above if you want to hear me bitching). Afterwards, we walked off into the main floor. My first impression was that this was a huge arcade. Colors and colors everywhere. We saw the Sony Online Entertainment booth, which we have been trolling on the podcast a lot lately, and I got a bunch of the free mints they had there. The only games they had which interested me were Payday (co-op bank robber game) and some Magic The Gathering strategy game, but that game looked pretty dated. I hit up Capcom, then Kalypso, which to my surprise is remaking (and this is much needed) Jagged Alliance and is making Tropico 4, another sequel to one of my favorite dictator sims of all time.
I had a meeting with Indiecade, which showed me a lot of board games, which we will probably review later on The Inverted Paradox and a couple of Indie games. I got to play this experimental game project called Deep Sea where the game has no graphics and its just you attacking a sea monster based on what you hear only. Pretty original idea and it generates a feeling of solace and dread being stuck on a submarine with a leviathan around you. I also saw a game that was a rogue-like clone and also a cute strategy game called Skulls of the Shogun which is a like like Shining Force and Ogre Battle.
We went to the after the show parties for AMD and also for S2 Games, the makers of Heroes of Newerth. Both parties had free bars and the AMD party had AMAZING food! =P It was fun talking to AMD about the new APU that already got released by now as well as talking about old hardware with some of the people who helped design it, like Marc who helped design my favorite CPU the AMD K6-3. 😀 The AMD party was also very special for me because I got to speak in person with my friend Alfred Giovetti who runs The Computer Show. In the middle of people talking about the latest and greatest we sat for a good while talking about stuff like the rise and fall of Microprose and Interplay and games such as Darklands by Microprose. I recommended he try out Mount & Blade which is a lot like Defender of the Crown mixed with Darklands.
Back to the show, I got to meet up with the people from Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends which let me see upcoming champions (hero units) for that game, one of my current addictions.
The people from World of Tanks gave us some goodie bags which was put to good use in-game (another one of our addictions now).
I got to meet (finally in person) with my long time internet friend Seth Sternberg (8 Bit Weapon) and got to hear them live. We interviewed both band members and you can check out the 8 Bit Weapon interview here.
We stayed in L.A. for 4 days after the show and it was a nice vacation for us.
In conclusion, the E3 experience was a good one and I highly recommend it, especially if you can go there cheap or get somebody to sponsor your trip! ;-]
Quick answer: Nope! Where the hell did this stereotype come from? Where did this claim that Asians are the demigods of gaming originate? I don’t know and I’m sure a quick google search could answer that question for me, but you know what? I don’t feel like opening my browser for such productive means! Instead I’m going to rant while being entirely ill informed and uneducated! Are you ready because I am!
The claim that Asians are amazing at games probably started with Starcraft and not a day before that. Just look back at the epic story of The Wizard starring Fred Savage. Who won that tournament? Not an Asian. That alone is hardcore evidence that our allies in the Far whatever directions aren’t that adept at video games.
The only game that I can recall Asians faring well in would be RTS games. Everyone complains when they go against an Asian player in a Real Time Strategy because you know you’re going to die. RTS games in Korea are like the fucking Olympics or Soccer. It’s a pretty big fucking deal. Ungodly accuracy, impeccable multitasking, and the execution of unparalleled tactics lead them to victory. I guess it makes sense for them to do well considering Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War so close by!
It doesn’t seem American born Asians have the same prowess as their homegrown cousins. It seems that the water in those lands are what grant them this advantage in RTS gaming. In the League of Legends championship USA placed third because they overcompensated the team with Asians and instead the Euros defeated us. Great job! You got stomped by wine drinking, rotten shark eating Europeans. Lets not even get into how poorly our US team spoke when they get the microphone handed to them from the cheerful Riot female interviewer.
Beyond the RTS realm where do they stand out? They can’t play racing games for obvious reasons. They’ll just drive slow, swerving side to side with their indicator on but never turning. You can’t win a race like that! This inability to perform well in vehicles then carries over into the realm of flying games. They’re going to just kamikaze into the ground since it’s all they know. Fun Fact: The Japanese claimed that being a Kamikaze was a tactic when in reality it was to avoid the embarrassment of being known as the worst pilots in the world.
