Goldeneye 007 Facility Challenge with a steering wheel

One gamer attempted a chunk of James Bond action using a steering wheel.

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.

Bullz-Eye game review: Civilization V

Civilization V reviewI’ve done a couple game reviews recently for our parent site, Bullz-Eye.com, so I thought I’d share them while I’m on a bit of a content hiatus. Most recently I had a chance to review Civilization V, which I really enjoyed. I’ve never been much of a Civ fan, so it was nice to find that I could learn to like the game.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

If there’s one thing RTS fans didn’t like about “Civilization,” it was the lack of warfare. In “Civilization V,” though, warfare is probably the most interesting aspect of the game. While building a robust economy can be fun, it’s typically easier to tech ahead of your enemies and rush them with mounted cavalry or rifleman while they’re still researching iron or steel. As I mentioned, the computer doesn’t manage troop movement well, and troops now have high enough mobility to allow for distance campaigns, which were nearly impossible in older versions of the game.

You can check out the full Civilization V review at Bullz-Eye, alongside a smattering of PC game reviews and just about any console title review you might want.

Guide: Playing Nidalee in a post-nerf world

Leopard Nidalee.

Nidalee used to be at the top of my most-hated toon list. She was impossible to run down, near impossible to lane against, and devastating to anyone but the thickest of tanks. She received a string of nerfs that slowly but surely brought her down from the godlike status she once held, but she can still be very strong in the right hands. Eradicator for some advice on playing Nidalee so I thought I’d throw together a quick guide.

Nidalee Basics
Nidalee is one of the more complex toons in that she has four human form skills, one of which makes her a cat, which gives her a new set of three skills. Most players play Nidalee as AP these days in order to capitalize on her abilities in both forms. Nidalee, like many toons, was hit pretty hard by the Sheen/Trinity Force/Lichbane nerf, but she can still perform very well. Her heal scales very well with AP, her trap scales slightly with AP, and her javelin is deadly with even a little bit magic penetration. As with many casters, I like to focus on a magic pen build, and rushing Zhonya’s once you’re in position to do so.

Laning
Laning with Nidalee is pretty simple. Attack, heal, attack some more. She can kill off creep waves very quickly with the attack speed buff from Primal Surge, so use it as often as your mana allows. Primal Surge also gives you the ability to harass and take a few creep hits, heal yourself, and use the attack speed buff to get the minions down. Make sure you take one rank of each skill before six, though, or your cat form will be severely gimped.

Once you hit six you should be farming very quickly. Try to get a lane against a squishier toon if you can. It will make it that much easier for you to trap, Pounce, and Swipe the caster minions for quick gold and then finish off the melee and push. Remember, as a healer you can afford to stand and attack towers with your opponent attacking you so long as you don’t have tower aggro. Heal through their damage and keep pushing. A lot of players make the mistake of burning through mana to harass Nidalee when she can just heal right through it. Let them. When you’re on their tower they’ll have nothing left.

Ganking
Nidalee’s passive allows her to traverse the map very quickly (though not as quickly as a certain champion). Use the brush for a little speed bump to get you to the next lane for a gank. I roll Flash/Ghost in most cases to maximize my mobility. If your ganking partner has a snare, let them snare, toss a javelin from as far as you can reliably land it (you’ll want to get good at this), Cougar Form and run in, making sure to land your pounce on your target. Swipe -> Take down and your target should either be dead or very close to it. If he flashes away, Human Form -> Javelin Toss. Nidalee’s greatest weakness in a ganking situation is her lack of CC. For this reason, positioning is everything. Make sure you strafe your opponents from the side whenever possible to maximize the amount of time you can deal damage to them. Ganking with a stun/snare partner makes your life much easier.

Teamfighting
Nidalee is best suited to taking down carries/squishies. Group with teammates before a fight and focus on harassing with Javelin Toss before the fight starts. You can easily hit an enemy carry for 20-30 percent of his HP with just a little bit of magic pen. Land two of those and that carry has to go heal or risk dying very quickly in the upcoming fight.

When the fight starts, get to the carries by whatever means necessary. Seriously. Flash to them, ghost into the mix and Pounce. It is your sole responsibility to burn the carries and get out before the tanks can get on top of you. With the current CC/high-HP DPS metagame, this has become much harder. Nidalee is a good toon, but only in the right comp. She’s a poor choice as a first, second, or even third pick in my opinion. You need to see that your enemy has a shortage of CC. If they have 4-5 stuns/slows, pick a different toon. If there’s a squishy or two and one to two hard CC characters, you should be fine. Remember, your heals scale incredibly well with AP, so don’t be afraid to get a little low in order to bring down that Ashe/Ezreal. Heal up, and loop back around to support your teammates.

