Trundle spotlight looks fantastic

The Trundle champion spotlight is officially live and, I gotta say it, I’m really excited. His not only look good, they look fun, and fun without being clearly broken. There was no “Vlad moment” where Phreak explained how the champion was good at every single aspect of the game. It also wasn’t boring, like the Irelia spotlight was.

As an example, I made this YouTube Doubler video. I know that comparisons are somewhat odious, and not every champion has to have huge and glowing skills, but there’s definitely something to be said for producing cool graphics while also producing some solid game mechanics. Irelia doesn’t really have either of those things. When I watch those two videos side-by-side (turn the sound off, by the way, or your brain will explode as it tries to reach Phreak’s level), there’s no question which character I’d rather play.

No LoL patch today

Little Slugger Trundle.

I woke up this morning excited to get a look at the Trundle spotlight and then wait eagerly for servers to come back online. No such luck. It looks like today isn’t going to be patch day after all, and though I haven’t been able to confirm it personally, I’ve heard we won’t see the update until Thursday. UPDATE: Tamat confirmed the patch is coming tomorrow (Wednesday).

I’m pretty bummed out, if only because I think Trundle could be a bit of a return to sanity in the design department. Irelia was underwhelming, both in her skillset and her playstyle. She just doesn’t have the fun factor that makes some of the other reasonably powered champions a blast to play and she isn’t really strong enough to be fun to dominate games with. Trundle, on the other hand, sounds like he’ll be a lot of fun, even if he doesn’t crush, and I’ve been itching for something new to play outside the tanky dps metagame.

At any rate, we’ll be waiting a couple days to see the nifty new character as well as the next round of patch notes. Exercise that patience, folks.

Trundle pre-release ability impressions

Trundle Splash

Trundle drops tomorrow, bringing the field up to a total of 65 champions. The announcement post confirmed the skill list that was leaked around his initial debut, a skillset that I think is among the more interesting in the game.

Trundle is, as far as I can tell, a debuffer. His skills seem to be aimed at breaking the tank/physical DPS metagame by stealing stats from those archetypes and providing support with an AoE slow. In all honesty, my first thought was, “Wow, this is what Mordekaiser should have been.”

Abilities:

Rabid Bite: Trundle bites his opponent, dealing damage and sapping some of their attack damage.

Contaminate: Trundle infects a target location with his curse, gaining attack speed, movement speed, and crowd control reduction while on it.

Pillar of Filth: Trundle creates a plagued beacon at a target location, which becomes impassable terrain and slows all nearby enemy units.

Agony (Ultimate): Trundle immediately steals his target’s health and a percentage of their armor and magic resistance. Over the next six seconds the amount of health, armor, and magic resistance stolen is doubled.

Decompose (Passive): Whenever an enemy unit near Trundle dies, he heals for a percentage of their maximum health.

Trundle is melee, and from the sound of things he’ll do very well with some sort of tanky attack speed build. That does make me a little wary, as it was my chief complaint with Irelia, but his passive is worlds better than hers and he has some additional utility that appears to be castable from range.

I’ll be most interested to see how his ultimate works out. The design seems much more interesting than Mordekaiser’s, to the point that I wish Kaiser had been released with this skillset instead of his own. It has a nice, short duration during which it will still provide a massive benefit to Trundle and a solid debuff on the target. It’s solid against tanks and carries alike, and it doesn’t have the ridiculous all-or-nothing pet system that Children of the Grave uses.

I don’t want to say much more, because his skills could go a lot of different directions. I could see his Pillar of Filth being either very useful or very situational. The same goes for Contiminate. In any case, you definitely will not want to fight him one on one. Check back tomorrow for my full impressions.

No FG LoL Mondays tonight

Sorry to cancel this week but I’m headed out to dinner for a friend’s birthday this evening. I’ve got a feeling we’ll be out and about for a while, though if I get back early I’d love to catch a game with you. If you don’t have me on your buddy list, feel free to add me at “The Wiggin Boy.” I should also be around for a few games tomorrow – gotta test Trundle at some point, right?

In other slightly related news, I’ve got a Twitter account up and running, actively streaming posts from this blog. I figure that could be a nice way to keep you up to date for events like this. You can get to me on Twitter via @jmorgantwo. Right now I’m using HootSuite, though I may go back to Twitter Feed for blog support. If you have any recommendations for self-hosted WordPress integration with Twitter, let me know.

The holiday happenings

Noxus vs. Ionia.I hope you all got to enjoy a lovely holiday (those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, anyway) and have the good fortune to slowly get back to work today. I woke up early to get caught up on all the goings on over the weekend. It was nice to spend a few days unconnected, but I always start to feel a bit panicked when I see more than a hundred emails, a slew of comments, and all the forum posts/RSS feeds I have to catch up on. I’m getting there, slowly but surely. A lot went down over the weekend so let’s get caught up, shall we.

First, we got Trundle’s official skill list. I’ll be covering that in another post today. Riot also teased what is likely the Olaf legendary skin, Brolaf.

Next up, Riot joined in the Black Friday madness by offering several champions at reduced prices and deeply discounting several skins. My personal favorite is the Grungy Nunu sale, which brought him from 975 RP down to 243. The sale goes until the end of day today so make sure you get to spend some RP.

Riot also prepped for the Noxus vs. Ionia event, for which select summoners will be representing the two nations as they aim to resolve their conflict. I think this is a pretty cool lore-based event. I’m always happy to see the game offer a limited field of champions. It definitely makes things more interesting. You can read more about the event at the official forum post. A livestream of the match will be available on December 10th.

