Jan 9 2017 - 8:51 pm

The updated Warwick might be League’s scariest champion yet

The Wrath of Zaun is featured in his own terrifying animated trailer.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube

Warwick’s official rework is almost here, and he looks horrifyingly awesome. The champion's new look was teased in a thrilling trailer released today on Riot's YouTube channel.

We’ve seen the new Warwick before, actually. In a story released on Universe, League of Legends’ lore website, we read a grisly tale of Singed torturing and experimenting on a human subject. In that story, we caught a glimpse of a tortured man suspended from the ceiling of Singed’s laboratory. He had a long, claw-like appendage, and mechanical implants sprouting from his back.

Looking at the Warwick in the trailer, we can now confirm that the story was actually about him. We can also say that the new Warwick looks way cooler than how he looks in the game right now.

Through the eyes of a Zaunian running for his life, we catch glimpses of Warwick on the hunt through the seedy underbelly of a city. These sightings of the terrorizing wolf moving through the shadows lead us to believe that he may have some sort of stealth mechanic introduced in his kit.

Also, based on the scene at the end when the main character experiences a close encounter with the wolf-man, we can also expect to see some sort of leap or other gap-closer with the fearsome new Warwick.

What is most exciting about the rework is definitely his Bloodscent (if that’s still what Riot will call it in his new kit). In the current Warwick’s kit, Bloodscent offers him increased movement speed when near enemy champions with low health. In the video, he seemingly became enraged after smelling the blood of the hiding Zaunian.

We not only expect to see some awesome new animations for this Bloodscent, but it looks like it will play a much bigger role in how he chases down targets.

Warwick’s new makeover looks amazing, and summoners everywhere are excited (or scared) to see him in-game. With the timing of this announcement, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see the new champion update released in the next patch. With the professional season of League starting on Jan. 20, patch 7.1 will probably go live around the same time, and that means we might get to play the new Warwick within the next couple of weeks.

Jan 19 2017 - 9:07 pm

After pre-season updates made the Jungle worse, Riot says ‘oops’ and promises to fix it

Riot’s dev team explains why the state of the jungle is so broken and how they plan on dealing with it.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

During the League of Legends pre-season, Riot made big changes to address some glaring issues within the Jungle. But it only made the situation worse.

In somewhat of a “My bad!” moment, Lead Champion Designer Andrei 'Meddler' van Roon explained what backfired with the jungler role. In his post, he comprehensively lists all of the reasons that the jungler might just be the most broken role in the game (sorry ADCs!).

The community has been complaining about the state of the jungler for a while now, but this is the first official answer we’ve seen from Riot on the matter. Riot said it very simply, and very directly in the Nexus post.

“We believe jungler influence over game outcome is too high.”

So what exactly is wrong with the jungler?

Impact

Perhaps the most significant issue with junglers before the pre-season was that farm-obsessed junglers became much too powerful. Monsters were too easy to kill relative to how great the rewards of gold and experience were. The dominant tactic for junglers became out-farming the enemy jungler, and whoever fell behind ended up hindering their team dramatically.

Back then, the rest of the team would attempt to help their jungler get ahead by getting an early kill on the enemy jungler, setting back their progress considerably. The team began to revolve around the jungler. This was a contradiction to how the jungler had been perceived in earlier seasons—as a supporting role designed to gank and help their teammates in lanes do well.

Riot wanted to fix that, so it lengthened spawn times on monster camps and made them harder to kill (but increased the rewards the camps give to compensate). The idea to push junglers to gank more than they farmed worked a little too well.

Not only are junglers ganking too much, but they also survive way too long. With new tools like the Honeyfruit plant and gaining health back with every smite, junglers just won’t die. They are able to farm more camps for more rewards and gank more lanes without losing enough health to warrant going back to base. This led to junglers gaining too much experience—with level advantages on lanes that they’ve never had before.

Game agency

The term “game agency” has been tossed around a lot lately. First, with the current feelings that ADCs are going through, and now, with junglers.

In a basic sense, the term “game agency” in this case is just another term for a role’s identity within the game. What purpose do they serve, and is it unique enough to feel important? The issue with ADCs right now is that they don’t feel important enough to the state of the game to have a unique identity (aside from being Lee Sin’s punching bag).

