Is LoL approaching a ‘balanced’ state?

Shyvana.

This week we’ll see the release of Shyvana, which also means a patch with some balance changes. The change lists on recent patches have been fairly light, which surprises me. For a while there it seemed like we would see significant changes to a wide range of champions. Lately, though, we’ve had tweaks to very few champions at a time. The most obvious reason would be that Riot is settling into what they feel is a balanced state of the game. It could also be that Riot saw that they were adding too many changes to the game along with frequent champion releases and wanted to scale back the effect of each patch. I’m betting on the first, though, at least for the time being.

I’m a little bummed out that the solution to current balance issues is an increase in HP and scaling for the underpowered characters. The health creep in League of Legends is a phenomenon I don’t really understand. It used to be unusual to see characters with 4000 HP but I see that all the time now, often more than once per game. I’m tired of Trinity Force. I’m tired of Warmog’s + Atma’s. I do think we have some hope, though, even if it’s a long shot.

For now, I’m hoping that once all of the melee looks the same, Riot will come through with a nice new kit of items or some serious mechanic change that makes the current bruiser build slightly less attractive. I would also like to see some more viable strategies come forward in the near future. One of the things I first liked about League was that it was less push-oriented than DotA. In DotA a lot of my games would come down to the team with the better push comp. In LoL, at least at this point, push comps don’t really exist. In fact, I haven’t seen a comp other than the standard objective-taking rig in a long time. The game has slowly morphed into a giant farm calculator, which was fun for a while but could really use a tune-up.

Summoner’s Rift needs new life – new strategies, new playstyles, new champions with interesting, game-changing mechanics. Even if the game could be perfectly balanced as it currently is, I would still be writing this post. I didn’t fall in love with MOBAs because they’re perfectly balanced tests of skill. I fell in love with this genre because it was all about adaptability. The game was about using one skillset against another, very different skillset and attempting to be successful, whether that meant pushing or teamfighting or controlling the map. I think LoL has lost some of that magic. Here’s hoping Riot can bring it back.

FG LoL Monday is on – 9:30PM EST

FG LoL Mondays

We’re on for Fearless Gamer Monday Night tonight, folks. If you’d like to log on and play some games with the other readers from this fine blog, join the chat channel “Fearless Gamer” in your PvP.net client around 9:15 EST or so this evening.

I’ll be there, of course, playing under “The Wiggin Boy.” If you can’t join the chat room for some reason, feel free to add me and send a message so we can get you invites. Hope to see you online tonight!

Choosing sites for online bingo

In corners of smoky dingy bingo halls of the 1960s to the glitz and glamor of the modern experience, playing bingo is part of our culture in Britain. Today, the game is still going strong, it is undeniable that most of the players have left the bingo halls and are playing in the comfort of their own home. With hundreds of sites like Bingo Port and others emerging every day, playing online bingo is quickly becoming the most popular way to make friends, have fun and win prizes.

If you have never played online bingo before, it is very simple to start.

Choosing the Right Site

Take a look at the wide range of sites that are available and see which one catches your eye. A simple internet search will throw up hundreds of potential sites, to avoid confusion, you can use a bingo comparison site to see who has the best deal and most active community. Sites often offer sign up bonuses, where your initial deposit may be doubled or even tripled to give you more to play with.

Once you have decided which bingo site to try, registering could not be easier. Choose yourself a user name and password that you can remember, and you’re ready to play. Some sites require you to validate your e-mail address in order to combat fraud and a fake sign ups, and most will ask you to include at least the credit card, even if you’re not going to make a deposit immediately. If you want to have a try without investing a penny, some sites sometimes offer free games so that you can try before you buy.

Playing Online

When you’re ready to play have a look in the “lobby” of the game. You will be able to see how many tickets for each game, so it’s a good idea to start playing low stakes and build yourself up once you are in the swing of it. When the game starts, you will see your tickets before you, and will be able to check the numbers as they are called. If you think you get behind and fully enjoy the online bingo games with ‘auto daub’, marking your numbers for you.

Playing bingo online is becoming a community. Sites like Bingoport are active in the community and a lot of friendly banter go on in the room where games are played. You can see the chat window when you’re in the game, but if you do not want to interfere it’s OK. You can find some of the language and terminology is confusing at first, but you will soon pick it up. Do not be afraid to ask other players what they mean when they write abbreviations such as “wdw” or “BRB” … all of which were new to the game again!

Rewards for Playing

Many sites will run games or special promotions for their members on a regular basis.

For sites free bingo games are a way to reward their regular players and encourage new players to get involved. Be aware that the free bingo games, as with many other places, the game is very popular and tickets will sell out fast, so make sure you pre-buy if you can and enter the lobby with plenty of time to ensure your place.

Because playing bingo online is so easy and fun it is easy to attract more than just the blue rinse brigade these days.

