Riot Patches: Help or Hindrance?
Riot has been known for its updates coming at the worst possible times, a good example of this being updates that are released right before playoffs. It is ultimately expected for the players to just "get on with it," which for some is a big ask. The "grind," as many players call it, is a culmination of improved laning, farming and character mechanics. Players will spend an average of 10-12 hours a day playing and honing their skills for upcoming matches. However, this doesn’t stop Riot from spontaneously releasing character updates.
In the most recent patch (6.18), top laners seem to have taken a “minor” beating. Top lane favourites Ekko, Gnar and Shen have each received dents to their offensive playstyle. Both Gnar and Ekko have received damage reductions accompanied with a cooldown increase for Gnar. Shen has received a base shield decrease and a damage reduction to his Twilight Assault. This is sure to affect team fighting around hard contested dragons, making Shen’s ultimate to objective team-fights considerably higher risk. Both TSM’s Hauntzer and C9’s Impact have played Shen and Gnar in the top lane with considerable success, so it will be interesting to see if the update affects their choices and playstyles at Worlds later this month.
On the flip side, two of the games old favourites, Lux and Miss Fortune, have received helpful buffs. These come in the form of Lux having a larger slow percentage on her Lucent Singularity, allowing her greater escape opportunities. Miss Fortune now has a higher damage output to turrets through her passive Love Tap, increasing the damage to turrets from 50 percent to 100 percent, not to mention the nightmare himself, Nocturne, has a longer terrify duration on his E. Spooky stuff.
Although these seem to be very minor changes, they will have a huge impact on the way in which the characters are built and played. Last month, TSM owner Andy "Reginald" Dinh expressed the quiet frustration his players go through when the patches arrive. Reginald described it as “discouraging” when these patches arrive for players with no notice or forewarning. He emphasised that this is what causes “players to burn out,” as well as having such as short life span in the competitive scene.
While it isn’t too close to Worlds to release this patch, top lane players specifically may need to start restructuring how they play these characters, or look to other champions who may now have an advantage. Let’s not forget though, it’s never too late for Riot to release a new patch; best to be diligent summoners.
What do you think about Riot's timing of patch releases? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.