Dan: What can players expect to see added over the course of the game as far as heroes, spells, runes?
Marc: We have an extremely rich content pipeline, and one of the perks of our game being free is that we can always add new Champions and items and change and improve the gameplay experience of our users. Players should expect a game that is constantly evolving and constantly introducing new stuff, and we hope that they will never grow tired of playing League of Legends!
One other tease is that there will be lots of other game modes in the future – what we have at launch is just a taste of how we’ll grow and evolve League of Legends.
Dan: DOTA is known for having a steep learning curve - hundreds of items and heroes to learn, game mechanics, etc - will LoL be the same?
Marc: Our goal for League of Legends is the age old mantra of “easy to learn, difficult to master", although we would go one step farther and say we want it to be VERY easy to learn and EXTREMELY difficult to master. It is why we spend so much time on usability – making a game intuitive is just good game design – as is making it extremely deep. League of Legends will have dozens of Champions, hundreds of items, multiple maps, and huge amounts of depth in summoner spells, runes and masteries – the numerous intricacies and combinations that exist are mind boggling.
Dan: With the game being free, is there any concern about "leavers" just creating new accounts to avoid punishment?
Marc: The single biggest problem with any sessions-based multiplayer online game is leavers quitting and ruining a game for everyone else involved in the game. Our Summoner system will act as a user’s persistent identity and it will track everything from the win-loss record of a player to the number of times a player has quit a game. Players who leave games primarily do so because they want to hop into another game quickly – and we have ways to mitigate this, so leaving really won’t be advantageous or save someone time. Additionally, players who leave games will not receive any Influence Points, the currency earned through gameplay and used to unlock new content within the game. We are also building in a few tricks on the tech side that will hopefully discourage people from rage-quitting matches, stay tuned to learn more! As to people making smurf accounts – that would be like people ditching their level 80 WoW character to start up a level 1 if their reputation got damaged because they were a ninja looter or something. They’d be giving up an awful lot of work and need to unlock everything all over again. Most gamers take the path of least resistance and that path has a lot of resistance!
Dan: What other games, movies, books have influenced the creation of LoL?
Marc: Great question – really a huge variety. To list just a handful: D&D, Ninja Scroll, WoW, Everquest, Warcraft III, Team Fortress II, CoD 4, Rifts, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k, Final Fantasy, Star Controll II, a ton of anime… the list goes on. One of the coolest things about League of Legends is how flexible the story and intellectual property is and how it “works" to have bazooka toting Yordles (little people) fighting against rune covered wizards or insanely badass ninjas (which we haven’t revealed yet…)