Thursday, December 1, 2011

Riot’s New Jungle, Part 2: the Good, the Bad and the Interesting

Last post I covered the patch notes themselves and what the implications of them are.  What I did not go into was my speculation on what comes of it.  So while knowing the new timers or what happened is a great thing, the game has just changed.  I still hold the opinion it is for the better, and that is because the pros outweigh the cons.  There are also several very interesting things that may be appearing in the near future.  Feel free to comment on anything I bring up and anything I didn’t!

Before I hop into the pros and cons of this patch, there are terms and mentalities that need to be defined.  In the times preceding the jungle change, jungling was a fairly straightforward role.  I have written many words on how it is not one dimensional, but I still hold that it is straight forward.  If all of your camps are cleared, go gank or counter jungle.  Puts wards on the map.  Help your team.  The list goes on, but really the decision trees don’t offer complexity.  There is room for a great jungler and a bad jungler alike.  Either one will change the outcome of a game, but it is easy to fall behind if your lanes are failing, even if you are great.

These changes bring more consistency and complexity to jungling.  While I hesitate to ever listen to Phreak or Morello, I think they actually hit the mark on this one.  I’ve been enjoying my games and look forward to what’s to come, so let’s break down my pros.

+ Lanes can get more farm

Top, Bottom and Mid lanes can now spend down time or lane pushed time in their jungle picking up some gold and experience.  The healing sigil allows someone that is a ranged carry or tanky DPS to plow through a camp and not lose much health at all.  The reduced health on the wraiths allows the mid take them down extremely fast.  This is going to allow for synergy between the team.  If the jungler is ganking top he can alert mid and bottom to take his jungle.  This will allow good and alert lane players an edge over

+ Counter Jungling more effective

That’s right, I said MORE effective.  The point of counter jungling is to take experience and gold from the enemy jungler.  The reduced income from small minions and increased from large ones, including the overall nerf to the camps makes counter jungling extremely strong.  If you steal a large golem, blue wraith or large wolf, chances are you’re seriously setting back the enemy jungler.  Before the change, you crippled a camp just to get some extra gold and set them back. Now the combination of reduced experience on top of weighted gains for camps makes it such that losing a large minion will reduce the gold and experience you get by a huge percentage.  This is not including any jungler that is new and relies on healing sigils in order to complete their route.

+ More consistent jungle

The jungle previous could be really inconsistent.  A failed gank may have left you in a position not to complete your camps.  If your lanes were all going ok and weren’t able to be ganked, you were left underfarmed.  This was seen a lot at the professional level where lanes aren’t quite win or lose and the jungler has to rely on his farm to get into the game.  With these new changes, you can choose to farm up instead of forcing ganks and situations to get ahead.  It gives a jungler the option to have a good game always instead of sometimes and the great games are now even more available.

+ New items and Champions

There will undoubtedly be new people living in the trees, likely those that want unharassed farm.  Who will end up being in the jungle is still in the air, but what I am excited about is the different item starts.  I actually can start Udyr with no potions and get a strong leash and clear with cloth armor.  This can lead me to go with possibly dropping armor runes and running something like attack speed.  While this isn’t the best example, the possibilities of different items, especially with Wriggle’s Lantern, is exciting.  I don’t have to build Wriggle’s on all of my characters now.  I will be revisiting quite a lot of heroes and trying different items.

+ Still a “jungler niche”

The things that make a jungler good now are mostly amplified by this change.  The reduction in health of the camps makes anyone more sustainable, but the sustained are even stronger now.  While having to kill more hurts a few and helps others, most junglers are great because they can stay in the jungle for a while and gank strong.  This does not change and, as I had assumed originally, you won’t see the laners taking over the house anytime soon.

+ Higher health ganks

The health sigils and weaker camps allow for ganks a lot more often.  While you now have the decision to farm hard or gank, at least both decisions are high health.  I noticed that I can jungle as I will and gank lanes freely now instead of really needing that extra camp and taking a lot of time.  I don’t find myself rushing to finish a camp then go a fight happening, I am much faster to leave immediately.  I typically enter the lane at pretty high health and the reduced time on a health potion means that you can even pop one and have it run its course by the time you get there.

+ Buffs able to be passed

This is a bit progressive, but I can see buffs being passed more often now.  I think a non-red or blue dependent jungler can coordinate well with their laners to pass this off and make a strong laner.  While this could be done before and the buff timers have not changed, junglers now have more options for farming and ganking, so the buffs are not as critical.  With the increase of sustain for most of the cast in the jungle, blue buff is much less needed and the nerf to red makes it a stronger option for a laner instead of a jungler.  You’ll still see Shyvanna and Master Yi taking reds and Fiddle taking blue, but many can forego them now.

