Oh how I long for the LoL Mac client

Apple.A few months back, Riot announced that it was developing a Mac OS X client for League of Legends. Why don’t we have it yet?

This isn’t a, “why are you ruining my life, Riot?” post, but rather a “please, please, please make this a reality,” post. I committed to avoid buying a gaming laptop some time ago, mostly because it isn’t truly a laptop. I don’t want a 17-inch screen, I don’t want it to weigh 11 pounds. I want portability and functionality without egregious size. That said, LoL isn’t exactly a taxing game, and it would be nice to log in when the night is winding down and try to pick up a quick game with the new champions and features when I’m not at my home machine.

I’m guessing it will come some time in late fall, though it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see it pushed to the holiday season.

Riot offers leaver forgiveness

I’m on the road to NYC today so this post will be short (typing on a phone in the back of a car isn’t the easiest thing). It looks like Riot wants to offer clemency to those of us who picked up a leave or two due to technical issues surrounding the Season One launch. As such, leave counts have been reset to their end of pre-season values. Here’s the official word from Riot:

Summoners!

As many of you are aware, some of the criteria surrounding leaves have changed since the launch of Season One. Due to player confusion around what resulted in a leave, as well as to compensate those players who may have been a victim of technical difficulties, with the latest patch we reset all players’ leave totals back to the value they were at the launch of Season One. Just remember, now that we’re all on the same page, the gloves are off! So no more shenanigans! Happy hunting!

Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade Review: Hydro Thunder Hurricane

hydro_thunder-title

It’s been ten years since Midway’s powerboat racer, “Hydro Thunder,” became a staple in arcades all across the world, and if you’ve been inside a Dave & Buster’s since then, you’ll find that it’s just as popular as ever. This undoubtedly played a major role in Microsoft’s decision to develop a sequel for Xbox LIVE Arcade, but while “Hydro Thunder Hurricane” is definitely similar in spirit, it loses some of its appeal with a regular controller. The game still consists of racing, boosting and jumping your way through a series of themed water courses while riding tricked-out powerboats, but since that alone isn’t worth the $15 price tag, the game has been outfitted with a few extra modes.

Along with the basic Race option, there’s also a frustrating slalom mode (Ring Master), a time trial mode littered with exploding barrels (Gauntlet), and multi-event tournaments combining all three. Additionally, you can play with up to four players locally or eight players online, and there’s even a multiplayer-only event called Rubber Ducky that pits two teams against one another in a race to push their rubber duck across the finish line first. Though the single-player mode offers enough to keep you busy for an afternoon or two, it’s in multiplayer where the game really shines. Not only do the races feel faster, but you can also rack up points (used to unlock new tracks, difficulties, boats and skins) a heck of a lot easier. It’s still not an incredibly deep racer, but you get what you pay for.

Want more Summer of Arcade? Be sure to come back every Wednesday through August 18th for a first-hand look at Microsoft’s newest XBLA exclusive. Next week: break out your whip, stakes and holy water when Dracula returns in Konami’s “Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.”

Are you free on Monday nights?

I’ve been taking a look at my schedule for the fall and thought it might be nice to run a couple practice games with all the wonderful people who read this blog. If nothing else, it gives us all a great reason to avoid the frustrations of matchmaking and have a little fun.

So, how free are your Monday nights? Right now that’s looking best but it’s not set in stone. I’d probably just make a post with a game name and password the day of and we’ll work off a first-come first serve until it grows to the point that we can run multiple games.

If you would be interested – post here! Hope to see you guys around.

Vladimir champion spotlight impressions

Well, servers are down. Suprised? I’m not. In the meantime, I figure I’ll post some impressions regarding Vladimir. As I’ve said in every post since seeing his skillset, I’m pretty worried about how broken he appears. Take a look at the spotlight.

I think his skill set looks pretty cool, but consider what Phreak says about him.

“Vladimir excels at controlling the lane…At 500 health Sivir will die to Tides of Blood, Hemoplague, and Transfusion, even though I have nothing but a Doran’s Shield and runes (remember, health runes – not damage runes) for bonus damage.” Okay. That’s fine if he’s a caster with caster stats. But he gets health from his AP and vice versa, making him highly durable and highly threatening – bad mix.

“Gragas, Garen, and Sivir all try to kill me.” If you watch that point in the video (2:02), Phreak is way out of position, but he gets away easily because of Sanguine Pool. So far we have highly durable, highly damaging, excels at lane control, and has an escape mechanism. Got it?

“The invulnerability from the turret also makes diving a breeze.” Turret invulnerability…add it to the list.

“Vladimir really shines in team fights,” and, “My extreme damage output allows me to chop up Sivir very quickly,” and “Then as I take turret aggro, I use Sanguine Pool to dodge Sion’s Cryptic Gaze just before it hits me, allowing me to escape the turret.”

So here’s my question – where is Vladimir weak? He seems like the strongest 1v1 champion in the game, the best turret diver, a great farmer, probably a decent jungler, an absolute monster in team fights, and can escape anything you throw at him with a skill that is 1000 times better than Cleanse on a 20 second cooldown, you know, just in case you overextend.

This really makes me wonder how Riot selects an ability set for a champion. Is there some sort of matrix of skills/mechanics? If not, why not? If so, how did this guy get past the first stage of design without someone, anyone, saying “now hold on, guys, this is absurd.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to play him, but I’m just as unexcited about playing against him, and that’s not a good thing.