Men and women, young and old join in the fun with every day of the week. There is no doubt that if you are interested in participating in a fun, exciting game, that is social and affordable, then online bingo may be something for you.

Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shyvana preview includes Shaco buffs, Graves nerfs

jester_splash_1

Riot posted the Shyvana patch preview, which includes a preview of the upcoming buffs and nerfs to League of Legends’ champions. The buffs seem to be targeted at bringing some of the melee fighters up to speed with other Tanky DPS and thankfully nerfing Graves.

I’m most excited for the changes to Shaco. I’ve been enjoying my games with Shaco recently and the upcoming buffs can only help that. Jack in the Box is getting a range increase and a decrease to the time before the trap is ‘armed.’ The range increase should allow Shaco players to utilize the crit bonus on Deceive while still making use of JitB for positioning opponents.

Olaf’s ultimate is getting a buff that makes him much more interesting. Now Olaf can use Ragnarok to break out of crowd control skills. This actually makes Olaf a lot more appealing to me. I had somewhat enjoyed him in the past, but his ultimate felt weak unless he was way ahead. Using it early was like putting up a beacon reminding people not to try to CC you, which is actually exactly what you want. You want the enemy to burn a couple CC spells on Olaf. With the buff he can take the spell and immediately break free, forcing the enemy to waste a stun or snare and allowing him to continue dealing damage. I might be giving Olaf a serious look after this patch.

Wukong is getting some usability buffs that are designed to bring him in line with other Tanky DPS. I’m not thrilled about this – good Wukong players are pretty hard to deal with as it is. More importantly, who needs another strong melee DPS? I don’t.

Lastly, we’re going to see some Graves nerfs. I think everyone saw this one coming. I’m a little worried it won’t quite be enough, but at least we’ll someone other than Caitlyn in our games. His passive is getting a slight resistance nerf and the damage on Buckshot’s multiple shell proc is getting reduced as well. I still think an 80% attack speed buff that can have 100% uptime is a little silly, and the fact that Buckshot can hit multiple times seems like overkill, but I’ll wait to pass judgement until the patch.

Are you looking forward to any of the champion changes? Thinking about picking up a new champ or two thanks to this patch? Let me know in the comments.

Champ of the Week returns next week

Good News.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news regarding the Champ of the Week series. First, the good news. It’s coming back next week! I know I owe everyone a Talon video and a long overdue Veigar video, but that’s where the bad news comes in. All of the recordings I have from those games is buried somewhere on a corrupt and now very dead hard drive. I’ve since replaced that drive, but I lost my LoL Replay data along with all of my video footage from those games. Yes, it sucks very much.

Back to some good news, though – I should be able to get a game or two in over the next few days with both Talon and Veigar so I can at least upload a replay for those of you using LoL replays. If I have the time, I might even do a quick and dirty video, but that seems unlikely at the moment.

So, check back at the beginning of next week for the return of the champ of the week series. If you have suggestions for a character you’d like to see next week, let me know in the comments.

Riot’s birthday celebration includes Surprise Party Fiddlesticks

It’s hard to believe League of Legends has been out for two years now, but when I look at the number of matches I’ve played, I would hope it has been at least that long. I’ve played thousands of games across the different maps and game modes available and enjoyed the hell out of the game. It’s nice to see Riot getting excited about the phenomenon they’ve created. Apparently today should hold a few surprises for us players, not the least of which is the release of Surprise Party Fiddlesticks, the newest legendary skin in the league.

For those that don’t know, Surprise Party Fiddlesticks started as an idea on the forums. A summoner by the name “GreenEyedMonster” and his friends started yelling “Surprise!” one day in vent and so the idea was born. A couple months later and the skin is now live.

It’s awesome, by the way. I picked it up first thing this morning and have since seen it in just about every game. His ult is amazing, but it’s the little details that make it cool. His pinwheel spins while he’s channeling Drain. Drain looks like swirling streamers. He silences his enemies with a balloon animal. Absolutely amazing stuff.

I hope Riot hooked GreenEyedMonster and his friends up with some Riot points or at least a few skin codes. It’s very cool to see a community skin like this make it to live servers.

An open letter to 1300 ELO players and other non-pros

Dear 1300 ELO players and fellow non-pros,

We have a problem. I know, you’ve been trying your hardest. You’ve been picking the champions you see the pros picking. You’ve been begging your last-pick teammates to please just play support. But you’ve also been complaining about your team not having CV. You’ve been complaining that your teammates don’t ward. You’ve been complaining when you see anything that doesn’t look familiar from one of those 2200 ELO streams you watch on a daily basis.

I’m going to give it to you as straight as I possibly can: You are not a pro. I know this is hard to hear. I know it’s just your teammates getting you down. I know it’s the noobs feeding that are keeping you in the 1300s. Nevertheless, you are still not a pro. You are a 1300 ELO player, and that means a few things.

