Sejuani ability list announced

Sejuani.

As expected, Riot announced Sejuani’s official ability list this weekend. It looks like the Tanky DPS rumors were partially true. Her kit sounds like she’s meant to be a pure tank. Let’s have a look at this boar-riding beast of a champion.

Frost (Passive) – Sejuani’s basic attacks apply Frost, reducing enemy Movement Speed by 10% for 3 seconds.

Arctic AssaultSejuani charges forward to deal magic damage and apply Frost to enemies. Sejuani stops upon colliding with an enemy champion.

Northern Winds – Sejuani summons an arctic storm around her which deals magic damage to nearby enemies every second. Damage is increased against enemies affected by Frost or Permafrost.

Permafrost – Sejuani converts Frost on nearby enemies to Permafrost, dealing magic damage and increasing the Movement Speed reduction dramatically.

Glacial Prison (Ultimate) – Sejuani throws her weapon, stunning the first enemy champion hit. Nearby enemies are stunned for a shorter duration. All targets take magic damage and are affected by Frost.

On the whole I think Sejuani has a decent kit, though there is the usual ambiguity with regard to how some of her skills work. For instance, can she cast Permafrost if nearby enemies don’t have the Frost debuff? I would hope so. Forcing her to rely on hitting targets to use her primary nuke would really hurt. I could also see her ultimate being incredibly frustrating to land properly. I’m also curious about its range.

If anything, I think Sejuani’s strength will depend on the usability of her charge. Her abilities sound like they synergize fairly well, but none of them matter if she can’t get close enough for a Frost debuff.

Keep an eye out for her this week. I’ll be giving my impressions as soon as I have a chance to play her.

  

Getting pumped for Diablo III

I’ve been on the lookout for a new distraction for quite some time now, but none of the major game releases in the past several months have really captured my attention. Skyrim was good for a time, but while I’m sure I’ll go back to that world on occasion, there’s only so much that I feel truly compelled to do in the game. The Old Republic was an absolute flop for me. Even the DotA 2 beta feels a little lackluster of late. That’s mostly due to the losing streak I’m currently wading through, but also because not all of my gaming buddies have the title and the hero pool remains a bit limited.

I’m not expecting Diablo III to change the gaming industry as we know it. I’m not expecting it to be the best game of 2012. I’m not really expecting anything, which is why I think I will probably enjoy it. Dungeon slashers aren’t particularly interesting games, but they’re usually a lot of fun. I especially like the features of Diablo III aimed at more fun, instead of just min-maxing a character for damage (although that can be a pretty good time, too).

A few videos have recently popped up (like the one above) showing off the effects of different runes on class spells. Though some are a little uninspired (zombie becomes zombie with poison cloud), a lot of the rune effects make significant changes to the way a character feels, which I think is awesome. Personally, I’m most interested in the witch doctor, but the monk is a close second. I’m sure at some point I’ll get into the wizard – I just couldn’t stay away from the sorceress in Diablo II – but I’m guessing that’s a ways off.

  

Ranked Teams coming to Season Two

Team Wild West.

Among the features League of Legends is missing, the ability to queue with multiple teams has to be up near the top. I’m not a particularly social player in that I don’t find myself queuing with full teams in ranked. I usually go for the 2-3 friends in normal kind of thing. For a lot of players, though, a full premade is the way to go, but with friends at different skill levels the ELO system just doesn’t work.

Enter the new Team system. In Season Two, players will be able to join teams and maintain a separate ELO rating for each team in which they participate. It’s a great system, something used by many RTS franchises. Obviously it has its pitfalls – a high ELO team can just make a new team at any time and stomp through the lower ELOs – but this is definitely a nice step forward for Riot and League of Legends.

I’m wondering if this will also include some new stat tracking features. It would be frustrating if we could participate in teams without any real way to see each team’s individual match history. Hopefully we’ll not only be able to see our own histories but also have the ability to look up teams and see their histories as well. It would be nice to see the types of comps other teams are playing, provided the metagame makes a little shift.

