In the champion development team of League, many deserve our thanks for contributing to the character roster we have now. But no one has reached the level of hate, personal attack, and controversy as CertainlyT – the guy who is responsible for creating many of the champions you probably dislike too.
But why is CertainlyT such an infamous figure in League of Legends? Why has the LoL community despised him ever since he started working for Riot Games? And why is the name “CertainlyT” tied with so many disputes about the game? But, first of all, who is he?
Who is CertainlyT?
Bradford “CertainlyT” Wenban is an American game developer who has worked exclusively for Riot Games. And even more exclusively, he has only worked on designing champions for the game, and nothing else. He has been offered to do item changes and balance things around, but he has always declined those offers.
Bradford started his job at Riot as just an intern in December 2011, during season 1 of League of Legends. Initially, he has been assigned to help out the champion development team that had many famous names from today, like Steven “Coronach” DeRose. And back then, the champion philosophy was very “old-school”. The playable characters were usually with simple abilities that anyone can understand right from the get-go, and without any hidden mechanics of the modern game.
So, CertainlyT’s talent for bringing innovation to League of Legends caught everyone’s attention when he designed his first champion – Darius, the Hand of Noxus. Now, Darius didn’t stand out too match from the regular character roster, but he still had many interesting elements that weren’t seen before. And that’s the philosophy of CertainlyT when creating a champion!
In a recent interview with Travis Gafford, CertainlyT explained his reasons for creating “problematic” champions. His method involves inventing new ways that a player can interact with the game. On top of that, he really values the learning part when playing League, and the fact that the player must work to understand how the champion is supposed to be played. And he has said in the past as well, that if a champion doesn’t feel fresh you play him for the first time, or he doesn’t require you to put some extra effort, is that really a new champion or just a copy of another?
But if a person puts such a special value on the player’s experience in League of Legends, then why is CertainlyT does everyone hate him?
Why Do People Hate CertainlyT?
It’s no secret that even some pro players have ill-feelings towards CertainlyT, not to mention the majority of the LoL community. To paint a perfect picture, let us tell you which champions CertainlyT has designed and reworked.
- Darius, the Hand of Noxus
- Zyra, Rise of Thorns
- Thresh, the Soul Warden
- Yasuo, the Unforgiven
- Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance
- Zoe, the Aspect of Twilight
- Aphelios, the Weapon of the Faithful
- Warwick, the Uncaged Wrath of Zaun
- Akali, the Rogue Assassin
As you can see, almost all of CertainlyT’s champions have something unique about them. Whether that’s a complex ability, or a mechanic, or just a playstyle – they’re really one-of-a-kind picks. Take Thresh, for example.
When Thresh was first released, the support role was really supportive and didn’t usually carry games. Champions like Sona, Janna, and Lulu were the standard picks, with Alistar being here and there. But Thresh came out of nowhere and suddenly a new door in the game was opened, for damage/carry oriented supports that don’t rely on their ADCs to do all the work. And this has pushed the game in a new direction.
The same goes for Yasuo and Zoe. When they were released, they broke the meta so hard that they became a plague for the professional scene too. Aphelios was such a contested pick because of his crazy damage, while Zoe was hated as much as Seraphine.
But, not only CertainlyT’s champions are unique, they’re difficult and complicated too. As a result, they often appear as if they have 10 active abilities at their disposal instead of 4, and they tend to seem too powerful. And that is really where all the drama about CertainlyT begins. People hate him because they think his champions are overpowered, broken, and need tons of nerfs (potentially removals) in order to fit the game. They imagine him as an evil mastermind whose only purpose is to create such monstrosities and make their lives a living hell!
And if that’s true for some of his champions, it can’t be true for all. In CertainlyT’s defence, he isn’t really responsible for how much damage Akali or Yasuo does. The balance team at Riot Games does all the work of calculating the damage numbers, and more than often, CertainlyT has nothing to do with it. He is only a designer that makes sure his system (champion) works, a clockmaker that doesn’t control the flow of time.
And yes, a lot of people say that his champions are not “fair”, but League of Legends and all video games in general, aren’t really fair. Patches come and go very frequently, and there are always few OP champions that can win every game. In such a complex system as League, it’s hard to put all the blame on one person.
You may hate CertainlyT and his champions, but his influence on the game’s direction has been enormous. Every new character that he brings to life is remarkably different from another character in the same role. This helps the game remain fresh and engaging, even after 10 years of its release.
And CertainlyT doesn’t go anywhere. Despite the threats of the millions of LoL players, his job is secured. He continues to work hard at Riot, and we’re excited to see what will his new invention look like. And more importantly, what will it do?