Vladimir patch downloads still haven’t started

Just a quick note for those of you who don’t spend much time on the forums. Patch maintenance has been extended, which is why everything is still down and the downloads haven’t started yet. I am a little concerned about the lack of download, though. I’ve been able to patch as far as four hours in advance, so we could be seeing, uh, extended extended maintenance today.

Patch Day 7/17: An OP champion approaches

Vladimir.

It’s patch day once again folks, this time heralding the release of Vladimir, the League’s first true vampire champion (sorry, Eve, kicking people with spiked high heels makes you ridiculous, not vampiric). This patch is also highly anticipated because of the Xin Zhao nerf.

First things first, let’s talk about Vladimir. I am nervous as hell about his position in the game. Any time you give a toon the ability to increase multiple stats by buying one item, I’m concerned. That was (and to some extent continues to be) the problem with Jax, and it will almost definitely be a problem with Vladimir. If you haven’t seen his Champion Spotlight yet, you should. It’s a little unnerving to see how early he can ignore towers and just how much damage he can deal with literally zero ability power.

The other big news is the Xin Zhao nerf. His attack speed scaling is getting a serious reduction, the AOE on his slow has been significantly reduced as has the magnitude of the effect, and his ult got a 20 percent reduction in percent-based damage and a slight nerf to base damage. He’ll still be disgustingly strong, mostly because his mana costs are so low and the fact that his ult is always up from the Battle Cry synergy.

The rest of the champion changes are either bug fixes or very minor. Kog’Maw, of all champs, got a small range nerf to his Bio-Arcane Barrage and a bit of a buff to Caustic Spittle. Comparing him to someone like Xin Zhao it seems ridiculous that his mana costs are still so high. Heimer got a little grenade nerf and Shaco took a small Deceive CD nerf. I don’t think either change will be enough to bring them off the permaban list, but with Vladimir almost undoubtedly filling one of those spots we might see a little more variety.

Other than that this patch is pretty unremarkable. My guess is Riot wants to wait out Season One a little longer to see which champions need a shift.

All Roads Return to WoW: Playing the Auction House

Hoarding your gold.

It had been a few weeks and I was starting to lose interest in WoW. Well, I thought I was starting to lose interest. What was really happening is that I was only playing the few parts of the game I had yet to experience. I was running heroics – a lot of them – and kinda doing little else. I did go through a crafting spree, leveling jewelcrafting from 1-450 over the course of a few days, but I wasn’t doing all of the things I used to love about the game.

The crafting was a start, but one of the things I really enjoyed in WoW was the Auction House. It seems a little see, and frankly there are a lot of games in the world with in-game currency houses, but nothing has gripped me quite like WoW. I love digging around to find deals, trying to find the hottest items, figuring out where sellers are over and under charging. For whatever reason it feels like a safe way to feed that gambling itch everyone seems to have (at least everyone I know). I’ve made thousands of gold over the past few days alone, and sure, it’s just pixels on a screen, but it does provide a simple thrill of success I find truly enchanting.

There are other aspects of the game I’m slowly remembering to return to. More on that later.

Vladimir patch should drop this week

Vladimir on TT.

Riot has posted the skins and bundles pack for the upcoming Vladimir patch, which usually means we’ll see it in the next day or two. Of course, I’m going out of town during a major patch again so my impressions of the actual gameplay may be a bit delayed.

His skins look surprisingly cool, though I think I like the clean, colonial looking getup the best. It also looks like he will be ranged, as many people have been wondering. Corki is also getting his one millionth skin in this patch. I don’t think Riot understands that more skins do not make people want to play a character more. In a way, it breeds a bit of animosity from Singed fans and the like – toons that only have one or two skins, basically.

Zilean also gets a new skin, epically themed for dropping his peace bombs on the heads of his enemies. Hopefully we’ll see patchnotes soon so I can cover the inevitable Xin Zhao nerf.

Vladimir is on release notice

Vladimir

The latest in a string of culturally themed heroes is officially on release notice. Riot posted the “new champion approaches” post for Vladimir this afternoon, offering a cursory look at his skills and what looks to be his splash screen.

Here’s the ability list:
Transfusion: Vladimir drains the lifeforce of his target, dealing magic damage and healing himself for 25% of that amount.

Sanguine Pool: Vladimir sinks into a pool of blood for 2.5 seconds, becoming untargetable and slowing enemies above him. Vladmir deals magic damage to targets above him and heals himself for 15% of that amount.

Tides of Blood: Vladimir unleashes a torrent of blood, damaging surrounding enemies. Additionally, multiple Tides of Blood in a short period of time cause them to cost additional health and deal additional damage, and increases his healing and regeneration by 8%.

Hemoplague (Ultimate): Vladimir infects the target area with a virulent plague increases the damage they take for 5 seconds. After 5 seconds, infected enemies take magic damage.

Crimson Pact (Passive): Bonus health gives Vladimir bonus ability power, and every bonus ability power gives Vladimir bonus health (does not stack with itself).

Unlike my original assumption, Vladimir’s resource system is his health (no crazy new crap to deal with). I wish I had more impressions about his skill list but it’s so hard to say how he’ll play without numbers and costs and all that. I thought Xin Zhao would be fun, but I had no idea he would have such low mana costs and such ridiculous damage output.

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