This is a great feature announcement. Good on you, Riot.

Also, I found the awesome header image at the FYLoL Tumblr.

  

Zileas comes clean on the Gunblade nerf

Nurse Akali

I’m not happy about the Gunblade nerf. It’s not that I don’t think the item should have been nerfed – it absolutely should have been – but rather that the item nerf didn’t solve the problems with champions that use Gunblade. The most obvious offender here is Akali.

Zileas posted on the forums this weekend, claiming that Akali “WAS toned back by gunblade nerf.” That could mean a lot of different things. It might mean Riot thinks her damage is now at a reasonable level. It might mean she’s being banned less and running away with fewer games. It might mean all of the above and more, I can’t really say. I will say that I disagree. I don’t even build Gunblade on Akali in most situations. She doesn’t need it in order to be successful. Plain and simple, it’s just bonus damage.

Zileas said a bit more about the nerf, and it’s his latest statements that really have me confused. Here’s the quote, answering the question, “Why did you decide to nerf gunblade instead of akali directly?”:

Because [Gunblade] when stacked was causing the majority of the problem due to the stats being of such high value relative to other items.

We believe in taking the minimal effort required to adjust for OP situations, and a number of OP situations were coming out of gunblade. Rather than get into the hazy territory of nerfing several of champions who would then use gunblade as a crutch, we just did that. Less undesirable side effects.

First of all, stacking Gunblades have absolutely nothing to do with Akali’s current state. Was it problematic on Dominion? I don’t know. I never saw it. But I have never seen a Gunblade stack on Summoner’s Rift on any champion other than Kat. Never.

And Gunblade is hardly a crutch for Akali. It’s more like the minigun that gets strapped onto War Machine in Iron Man 2. He already had a massive arsenal. Did he really need that minigun? Same goes for Gunblade on Akali.

Most importantly, though, I really dislike the whole “minimal effort required” when it comes to nerfs. I’m not saying “you guys aren’t trying,” because I know that they are. But to see a problem with multiple solutions and say, “which one is easiest?” is shoddy balance at best. This would be a fine approach if the easy solutions were actually solving problems, but they just aren’t. The Gunblade nerf is almost perfectly analogous to the age old “attacking a symptom instead of curing the disease.”

Akali is a plague on this game in her current state. I know she has counters. I know there are plenty of bad Akali players. But for every Akali I see play poorly or get countered I see another 20 run away with games they had no business running away with, securing double kills and triple kills with ease, and essentially ruining the game for at least five other people involved.

I understand you guys don’t want to disrupt the game too much, Riot, but an Akali nerf is long overdue. Her combination of burst, mobility, and survivability is just too high, even for an assassin. Stop doing the easy thing. Stop attacking the symptom. Cure the disease.

  

Big changes coming to Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells have long been one of the hottest topics of debate, despite the fact that they rarely received significant changes. Back in the AoE and ranged harass meta days, Ghost/Cleanse or Flash/Cleanse was pretty much the gold standard. Flash still has its place these days, but Cleanse was one of few Summoner Spells to get significantly nerfed, to the point that I rarely see anyone take it today.

With the release of Season Two (nope, I don’t know when that will be), Riot will be making significant changes to the current Summoner Spell lineup.

Flash/Clairvoyance Nerfs & Heal/Cleanse Buffs

Here’s the word from Riot’s post today:

Flash will now have both reduced range and an increased cooldown to make summoners feel less obligated to select it. Clairvoyance will also be receiving an increased cooldown and reduced duration to make it require more tactical use and be less punishing to junglers.

Heal and Cleanse, on the other hand, will each be receiving buffs to make them more attractive selections. Heal will now scale much more strongly into late game, while Cleanse will now remove summoner spell effects such as Ignite and Exhaust.

