The new TFT set has just hit the PBE Server. We had the chance to try it out ahead of time to see what all those fancy new dragons are all about. After playing a few rounds we realized there were a few more questions we had for Riot in regard to this new Set.
We got the chance to ask Stephen “Mort” Moritmer, Game Design Director for Teamfight Tactics at Riot Games, a few questions about this new TFT set. What were some of the design thoughts behind Dragonlands and what can players expect from TFT Dragonlands in LoL Patch 12.11?
TFT Dragonlands Set 7 Interview With Stephen "Mort" Mortimer
Riftfeed: Was there a specific reason behind keeping the old Formula with the Augments, instead of creating a new core TFT mechanic?
Augments added a TON to TFT that we think was important for the long term health of TFT, by adding so much game to game variance. There's so many different ways to play and that makes TFT fun to come back to again and again, and also encompasses so much of what TFT has already done. You saw Ornn item Augments, Radiant items, Galaxies, and more in the augments.We think Augments have the potential to be a permanent part of TFT, but Gizmos and Gadgets was just phase 1. We learned a lot from that set about what worked with augments, but also what didn't. This set allows us to iterate and take Augments to the next level. If players get bored of them, then maybe we have to re-evaluate, but for now we do think long term they should stay! That being said, we also know it's important to bring new things to each set which is why the Dragons and Treasure Dragon are there as well!
Riftfeed: Was there discussion of bringing back older mechanics as well, like the 'Chosen' mechanic?
Right now our belief is that novelty and newness is much more valuable for TFT players than nostalgia and revisits. From traits and champs especially we've seen players excited by reprints...but quickly lose that nostalgia. Because of that, we're VERY skeptical about just going back to something we've already done before. That being said, time passes and player bases shift which means a bunch of players didn't experience something before. Chosen in particular was a very successful mechanic so it's for sure possible someday we go back to it.
Riftfeed: What did you want to improve/build upon in Dragonlands with the Augments?
Gizmos and Gadgets taught us a ton about what type of augments work and don't, their distribution rules, and players expectations around their offerings. For Dragonlands, we really want this to feel like Augments but much more polished, fair, and unique. So there are changes like making Rich Get Richer (only available at 2-1) and Rich Get Richer+ (only available at 3-2) so that we can balance as needed. There is also a focus on making sure the trait empowering augments change the way you play them, with a focus on unique experiences instead of just extra power. With changes like this, hopefully Augments feel even better this set.
Riftfeed: How do you decide which traits to include in every set and which ones to drop?
Our traits are broken up into two camps, Origins and Classes. Every set, we try to make sure all the Origins are new, as they usually match and represent the skin lines that were chosen. These are thematically what needs to fit the set, so it's important that they be exciting, novel, and tied to that skin line. From there, we have the classes and that is up to the designer...but we have some core goals. We need a mix of simple to understand stuff (Bruiser, Mystic, Mage) before we're willing to add some more novel and complex stuff (Legend, Dragonmancer). Then it's about putting it all together and making sure the trait web fits for a functioning set. Then it's micro adjustments based on what works and what doesn't, until it all comes together to form a cohesive set.
Riftfeed: Do you have your own personal favourite unit in Dragonlands?
Too many to name but a few that stick out are:
Idas. He's an amazing solo tank for your team with his big AOE shields and AS buff, but then you also get to play with the Shimmerscale items.
Shyvana. The ultimate Dragon of the set in my opinion, and can use so many items well. Getting a 2x Titans Shyvana means you just have this giant massive fire breathing red Dragon that I love.
Neeko. A cool frontline option that you can use to copy champs stats and make your team look scary with 2 Dragons...and then she comes out and does that big AOE CC spell. Love her in so many comps!
Riftfeed: Why did the team decide to go with Dragons for the next set?
Because DRAGONS ARE SICK! Ok but seriously, we had a bunch of possible themes and we took a look at all our choices and surveyed players to get a good read. From all angles, we were the most excited about exploring Dragonlands. The artists and design teams especially had a lot of unique ideas that got us going right away, and it felt like a great place to explore. The world really came together and I think the key art really shows how we elevated that Dragon world for TFT.
Riftfeed: What was the process like when creating the unique dragons?
We knew we needed a lot of Dragons, but didn't really have a ton of options. We didn't have the resources to make our own, but we were not OK with just 2 dragons and a bunch of Dragon-like skins. So the team came together and got creative, and we were able to take some of the skins from champs and fit them to match the origins. Then our art team adjusted as needed to really make them stand out. The end result works really well I think, and it's awesome that we were able to get 7 mostly unique Dragon profiles to help elevate the set.
Riftfeed: Will we be seeing these Dragons in other games or in League lore, or are they completely separate from the LoL universe?
These Dragons are separate and simply part of the TFT worlds across the Convergence. It is very unlikely you will see them in other areas.
Riftfeed: Are Ao Shin and the little Legend Ao Shin the same dragon?
Yes and no, they are from different worlds in the Convergence, but representations of the same entity. They have distinct personalities, shapes, and abilities for that reason!
Riftfeed: Are there future plans for more game modes like Double up and Hyperroll?
Labs are designed to fulfill a new player need that the core mode doesn't. Double Up was a game to play with a friend, and Hyper Roll was for people with less time. If we do make a new mode, it would need to fulfill a need like that, as opposed to just being silly and novel...we have the core sets to hit the novelty need! That being said, we think a core need we have an eye on right now is "New Player onboarding" as TFT can be pretty complex, so that's the space we are currently looking at as a priority over something like a new mode.
Riftfeed: Will TFT also be getting 'Challenges' just like League in the future? So players can show off their own unique skill sets?
We like the idea of Challenges for TFT quite a bit actually but want to make sure we do it in the right way for TFT players. That being said, the League team did a really awesome job with the Challenges so we're keeping an eye on how those go and if there is a way for TFT to utilize that tech. If it makes sense, then we may consider it. But for now, the official answer is no.
When Will TFT Dragonlands Release?
The next TFT Set, Dragonlands, will be released in Patch 12.11, on June 8, 2022. This set is going to include a multitude of new Origins, which you can read up on in our TFT Dragonlands guide. Be prepared for a whole new TFT adventure.
Not only will there be a whole new TFT set, but you'll also be able to purchase a new TFT battle pass, as well as purchase whole new Little Legends. There is so much to explore in this new set and even though Augments are back, the gimmick doesn't feel repetetive due to the changes the dev team has done. So, what are you waiting for? Time to play some TFT!