- Bigger downside to failed ganks

Earlier I said that the jungle is more consistent, and while that is true, there is more consequence to multiple failed ganks now.  The reason it is amplified is that the enemy jungler, if they chose to farm, is now a lot farther ahead of you.  If you fail a gank, it’s never been the end of the world, however the more time you waste not killing camps now, the worse off you’re going to be.  Everyone in the game, aside from you, will be gaining more farm and you cannot afford to not be jungling.

- Early level 2 gank gone or harder

The days of starting double golems and going bottom/top are gone.  You can smite the wraith and then do golems, but the timing isn’t as quick.  This allows the lanes to be closer or actually level 2, which defeats the purpose of level advantage.  This will  run into issues with bottom lane especially because a level 2 Alistar support is much more of a pain than a level 1.  This isn’t the worst thing because I always felt the level 2 gank was a gimmick anyway, but it still removes an option.

- “Bad” junglers are even worse (non-AoE)

My perfect example for this is going to be Fiddlesticks.  Fiddlesticks requires a drain to kill minions, and that is fine against strong minions.  But this doesn’t work for the same reason that you can’t drain every minion in the lane when laning.  Having increased amounts of things to kill provides a huge sustainability issue to single target, low sustain junglers.

- AoE is overpowered

On the other side of that coin is the AoE junglers.  Someone such as Amumu is far stronger now because he can cast a Tantrum or two and he’s done with the camp.  Having to worry about high health is an issue for AoE style champions, but that issue has been removed.  Right now, AoE damage is very strong and will make junglers such as Rumble viable as well as current junglers such as Lee Sin, Maokai and Amumu stronger.

- Slightly less experience gain overall

This will likely be changed by Riot, but I really feel less leveled in the jungle.

+/- Roaming Resurrected

Roaming died because of a variety of reasons, but I have a feeling it is coming back.  You can have strong roaming characters replace junglers on a team.  Roamers can sustain themselves easily in the jungle between ganks and this not only allows roaming jungle to have lane presence, but can feed the jungle to their lanes.  This will lead to a weaker link on a team when it fails, but a good roamer will win games by making his lanes extremely well farmed, constantly buffed and always getting ganks.  You better watch out for Evelynn, Twitch, Alistar and Blitzcrank in the jungle, I’m calling it.

+/- Sustainability and speed much stronger

One thing I’m not sure on, but provide interesting jungle picks, is that sustainability and speed are much stronger.  Someone like Udyr who has AoE damage as well as incredible sustain will become even stronger.  He will never have to return to the shop and can farm up his camps immediately.  This really will lead to jungle matchups where your lanes can pick safe characters such as Ezreal and Karthus and a farming jungler to counter a very strong ganking jungler such as Rammus.  It is another team dynamic to consider now and I think that it will produce some very interesting results.

+/- Wriggle’s is equivalent to smite?

Smite is still a strong spell, but I am starting to question its necessity.  I think on a few, strong junglers, Smite can be foregone for a Wriggle’s Lantern.  I ran a Wriggle’s on Lee Sin and killed the jungle so fast that I didn’t even have time to use smite.  It isn’t as necessary on the camps since they are all weaker, so somebody like Trundle, a Wriggle’s can get the job done.  I think that smite might be another offensive option a jungler can take advantage of now because as long as you have strong jungling, you will not need it as much.

 +/- Increased team synergy opportunity

I think it’s great that a team can now flow in and out of the jungle as well as the enemy’s jungle. This will allow professional teams to have advantage over other people and more disaster to be had for solo queue teams.  I really think it will introduce some great team synergy and will allow more MIAs and uncertainty as to whether they are jungling or ganking another lane.

+/- Higher skill cap on the game

While the mechanical skill cap has not increased, there is a much better ability for better and worser players to excel.  A strong jungler can now counter jungle much harder and gank far more often.  A great laner can now pick up more farm when he can and find ways to gain advantage over his opponent.  These changes have really set a new standard on what can be done in league of legends.

Riot's New Jungle, Part 1: The Patch

Riot’s New Jungle, Part 1:  the Patch
As many of you know, Riot recently changed the jungle.  While many are throwing their outrage around saying this isn’t fair (I was one of them), these changes are for the better.  Not all change is an improvement, but Riot did a great job on this one.  There are more tweaks to be had and negatives to the change, but there is a lot of ground to cover.  This post will be on just the Riot patch notes and their significance.

