Sep 062013
Classic Garen Splash Art
Pure Demacia

As the epitome of Demacian courage and fanaticism Garen has certainly won his position in the League of Legends. However, it’s his peculiar way of attaining victory that has reserved a special place among fans. Then, how does this visual upgrade benefit the Might of Demacia?

Classic Garen

The visual upgrade surely refines Garen’s aspect: his bulkier armour is more imposing as well as his sword. The new aspect manages a balance between good looks and practicality. His equipment is not only more appealing but it seems better suited for a sturdy warrior.

Specifically speaking, the armour offers effective protection while allowing for a certain freedom of movement. Still, it doesn’t ignore a good layer of decoration to clearly cement Garen as a Demacian example. The sword is also better ornamented while being broad and heavy. It conveys the idea that it hurts as much for its edge as for its weight.

Classic Garen plus skins
Spinning with Style

Details like some torn clothes and dents on the metal speak of equipment that has seen some share of battle. However, the pristine aesthetic seems tainted by such imperfections instead of proudly displaying them as scars. They make sense but feel like an addition that barely suggests.

The part where the visual update feels like a real success is the particles: the new visuals are consistent and attractive. They feel like a true step forward in the visual quality and clarity of the abilities. Additionally, their strict colour scheme allows for easy re-colours that can add some extra style to skins.


Except for the rather recent Steel Legion Garen, all skins receive modifications. The result is a more polished appearance but at the cost of homogeneity. That’s because skins look quite similar to each other as they all share a common base.

Therefore, cheaper skins that were a mere re-texture vastly improve their looks but full re-models become more similar and less unique than before. This is made evident by taking a look at Sanguine or Desert Trooper and comparing the enhancement with Dreadknight or Rugged.


On the whole, the visual upgrade betters the experience of unleashing a spinning, armoured warrior in the battlefield. The looks is polished and the abilities eye-catching. While Classic Garen has little to complain about, not all skins find the upgrade as such. The more modest ones do improve but previous re-models are homogenized with the classic base. As such, the visual upgrade has a lot to like but it also brings some questionable consequences.

What do you think?

  21 Responses to “League of Legends: Garen Visual Upgrade Preview”

  1. Since you asked, I will share my thoughts. I have become disappointed with Riot lately and their release and revamp of new skins. You havent handed out a decent grade on any of them in a long time and in some respects I feel that you have been an easy grader with them.

    Lets start with the high dollar skins. Spirit Guard Udyr, is not great. Its ok but I dont really see it as a major upgrade over Primal Udyr. A buyer might get 5-10 minutes of extra value and enjoyment out of Spirit Udyr but overall Primal Udyr is probably just as impressive and in some ways better. The huge price difference between the 2 is staggering and not worth the money. I bought SG Udyr on sale and was glad that I did because 3250 rp is crazy for a less than impressive skin. Equally disappointing is Forecacst Janna. She has bells and whistles and some nice jokes but the skin itself is not an improvement over Tempest, Hextech, or Frost Queen Janna. A legendary skin that is the weakest of Jannas skins is a huge disappointment. I understand your 3 star rating because its not as awful as BrOlaf which has 2 but its a weak skin.

    Arcade Hecarim is ok and colorful but its loud and jokey and while worth the 3 stars maybe you want more from a 1350 riot point skin. Riot Blitzcrank is the hero of the 2013 skin releases this year. Riot has not released a skin this year that is better than this one. Sadly you cannot buy it anymore and to make matters worse you cant buy the other skins to complete the collection. Riot Nasus and Riot Singed are unavailable as well. Id like to show support for Riot gaming and finish my collection of Riot skins but I cannot and I find this frustrating. The best skin of the year shows up for 2 weeks and gets pulled. I find this sad. Riot Blitzcrank is just awesome and the kind of skin any collector of skins would be happy to buy and own.

    So, on we go to Garen and the remakes. I am not overly happy. I understand that Garen is one of the first 3 champions new players see and that hes one of the first champions new players buy and use so the Riot skin department sees him as a priority but I feel other champions needed help first. Classic Gragas is the worst skin in the game and Scuba Gragas and Hillbilly Gragas are desperate for updates and improvements. Vandal Gragas and Gragas Esq could use a bit of sharpening up. Oktoberfest Gragas is just great. But so is Steel Legion Garen. Steel Legion Garen remains unchanged so lets move forward. I do not want to comment on the splash art so lets talk turkey on the skins themselves.

    I think classic Garen is better than its older counterpart but I am not a fan of the new loincloth and dont like it. It detracts and distracts me and it makes me glad I own some Garen skins and dont have to see it very often. I will play classic Garen some but not very often. This new skin doesnt impress me much or help me much. Like you, I do find the particles to be the major upgrades.

    On the old Sanguine Garen, I like the shoulder spauldrens, the wrist vambrace, and the pants better. I like the sword slightly better on old Sanguine Garen which is personal opinion as the new Sanguine Garen sword is probably as good; and I will give the sword a push as its a focal point with Garen. New Sanguine Garen has red hair which is a nice touch, seems sharper overall, and has a thinner more tapered body which youd expect from a spin master. Overall, Old Sanguine Garen was a disappointing skin and New Sanguine Garen might be even more disappointing. If you gave OSG a 2 star review, then Id give NSG perhaps a 1.85 star review which is probably worthy of being upgraded to 2 stars by the skin of its teeth. Its not putrid awful like most 1 star skins such as Hillbilly Gragas but its not worth buying and barely worthy of a place in the riot skin store.