Junglers, however, have the opposite issue. Junglers and jungle champions have an identity, but it’s such a strong, outstanding identity that it overshadows the unique strengths and weaknesses of the other roles. They have too much raw power. It’s to the point that laners have become afraid of making moves on their lane opponents unless their jungler is preparing to gank, when normally they would only hold back if they knew they were outmatched.

This has something to do with the extreme rate at which junglers gank now, but combining that with the high sustainability, high damage items, and high level scaling makes for a frightening amount of power for one role to have.

Plans to reduce the overall power of the jungle have yet to be announced, but Riot did confirm that the plan is to knock the role down a few pegs.


So what can be done?

Well, Riot is taking responsibility for all the power it’s given the jungle role.

It is administering some short-term solutions, including lowering jungle experience rewards, cutting sustain across the board, and increasing the damage that jungle monsters deal.

Junglers won’t be able to live in the jungle for the first 10 minutes of the game without heading back to base, they won’t hit a huge power spike by leveling harder than laners can on jungle camps alone, and they won’t be able to gank quite as much.

These solutions likely aren’t the long-term solution. There will still be junglers that can clear the jungle faster, and we may just end up where we were before the pre-season—Farming Simulator: Jungle Edition. Farm-frenzy junglers could rise to the top, but luckily, it likely wouldn’t be quite as bad this time.

A long-term plan is in the works, and hopefully Riot maintains its clear and open communication as the situation progresses.

Jan 17 2017 - 10:23 pm

Lethality, the bane of Assassins and ADCs, is next on Riot’s hit list

Rioter announces big in-the-works update for the Lethality system.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

It’s official: Riot is fixing the broken Lethality system that was introduced to League of Legends in patch 6.22 in November.

When Lethality first came out, it was designed to benefit the Assassin champions as a replacement to the outdated armor penetration system by changing the simple system of ignoring armor to something more complex that scales better into the game. The old system worked very directly—your number of armor penetration ignored that exact amount of armor on your target. In theory it sounds alright, but in practice it didn’t turn out so well.

We won’t go into great detail about the issues with armor penetration. But the basic issue was this: Armor penetration couldn’t be built high enough to actually work against tanks. If Riot did add more armor pen to items to reconcile this, it would negate all natural armor that squishies built up from leveling, causing them to take what looked a lot like true damage (damage that completely ignored resistance). The end result was assassins building armor penetration to snowball by cutting down squishies instead of building it to counter tanks.

Enter Lethality. Riot created a system to balance armor penetration for assassins, making it less snowball-centric and more of a thoughtful, lategame build to counter tanks. Lethality combined a bit of direct armor penetration with more damage that scaled up based on the level of your target. Again, though, it was only a good idea in theory. So what is so wrong with Lethality?

Well, everything. The entire system. The straight-up nerf to armor penetration levels in the Lethality algorithm meant that the items became worthless to purchase early on, and on top of that, they didn’t scale hard enough with the target’s level to actually be effective against tanks.

That means that they had to be built for the same purpose as before (blowing up squishies) but it was just less effective. Not only that, but Riot seemed to forget about the other type of champions that built armor penetration: ADCs. ADCs built armor penetration early to use against naturally tanky early-game champions as a way to counter their early armor. This was good, because ADCs traditionally have a very weak early game, and this aided in their quest to solve that problem. Well, now that Lethality is here and makes buying affected items worthless in the early game, ADCs took a big hit.

Fortunately, Riot knows, and it plans on administering a fix—and according to rioter Axes, it will hopefully be in the next patch.

The fix isn’t final yet, but for now, the plan is to shift the ratio of direct armor penetration and level-scaling damage. Axes said on Reddit that the goal right now is to take the current ratio, which is 40 percent direct armor penetration and 60 percent level-scaling damage, and reverse it to be 60 percent direct armor penetration and 40 percent level-scaling damage.

This change is a step in the right direction, and no doubt will assist the early game reliability of Lethality items. But is it enough? Perhaps more will need to be done to ensure the new Lethality system is viable, like changing the level-scaling damage to scale instead with the target’s armor, which would improve the item’s functionality against tanks.

Riot's move here is the first step to finding a solution so that ADC mains can finally stop playing Ziggs.