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LoL - How Sylas' Ult Helped Create Viego and Ultimate Spellbook

Published: 23:53, 08 August 2022
Updated: 23:55, 08 August 2022
Riot Games
Picture of Sylas the Unchained in League of Legends
League of Legends - Sylas' chains help channel his magic

It's not often that you hear Riot Games improved the spaghetti code that is League of Legends. In Sylas' case, though, they did so without a certain plan or meaning to, really.

Riot Games added Sylas to League of Legends all the way back in 2019. By today's standards, Sylas is already entering the territory of an older champion.

His release, however, was preceded by Riot Games having to upend the way they coded champion abilities in League of Legends, and that means changing hundreds of parts of the game, and the essence of every champion.

The idea of the champion began with a bubbly mage, who steals abilities and uses them for good. And while that was later changed to fit an, admittedly, better theme, the stealing part of his ultimate remained as the champion core.

Regardless of how fun it was to play, actually building the ultimate became something of an engineer’s nightmare. For spell-stealing to work in League, the engineering team had to do a major overhaul of every ability in the game, explain the devs.

Riot Games League of Legends - Sylas wore glasses for some of his development stage League of Legends - Sylas also wore glasses for some of his development stage

As they describe, up until that point spells in League weren’t set up in a way where another champ could access them. Spells were essentially hardbound to each champion. Before Sylas, the concept of an ability, how a spell runs from start to finish, didn’t really exist in League’s backend.

Most spells existed within an individual champion’s scripts, so the game engine didn’t understand each ability on its own. Spell passives weren’t a self-contained concept either. So for abilities and their accompanying passives to transfer over to Sylas, the engineering team needed to build out those systems and implement them for every champion in the game.

Thus, Sylas’ engineering challenge created better standards for League’s engine in the long run, and it paved the way for Viego and Ultimate Spellbook.

  Read More League News

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