    Desert Trooper Garen seems to be the most improved of all the new Garen skins. It looks sharper, better, with improved shoulder pauldins and vambraces. The sword looks better though a curved sword seems out of place. He seems less muddy with brighter colors that do not overpower. The hair and skin seem to be done better. I do not think this is a great skin but its improved to respectable. I might upgrade it to a 3 star skin. Its not special but its not a waste of money at 520 riot points. Still the curved scimitar bothers me. I understand that they want him to have some desert flavor but honestly who spins such a thing. Nice effort though.

    Commando Garen for me is a push. I liked the old wings on the shoulder pads better and the sawblade sword made more sense to me than the new one. Still the overall look seems sharper and I love the new Beret. I would love to see the whole Demacian Commando line get updated and Berets for Galio, J4, Lux, and Xin Zhao. Overall, this skin is as good as the old one but not really better. It was a 3 star skin and it remains so. Its worth a purchase as long as it stays cheap at the 520 level but its not a skin thats “special”.

    Dreadnight Garen is better but its still not special. The look is sharpened and the hair is better. But I liked the older razor blace sword better and the darker look inspired more dread than do the bright new shiny colors of the new armor. Overall, it doesnt seem unique, or different or really anything great. Its a 975 riot point skin and its not bad but its not good. Id give it a 3 star rating and offer the advice that there are a lot of other skins in this price range that are better investments unless of course you main Garen and want all of his skins.

    Rugged Garen is the biggest disappointment to me. Old Rugged Garen was probably my favorite of all of his skins and though Steel Legion Garen was a tick better, I preferred the looks of Rugged Garen. He looked like an older warrior a bit weary and tired of constant battle and coming home from the campaigns with a tint of grunge. New Rugged Garen looks bright, shiny and new and he doesnt have the old worn haggard battle look. He doesnt look rugged at all. He looks like he had his squire spend a month polishing his armor for a night dancing with the ladies at the Demacian Ball. I do not think Rugged Garen is worthy of a 4 star rating or a Zero recommendation. Its probably a 3 star skin now. Its a better “buy” than Dreadnight Garen and a better skin than Sanguine Garen or Desert Trooper Garen and maybe even Commando Garen but its not something you cant live without unless you are a real Garen fan.

    My overall take on the purchasable skins is that Rugged Garen went from being Garens best skin to being rather run of the mill and kind of Meh and an utter disappointment having lost its character. Sanguine Garen is a downgrade of an already bad skin but not so much that they made it awful. Dreadknight and Commando Garen are both a push and improved but not so much that they deserve a raise in rating from Zero. I do like the Beret on Commando Garen but he still needs more. Desert Trooper Garen is the skin that is improved the most but it doesnt transcend it into the special 4 star or above category and a spinning scimitar just seems weird. The scimitar seems better suited to slashes rather than spins. For all the work and effort riot put into these skins they have not upgraded them as a whole beyond sharpening them up a bit. And losing a great skin like Rugged Garen to mediocrity is very disappointing indeed.

    Great work Zero

    Have a wonderful day.

    • We agree that, for the price asked, Spirit Guard Udyr, Forecast Janna and Arcade Hecarim could’ve been more interesting. They are acceptable but as they are so expensive they should really try hard to impress. Riot Blitzcrank is, in fact, quite good as it has a reasonable price and a decent amount of additions as well as an appealing concept and aspect.

      We wouldn’t go as far as to say that there hasn’t been any good skins released lately but it does look like visual upgrades aren’t as clear an improvement as they once were. Besides, new skins have a tendency to either look great but be expensive or look reasonably good for a reasonable price. It’s understandable that skins should be priced according to the work they take. However, it feels as if any skin that goes an extra step automatically gets a high price; even if the result isn’t really striking.

      Indeed, it’s understandable that Garen needed a visual upgrade but there are other champions with worse problems. It’s actually a bit surprising that after all the talk about Sivir’s visual upgrade Garen was announced all of a sudden. Of course ,let’s not even mention other champions like Sion. Truth be told, it seems the choice for skins and visual upgrades is based on popularity instead of what would improve the game in general.

      Garen’s visual upgrade is a topic on which we simply can’t disagree. All of the skins have sharper and more polished looks but they also lose some of their personality. The only ones that improve are the re-textures but they aren’t impressive either. Sadly, things aren’t looking very good for the Might of Demacia.

      Thanks for your thought, have a nice day too.

    • I got Arcade Hecarim and Riot Blitzcrank and honestly I find Riot Blitz overwhelmingly meh. I’m pretty sure you think it’s great because you don’t own it.

      • Personal preference is an important factor when deciding whether to buy a skin or not. However, we consider the overall appeal of the skin as well as the amount of features and relevance of them to implement the skins’ concept.

        We think Riot Blitzcrank is a good skin because it manages to turn him into an appealing police bot for a reasonable price. There’s little doubt that Arcade Hecarim offers more changes but the skin seems a bit overloaded and is also more expensive.

        Ultimately, we are simply giving advice to help in making purchases. We don’t intend to tell what’s good and what isn’t or tell people what they should like. We have an opinion and if you disagree with it we are glad to hear yours. By contrasting differing ideas we can continue improving.

        • Yes Zero is right once again.

          It all comes down to personal preference. If you think Hillbilly Gragas is a 5 star skin then buy it and enjoy it. It gives Riot a chance to put their servers up another day and maybe build us another great skin.

          As for Blitzcrank, he is not a champion that I get to play often or even as much as I would like. He is often banned, and I do not support more often than the standard 20%, and when I do and hes not banned sometimes the other team will grab him or my adc will want me to play a healing champion like Sona rather than a pull and grab guy like Thresh or Blitz. When I do play Blitz, I will play IBlitzcrank about 45% of the time, Riot Blitzcrank 45% of the time and classic Blitzcrank 10% of the time. If Piltover Blitzcrank were to go on sale then I would play it 30% of the time and IBlitz and Riot Blitz 30% and classic Blitz 10%. I dont see myself buying Boom Boom and the others are retired.