Make try to drop traps in the line of an impending team fight when possible. The magic resist/armor reduction can make the difference between a dead enemy tank and one that lives to fight. It’s a very strong skill, and if you have Rylai’s, it puts a slow on the trapped target, too. Speaking of traps, use them as often as possible. Most players ward in very common places – the little brush about a quarter of the way from middle to a side lane is almost always warded – giving you the chance to counter them. Trap their wards, Primal Surge and burn it down. Killing the enemy vision gives your team the chance to set up ganks deep in enemy territory.

Build
My skill build is based on the following priority with the simple exception that you take one rank of your Pounce/Trap skill before six. After that, it’s the last skill you rank.

Cougar Form -> Primal Surge -> Takedown -> Trap

As for items, I’d recommend Sorc Boots, Haunting Guise, Zhonya’s, Rylai’s, Abyssal and Lichbane as solid items. Use your discretion on Lichbane, though. The nerf really did hurt the damage it provides a lot of characters, especially someone as spammy as Nidalee. Basically, you won’t want to spend all your time in cougar like you might be used to. Get out of form, use your heals/javelins to support your team. Nidalee is still a strong support character, but she is a far cry from the carry she used to be. Don’t forget that.

Hopefully this helps you understand Nidalee’s position in a team and her strengths against enemy teams. Remember, Nidalee cannot be forced into any team comp, but when the mix is right, she can be a lot of fun.

The importance of a solo mid

Veigar.

I caught a game late this afternoon with a four-man premade. Everything looked good except that our fifth picked Yi. I asked him to switch and he went to Veigar. Not a great swap, but that stun is still better than Yi’s nothing.

This guy also wanted to solo. When I’m premading I try to make sure that one of us is always in mid because solo is so important. I decided that as TF I should probably take mid over Veigar. That was all well and good until I went to gank top, as TF is prone to do, and Veigar came middle. When I came back to resume solo farming, he wouldn’t leave. This stranded our Shen bottom alone and while I was top, my opponent’s mid, Annie, stayed and farmed. I was a level and a half behind her, but nothing I couldn’t fix by farming solo. Even after many requests Veigar wouldn’t leave. By the time Annie hit ten, he had just hit level six and proceeded to feed her two kills.

Things went downhill from there. With solo experience and three kills (sadly I died to Annie once early because I fell for a very nice cleanse bait on her part) Annie was hugely ahead. Veigar wouldn’t leave middle so I was falling behind and our bottom lane was losing traction. By the 14-minute mark we had lost five towers and were on the way to losing our sixth.

Nearly all of this could have been avoided had Veigar let me solo. The importance of a solo is not just easy farming. It’s about evening out the level advantage the other team gains with their solo. That’s the reason junglers are so strong – they create a level advantage in two lanes. By leeching XP mid, Veigar stole our level advantage and gave the other team a 2v1 opportunity to push a lane against our Shen.

This isn’t to say a 2v1 mid is a bad idea – it can work, but it needs to be done from the beginning of the game so that your own lane facing a 2v1 can get level gapped. If he’s given a 2v1 too late, it’s just a 2v1 and h’s probably going to get pushed.

Whenever you can avoid it, try not to lane juggle your mid. You need that level gap.

LoL: Throwing out the rules

TT Matchmaking.I’ve never been great at moderation – when I get interested in something I tend to be completely absorbed, which is why I usually only give my time to a single game at a time. That also means I want to get the most out of whatever game I’m hooked on, if only because I don’t focus my time on any other titles. For LoL that’s meant developing a set of rules for my playtime to hopefully maximize my enjoyment. I’ve written about some of those rules here – avoiding TT when I don’t have a full premade, trying to choose the best team comp possible, playing toons with strong CC – but the rules don’t always work. I had my worst losing streak a few weeks ago and I’ve been struggling to bring up my ELO ever since. I took a week off to visit with my family, but having come back, I realized I had to try something new – I had to throw out all the rules.

So far, I haven’t seen huge success. I’ve still had the mix of good and bad players, both on Summoner’s Rift and Twisted Treeline, but I think I’m having more fun. I’m playing some toons I haven’t played in a while, including Shaco, who I used to be completely addicted to, and trying to play some new strats to pick up some wins. I had forgotten how much I love Twisted Treeline – the pace is just so much more enjoyable than SR – which was easy to do with that last losing streak.