Fighting games? What just happened a week or so ago? Famous gamer Daigo claimed in a video he could destroy America in Marvel Versus Capcom 3. I forgot what happened… Oh wait, no! I remember! He got completely thrashed about like a little bitch. Looks like the stereotype filled someone else with false pride.
Now I know you’re probably wondering why I even bothered to write this article. I wrote it in the hopes that you no longer feel fear when playing a game against an Asian gamer. They’re like anyone else, except for in an RTS. Don’t be afraid anymore. Fill your lungs with the vigor of hopefulness and victory to destroy these fools and free them from them by abolishing the stereotype with every defeat you liberate them with. Asian can be defeated and it is up to you to lead the charge.
If the title didn’t give it away, I have a very high appreciation for Riot Games because of what they have managed to do in creating League of Legends (LoL). That isn’t to say they don’t have a few hiccups here and there but overall, LoL is a great game. I will not delve into the HoN vs. LoL debate in this article but maybe I will tackle it at a later date.
What is League of Legends?
League of Legends falls into a genre that has more descriptors than I care to write out but a few of the more popular ones are “AoS,” “Dota,” “ARTS,” and “MOBA.” AoS refers to Aeon of Strife, a Starcraft mod that has similar game play. Dota refers to the wildly popular Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients which is still played today although its popularity has only held in Asia. ARTS is short for Action Real Time Strategy and this term is used because the game action is based on real time, in-game decisions. Also, Arena is sometimes added onto the end of this term since the game is played on a fixed map. Lastly, MOBA refers to a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and this is probably the most widely accepted term of this genre of game. The game is multiplayer (team-based, 3v3 or 5v5) and the objective is to defeat (battle) your enemy on a fixed map (arena). I hope that wasn’t as painful to read as it was to write but it has to be said before I dive into the game itself!
To summarize the game quickly, you play on a team against another team and your goal is to destroy the other teams base. You choose to play one of the over seventy champions currently in game. While in game, you level by killing creeps (attacking AI units that each team automatically spawn which head to the enemy base down three in-game lanes) and enemy champions (players). You get to choose your skills (which vary depending on the champion you choose) and you use the gold you earn (from killing creeps, towers and enemy champions) to buy items that enhance your hero. While there are hundreds of more details I can and probably should give about LoL, the above description is enough for the basic gamer to understand what the game is all about!
How does Riot do it well?
First and foremost, LoL is free to play. That’s right, you can go download and play it for free right now. Not only is it free to play, you can earn all the champions and runes for free over time. So unlike other free to play games, you can actually enjoy all aspects of the game (from a competitive standpoint) without being tricked into spending money. However, if you like the game, you probably will shell out some cash so that you can grab a champion pack or some skins to make your champions look more mighty or goofy. Skins only change the aesthetics of your current champion so they are by no means required.
If you are a new player, Riot is looking out for you. They have in game tutorials and you can practice against bots so you can learn without having to worry about other people. Of course, if you are like me, you just tell your friends, “I’m playing LoL now and you are going to have to deal with me until I get better so stfu and tell me what to do so I learn faster.” This approach is less subtle but has worked for me in the past. Riot understands that they need to cater to all their players if they want continued success and have done as such.
Riot’s interaction with its player base is one of the reasons the game is going strong. Riot releases new champions at a rate of about one per every two weeks. This is smart on multiple levels. First, the new champions keep players interested in the game and it causes a constant change to the dynamic of the game. Second, new champions mean new skins and this results in Riot earning more money from its players who actually do spend money on the game. Riot developers are on their official forums posting information and giving player feedback where needed. Obviously, they cannot respond to everything but the fact that they give the effort is important. Riot also addresses champion and item issues in a speedy manner trying to keep the game as balanced as humanly possible.
Riot also keeps the game simple by having a basic yet well-designed engine that will not kill your PC and will not have you screaming at the terrible graphics. Some people think LoL’s graphics are a bit too cartoon-like but I have no problem with it. Riot has also been redesigning certain champions and aspects of the game to make it a little more visually appealing.
