Why do you play ranked?

ranked_vs_normal

I tend to go through bursts in League of Legends wherein I’ll play Ranked Solo for a while, tire of it, and go back to Normal for an extended period of time. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Ranked lately, mostly because I really don’t like blind pick, but I feel like I must be missing something. When I play ranked, I play to win above all else. When I enter that matchmaking queue, I put aside my desire to AP Trist or jungle TF or any of that nonsense and focus on doing what it takes to win the game. From what I’ve seen lately, not everyone plays ranked with winning in mind.

In the past two days, I’ve had teammates who refuse to jungle despite the fact that they’re the only viable jungler on the team, teammates who don’t know how to effectively build champions like Irelia or Ashe, and teammates who actively refuse to buy wards (seriously, I’ve asked people to help me ward and they’ve said no). If you’re going to rush Giant’s Belt on Ashe (yes, I’ve seen it done at 2200 ELO but that’s not what I’m talking about), why are you playing ranked?

I’ve heard the usual excuses – I don’t care about my rating, I’m trolling, I’m trying out a new champion, etc – but aside from the trolling excuse, it just doesn’t make sense. There’s a queue where all of that other stuff is perfectly acceptable. I try to be understanding when people in normal queue tell me they’re playing a champion for the first time. I had a Malzahar a couple weeks back take mid and feed his ass off, only to tell me he’s never played Malzahar. My response: Cool, say something next time and we won’t send you mid. I love trying silly builds and weird junglers in normal queue just as much as the next guy, but I keep it to normal. Call me crazy, but I think entering yourself in the ranked queue means you’re committing to the four other people on your team that you will try your damnedest to win the game, even if it means sacrificing a bit of fun.

What about you? Do you play ranked for the wins or do you just like to watch people squirm when you play AP Caitlyn?

No FG LoL Mondays tonight

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I hate to do it but I’m gonna have to cancel tonight. I’ve got some things to take care of and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it back for games. If I do, I’d still love to play with anyone who reads here. You can always get me in game at “The Wiggin Boy.”

Also, now might be a good time to reassess whether Mondays are the best night for it. I know my own schedule has been a bit erratic of late. If another night works, let me know. If not, we’ll stick with Mondays.

Jarvan ability list announced

Is it just me, or does the splash screen above look like it’s from a totally different game than League of Legends? Well, I promise, that’s Riot’s official Jarvan artwork (here’s the proof). With the artwork we’ve got the official skill list.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I’m not thrilled about the Jarvan release. He looks an awful lot like another spear wielder. Though his playstyle seems a little different, he does have some basic similarities to Xin Zhao. It looks to me like he’ll occupy the same role as Xin: a carry killer with enough staying power to hang with the tanks. Yikes.

Here’s the list:

Dragon Strike: Jarvan IV’s spear extends through his opponent, dealing physical damage and lowering their armor by a percentage. If this ability is cast on the Demacian flag, it will pull Jarvan through to his Standard, knocking up all enemies in his path.

Golden Aegis: Jarvan IV calls upon the ancient kings of Demacia to shield him from harm and slow surrounding enemies.

Demacian Standard: Passive: Grants Jarvan bonus attack speed and armor. Active: Throws a Demacian flag, dealing physical damage and granting passive benefits to nearby allies.

Cataclysm (Ultimate): Jarvan IV heroically leaps at his target, dealing physical damage and creating a circle of terrain around them for a few seconds.

Martial Cadence (Passive): Jarvan IV exploits his target’s opening, dealing a percentage of the target’s current HP as magic damage. This effect cannot occur on the same target for several seconds.

Looking at his first three skills I’d say Jarvan actually sounds pretty cool. I like the synergy between Dragon Strike and the active on Demacian Standard. I’m a little worried about yet another champion getting a shield, especially when a different skill grants him bonus armor as well. My biggest concern, though, is his ultimate. I’ll have to see it in action to really know how it works, but here are a couple points of concern. First, trapping a carry with a carry killer just seems harsh. Second, what about all the different ways characters can escape from this kind of skill? There are so many dashes, not to mention Flash, that essentially negate the ability. Unless it’s some kind of stun, which sounds like a nightmare, or creates impassable terrain, which sounds like it could be buggy, his ultimate could be extremely conditional.

His passive also gives him the interesting ability to switch between targets and deal big damage. Because it deals a percent of current health, Jarvan is most deadly when switching between high health targets. It’s a weird mechanic, but it could make him much more deadly than similar characters. A champion’s ability to deal big damage to consecutive targets is typically limited by a couple factors: cooldowns or farm, and in some cases mobility. Depending how hard his passive hits, Jarvan’s passive puts him in a unique position for dealing damage to multiple enemies. Again, we’ll have to see how this plays out.

I hate to sound like some harbinger of doom lately, but the design on these kind of big DPS melee champions is a little confusing. Check back on Tuesday for my full impressions.

Blitzcrank legendary skin on the way?

Piltover Customs Blitzcrank.

Riot posted one of the cryptic announcement threads that typically lead to legendary skins this weekend. The post was titled “Blitzcrank Makes the Cover of Mid Lane Magazine.” Obviously, that’s a fake magazine, but the post goes on to describe a Crank skin made by Piltover Heimer.

Here are the details on “Piltover Customs Blitzcrank:”

We took our largest, most gigantic Great Steam Golem down to the Custom Shop to see what the Revered Inventor was really made of. We expected him to be intimidated, but the moment we walked in the door his face lit up. From that moment we knew he was up to the challenge, and we just couldn’t wait to see our old friend Blitzcrank get the royal treatment.

The first thing that we noticed was the finish. Gone were the dings and soot-stains that come from a career of heavy lifting, replaced by a superb paint job that positively emanated speed and performance. A shiny chrome grill glinted in the sunlight, a great compliment to the sleek new exhaust systems.

But the real test was yet to come. We fired it up and the exhaust just roared, giving you that satisfying feeling of a true performance machine. A set of performance tires had replaced the legs, and they gripped the lane for a silky-smooth ride, even when we kicked it into full overdrive.

Our brand new Piltover Customs Blitzcrank hit the mark across the board. If you were still skeptical about whether or not Heimerdinger could live up to his reputation, allow me to put your mind at ease. Take your Golem in for a tune-up today!

With all the model changes and the fact that Riot made a special post about it, you can bet this is probably the legendary Blitzcrank skin. It does sound cool, but I’ll have to see it in game before I decide whether or not to pick it up. I love Blitzcrank, as I may have mentioned, but I already really like Boom Boom Blitz. It would be tough for me to justify buying his legendary unless it’s significantly better than that skin.

How are slimes treating you in 1.3?

Slime troubles.

I’ve enjoyed just about everything in the Minecraft 1.3 update. The new lighting looks awesome, beds work fantastically, even in multiplayer, and I’ve even used the new half blocks on a couple structures. There is one thing that has plagued me to no end: slimes.

Slimes used to be fairly uncommon creatures. They got removed. They got put back in the game but were super rare. The 1.3 update, though, made them extraordinarily common. I had to decommission one of my mob spawners because the design was getting horribly clogged with slimes. The former mob spawner seems to now be a slime spawner. I snapped the image above last night after I noticed my new mob spawner upstairs had slowed. Gee, I wonder why?

I’ve read in several forum threads that slimes are buggy in multiplayer, but I’m hoping we see some sort of hotfix soon. Unfortunately, the entire Mojang team is at GDC right now, so we’ll be waiting at least a couple weeks before any kind of fix can be issued. Are you seeing slimes everywhere or are they a rare sight?

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