Riot devs share the making of League's new champion Renata Glasc
renata glasc
Provided by Riot Games

Riot devs share the making of League’s new champion Renata Glasc

Exclusive insight on how the Chem-Baroness came to be

League of Legends’ newest champion, Renata Glasc, is officially available on live servers today with Patch 12.4, after months of teasing. The business-savvy enchanter will be a long-awaited addition for supports who’ve been itching to add some extra bite to their gameplay. But for others, Renata Glasc is simply another name to add to the perma-ban list.

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Ever since her reveal, Renata Glasc’s kit has been a major point of contention in the community. For example, Renata Glasc’s W ability, “Bailout,” is an attack speed and movement speed buff that resets with takedowns. If a buffed ally gets a takedown while Bailout is active, its effects reset. If that ally were to die with Bailout active, they’re reborn in a zombie-like state (think Sion passive) that lasts for three seconds. If the undead ally gets a takedown during that time, they’re revived permanently. 

Combined with an AoE ultimate ability that can force enemies to attack each other with increased attack speed, it’s no wonder that some are already deeming Renata Glasc a broken champion. It’s no secret that Riot likes to push the boundaries of the game wherever they can with new champion releases, so, what were the devs thinking when they made Renata Glasc?

We spoke with one of Renata Glasc’s designers, Riot Games Game Developer Blake “Squad5” Smith, and Riot Games Lead Champion Producer Ryan “Reav3” Mireles to learn exclusive insights on how the Chem-Baroness came to be.

Renata Glasc Q&A

What was the biggest struggle you had in designing Renata Glasc? How did you solve the problem?

Squad5: The biggest challenge in designing Renata Glasc’s kit was definitely her W, “Bailout.” From the start, I knew that I wanted to capture a “defy death/fight beyond your limits” moment, but we had to figure out how to overcome various problems around clarity and balance in particular.

Initially, I had designs that were far too complex, such as allowing the unit to go into “negative health” that they had to fight back from. We tried a few ways of giving them tools to do so, from gaining omnivamp to more … complicated rules. As we iterated, we set a goal to simplify the spell as much as possible to make it clearer what it does and how to play around it. That helped us to determine what aspects of the spell were important enough to keep and how the effect should work mechanically. This also helped with balance, since we were able to make sure the spell wasn’t doing unnecessary things that added to its power without being important to the core idea.

Can you share a bit about how the team landed on the iteration of Renata Glasc’s kit that will hit live servers? What skills/abilities did the team experiment with throughout her design process and what about her live kit made you realize “this is ready to ship”?

Squad5: There’s not usually one moment that determines if we feel a champion is “ready to ship.” While making a champion, we go through many months of testing and iterations that cover a ton of test goals and questions. It’s the sum of these steps that determines if we think a champion’s gameplay is fun, healthy and unique enough to exist in League of Legends, not just a single one.

For Renata Glasc, most of my experimentation centered around two things — the first being to create a “dark” enchanter class character in League, and the second being to create a character that felt like a “boss” ordering people around. I experimented with different ways of achieving this. For example, an early system where Renata could pay her own gold to set bounties on the enemy team, or a passive system that put out “hits” on enemies that attacked Renata or her team.

A lot of mechanics like these never make it very far, but Renata’s two primary mechanics, her W and her R, were clear winners early on, though the specifics changed a lot during development. A big part of making new champions in League is being able to see those “diamond in the rough” mechanics so that the team can then polish them into something worth shipping.

Any particularly memorable bugs or funny interactions that needed to be worked out?

Squad5: Early on, Renata Glasc’s R, “Hostile Takeover,” had a bug where it actually credited the enemy team with the kills and assists that they got while under its effects. Enemy champions could actually get shutdowns from their own teammates, resulting in Renata’s R giving the enemy team 1,000 gold bounties. “Tactical inting” in tests to get your allies to kill you became a viable strategy, which was pretty funny at the time.

After Zeri, Renata Glasc marks the second straight champion released by Riot that has origins in Zaun. With the immense success Riot saw with “Arcane,” are these lore choices purely a coincidence, or is Riot making a concerted effort to release more champions with stories based in “Arcane’s” primary settings, so that those characters can eventually be worked into the series?

Reav3: Both Zeri and Renata Glasc were originally planned to be released during the Riot X Arcane event and “Arcane’s” launch. So, early in development, we wanted the champs to be thematically tied to the moment and worked to make them either from Zaun or Piltover. Both teams individually gravitated towards Zaun during early exploration of the two champions, but two Zaun champs was not the explicit target. Over time, it became clear that shipping two champions that thematically overlapped with “Arcane” (but weren’t actually in it) would draw away from them individually and the show. So we decided to delay them to the beginning of 2022.

What do you think Renata Glasc provides for the competitive landscape of League of Legends esports?

Squad5: I think Renata Glasc should provide a new type of enchanter that pairs well with late game hypercarries in particular. Most enchanters are a bit more defensively focused, so Renata should be able to create a lot of interesting high moments around her allies pushing for an aggressive kill, or seeing the enemy team kill each other off an amazing ultimate.

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Nick Ray
Pop culture consumer and League of Legends thought-haver. Working on becoming a weirder person.