TFT Set 11 devs breakdown Encounters, Econ, and more for Inkborn Fables launch

The launch of TFT Set 11 is a special one, especially coming off the heels of Set 10. This is the second set for the autobattler that features the upgraded release schedule. Set 10 made TFT history by including individual music tracks into every trait, while Set 11 Inkborn Fables introduced a new mechanic called Encounters. The TFT team also added over 100 new Augments to Set 11, including the return of trait-specific Augments, and a returning trait called Fortune found its way into Inkborn Fables, showcasing a new approach to the Econ trait. 

Kayle summoning a spell in Storyweaver Set 11 trait
Gain insight into Set 11 from the devs. Image via Riot Games

Playing Inkborn Fables through the PBE has been fun as I’m a fan of the new and improved Fortune trait, along with the Exalted trait. And the Encounter mechanic adds just the right amount of spice. For the official launch of TFT Set 11, I talked to Tang and Whalen about player expectations and design choices that keep the sets fresh while engaging both competitive and casual players.

Augments have been a secondary evergreen mechanic within TFT since Set Eight. Does the team design Augments for each set with the intention of keeping them playable at all three Stages (2-1, 3-2, and 4-2)? 

Tang: “We design Augments to be fun and give players interesting ways to engage with the game first and then decide which stages they can show up in. For example, we know that we want to design Econ Augments since that is a fun way for players to engage with the game, but we also know that these are most enjoyable in the early Augment stages, so we exclude them from being shown later in the game.”

How was the design of trait-specific Augments in Set 11 different from other TFT sets?

Tang: “With Encounters as the Set 11 mechanic, we wanted to make sure that the Inkborn Fables Augments stayed away from spaces that Encounters could embody. If the Augment team had a good idea for an Augment but felt it would be better for the whole lobby to experience it, they would give the idea to the set team. I don’t think this is too different from how other sets approached Augments. To do this, the Augment team focused on trying to sell the thematic and mechanical fantasy of each trait augment and to supplement the excitement of existing traits without adding too much to their complexity.”

What are your favorite Set 11 Augments?

Whalen: “Call to Chaos. There’s something very satisfying about unwrapping my present and then figuring out what to do with it.”

Tang: “I always enjoy the feeling of praying and hoping that I’ll get the 5-cost that’s exactly what I want for the comp, so [the Dynamic Duo] Augment has been extremely fun for me.”

The TFT dev team has done an amazing job balancing RNG with new mechanics, but there always seem to be fans who worry it will negatively impact competitive play. What steps did the devs take to ensure casual and competitive players are happy with the new Encounter mechanic and the RNG it brings to the table?

Tang: “When developing Set 11, we held teamwide playtests with the whole TFT team, ranging from casual players to competitive players, and asked them about how they felt about Encounters. Additionally, we worked extensively with Finalization, a team that consists of high Elo and competitive players, towards the end of the set to ensure that Encounters would be fun for them too.”

What were some of the concerns with Encounters for the Set 11 launch?

Tang: “We were concerned about if we got the right amount of how much Encounters affect the game. We knew that some players really wanted game-changing Encounters, but some other players just want to boot up a good ol’ game of TFT and play their favorite comp without too much interference. Based on everyone’s feedback, we were able to find that balance.”

What are your favorite Encounters in Set 11?

Whalen: “Teemo! Emblems for everyone!”

Tang: “I like the Xayah Rakan Encounter since it gives me a chance at Recombobulator!”

Economy traits have become a staple within TFT with each new set. What were some of the hurdles in redesigning Fortune, and is high-risk/high-reward the future of Econ traits?

Tang: “When we first released Fortune, the paradigm of ‘lose for more power’ was new to the player base. As TFT players have matured, they have gotten better and better at minimizing the risk of using these types of traits, so if we reprinted Set Four’s Fortune, it would be a lower-risk trait. We wanted to preserve the high-risk aspect that made it popular when it was originally released. Even though this is the approach we took to Inkborn Fables’ Fortune, we’re not sure if high risk/high reward is the permanent future of Econ traits—we’d like to keep exploring the space.”

Set 10 quickly became my favorite because of the music and how it was incorporated into gameplay. When can we expect another TFT soundtrack? And are there plans to incorporate musical tracks into gameplay through future sets outside of it being a main mechanic?

Whalen: “Set 10’s music was great. We’re constantly looking for new ways to make each set feel fresh and exciting, and for Remix Rumble, customizing your track felt amazing. It was, however, a ton of work. We don’t have any plans to do that again, but if an opportunity arises either on a smaller scale or for a set that’s perfect for it, we’d be open to it.”

TFT Set 11 Inkborn Fables hits the live servers on March 20 through Patch 14.6.

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