The literal Cataclysm trailer

A buddy of mine posted this on Facebook and I laughed just about the whole way through. Hope you guys have a happy Thanksgiving.

Another great FG LoL Monday

Awesome Dog.I had a lot of fun last night, despite being on the business end of a losing streak courtesy of you all. We had a great turnout, though, and finally got to have a little bit of fun with a progressive draft (Tekli still managed to play nasty support every game). At the end of the night, our ban list looked like this:

Udyr, Vlad, Xin, Janna, TF, Amumu, Warwick, Irelia, Shaco, Mordekaiser, Akali, Teemo, Poppy, Malphite, Chogath, Taric, Ryze, Garen, Olaf, Gragas, LeBlanc, Gangplank, Pantheon, Zilean, Fiddlesticks

I’d love to pick up next week where we left off for some fun. After a couple games a few folks had to call it so we played a game of all random, all mid, which was actually a lot of fun. I would love to see Riot put together a random death match mode like the one that existed in Dota. Everyone starts with a random character and when you die you respawn as a new random character. Play to 50 team kills or until someone kills nexus.

Thanks again for coming out last night. Hope to see you guys next week!

Champion sneak peek: Trundle

Trundle.We’ve got another champion on the way, this time in the form of a troll. Named Trundle, all we know for certain is that he has a massive club. Of course, if you know how to use Google, you might find some potentially leaked patch notes with a skill list that sounds fairly interesting.

Here’s the official post:

Champions in the League of Legends come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a fan of huge, hulking, stone giants; sinister, lithe femme fatales; awesome, mighty warriors; or aberrant, horrific creatures, we try to represent them all under one roof. And while we’re on the subject of aberrant, horrific creatures, allow me to give you a glimpse of our next champion. Meet Trundle, the Cursed Troll. He’s hideous, and very possibly diseased, so he wanted me to let you know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Unless, of course, that cover is snarling and wielding a club. Then you might be onto something.

Look for him to launch after the holiday next week.

Irelia impressions

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I know I’ve been on a mini-hiatus the past couple days, but I have had a chance to catch a game here and there and I think I’ve seen enough of Irelia to put together an impression post. I’ve found her to be incredibly underwhelming and disappointing to play. The things she can do can typically be done better by other champions. That sort of design works when a toon does a lot of different things, but Irelia is just melee DPS, nothing else. It’s not like Morgana, who shields and deals damage and CCs (and still does most of these things better than other characters).

I’m always a little way when Riot releases a melee champion, I think for good reason. Melee is very difficult to balance in this game if you don’t give them a very particular set of skills. They need to be able to close the gap on ranged toons to prevent kiting, they need some sort of defensive ability to keep them alive, and they need to do enough damage to rip up a mage or squishy target as quickly as that target can return the favor.

On the surface, it looks like Irelia has these things. Her passive gives her some CC reduction, she has a dash, and she has two lifesteal skills to keep her alive. With a closer look, though, you can see that her skills don’t work well with one another and lead to confused builds that don’t ultimately scale very well.

Start with her passive – with three enemies on you, Irelia gets 40 percent CC reduction. That’s all well and good, but players still get stunlocked with Mercury Treads, which is essentially what you get from the skill. In short, her passive sucks, and it doesn’t provide the CC she needs. If she was impossible to CC when four or five enemies were nearby, that would be interesting. Obviously you would have to scale down her damage, but it makes the passive actually useful.

Her dash has another issue. While it is good for moving to a target, Irelia has no way to get away from a threat, and her dash can leave her stranded in the middle of a fight. Once there, she doesn’t have a lot of options. Her passive won’t help her get away much, and she can’t leech back enough health in most cases to keep her up.

Her stun is a problem, if only because it’s so conditional. The fact that she has to be lower health than her target suggests that you allow Irelia to get low (lower than her target anyhow), stun, and then leech back your health with her passive lifesteal from both her W skill and her ultimate. That’s fine against one target, but in the midst of a teamfight, she feels very exposed.

Then there’s her W. It grants true damage and fixed lifesteal. The fixed part is very important because it means she doesn’t scale well as a lifesteal champion without buying a lot of lifesteal, instead of buying damage. This prioritizes Bloodthirster for her over Infinity Edge, which is where she would get burst. The true damage is great, but that requires you have a lot of attack speed to make the best of it. Attack speed doesn’t scale very well with the rest of her skills, though. She’s yet another toon that has a complicated and confused item prioritization that ultimately makes every build feel like it’s missing something.

You can see from Phreak’s spotlight how hard a time melee has with attack speed. There are several instances in which he might have had a kill if he didn’t get slowed or stunned by another champion. Irelia’s dash is on such a long cooldown if not used for a killing blow that it doesn’t make for good chasing, and without a good way to her target close at hand, she never gets to make use of all that attack speed. A champion like Tryndamere actually does very well because he can both get into and out of the fight using Spinning Slash and he can slow a group of targets from range. Irelia can only get in on one target, and once in, she can get shut down just like any other melee toon. Her passive just isn’t enough.

FG LoL Mondays tonight (9:00PM EST)

It’s Monday again, and I’m happy to say I should have some spare time tonight for a little gaming, even if it’s just a couple games. I’d say I can probably play two games if we can start as close to 9PM as possible. If you’re around and interested in playing, join the case-sensitive chatroom “Fearless Gamer” and I’ll get you an invite.

If we can get 10 players we can run a progressive draft, which I really enjoy. For anyone unfamiliar, the first round is completely open. The next game, no champions can be played that appeared in the previous round for either team. It goes from there until you get some seriously strange comps. It’s a lot of fun, so if you can spare some free time this evening, log in and join us. Hope to see you there!

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