Riven Skill List Announced

Come Tuesday (hopefully) we’ll all get a look at the newest champion to join the League: Riven, the Exile. Riot posted her skill list this weekend, which, as always, gives us a chance to breakdown her potential strengths and weaknesses. Let’s have a look.

Passive – Runic Blade: Riven’s abilities charge her blade, causing her to do bonus damage on her next autoattack. Riven can store up to 3 charges, but only expends one at a time.

Broken Wings: Riven steps forward and lashes out in a series of powerful sword slashes. This ability can be reactivated up to 3 times in a short period.

1st Use/2nd Use: Deals damage to a small area in front of her.
3rd Use: Jumps into the air and slams downward, causing a larger impact nova that deals damage and knocks nearby enemies back.

Ki Shout: Riven damages and stuns nearby enemies.

Valor: Riven dashes forward and gains a shield for a short duration.

Blade of the Exile (Ultimate): Riven’s sword reforms, giving her a percentage multiplier on her total attack damage, extended range on her damaging abilities and basic attacks and the ability to use Wind Slash once.

Wind Slash: While Blade of the Exile is active, Riven can reactivate the ability to emit a large shockwave that deals damage to all units hit based on their missing life.

My first response on seeing her skill list went something like, “wow, that’s a lot of combo abilities.” I’m always a little wary of skill descriptions that read “does X, Y and Z.” Her Ki Shout and Valor both seem to be fairly normal (though I still hate shield abilities and this one is even paired with a dash – why do we need to be able to harass/initiate without risk?). I’ll have to see how Broken Wings plays in game. It will either be a cool combo ability or feel like a clumsy version of Three-Talon Strike. I’m hoping for the first. I’m also guessing the knockback will be something like Maokai’s Arcane Smash – nothing too big but enough to count.

Her ult, on the other hand, sounds like a mess. It’s a steroid plus a missing-health-based nuke. It’s a little unclear what kind of range she gets on the active nuke, but from her pictures it looks like it may be slightly larger than a Talon Rake. I’m not a huge fan of steroid skills because I think they’re pretty tough to balance.

Steroids are also somewhat opaque to opponents. When Vayne ults, it’s not exactly clear that she gains a bunch of attack speed and damage. I know she can turn invisible, and seems to be insanely fast. I know I seem to die more quickly, but it’s difficult to quantify exactly what it’s doing in the moment. By contrast, it’s pretty obvious how hard a Caitlyn ult or a Tibbers or a Karthus ult is going to hit just by taking a quick look at farm.

I’ll hold off on too much judgement, though. I think the combination of a dash, a mini-dash, an AoE stun, and a knockup could be a lot of fun. As I write that out, though, and consider it with a missing-health AoE nuke, I can’t help but think she’ll be a frustrating opponent.

Cataclysm CE features announced, I sigh

Cataclysm Collector's Edition

I’ve never understood the collector’s editions for World of Warcraft. I really enjoy the game, but there are so many easily attainable pets (which is the only thing that really entices me out of the feature list) that I can’t really understand dropping the extra cash on it. People spend money on weirder stuff, and I guess there’s enough involved to keep the crazy lore freaks happy.

Here’s what you get:

CATACLYSM EXCLUSIVE BEHIND-THE-SCENES DVD:
• Over an hour of developer interviews and commentaries, discussing the game’s development from early design through finished gameplay.
• The Cataclysm intro cinematic and major content patch trailers complete with Director’s Commentary.
• A special Warcraft retrospective examining the rich gaming history of the Warcraft universe.

COLLECTOR’S EDITION SOUNDTRACK:
• Seventeen epic tracks from Cataclysm.

THE ART OF CATACLYSM:
• 176 pages of art, featuring never-before-seen images from the archives of the Blizzard Film Department and the World of Warcraft development team.
• Progressive visuals from every stage of development – from early concepts through to finished, detailed art.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: CATACLYSM™ PC/MAC GAME:
• The full World of Warcraft expansion set on CD-ROM and DVD-ROM.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT TRADING CARD GAME STARTER PACKS AND EXCLUSIVE CARDS:
• One 60-card deck from the new Wrathgate series featuring two extended art cards and visuals from several of fantasy’s top creators.
• Two exclusive hero cards, marking the first appearance of goblin and worgen heroes in the WOW:TCG.
• One full-sized rule book to teach you how to play.

EXCLUSIVE IN-GAME PET:
• He may not be a breaker of worlds… at least not yet… but Lil’ Deathwing will still aid you in your titanic struggle to save Azeroth from his much, much larger counterpart.

CATACLYSM MOUSEPAD:
• A special-edition mouse pad depicting Deathwing menacing the ravaged continents of Azeroth.

See, there’s some good stuff in there. Gamestop lists the box set at $79.99.

You want WoW news, you got it

WoW Cataclysm wallpaper.It figures just one day after I write a post wondering what happened to everyone’s favorite MMO, Blizzard decides to unveil some of the major changes coming to each of the game’s ten classes. Oh, except Paladins, but really, who likes Paladins anyway?

Technically, we don’t have the changes just yet. There was a post on the official forums, though, that said we’d get a preview of the new spells, skill changes, talent trees, and other class modifications to be found in Cataclysm within 24 hours. As to the Paladin thing, here’s what Blizzard had to say:

The paladin is still deep in development. Instead of giving a preview that would be potentially less comprehensive than the other classes we made the decision to post it when it’s ready, in order to properly honor the paladin class and those that play them. The wait isn’t too long however as we’re expecting to be able to post it on April 16.

I would never have guessed that “deep in development” meant one week from public consumption, but I’m not a developer now, am I.

This is a big day for the crackheads. It’s the first real news about specific changes in Cataclysm since the expansion was announced.

Source: WoW Forums

Top Infinity Ward execs part ways with Activision

Modern Warfare 2.I’ve heard in the past that Infinity Ward has a less than cordial relationship with Activision. The shit finally hit the fan this morning, though, when two of IW’s top guys took a hike after meeting with the publisher.

At some point yesterday, Vince Zampella and Jason West met with Activision, after which they didn’t return to IW offices. Instead, a bunch of “bouncer-types” came around, presumably to ensure that neither exec would come back to work. By noon today both Zampella and West had updated their LinkedIn profiles to include Infinity Ward as previous experience.

Kotaku also dug up an SEC filing from yesterday that showed Activision had launched an investigation at IW for “insubordination” and “breaches of contract” regarding “two senior employees.” Activision has since confirmed both departures and announced the formation of a special division dedicated to churning out one Call of Duty game every year. Looks like the company will continue to bank on that franchise as a major source of revenue for as long as it can.

Activision gets almost 70% of its revenue from three franchises

Tauren dance, baby.Activision’s fiscal report for 2009 contained some seriously juicy news. First, there’s the scandal at Infinity Ward. Second, there’s this. The report included statistics regarding the company’s revenue sources, revealing that a large majority, like 68%, come from just three franchises: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero. The report also noted that WoW accounts for a whopping 98% of Blizzard’s revenue.

The obvious concern is for one of those franchises to flop. One bad Call of Duty and suddenly Activision doesn’t look so stable. As the company puts things, “Due to this dependence on a limited number of franchises, the failure to achieve anticipated results by one or more products based on these franchises may significantly harm our business and financial results.” I would say so, fellas.

We already know that rhythm games are on the decline and WoW hasn’t grown in more than a year. No wonder Blizzard’s trying to push Starcraft 2 out the door by mid-year.

Source: Kotaku

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