            Jungle Adjustments
-          Small camps now respawn faster, but have reduced rewards

This drops the spawn time from 1:40 to 1:00.  This is lightning fast compared to before, and makes it such that a jungler can continuously farm until they choose not to.  This will also help lanes level and farm faster and harder.

-          Small camps now have a healing sigil

This will help sustain any junglers looking to be in the jungle for an extended amount of time.  This doesn’t heal for that much, but it does help clear the camps easier.  It also gives something to counter jungle and I think will make certain champions viable in the jungle.

-          Neutral monsters now have their health, damage, experience reward and gold reward increased with game length

This is awesome.  It gives junglers a reason to stick in the jungle as well as counter jungle at the later levels because the rewards are much better.  An extra 20-30 gold per camp per few minutes is really helpful in coming back from a gank instead of encouraging pure farm.

-          Neutral monster experience range reduced to 400 from 800 the killer will always receive experience

This is a relatively minor change that will help the solo queue out most.  The experience range now on hard leashes pushes the limit and I have had more than my fair share of my teammates not leaving fast enough.  The end stipulation makes it so that a caster on the other side of the trees still gets experience, despite being out of the radius.

-          Ancient Golem and Lizard Elder camp experience increased slightly and gold reduced slightly

This will slightly impact the jungler.  It’s there to give a faster level up because the other camps don’t give as much experience.  The decrease in gold is likely a shot at the scaling feature they added, but I will not complain about getting more experience when I give blue to my mid.

-          Crest of the Ancient Golem now grants 25 flat MP5, but 1% regen from 1.5%  and now effects energy as well

This change to blue is well needed.  The 0.5% reduction of mana is nearly negligible on most, with possible exceptions being Ryze and Tear of the Goddess builders.  The change to help energy will make Shen easier to jungle with and makes someone such as Rumble viable as well.  The increases regenerations on top of cooldown for energy characters is a welcome change.  Blue buff will now also help someone such as Kennen in the mid lane, whereas it only helped increase cooldowns before.  Blue buff is just as strong as ever.

-          Blessing of the Lizard Elder melee slow % reduced to 8/16/24% from 10/20/30%

This one is a small hit to jungle ganks, but should make it a bit less free win on a red gank.  I have had times I swear the enemy stopped moving entirely with Skarner slow and red buff being applied.  A 2/4/6% difference is going to be felt in rare situations and if you’re hurting for movespeed, run the quints.  While this lowers the viability of some champions slightly (Shyvanna and Master Yi come to mind), it is not a significant impact on most. It still gives those with CC a secured kill and potentially offers one to those without.

-          Dragon and Baron immune to armor and magic resist-shredding effects

This helps prevent those early dragons and barons done without teamwork, those darn uncoordinated teams!  This is a response to the jungle being a bit easier and will make Dragon and Baron more of a team objective, but only slightly more so.  This will really just force the team to coordinate more than “Hey, the Teemo with Malady and Karthus solo’d Baron” and will somewhat prevent Fiddle’s solo’ing capabilities.

-          Monsters will heal 5% immediately when retreating, but are easier to re-aggro.

This is going to help prevent “double leashing” from blue buff, where it runs all the way back to spawn and heals itself up while you bash on it.  Believe me when I say it’s frustrating and sometimes game ruining, so I am glad this is fixed.
All in all, the jungle changes are much more reasonable than I had imagined.  I feared for my life and drank up a storm when I heard the ideas, but Riot handled it in a reasonable, balanced way.  I have a feeling that experience and gold will need to be tweaked because I do feel slightly weaker in the jungle than I did before.  Look for part 2 of this article: the Good, the Bad and the Interesting.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meta Talk: Volibear Patch

League of Legends v1.0.0.130

Riot is rolling out a lot of changes for this patch, but are they really that significant?  There’s a lot of bug fixes here and there with some minion damage and jungle changes.  The jungle changes are going to have their own discussion in another article in more depth.  Not to mention that Volibear seems like another top lane bruiser entering the league.

Volibear, the Thunder’s Roar
Rolling Thunder
 Volibear drops to all fours and runs faster if chasing an enemy champion. The first enemy he attacks is knocked into the air and flung behind Volibear
 Volibear's repeated attacks grant him additional attack speed. Once Volibear has repeatedly attacked three times, he can perform a vicious bite on his target.
Majestic Roar
 Volibear lets out a powerful roar that damages and slows enemies. Minions and monsters are feared as well.
Thunder Claws
 Volibear channels the power of the storm causing his attacks to blast his targets with lightning that bounces to other nearby enemies.
Chosen of the Storm (passive)
Volibear heals rapidly for a few seconds when his health drops to a critical level.