          As far as quality goes, I enjoy Riot Blitz about as much as IBlitz. I bought IBlitz before it had a price increase and back when Zero had it rated at 5 stars. Zero doesnt split stars but I have an idea that if he did Riot Blitz would be at 4.5 stars. Riot has many 975 rp skins that do not have any new animations, particles, or sound and some hold 4 star or above ratings from zero. The closest competing model is Guqin Sona. Guqin has no new particles, no new animations but nicely done enhancements to sound. Riot Blitz has no new particles, but new animations and nicely done enhancements to sound. The fact that he has 2 improvements to sound and animations at a 975 price point is amazing. If he had enhancements to all 3 then I dont think he would have ever seen a 975 price point. I think Riot Blitz has a funny head but for all I know he would have had a funny head in the enclosed shells as well. So, we go to the child factor. If you want to know the true value and worth of something ask a child. They are unjaded and just go by personal opinion and not what society has decided. My best friends 7 year old loves Riot Blitzcrank and that speaks volumes.

          So lets talk value. Zero rates skins based on value. When IBlitz moved from 975 to 1320 it dropped a star in in the Zero ratings. Lets pretend for a second that on nothing more than a value basis 520 skins should have no enhancements, 720 skins 1, 975 2 enhancements, and 1320 all 3. Lets pretend that you expect even more from 1820 and Ultimate skins. With 2 enhancements Riot Blitz is right where he should be on the value scale and should be neither punished or boosted in value for his price point. However, without making an assumption, I believe thats is both possible and reasonable for Zero to dock Riot Blitz a point on value because hes not likely to go on sale and he was limited in a purchasable time frame to 2 weeks. A skin has less value if you have to purchase it now if you want it rather than when you have the spare cash.

          My own value scale revolves around 1980s pricing. People used to put a quarter in a box to play Pacman for 5 minutes. How many times do I have to play a champion with its skin to get the price point down to .25 cents a game. For Riot Blitz the answer is 39. And I will play this skin over 39 times. I like it and for me its a buy. A typical game lasts 25 minutes or longer so it costs me 1 penny a minute to enjoy Riot Blitzcrank over playing Classic Blitz over and over and over. And yes, I still play Classic Blitz sometimes as well.

          All in all, I would grade Riot Blitz a 4.5 star skin that could go either to 4 or 5 depending on how you call it. Its a good looking skin with a unique Robocop look that definitely gives a different look and take on classic Blitz. You get 2 enhancements for 975 rp in animations and sound. The new model looks reasonable and good. I love the Siren in Overdrive and it shows respect for Riot gaming and I want to support Riot and show that Im a fan of them. I love the Riot skins and how you can show support for the game just like you would wear your favorite team hat if you went to see them play at a ballgame. It upsets me that I cannot complete my collection without paying $60 each for Riot Singed and Riot Nasus on Ebay.

          On the downside, his head seems odd, he had a limited purchase time frame, and you would risk never owning him if you decided to wait for a sale or you didnt have spare cash during the 2 weeks you could get him. And for me this hurts the value of a great skin.

          Zero has been an easy grader this year and I think a good case could be made for moving Riot Blitz either to 4 stars or 5. Im honestly glad he got tough with it and docked it to 4 even though I think it could just as easily go 5. A 5 star skin needs to be special and lack of flexibility in pricing and hoping for a sale and in purchase time frame probably tips the edge down to 4 even though you love to see a really good Riot skin you can support and enjoy also and you think its worthy of 5 on a usability basis. So even though I think its as good as any skin released this year, I perfectly understand Zeros 4 star rating because its purchasability was and is frustrating and ultimately this hurts its value. I feel that it is reasonable to suggest this was the best skin released this year and that its only a 4 star skin just because of purchase difficulties.

          Zero called it 4 and usually hes right on the money.

          Good Job Zero

          • Its interesting to note that Riot stated that they wanted to emphasize Quality versus Quantity this year in skin releases. But they havent really done it.

            Zero has been an easy grader this year and despite that fact, if I remember right that not counting release skins he or she has only graded one “new” add on skin at 5 stars this year. The only 5 star skin that I can remember for 2013 is Celestine Soraka. It certainly is a good looking model but I prefer not seeing the hooves on Divine Soraka and I just feel that with only one enhancement that it overpriced and should be a 720 rp skin. Particles are enhanced but not sounds or animations and I feel that at the 975 price point that you want 2 of the 3 to have enhancements. I will buy Celestine Soraka if it goes on sale down to 720 level or half off but not before. For me its a 4.5 star value that Zero graded up to 5 and hes been an easy grader this year. As such, Soraka got 5 stars and Riot Blitz 4. But you can still buy Soraka and you cant buy Riot Blitz so ….

            Honestly, I think Zero gave too much credit to the new Pool Party skins.

            In my case, I already owned Pool Party Ziggs. Pool Party Graves is going to “rise” in price up to 1320 after this brief release. As such the sale for me was about 28% off rather than if I waited a year and bought all 4 at 50% prices after Graves saw a price increase. I buy riot points in blocks and the price difference for me was about $3 extra to buy the package now rather than later. Zero gave decent grades to these skins so I went for it.

            The problem is that I dont think they are really as good as his grades suggest. Hes close but I think he graded up.

