League of Legends’s werewolf Warwick becomes “The Wrath of Zaun” & “a steampunk hyena” in update

A. Quinton — Jan. 15th 2017

From the “writing about games I’ve never played” department: Last week the League of Legends YouTube channel posted a teaser to announce an update to Warwick, body-snatcher and wolfman. This nasty steampunk-werewolf-lookin’ Champion has a bunch of new abilities, artwork and skins, which is good news for people already playing him, and even better news for people who weren’t playing him because his previous abilities, artwork and skins were bad. Bad for the purposes of the game, League of Legends.

In case the previous sentence didn’t make it clear, I don’t know anything about League of Legends. I learned that Warwick was a thing at all from this tweet, and the research I did to put together this post was so laden with insider terms like “meta”, “gank” and “jungling” that I developed a lot more empathy for my non-programmer friends who have to hear me talk about “Node”, “Sass-compiling” and “shadow DOMs”. If you’re a seasoned LoL player and you want to know how Warwick’s “newfound power allows him to clean up the streets of Zaun through brutal violence”, I suggest you check out this rundown on The Rift Herald or the official update page.

As an outsider looking in, what interests me most about this update (aside from the sudden appearance of artwork depicting this brick shit-house of a werewolf dressed in nana-jammies) is the level of thought that went into the mechanical and in-game reasoning for his updates, and the extent to which Riot explains it all on their site.

So what are our goals with the Warwick update? Currently Warwick is very beginner friendly. We actually want to embrace that and push it even further than it is now. We want Warwick’s gameplay to actually teach new junglers how to be an effective jungler. Right now Warwick can’t gank until level 6, but what if Warwick’s kit actually encouraged players to gank often and early? We also have heard loud and clear that player think Warwick’s kit is kind of boring and outdated. While we don’t want to raise Warwick’s skill floor, we do want to increase his skill ceiling a bit and add more depth to his gameplay. We also want to bring Warwick’s art and thematics up to modern Riot standards by giving him a proper place in our world. We think violence is an important theme for Warwick and we want to see how far we can push that thematic.

What I get from this is “we all heard Warwick was the boring character that newbies played, so we made him good again by emphasizing his capacity for violence and commissioning a bunch of kick-ass new art assets to show him off.” Riot, I may never play League of Legends, but I appreciate your honesty, and the results are a lot of fun to look at.

Here’s a selection of Warwick splash screens showing some of his new skins, and a final one showing his origin.