Diving Deeper Into League of Legends
Now that I have covered the preliminary topics, let us take a deeper look into the game itself because this is the real reason people play. If the game was bad, people wouldn’t play!
Riot decided to add features into its game that increase the amount of action (the battles) that happen between champions throughout the game. Even at the onset of the game, before the creeps spawn, teams are either protecting or roaming (well, they should be!) the map in an attempt to avoid getting killed or scoring an early kill. Certain champions are specifically designed to have the highest impact by roaming and ganking. This increases the intensity of the game. The more action that is happening around the map, the more fun the game is. Riot introduced “brush” which was sheer genius because it allowed for players to hide their champions strategically around the map to optimize ganks or use as getaway paths. Moreover, summoner spells and runes add a level of customization to your champion that will help you in many situations by increasing everything from your damage, move speed, gold/experience earned, survivability and your overall ability to engage or escape a situation. Riot has found a way to increase the action and intensity of the game without taking away any of the aspects that makes the genre great.
After you have played a couple hundred games and you start to get a feel for the game by having a moderate understanding of the champions, items, runes, spells, etc you will hit start to see more of the subtle aspects to the game. Of course, Riot knows that not everyone is amazing and that if new players are constantly rolled because they are playing top players, they will quit. So, Riot has a hidden rating for each account that controls the games you play. Basically, if you are new, you will play against other new people until you get better. This extrapolates all the way to the top where if you queue, you will play against some of the pros on a daily basis.
League of Legends as an E-Sport?
LoL has tons of potential to be a very strong e-sport. LoL has tournaments in some of the largest venues in the world: WCG, ESL, Dreamhack, etc. Riot is not skimping on the prize money either. However, my primary concern about the growth of LoL as an e-sport is that most players (even those good enough to be on a pro team) are focusing on the Solo Ranked Ladder because that is seen as the “place to be” so to speak. Basically, I would like to see Riot “push” the online 5v5 scene because it seems lackluster. HotShotGG of CLG, the best LoL 5v5 team in world has even said on his stream that their team has no real reason to practice because they don’t need to due to lack of competition. However, as of late his team has been showing signs of rust and losing to some teams that they normally would not have lost to. Maybe other teams are starting to practice more in anticipation of more 5v5 play. Of course, I think Riot is doing a great job all around and this is one of the few areas I think “could” use improvement. They may not agree with me. Either way, LoL tournaments will continue to happen at major venues but I would really like the 5v5 online scene to grow so we can see some great games at these events.
Maybe they could do an online tournament that would force teams to be formed and force those teams to practice to get better so they can go for a prize at the end of the season. The end result being that more teams get formed and the push for 5v5 competitive play grows to the point where Solo Ranked is not the “place to be.” Of course, this tournament or season would need to be something done over time so that the change could slowly happen. As I said above, there is a good chance Riot likes the current design they have because it has more focus on the individual player and the individual player is where they earn their money from. Even though it would most likely never get to the point where 5v5 Queues reduce Solo Queues down to very low levels, it is still a potential risk that Riot doesn’t need to take due to the games popularity and success.
League of Legends is amazingly fun. When you get bored of playing Portal 2 and are looking for something with a competitive edge, go try LoL. You can play solo or with friends and it won’t cost you a dime to try out. However, I cannot guarantee that you won’t get hooked quickly and may be spending more time and possibly money than you thought. The sheer number of champions and items you will need to slowly learn about will keep your interest in game piqued for a long time. Long enough so that when you finally “think” you have a good understanding of the game, you can try the Ranked Queue where you will figure out that what you knew was “LoL for Beginners” not “LoL for Advanced Players.” If you are as competitive as me, this will make only want to make you play more. 😀
Overall Game Grade: A-
Name: Tom Cadwell
Company: Riot Games
Profession: Design Director. My primary responsibility is to oversee the design, balance and implementations of Champions and game modes within League of Legends.
Favorite Classic Game: Star Control 2
Quote: To me, this was a huge milestone in gaming. It had a great story, and fantastic combat with really interesting designs where everything had a clear use, and felt great to use. As a designer, never give power in a game without giving fun.