            PP Graves has 3 new enhancements in animations, sounds, and particles yet the skin does not impress. Its ok but for a 1320 point skin you just feel that you want more. Riot Graves also gave you 3 enhancements and was a 975 point skin and I think it looked better. Except like Riot Blitzcrank its disappeared into the vault once again. On a value basis PP Graves is at best 2.5 and you can grade up or down either way but Id grade it down to 2 just because its the most expensive of Graves skins and not an upgrade over Mafia, Jailbreak, Riot, or even Hired Gun all of which cost less. Mafia is the best skin and its cheaper and its not unfair to compare a skin versus its peers. I will be using Riot Graves 75% of the time, and PP Graves 20% with classic Graves the final 5%. Im not a big Graves fan or play him more than a handful of times a month so it will be a long time before I get “value” from PP Graves and owning it makes me not want to buy some of the others that I dont own because it was so expensive and I feel I need to use it more to get value out of it. I do like the recall on it.

            I will go ahead and give PP Leona 3 stars as Zero did. Its easily the worst of all the Leona skins and yet this is partially because the others are great. You get 3 enhancements at a 975 rp price point and the splash art is good. The skin disappoints slightly and I dont get how an umbrella can replace a sword but its a new look. Its ok. I just think most buyers would be happier with Iron, Valkyrie, or defender provided they dont feel a need to chance up sounds and animations.

            PP Lee Sin is a disappointment and I feel Zero gave it an over grade. The Splash art is awful and though I like Orianna the rest of it seems creepy. I dont see why a blind guy needs to be tickling the chin of a naked girl with a Lee with a sly grin as if he could really see her. The constant holding of the drink on the skin itself seems odd for a guy that jumps around so much and it would be impossible to run around like he does punching things without spilling that drink. You get 2 enhancements rather than 3 like with the other PP skins. And honestly, this is the worst looking of all the PP skins. PP Lee Sin is by far the worst of the Lee Sin skins and this is sad. Muay Thai is a far better skin in every respect; Dragon Fist is also superior and even Acolyte and Traditional hold more appeal. At best, compared with its peers PP Lee Sin is a 2 star skin. I doubt that I will see it more than once a month and even then mostly just for bot games where I want a fast first win of the day or to check out a new build or adjustment to a rune page. I dont want to look at this guy for 45 minutes in a long intense game very often.

            PP Renekton is the best of the new PP skins. PP Ziggs still holds the crown of the PP skins but Renekton is respectable. I think that PP Ren has the best splash art of any of the PP skins and 3 enhancements gives good value to a 975 rp skin. Outback, Galactic, Bloodfury present different model views but all look great. Rune Wars gives you an enhancement but isnt special. PP Renekton might have the weakest looks of the 5 but its still a good look. The lifeguard theme causes a chuckle and its the only skin you can buy with 3 enhancement changes that gives you a different look, particles, sounds, and animations to shake things up from the standard stock play. PP Renekton seems to be the most upbeat of the skins and have a happier vibe. It is the weakest looking of the skins and yet it still looks acceptably good. It has the largest departure and difference of feel from standard stock classic Renekton and sometimes you just want a totally different look and feel rather than a skin with slight model changes. PP Renekton compared with his peers such as Bloodfury and Runewars is a worthy purchase.

            Overall, on the Pool Party Front, Id grade them as such.

            1. PP Renekton – 4 stars and as good of a purchase as any of his other skins.
            2. PP Leona – 3 stars – Her weakest skin but still acceptably good for beach fans.
            3. PP Graves – 3 stars – The weakest of all of Graves skins and also the most expensive. Bright colors and a good recall animation appeal but thats it.
            4. PP Lee Sins – 2 stars – Bad all around – the worst of all his skins – the most expensive of all his skins – bad splash art – bad skin – below average in every respect.

            For me, the average value of these 4 skins is 3 stars and if you throw Ziggs in the mix its still 3 stars. The sale isnt special unless you throw in the “Graves” price increase which makes it ok. There isnt anything to really smile about other than warmer different looks and a decent Renekton. Id rather PP skins get released in March rather than 2 weeks from the arrival of fall. Id rather they look sharper and have higher quality. If they can sharpen up Garen then why do the PP skins seem so out of focus.

            Im not disgusted by these skins and I will enjoy Ren and get occasional use out of Leona but they came with some let downs as well. Lee Sin is just bad and Graves barely creeps towards respectability.

            Overall the trend of skins this year has been mediocre and disappointing. I like Riot Blitzcrank a lot and I might like Celestine Soraka once I buy her though Divine holds more appeal to me. Garen has been disappointing and you would hope they would just come out with new skins to buy rather than killing the old ones you already bought and loved. Some of the alternate new release skins have been good.

            Ultimate Udyr and Legendary Janna have been very mediocre and average and overpriced. Woad Darius has been a good skin but misses the bullseye of greatness. Bear Sejuani is really good but slightly overpriced though I may be prejudiced because it seems overly Soviet and not Freljord. It just seems too long since we have seen a great skin like Full Metal Rammus or even Sewn Chaos Orianna. Its almost like the few 5 stars Zero has given out have been by default and almost like hes just over eager to see a 5 star skin and reward it.

            There just hasnt been a standout all around knock your socks off great skin in a long time and thats kind of sad.

            I dont blame Zero for being optimistic and nice but man Id like to see something great come out soon and less of this constant muddling of mediocrity.

            Happy Days All

          • Very interesting opinion, we agree with a lot of what you said.

            We understand that you could consider that we haven’t been very strict in our ratings; especially considering how latest skins tend to let down. The truth is that if we are to give a two star rating then the skin needs to have severe flaws that make it unappealing. For instance, Pool Party Lee Sin has an annoying drink stuck to his hand but the look isn’t bad. However, it definitely is far behind Muay Thai or Dragon Fist.

            One of the problems with a five-star rating is that the difference between stars is quite large. Three stars is just acceptable while four stars is very good and five stars is a fantastic option worth recommending. For instance, Legendary Janna isn’t the best it could be but it has enough additions and an interesting personality.

