What’s up y’all. I’m Producer Alex “Tim Teemo” Kovalenko and I want to talk to you about a new-ish product: Emotes! We’re covering some new territory with this feature, and they’re going to be on PBE for an extended amount of time while we gather feedback, so we wanted to start talking now.
Many of you have already seen emotes during events like Snowdown, Worlds, and Arcade. They’ve had a few limitations that we wanted to attack:
They could only be used during certain time windows or during certain events
They could only be used with an icon equipped
You could only use one at a time
We knew that we wanted to change all of those things, but there was a lot more to figure out along the way.
One of the bigger hurdles was figuring out what the emotes themselves were supposed to accomplish. We had a lot of debates over whether they should be a communication tool or an expression tool.
To us, a communication tool implies intent on an action; it communicates something related to the gameplay. Like “take baron” or “focus tower.” We define expression as separate from that; it’s the emotion you’re feeling in the moment. Ultimately we decided that pings are the channel that should be used for communication (looking at you, question mark ping), and that emotes should stick to expression. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it was a valuable distinction for us along the way.
The first version of emotes were emblems, like these:
Which looked cool but didn’t carry nearly as much expressive flavor as these:
This was the first iteration that really felt like it changed the way we played LoL. But fitting all of our champions into a little circle didn’t always yield good results, and we kept looking for something better. We ended up with a style that looks like this:
Which we like because it allows us to capture emotional expression and maintain champion personalities. This also opened the doors to more fun and whimsical non-champion emotes.
This direction helped us refine our goal for emotes: To give you an instantaneous way to express yourself in-game. You’ll access these using an emotes wheel (like the ping wheel) that will allow you to select from five emotes throughout a game…
…and you can swap emotes in and out between games from a new Emotes tab in your collection. We’re working now to get the feature into champ select.
Emotes are now ready for PBE, and we’re keeping a close eye on a few major things as they move towards live.
WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE
Our number one goal is to give you a way to instantly express a wide range of emotions; if you’re playing Blitz, you should be able to show how you feel after a great hook, or a terrible hook, or when your ult passive steals farm from your AD.
Emotes should amplify game highlights. Baron steals, pentas, base races, narrow escapes, crazy outplays—emotes should be an exclamation point on League’s big moments. After your Penta, all eyes are on you, and it should be up to you if you want to play it cool or scream.
We want them to work! This is a new content type with new systems behind it, so we’ll be closely monitoring bugs or any kinks that need to be ironed out.
WHAT WE WANT TO AVOID
We don’t want these to be too tilting. Since the emotes are meant for broad expression, it’s easy to imagine the system fueling rampant BM. Our hope is that emotes encourage more of the fun kind of smack talk, and less of the actually-upsetting chat that can show up sometimes. Still, we’re going to be implementing an ammo system that should detect emote spamming and time out emotes, like the system we currently have for pings. We’re also making sure that you won’t see emotes from anybody that you’ve muted.
We don’t want emotes to disrupt gameplay. We can’t compromise gameplay clarity or readability, so we have to picture how it could look if an entire team was spamming emotes during a teamfight and see how distracting it would be. To help prevent this, we’ve made it so that the emote above your head will actually “break” and go on cooldown if you take any damage while emoting.
WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WE NEED
We want to know how emotes feel ingame; are you able to express what you want to, when you want to? If not, why not? What’s in the way or missing?
What kind of emotes do you want to see in the future? There’s a lot we could do, and we’d love to know if there’s a particular flavor that a lot of people want that we don’t currently have.
If all goes well, emotes should be out by the end of the year. A t launch, they will be purchasable in the store while we figure out how to best integrate them into loot. We’re excited to get them out there and see what you think, so please don’t hesitate to share your ideas!