Volibear has the kit of several top lane bruisers combined, but with it he brings their faults.  His first ability, Rolling Thunder, looks to be like a combination of Vayne, Xin Zhao and Singed.  I can see this being an extremely powerful 1 level skill that provides a great escape mechanism and harassment.  His second ability, Frenzy, is a Jax ultimate at level 1.  While he doesn’t gain the magic resistance that Jax does, he can hold his own in a duel extremely early with this ability.  Majestic Roar seems very, very strong.  He will be able to dash in and slow an enemy while fearing any creeps in his way or getting agro on him.  His ultimate seems very lackluster, but only because the numbers aren’t out.  This will help his teamfighting and can also help in a duel depending on the amount of damage it grants.  His passive seems pretty strong for low life harassment as well as jungling.  This could make him a jungler that teeters on low health forever because he regens it fast enough that camp to camp he loses no life.  I think he can be shut down the same way Shyvanna and Udyr can be, which is to be kited to death.  I’m excited for this champion and will absolutely play him.

Urchin Strike's targeting updating to hit targets slightly earlier
Urchin Strike's attack component can no longer be dodged

Neat.  Dodge is being removed anyway, so this isn’t really a change as much as nipping it in the bud.

Jarvan IV
Martial Cadence (Passive)
Damage changed to physical from magic
Damage changed to 6/8/10% (at levels 1/7/13) of the target's current health from 8%
No longer procs spell effects such as Rylai's or Spell Vamp
Increased the hitbox size of Demacian Standard when targeted by Dragon Strike

Jarvan did not need another nerf, and this is exactly what this is.  Sure his late game is 2% more damage, but approximately nobody cares about that.  Having it not proc Rylai’s or Spell Vamp (Wriggle’s Lantern proc) is a necessary change when going to magic damage from Physical and was expected.  Damage being changed to magic might have a small increase in the damage output.  This is because a lot of the cast doesn’t have magic resist per level, while everyone gains armor per level.  I think the slight nerf in damage might be in response to this, but I don’t see why it was changed to begin with.

Wall of Pain
Wall duration reduced to 5 seconds from 7
Now only affects a target once (instead of reapplying every pass through)
Fixed a bug where Leona's passive and the Dominion center Sigil could cause an immediate double kill against Karthus

The Wall of Pain nerf isn’t really that big a deal on Karthus.  It will change certain situations where a very well placed wall repeatedly slows someone (in a corridor, running along the wall).  It also changes hesitant teams who see a wall and back off, only to initiate and go back in.  In this case the wall will likely be even more of an initiation instead of a poke or safe spell to use, but this will almost never matter.  Karthus is very strong because of his ability to lane safely and use a global for a lot of damage.  This doesn’t change that.

Fixed a bug which caused Force Pulse to cast backwards after performing Rift Walk

Shunpo now always moves Katarina behind the target regardless if Killer Instincts is active

LOL.  The whole Morello rant on how “Giving die hard Katarina players a way to express skill” thing backfired.  I thought it was unnecessary to begin with, but now it’s gone…so that’s that!
Fixed a bug where where if you killed an enemy that exploded using Icathian Surprise, the enemy was awarded an extra kill (Shaco Hallucinate clone, Maokai)
Fixed a bug where Brand's Pyroclasm would give Brand an extra kill if it was traveling toward Kog'maw when Icathian Surprise triggered
Fixed a bug where if Ignite killed Kog'maw, it would cause Icathian Surprise to not trigger
Fixed a bug where Vayne's Silvered Bolts sometimes caused Icathian Surprise to not trigger

Blade of the Exile tooltip updated to display how much attack damage you will gain. It has also been clarified to state that Blade of the Exile scales off TOTAL attack damage, not bonus attack damage.