First, you don’t have to do everything the pros do. The pros play the game a certain way because they are experienced, skilled, consistent players. They make very few mistakes. They select team compositions based on their lack of mistake-making. They choose team comps based on their intimate knowledge of one another’s playstyles. Even when they don’t seem to be communicating, they are counting on their teammates based on thousands of games of experience. You don’t have that luxury. You need to go in to every game with the goal of giving your teammates as much information as possible. You need to choose champions you can personally succeed with.

Just so we’re clear, support + ranged AD is not the only combination of champions that can be successful in a lane. Champions with high damage and crowd control can effectively shut out a support and AD. No buts. I don’t care that you only see support + AD on streams. You aren’t a 2200 ELO streamer. You are a 1300 ELO player. You are playing against 1300 ELO players. They will make plenty of mistakes, I promise.

Second, we all need to stop acting like we can pinpoint exactly what went wrong in every game. I’m guilty of this, too. Each game has mountains of data that will lead you to often faulty conclusions about the reasons for winning and losing. Granted, it’s not a good sign if your mid has 50 creep kills at the 20 minute mark, but if you haven’t been controlling dragon, if you haven’t been aggressive in your lanes, if you haven’t been helping out in teamfights, well, it’s not just your mid’s fault. League of Legends is a very fragmented game with several different phases and each champion performs differently at every stage of the game. Giving up two kills at level 1 is not the end of the world. Hopefully it will encourage more careful behavior for the next ten minutes, but the game is still winnable.

Third and lastly, try banning champions that are extremely forgiving over the course of the game, not champions that require a high level of skill. Ban Morgana. Why? Because she gets a free farm for one button press. Ban Irelia. Why? Because she has a crazy kit that allows her to survive her mistakes. Stop banning Fiddlesticks. Very few people play him and even fewer know what they’re doing. Stop banning Kassadin. Most Kass players at our level miss their Force Pulse at least 25 percent of the time. Stop banning Gangplank. He’s extremely soft for the first 12-15 levels of the game. Force your opponents to play champions that suffer when they make mistakes.

I want to repair our relationship, I really do. If we continue down our present course, though, I can’t see a future for you and I.

Sincerely,

The Wiggin Boy

Dragons coming soon to LoL

It’s finally happening. Dragons are finally coming to League of Legends. I know, I know – there’s been a dragon in League of Legends for a while now, but can I play that dragon? No, I can’t, so why bother talking about it.

The next champion to come to the League will be Shyvana, the Half-Dragon. Her name is a little confusing, mostly because of the graphic that accompanies her post. As you can see above, Shyvana appears to be a full-on dragon. My guess is that the version of her in the comic represents her ultimate. Could she be a Nidalee-style champ with a toggled second form? I would actually love that option. I really enjoyed Nidalee, though I haven’t played her in a while. Keep an eye out for more about her this coming weekend.

No FG LoL Monday tonight

FG LoL Mondays

My internet has been a bit spotty all day today, folks, so I don’t feel comfortable committing to FG night. I thought it might have cleared up by now but I’m still getting some crazy lag spikes and the occasional disconnect.

If things do level off I’ll try to be online and I’m always happy to get an invite. You can add me at “The Wiggin Boy” if I’m on tonight. Hopefully things will be stable enough that I can play.

Dipping into Diablo 2

The fall release schedule has been pretty underwhelming so far. Most of the big titles have had their release date pushed back, though we will see Battlefield 3 tomorrow. Personally, I’m not much of an FPS fan these days, so I’m holding out for the RPG/ARTS games that are yet to come.

For now, Diablo 3 is my number one pick. I played the hell out of Diablo 2 back in high school and college and I’ve actually picked it back up to get in the mood for the next addition to the franchise. I’m surprised how much enjoyment I can still get out of a game that is nothing more than a gear grind. There’s still something fun about it, despite it’s gross imbalances, too. Why can Hammerdins kill everything in the game with such ease, even with a relatively easy-to-find kit? Why are high runes such a crapshoot? Why do immunities even exist in this kind of grinder?

I’m going to avoid answering those questions and instead offer some advice. If you’re thinking about going back and playing through Diablo 1 and 2, I’d highly recommend checking out the Reddit server, at least for your multiplayer Diablo 2 experiences. I played some Battle.net not too long ago and immediately ran up against the game’s big problems – bots and duping. High-level items are so common it’s silly. With Reddit’s private server, though, the economy is pretty balanced and, more importantly, the players are friendly. It’s been nice to go back through some of my favorite classes and specs, finding help along the way from generous players.

You can find out more about the Diablo 2 Reddit server at the server’s subreddit. I’m playing there under the account “thewuggler” if you happen to join.

Out of this fall’s games, what are you most looking forward to?

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