            Regardless, we agree that the quality over quantity motto hasn’t been seen in a while. A good point, as you noticed, is how diffuse the textures of the new Pool Party skins are; especially the cheaper ones. Without doubt there is a clear tendency to raise the price of any skin that could be really good at 975 RP. To be fair, there should be great skins at all price points but that hasn’t been happening much recently.

            Maybe we’ve should be more severe in our ratings but we would like to be careful about it and not punish skins solely because they aren’tt as good as other releases. There’s no doubt that it’s something to take into account but just as we see a skin from the perspective of someone that doesn’t like it we have to see it from the point of view of someone who does. After all, both are valid even if wildly different opinions.

    • I find Arcade Hecarim fabulous and Riot Blitzcrank fairly lame, and as the champs & skins were both free (gamescom promo) I can safely say I’d never spend any RP on Riot Blitz. Ditto for the equally GC-free Riot Graves, and other free skins like Riot Tristana or Unchained Ali.
      I can safely say that I dislike all the skins I got for free besides the lovely Arcade Hecarim.

      P.S.: Then again, I thought Sanguine Garen was fairly nice before the re-work, and now it’s ugly as sin. Maybe we just differ on all opinions!

      • Not as much as you think. We agree that promotional skins tend not to be the best many times. Besides, it’s true that Arcade Hecarim is very eye-catching. The problem we see with the skin is that the different elements lack cohesion. They are all great on their own but together they don’t mesh that well.

        Riot Blitzcrank is certainly more modest yet it what little it does isn’t bad. Sanguine Garen used to be just a re-texture and now it’s a vampiric interpretation of Garen. Which one is better? Personal preference can’t be judged. However, the newer version is more elaborate though that doesn’t mean it’s more appealing.

  2. As with the post above, I agree that the VU is a great let down.

    I only own Dreadknight Garen, and I chose it over Steel Legion and Rugged. Dreadknight was pretty unique; it had dark aspects, darker personality and exceptional armor and sword that was “attached” to his armor. What can I say about it now? It isn’t worth anything. It is now light, even gray. The sword is now seeingly held in his hand, which is visible too. His armor? Very plain.. I prefer a fancy armor that looks great.

    Dreadknight was one of my favourite skins.. That changed pretty fast.

    I’ll just make some Dixon Cider..

    • Unfortunately, the visual upgrade does flatten the style of the skins and makes them all look quite similar: same knight in shining armour but with different colours. For all the problems the skins had they at least had something distinct about them. Ultimately, we agree: the visual upgrade disappoints at large.

      • It will not happen and I dont know how they could do it but you almost would like to see them just add new skins rather than pull and destroy the old ones. Remove Traditional Commando Garen and Traditional Rugged Garen to the legacy vault but keep them in production and give us the new skins as well. The people that bought Rugged Garen could play the new version or the old version. New purchasers could only buy the new but the old might return from legacy from time to time.

        I support and love riot gaming but there is something not right about purchasing a skin and waking up one day and what you own isnt what you bought. Who wants to buy a Cadillac and wake up the next morning with a Chevrolet in their driveway?

        The good news is that they gave us a couple of weeks to enjoy our old skins before just “pulling” them but what I bought is not what I will own and I find that to be sad. Riot should be customer friendly and just give us both skins and then could offer 2 options to new purchasers such as New Dreadknight or Old Dreadknight. Then everyone would be happy. And they probably would sell a few extra skins for their customer friendly efforts.

        • Indeed, that probably won’t happen but it has some advantages. On the other hand, Riot should try to preserve the style and personality of skins with the visual upgrades instead of homogenizing them to the look of the classic one. Of course, it’s far easier and cheaper to make a base and modify it to accommodate it to each skin’s look. The problem is that unless they provides significant changes to each and are careful in preserving the style then skins look mostly the same.

          From the side of the developer it makes sense to streamline the visual upgrade process as much as possible. However, it’s starting to affect the quality of the skins which is an issue for the player.

          • Hi Zero,

            Thank you for your elucidation on your skin ratings. I understand more clearly where you are coming from. I didnt fully realize that you graded on a bell curve and it took extra sparkle to get to 5 stars and a really awful skin to be slapped with a 1 star review. Without doing the math and looking at every skin I would guesstimate that perhaps 5% of your skins are 1 star or 5 star, 20% are 2 or 4 star and 50% are 3 star skins.

            You have helped me look at skins more objectively and I appreciate the education. Most people buy a skin based on whether they initially like it or not. However, I have tried to learn from you and this is how I have strategically broken down the value in my minds eye. As you have suggested, it is worthwhile to divide the skins into 2 categories – quality and value. I have added a 3rd that could be called wow factor and could add or detract miscellaneous extra credit bonus points based on it. Does a skin add to the library of skins for it. How does the overall feel impact the skin. Wow thats amazing could add 2 points and wow thats awful could subtract 2. On my wow factor bonus ratings, much like you I grade on personal opinion. Overall each skin has a potential 15 points and after Im done, I divide by 2 to come to the overall rating of where it fits. Theoretically, I guess a skin could have more than 10 points but with the current pricing scheme I doubt any ever would but a 5 star grade would be the highest one could get.

            Lets analyze the scale that I use.

            Quality – total possible 5 points.

            3 points for overall look of the model. – 1. For below average look – 2 for average – 3 for above average. Its simple and pretty straightforward. Then I give either 1 point or zero for concept which is a yes or no question Is this a concept inline or enhancing the concept of the champion. Then I give one point yes or no towards whether it has good splash art or not. Good splash art gets a point and mundane does not.

