I’m Riot Katana, a product manager with a focus on esports in-game content. With Conqueror Karma hitting PBE as the first member of a new skin line, I wanted to give a bit of backstory as to how she came about and what changes you can expect to esports skins this year.
Last year we mentioned that the Challenger skin would contribute to the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational prize pool just like Championship Zed for the World Championship (http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/lol-esports-now-and-future). We were super excited about this new opportunity and when we began exploring the Challenger skin for this year, we discovered some weaknesses that we wanted to level up:
* The theme was a bit unclear - Many players didn’t realize these skins were connected to esports because they didn’t line up with a major event visually or in timing
* A start of season launch didn’t make as much sense as MSI 2017 - When we created the Challenger skin line we had never even held an MSI, so the start of the esports global season seemed like a natural fit. As MSI’s identity developed over the last few years, it made more and more sense for the spirit of our second largest event to shape the skin. We don’t want to significantly overhaul two skins that a lot of players enjoy as-is, so we decided to make the change going forward, but not alter Ahri and Nidalee.
All of this is to say that we thought we could do better, and that bringing the skin more in line with our Mid-Season Invitational would create a more meaningful and commemorative esports skin.
We took this opportunity to rethink Challenger down to its core thematic. We revisited the color scheme and armor design and lined it up more with what you’ll see year over year during MSI. You’ll also see a darker undertone in the design and new name - “Conqueror,” a nod to the regional clashes and the struggle for one region to rise to the top during MSI 2017.
[UPDATE] Due to your feedback, we've made a few changes to Conqueror Karma's splash to make her read more like Karma. See the updated art here and let us know what you think! :
Conqueror Karma will now contribute to the MSI 2017 prize pool instead of its Challenger predecessor, but we hope you’ll be even more excited about the new direction. As we continue to iterate on how to make the best skins possible for esports, expect to see some information on our plan for the 2016 SKT Worlds Winner’s Skins soon! (Hint: Bang’s concept art is spot on)
Will there be any more Challenger skins following the previous designs?
Currently there are no plans to create more Challenger skins, but the idea is not completely off the table.
Will previous Challenger Skins (Ahri and Nidalee) still return during esports events?
Yes, we will still consider the past Challenger skins as esports skins even though we aren’t planning to make more at this time. You’ll still see them hit the store during MSI and Worlds.
Why did you choose Karma to be this year’s Conqueror skin?
We consider a lot of factors when we choose esports skins candidates. With our new launch timing, we pick esports-resonant champions by considering play rates from the most recent major international tournament. Using Worlds play rates to choose Conqueror and MSI play rates to choose Championship gives us the best opportunity to capture a moment of esports history while still giving us enough time to develop a high quality skin.
We also consider overall champion popularity, how well the champion will fit the thematic of the skin line (sorry guys, probably no Championship Teemo anytime soon), and their recent or upcoming skins.