Holy crap, a Flash nerf! I can’t believe it’s actually happening. Though the Flash nerf is long awaited for many players, I have to say, I think it’s actually the least exciting change on the docket. As long as Flash has a long enough range for players to jump over terrain, it’s still going to be a top pick, unless of course that cooldown nerf takes the CD up to something like 5 minutes.

I’m very happy to see a Clairvoyance nerf. I still maintain that jungling encourages passive laning, but jungling + clairvoyance encourages the mind-numbing farm-off we see in games today. I’ll wait to pass more judgement until I see some numbers on this one.

The buffs to Heal and Cleanse look interesting indeed. I couldn’t be happier about the return of Ignite-Cleansing. I think Ignite remains a highly toxic part of the game. Having an option to remove it will be fantastic. That said, the spell vamp situation could spiral quickly out of control without careful consideration from Riot. Certain champions (*AHEM* AKALI *AHEM*) already make devastating use of the spell vamp items available in game. If those same champions can now pack cleanse to avoid heal penalties, well, it’s going to be a scary Field of Justice out there.

I’ll be curious to see how the Heal buffs look. It could produce some sustain issues, but it might be nice to have that bait tool up my sleeve (keep it clean, perverts).

The Return of Promote

Also on the changelist for Season Two is the return of Promote to Summoner’s Rift. Promote is coming back in a form familiar to Dominion players. The spell will only work on cannon minions, so no promote stacking in one lane. That change is so simple I honestly can’t believe it took two years to get put back in the game. I’d like to think this could herald the return of push comps, but I’m honestly not sure if it will be enough.

The Demise of Rally/Fortify

Rally and Fortify are both going the way of the Dodo this season. Neither spell will be available for selection during Season Two. I’m not going to miss Rally a bit – let’s be honest, that spell sucked – but I do think Fortify could still have a place. If push comps do return, why not offer a way to protect and enhance the powers of turrets for a limited time.

Riot’s reasoning is this: “Having a summoner spell that promotes stagnant play by completely shutting down pushes, while also being unpopular, doesn’t mesh with our Season Two goals.” Here’s the thing – Fortify does not promote stagnant gameplay. It just doesn’t. It’s an excellent bait tool and yes, it’s good for stopping pushes, which will be really nice if push comps return. Strategically timed Fortifies can be the saving grace of a team that needs to farm versus a fed opponent.

If anything, I’d say the fragility of turrets promotes stagnant gameplay. There are two reasons the last-hit meta has become so popular. First, pushing a lane gives the enemy jungler an opportunity to gank. We don’t like fed enemy junglers so we try not to push our lanes. Second, dying in the early game is too punishing. Towers are soft enough that one death, even before the five minute mark, often means the end of that lane. In my experience, early downed towers do nothing for aggressive gameplay. They don’t often open new opportunities for ganks. Once a tower is down, players collapse into the jungles, hiding in brush and allowing wards and Clairvoyance to utterly dominate the game. That’s not “aggressive” gameplay. That is snowballing. When towers are up, though, players try to dive one another trading the high risk for the hope of a reward. They overextend in lane because they overestimate the safety a turret provides. They skirmish more in the lane because an early death doesn’t necessarily mean the end of their farming potential. I really hope Riot reconsiders Fortify as a spell and, more importantly, tower strength as a whole.

A New Spell: Surge

In place of Rally, Riot is adding a spell called Surge. Surge basically does the same thing Rally did – increasing the combat effectiveness of nearby teammates – but it does so as an aura on the caster not a flag on the ground. I think we’ll be seeing this one a lot on supports and tanks.

Conclusion

I’m excited about the changes to Summoner Spells. I’ll be curious to see actual hard numbers on some of the changes – especially Flash and Clairvoyance – but until Riot lets us in on the Season Two launch date it looks like we’ll have to wait.

We’re coming up on two months since the end of Season One, Riot. Better give us some indication of a release date for these changes before someone takes my 5-to-1 odds that S2 won’t start until 2012.

  

Related Posts