            Value – total possibility of another 5 points.

            There are literally hundreds of skins that you can buy now. If you could afford them all then it would be difficult to find time to play them all and get value from them. So whether price or time is an issue for a person, it would be difficult to get value from every skin unless you devoted years to the game. And even then you can wake up and see that a skin has changed.

            Price is pretty easy. It is what people have to pay and an obvious and clear cut determining factor for most purchases. I start with a base scale of 975 riot points which seems to be where most skins reside. I add or deduct 2 points of value points based on the price. 520 skins get +2 – 720 skins +1 – 975 a flat 0 – 1320 -1 and 1820 and up -2. An Ultimate Skin has to be much better to get to 5 stars than a 520 skin because it costs $20 more. I feel that this is fair. The 2 ultimate skins dont get docked more than -2 but it also makes it harder for them to achieve wow factor in relations to their price.

            So that leaves 3 stars left in value. I give one star each for enhancements. I divide this into the 3 categories you put on this site. I give one point for enhanced particles, one point for enhanced animations, and one point for enhanced sounds. This is pretty straightforward and not subject to opinion.

            Miscellaneous Feel – 5 possible points

            I look at a skins place in the champion skin lineup and rate it based on its place in regards to other skins. I reward a skin 1, 2, or 3 points based on its relation to the other skins a champion has in its library. Even the worst skin should get credit for Riot artists at least making an effort to produce it. A skin that enhances the champions skin library gets 2 points and one that upgrades the library gets 3. For instance, Master Yi has a lot of good to great skins that are reasonably priced and it would be harder for a new skin to stand out from that crowd. A new skin for him wouldnt interest me unless it was truly great. Rengar only has a single skin and an upgrade would not be out of line. Even a skin as bad as Pool Party Lee Sins would have been somewhat welcome on Rengar.

            On the wow factor, I give or take away 2 bonus points based on personal feeling and subjectivity and overall feel or value of a skin. A champion can have 2, 1, 0, -1, or even -2 points in this category.

            Lets grade some skins.

            Spirit Udyr is a very high profile and expensive skin. I will give it 4 points for quality as it has an above average skin model and fits in Udyrs concept rather well. The splash art does not get a point. In value It earns 1 point. I give it a full 3 points for enhancements then dock it 2 points because of expense. I give it 1 point for being an addition to the Udyr skin library as it adds to the library but doesnt quite overthrow Primal Udyr as a clear cut upgrade in it. To get 2 or 3 points here an Ultimate skin with a 3250 price point would have to be head and shoulders above all the other skins. Finally we come to the wow factor and I give it a star for bells and whistles such as summoner icons, extra jokes, voiceovers, etc. Its good but it doesnt quite knock your socks off on the wow factor. So you get get 4 points for quality, 1 point for value, and 2 points for miscellaneous. You add it up to 7 then divide by 2 and you come to a 3.5 rating which is quite close to your grade of 3. It could be graded up to 4 or down to 3 and Id be happy either way. My view is that Primal Udyr is very good and in some ways better and with an Ultimate skin you want a substantial upgrade over a far cheaper skin so Id go down to 3 because I feel Primal Udyr is probably as enjoyable and far cheaper. This 3 star grade matches yours nicely.

            Lets grade Officer Caitlyn which is the highest price skin during the current sale. Sadly, none of the Caitlyn skins have new particles, sounds, animations or enhancements. So lets break it down. On quality, I give the skin 3 stars. I feel that the model is “average” and even then mostly because of the best rifle from all Caitlyns skin options. I feel the concept fits with Caitlyn being a sniper so concept earns point 3 in the quality category. I do not give the skin a bonus point for splash art. On value, I only give the skin 0 stars. It isnt cheap at 975 rp and it doesnt have any enhancements. Officer Caitlyn gets one point in miscellaneous feel. She adds to the library as she has the best rifle of any skin but she certainly doesnt enhance it. She gets no points for bells and whistles. So I give her 3 points for quality, 0 for value, and 1 for miscellaneous extra credit and this brings us to 4 points which is divided by 2 and get an overall rating of 2 and right in line with Zeros rating. This skin is slightly more appealing this week on sale and especially so if you like the rifle but it seems a waste of money to ever pay full price for it unless you main Caitlyn and want her skins.

            You have Monarch Kogmaw at 5 stars so lets break it down. It gets 5 stars for quality. The skin is great, the splash art is great, and the concept is lovely for such a strange voidling. For Value you get 2 stars. It gets 0 for enhancements but at 520 rp its certainly affordable. The Kogmaw library is crowded but it still gets 2 points for enhancing it. I will reward it 1 point for the fluttering wings which is a nice wow factor and you get 5 for quality + 2 for value + 3 for miscellaneous extra credit for a total fo 10 points and then its divided by 2 for a 5 star skin rating which is well worthy of purchase.

            Lets look at a weak skin. You hate to pick on Hillbilly Gragas because it is such an obviously bad 1 star skin that to give it 1 star is being nice and it would be easy to pick apart. So lets look at Blast Zone Heimerdinger. It gets 2 points for quality with a point even though its below average and a generous point for concept. In value you have to give it 2 points for being a cheap skin. Heimy gets 2 points for Library rating because there are only 2 skins you can buy for him and the other one costs twice as much and isnt great. Even though BZ is a bad skin it still upgrades the library. Still, on the wow factor rating you look at it and say wow thats a bad skin. Sadly I have to dock Heimy 2 points for just being muddy and bad looking. Its a change of pace from traditional classic Heimy which isnt a good skin but its still bad. So Heimy breaks down to 2 points for quality, 2 for value and 0 for Misc extra credit (+2 -2) and you get 4 points which is divided by 2 and again a 2 star skin right on the money with Zeros rating. However, if Heimy had even 2 more skins in his library then Id feel safe to grade BZ Heimerdinger out to be a 1 star skin. The little Yordle desperately needs a new Hextech skin. A pool party skin for him instead of Lee Sin would have been lovely even if it was a mediocre skin. They could have made him into a pool man and the guy that cleans and repairs pools. I really dont get why they made inferior skins to the already great Leona and Lee Sin skins and left Heimerdinger and others underwater once again when even a mediocre skin might have become the best available for that champion.. It must be the popularity of the champions. Still people might buy and play Heimy more if there were good skins for him which there are not.

