Riot reveals the biggest challenges in developing TFT Set 5

Riot Games

TFT Set 5 is now live, and players are still figuring out how to best use the new champions, traits, and Shadow Items. Now, Riot has opened up on their biggest challenges with developing Reckoning, and some of the mechanics they cut.

TFT Set 5, named Reckoning, has added 58 new champions, 27 new traits, an all-new Shadow Items system and more into Riot’s League of Legends-inspired autobattler.

However, the devs faced some pretty big challenges in trying to design the set. From first look to full reveal, a few things changed. Units like Aurelion Sol and Shyvana were ditched, likely from the Draconic trait we know today.

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In an interview with Dexerto, Riot opened up about some of the biggest challenges they faced in developing TFT Set 5, and the concepts they had to ditch.

TFT Set 5 reckoning pengu keyartRiot Games
TFT Set 5 didn’t come without its challenges.

Finding the perfect Shadow Items wasn’t easy…

Obviously, settling on a set mechanic was difficult. Riot went through many iterations of “Good vs Evil” in terms of champions, before deciding on Shadow Items.

Design lead Matthew ‘Wittrock’ Wittrock explained Riot had “enchanted” items as an idea for some time, but couldn’t find a way to land it perfectly.

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“We tried a few things: Relics, which were “enchanted” versions of the standard items, a more explicit Good and Evil division of the Champions, and a Good vs. Evil alignment meter for the player,” he told Dexerto.

The big advantage for Shadow Items was that they enabled more player agency, letting players dictate what items to build and when through the armory. This is a trait TFT devs wanted to explore after complaints about randomness in previous sets.

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Vayne TFT Set 5 ReckoningRiot Games
Shadow Items could have been “Relics” in TFT Set 5.

“Shadow Items add many more item combinations to the game, so we felt it was important for players to have more control over their specific item components to shape their builds.”

As for scrapped traits and units ⁠— like the aforementioned Aurelion Sol and Shyvana ⁠— Wittrock stayed pretty quiet. However, keep your eyes peeled for Set 5.5, and the mid-set expansion coming in July as they “might get recycled.”

Avoiding burnout after a packed schedule

The other big challenge the TFT team faced was balancing burnout while still trying to ship better sets to players.

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“We as a team always want to do better than the last one, to deliver more exciting things (never before seen abilities, new mechanics, etc.) but TFT is a never ending project so we need to be careful about not burning ourselves out during the process,” senior developer Xavier Fabre said.

TFT Set 5 Reckoning Battle PassRiot Games
Riot also put a lot of focus into improving the TFT Reckoning battle pass.

The developers worked hard on creating new Arenas and Little Legends to tie into the set more than ever before. While they didn’t get every little improvement done, developer Christine Lai said they are always looking for those touch-ups.

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“Even though we were not able to complete every single improvement that we had planned, we’re going to continue to look for better ways to make the experience even better,” she said.

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