Jan 10 2017 - 8:12 pm

Warwick’s new skills look just as terrifying as we expected

The League community caught a glimpse of Warwick’s new kit in a teaser shared by Riot.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

Have you ever had a nightmare of a genetically altered monster-wolf hunting you down by the scent of your blood? No? Well, you’re about to.

Meet the new Warwick.

Like something straight out of a Stephen King novel, the new Warwick preys on the wounded, lurks in the shadows, and can get in your face to shred you up with his claws faster than you can blink.

Riot released a teaser trailer yesterday showcasing Warwick’s new terrorizing look. Today, the company has given us a sneak peek at his new skills, and they are just as fearsome as yesterday’s trailer.

We already know enough about this new kit to be scared for our lives (or at least scared for the ADC’s life).



Q: Jaws of the Beast

Warwick’s first ability, his Q, is a lunge. He leaps forward a short range at his target, fangs bared, and attacks. After the attack, Warwick lands behind his victim.

What first comes to mind is the obvious use of this skill- the leap. It allows him a short dash to stick to targets that try to run away. What’s actually more useful, however, is the positioning.

Keep in mind that in League of Legends, you cannot move through enemy champions. Warwick landing on the other side of the victim can be used to cut off escapes, or at least disrupt escape attempts.



W: Blood Hunt

The next ability is where Warwick really stands out. This appears to be an updated version of his old ability, Bloodscent, which we predicted would be much more important to his new kit in our article covering his reveal. Turns out we were correct.

Passively, Blood Hunt triggers when an enemy is below half of their maximum health. When attacking any target marked by this Warwick gains increased attack speed, and he gains a massive increase to movement speed when moving towards them.

When Warwick activates his W, however, things get more intense. At first, briefly, trails appear to all enemy champions, and then after the brief moment, it narrows down to only the nearest enemy champion, no matter what their health is.

When he is on the trail gained by Blood Hunt’s active, it gives him the same boons that he would gain from chasing a champion who is less than half health.



E: Primal Howl

Another “terrifying” addition to Warwick’s new ability kit is his E. When he uses it, he lets out a frightening howl that applies fear to nearby enemies, forcing them to lose control and walk slowly away from him for a short duration.

There is a brief charge time for the howl, and during that time, Warwick takes reduced damage from attacks.

The mechanic of fear in League has always been a touchy subject. It was nerfed significantly over time on champions like Fiddlesticks and Nocturne. Since Warwick has plenty of mobility to get into the midst of an enemy team and then apply an AoE fear, you can safely assume that the fear either won’t last very long in duration or that it will be nerfed quickly upon release.



R: Infinite Duress

The pièce de résistance to Warwick’s new kit is his ultimate, which is a much more refined version of his previous ultimate ability. Instead of instantly teleporting to a nearby target, he now leaps a great distance.

Upon landing, he rips them apart with his claws. It appears that he does suppress them for a brief moment, but not nearly as long as his suppression lasts on his old ultimate. This will give him a much better chance to dive to the back line and even initiate fights for his team. The range of the leap is increased with his movement speed, and can reach intimidating lengths.



Image via Riot Games

Warwick’s new kit looks like a very frightful fireworks display, sporting flashy animations and horrific noises to go with them.

Once he begins his hunt, with mobility aplenty, crowd control, and decent damage, it will be very difficult to escape his claws without the help from a teammate or two.

He will benefit most from building tanky, as shown in the teaser of his abilities where he has built a Deadman’s plate. Expect a much larger importance on ganking and chasing than on farming and dealing on-hit damage with Warwick’s new abilities.

This looks like it will be a very healthy and needed change for one of League’s oldest champions, and Summoner’s are all very excited to play him.

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.

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.