            Well anyway, I thank you for your insight and its interesting to note that you do grade on a Bell Curve. Ive taken your advice and tried to look at skins more objectively and critique them as such and honestly Ive found that I have gotten to know and enjoy some skins that perhaps I wouldnt have looked twice at on first notice. Thank you for your time and effort Zero. It is appreciated.

            Have a nice day

          • Even a late game solution such as dropping old Dreadknight Garen and old Rugged Garen to the 390 level and allowing them to remain purchasable and usable would be an acceptable solution. I do not hate the new skins as much as I mind the killing of the old beloved skins.

            There is a very easy solution to making more people happy and it is to just not kill the old skins. Drop them to 390 and call it Traditional Rugged Garen or Traditional Dreadknight Garen and Im guessing everyone gets happy in a hurry. Of course Riot may not want 390 skins to compete with the higher priced ones but I just think there is a market for them all.

            Do 390 skins ever even go on sale ? I bought Rugged Garen for 387 so it doesnt seem far apart in price.

            If they cant or dont want to create a new price point then just drop them to the legacy vault but keep them. Nobody will complain about getting 2 “extra” skins they can use. And if Ryze can have 8 skins then so can Garen. From time to time they could trot out the legacy skins and just let people choose.

            There were other options than just killing off and removing good skins that people bought. Especially like in my case where Rugged Garen was relatively new and Ive only had a few short months to get value from him.

            Additions are usually better than subtractions. And when they are done with this round Garen really shouldnt need help with skins for years. I dont see huge upgrades in Legendary and Ultimate skins for Garen anytime soon and the other price points are covered. I dont know the skin limit for champions but if its 10 then Garen would still have room for upgrades in the far distant future.

        • Summon me and you will like the way you look, I Garentee it – Get it ?

          Obviously Riot has several options with a champion and its skins

          1. Leave them alone and do nothing which has seemed to be the case with Heimerdinger for ages.

          2. Rework them reposition them.

          3. Release new skins.

          Garen seems to be in the rework option so lets visit this issue and compare it to option 3.

          At the end of the day it comes down to making money. Riot probably makes over 75% of its income through skin sales and over 20% from champion sales with a bit here and there from character transfers, bonus buffs, and rune pages. Skin sales are the bread and butter of their income.

          With Garen, it would be hard to upgrade what he has. Steel Legion Garen stands tall and proud and to make a Legendary or Ultimate skin that is better would be hard to do. Additionally Garen has a good 975 skin, a great 720 skin and 2 decent 520 skins. It would be difficult to improve his library without a legendary or Ultimate and other champions need help more.

          Its hard for Riot to keep their hands off Garen. He is a high profile champion that is used and loved by many. He is one of the first 3 champions new players see and hes affordable and good enough to be playable at the highest levels.

          So we get a rework. From the rework I see Riot having 3 options.

          1. They could remove the old skins and replace them which they are doing.
          2. They could rework the old skins and add them to the store – which would cost extra.
          3. They could rework the old skins and add them to accounts as bonus skins and let people play both.

          For option 1, I think the rework and replace just sets a bad precedent. It makes me wonder whether or not if I spend money on a skin that sometime in the future, Riot will decide the skin I like isnt good enough in their eyes and will replace it with something else. The final products not out yet and maybe they will be upgrades and I will like them better but overall I feel that it was rude to take something that I bought and owned and enjoyed and exchange it. Its like parents that take candy out of their childs hands and replace it with a piece of fruit. Sure both are good but sometimes you want the sweets. In this case, Id like to be able to use what I bought, whenever I feel like it and have the right to enjoy it whether or not a dev at riot thinks its good enough for my champion play or not. If they are going to take away the skins I bought and give me something else they should refund riot points or give me a bonus on my next purchase or give me some sweetener to make the pill go down easier.

          Option 2 is something that I dont know why they didnt explore. Certainly they could have added Sanguine Garen to the 390 rp champion list and given New Sanguine Garen a new title and name and let people make their own decisions to buy him or not. Garen is one of the first champions people buy and with 400 rp points being handed out for free to all accounts it would make sense to add another skin to the sub 400 point price range and get people started collecting on their skins. New Rugged Garen seems very different than old Rugged Garen so adding that skin to the mix would not seem odd. It wouldnt hurt Riot to drop the price of Rugged Garen to 520 and leave 2 champions at that price point. Commando Garen is problematic in that you cannot release his new “skin” as a different skin based on the sunglass commando line but I dont think people will much mind New Commando outright replacing Old Commando Garen. Change a couple of particles to New Dreadnight Garen based purely on a color change, then rename it, drop the price of old Dreadknight Garen to 720 and voila you have a solution. The feel and look of the 2 skins is different enough that you could find a market for them. Overall, you have created a new price point for Garen, added 3 new skins to buy, and done a little to complain about of Commando Garen and I think everyone is happy. Desert Trooper probably should have been left alone being a legacy skin in the vault but even if you want to upgrade it then add it as a new skin at the 720 price point. The 4 new skins to buy would probably add sales to Riot gaming. This however brings Garen up to 10 skins which I believe would be the most any champion has. The most that comes to mind off the top of my mind would be Ryze who has 8. Still Ryze and Garen are 2 of the first 3 champions people see and with low ip prices they are among the first champions new players buy. Garen having skins at 5 price points at 390, 520, 720, 970, and 1320 would need a few more skins than those champions that miss price points. Desert Garen is legacy, and I just dont see the point in upgrading a skin that people rarely have a chance to buy though I will admit upgrading Scuba Gragas wouldnt hurt my feelings. Overall, the best option for 2 would have been to leave Sanguine Garen alone but drop his price to 390, rework Desert Garen or not – either is good since the new model is an upgrade, rework Commando Garen, and add New Dreadknight and New Rugged as new skins while dropping the prices of Old Rugged and Old Dreadknight.