Sivir (Remake)
Attack range increased to 500 from 425
Attack missile speed increased to 1400 from 1200
Updated her attack frames to be more responsive
Base attack speed reduced to .658 from .679
Base attack damage reduced to 49 from 52.11
Updated recommended items
Fleet of Foot (Passive) – Remake
Sivir’s basic attacks against enemy champions grant her 50 Movement Speed for 2 seconds
Boomerang Blade
Mana cost reduced to 70/80/90/100/110 from 80/90/100/110/120
Damage changed to physical from magic
Bonus attack damage ratio increased to 1.1 from 1.0
No longer has an ability power ratio
Ricochet - Remake
Sivir’s next basic attack bounces to 5 additional targets dealing 20/35/50/65/80 (+ 1.0 Attack Damage) physical damage to the first target and 25% reduced damage to each subsequent target. 7/6/5/4/3 second cooldown. 40 Mana cost.
On The Hunt
Now additionally applies the buff to allies who come into range while On the Hunt is active rather than only on activation.
Attack speed bonus changed to 30/45/60% from 30/60/90%
Allied attack speed gain increased to half of Sivir’s bonus from a third
Cooldown adjusted to 100/90/80 seconds from 90

This seems like an overall Sivir nerf.  She excelled at pushing the lanes hard and that was her role, it just wasn’t as feasible due to her low range.  Now she has a faster attack, longer range and does…less damage with less attack speed.  Her new passive, Fleet of Foot, seems ridiculous for harassment.  Having 50 move speed at level 1 is super powerful.  If a jungler comes to gank she can just attack them on the run and there’s no way you’re catching her.  Once she pins you down for a kill, you cannot escape.  Other than that, Boomerang Blade is physical scaling now and a tad less mana and Ricochet is an auto-attack reset.  This will reduce her wave clearing abilities of before, but make her a lot stronger in a duel.  I can see this being maxed first due to the very low cooldown and high ratio.  This might also make Trinity Force or Sheen very viable on her, as a double attack with the second being a trinity force proc seems strong.  Her ultimate was nerfed hard at the higher levels, but now helps her team out more.  I think this change was semi-necessary, but makes her late game weaker.

Shatter ability power ratio increased to 0.6 from 0.4
Radiance ability power ratio increased to 0.7 from 0.6

Still not an AP carry.  Heals are still strong, so this one doesn’t really impact much.  A little more damage in the early game and slightly stronger heals aren’t the reason you play Taric anyway; you play Taric for the stun.
Fixed a couple small bugs introduced to Condemn with Fizz patch
Fixed a bug where Ignite's tick damage dealing the killing blow caused Omen of Death to fail to reanimate its bearer
Fixed a bug where Leona's Sunlight passive and the Dominion center Sigil could cause an immediate double kill against the Omen of Death target
Fixed a bug where if Ignite killed the Omen of Death bearer, they would not be reanimated
Fixed a bug where Vayne's Silvered Bolts sometimes caused Omen of Death to fail to reanimate its bearer


Health Potions
Restore 150 health over 15 seconds (instead of 200 health over 20 seconds)

Same healing ratio on a faster interval.  They are still viable and will still be purchased.

Madred's Razor
Proc chance increased to 20% from 15%
Proc damage reduced to 300 from 500
Response to a jungle change.  Overall won’t hurt that bad at all.

Mana Potions
Restore 100 mana over 15 seconds (from 100 over 20)


Wriggle's Lantern
Proc damage reduced to 425 from 500

Response to jungle change.
Chat window location will be now saved between games
Improved the targeting algorithms; it should now be much easier to select units that are obscured
Damage from lane minions to champions reduced by about 15%

This helps laning, but 15% isn’t an insane amount.  I think it will encourage more aggression in lane and create a more volatile environment, but it’s not the end of laning as we know it.  If you’re taking 300 damage from minions after a harassment, it drops to 255 damage, which is about another auto-attack’s worth of damage.  This will encourage smarter harassment and more opportune times to do such.
Jungle Adjustments
Small camps now respawn faster, but have reduced rewards
Small camps now have a Healing Sigil, healing the killer based upon how much health they are missing
Neutral monsters now have their health, damage, experience reward, and gold reward increase with game length, instead of having health increases with each respawn
Neutral monster experience range reduced to 400 from 800 (the killer always gets experience)
Ancient Golem camp experience increased slightly and gold reduced slightly
Crest of the Ancient Golem now grants 25 flat MP5, but grants 1% regen from maximum mana, from 1.5%, and provides energy
Lizard Elder camp experience increased and gold reduced slightly
Blessing of the Lizard Elder melee slow % reduced to 8/16/24% from 10/20/30%
Dragon and Baron Nashor are now immune to armor and magic resist-shredding effects
Baron Nashor will now push wards away if you try to place one too close
Monsters now heal 5% immediately when they retreat (instead of after 1 second), but are easier to re-aggro

Oh boy.  This is getting its own article.