          I like Option 3 the best but obviously Riot feels that it would have a problem with 11 skins for Garen. Im not exactly sure why but it would be a nice bonus and people would have a reason to buy skins sooner rather than later if the old skins were “retired” and unavailable forever. There are a few skins that are “retired” and I do not like that I most likely will never own them. I dont like “retired” and skins you can never get. I would like to see Riot unpack them as promotions once again.

          Overall, if they had to limit Garen to 8 skins which seems to be the limit set by Ryze, I would think the pill would have gone down smoother if they had left Sanguine Garen alone and dropped his price to 390. Reworked Commando Garen as an upgrade and maybe Desert Garen as well and perhaps dropped Rugged Garen and Dreadknight Garen to the Legacy Vault with free replacements of the new reworked Garens. They would have 8 skins like Ryze, 3 would be in the legacy vault compared with Ryze having 2 there, 2 retired, and 1 requiring a tournament win. Additionally they would have 4 price points for Garen which is a nice touch and the 6 skins available for sale would cross these price points nicely. And honestly, the only complaints you might hear from skin collectors would be those that really did not like Commando Garen or Desert Garen being reworked and replaced and I doubt that many would gripe much as they were cheaper skins and of lesser quality to begin with. It seems a gentler solution.

          Personally, I do not own Dreadknight Garen though Im sure that I will someday as Garen is a favorite champ. I bought Sanguine Garen and Commando Garen for 260 rp and Im sure that I have played each one perhaps 10 times each gaining acceptable value for my purchases. If I utterly hated and never used the new upgrades on these 2 I would be happy with the value I got from them. I paid 387 for Rugged Garen and have been playing him daily since the announcement. I compare using a skin to putting a quarter into a pacman machine from ages past. To get true value from Rugged Garen I need to play him 15 times. Im getting close to that number. Still, I will miss him when hes gone. In the future I will lean on Steel Legion Garen as I need 39 plays to justify his 975 point skin and Im not close to it.

          Riot had a lot of options and I think they chose the worst of the lot. I think a nice compromise and mix of purpose would have been to bring Garen to 8 skins, take 2 out of the store and put them in legacy vault and drop one to a new 390 price point, 5 skins across 4 price points is not too much for Garen and 3 in the legacy vault is more reasonable than what you see with Ryze. Everyone gets some frosting on the cake except the true fans of old Commando Garen and old Desert Trooper Garen and they wouldnt even “have” to upgrade New Desert Trooper.

          At the end of the day, Ive gotten fair value from all my Garen skins except Steel Legion and so Im reasonably happy though I will miss Rugged Garen a bit. The most problematic and disturbing thing to me is the realization that if I buy a skin and I like it, that some guy at Riot in some office can wake up and decide that I shouldnt be allowed to use it anymore and can change it for me. Why cannot I play the skins I bought? This is a trend and subject that is food for thought. Even though I think Desert Garen is an obvious upgrade and Commando Garen a minor upgrade, it is still a concern in the long run. Throwing qualitative morality out the window with the honorable pursuit of good intentions is never a beneficial idea in the long run. As many say, its just the principle of the thing.

          Happy Days Everyone

          • First of all, very interesting analysis on skins’ ratings. It’s a truly methodical way of looking at a skin review. About that, we could assume that, as skins are made by an unknown number of people with different interest and visions then the resulting quality of a skin could be assigned a random rating; a priori. Therefore, if the set of skins’ ratings is made of entirely random numbers it would follow a normal distribution which generates a nice Gaussian bell curve as you stated.

            This hypothesis implies that it’s very difficult for a skin to be absolutely horrible or amazing and more probably that it would be of an average quality. Honestly, it would be fantastic if all skins reached five stars but, being a skins’ rating, a number that is generated by a unknown amount of, a prior, random variables then the rating would also be random.
            This hypothesis is probably an unnecessary abuse of maths but rather interesting nonetheless.

            With regards to Garen’s visual upgrade it can be understood, to a point, not to want to have competing traditional skins with the new, upgraded ones. However, as the cost of keeping the old skins is practically null then the more options available the higher the probability that someone will find a skin to their liking. In other words, variety is always welcome; especially due to the noticeable difference between old and new skins.

            To be fair, some of the old skins really needed an upgrade but they could always be kept as legacy while the ones that look acceptable can stay or receive a price cut. We agree that, while Riot’s point of view is understandable, it’s hardly a welcome precedent for the player. As you say, any time a champion receives a visual upgrade you could end with a set of skins that you no longer like because they aren’t what you bought any more.

            At the very least, let’s hope that skin quality, at large, does improve in the future. If things stay the same then, maybe sans champions that have obviously dated looks, it could mean that similar situations will present themselves in the future.

            Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  3. When does this VU come out. I have been waiting for this update. I agree my favorite skin is now too shiny (Dreadknight Garen), but at least now his original skin doesn’t make him look like a derp.

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