Moral of the story is this, though. When the rules stop working, it’s time to get some new rules. I could beat my head against a wall all day trying to play the most OP toons in the most favorable situations but the bottom line is that there are too many variables outside my control for the variables within my control to make much of a difference. I know I’m a solid player, and as long as I’m playing smart every game and focusing on assisting my team and farming as heavily as possible, I’m sure I’ll be just fine.

LoL: Sometimes you just have to turn and fight

Kennen rockin out. Since my recent Kennen winning streak it’s been tough to stomach losses, and I’ve had my fair share. In a few of the most recent encounters I’ve felt confident of the win but we managed a pretty severe loss. Our team comp looked great, but we just couldn’t initiate well and once we initiated it seemed everything went to hell.

Then I saw an encounter that explained to me a lot of our problems. We had just won a gank-turned-teamfight fairly handily. All five on our team were up with just two of theirs. We started to backdoor a turret because we were close and our creeps were on the way. Two of my own teammates were injured and when our two standing opponents made a show of defense, our whole team ran off. Luckily we were on Skype so I stood my ground, encouraging everyone to fight. We killed off one of the remaining two and pushed the turret.

It made me realize that sometimes you just need to sack up and fight. Early in the game it seems people are willing to take risks to get some kills, but once late game hits, everyone is so conscious of the consequences that you forego a number of chances to get an ace or simply win a teamfight and gain time to push.

In a more recent encounter, my teammates and I were pushing a turret on TT. We had already taken the bottom inhibitor and, though were low, we stayed to try to push. As our opponents slowly respawned, we fought back just to get aced. Over the course of our skirmish, though, we pushed their last remaining inhibitor turret down to just 15% health and their bottom inhibitor respawned and was subsequently killed by the wave of super minions our opponents weren’t there to stop. Sure, it sucked getting aced, but overall it was a successful push. We shackled them to their base for defense, respawned, regained map control and pushed for the win.

Long story short – don’t be afraid to fight, especially if you have a good initiator. If your team is standing around, drop Tibbers on the next person to get close. Your allies will get the message and go all in.

LoL: Kennen data for the haters

Kennen victory list.I can’t believe how many people think Kennen is underpowered. I just don’t understand. I’ve been playing him almost exclusively since the patch and I’ve been a dominant force in every single game. I could understand if I was playing at a fairly low ELO and noobstomping, but I know my stats aren’t so bad. Honestly, I’m just a few percentage points away from a high-ELO play if recent posts are to be believed.

Here’s a look at my last ten games as Kennen, all victories (yes, I finally pulled a nice winning streak). Several of them I did run with a premade, but for most it was either partial premade or solo queue.

Victory: 13-0-2
Victory: 5-0-2
Victory: 3-0-6
Victory: 13-2-6
Victory: 9-1-13
Victory: 10-3-10
Victory: 4-1-5
Victory: 10-0-4
Victory: 9-0-3
Victory: 13-2-3

Total numbers are 89-9-54. I’m averaging almost 9 kills a game on Kennen with less than one death per game. I’m sorry, I just don’t see how anyone could think he’s UP. I can’t wait to have this little ninja on my top 3 list.

LoL: Kennen Guide

Swamp Master Kennen.There’s been a lot of back and forth in the community about Kennen so I thought it would be appropriate to put together a full guide. I’ve fallen in love with the midget ninja and I’ve been playing him to great success in most every game I’ve tried. Kennen is one of the strongest gankers in the game and, when played well, provides excellent utility and killing power to a solid team. He will easily carry a team if his opponents allow him any kind of farm.

I build Kennen AP, despite all the claims of his poor AP ratios. Personally, I think his AP ratios are excellent, good enough that they might catch a nerf in the near future. For runes, I roll with magic pen marks, dodge seals, cooldown reduction per level glyphs, and health quints. I go back and forth on masteries but for this guide I’ll recommend a 9/21/0 build, taking the 15% spell pen from the offense tree and making sure to grab the extra health and the 4% damage reduction from defense. The rest is up to you.

For summoner skills I take Cleanse and Ignite, but Ghost, Exhaust, and Teleport if your team needs it are all good options.

Kennen is a very powerful farmer so I always like to take him mid solo. Grab a health crystal, get to lane, and get ready to farm. At level 1 I have 820 health, which is a ton for a mid toon. Most of my opponents are somewhere around 500, so I have a huge advantage early. I take Thundering Shuriken (his Q skill) first and focus on last hitting. At level 2 and 3 take one rank of your other skills to prep for your combo. Keep last hitting to get up a decent farm.

Kennen is an excellent harasser. I take Electrical Surge at level 2 so that I can keep my mark count on my target as often as possible. Whenever I have the chance I like to Shuriken my opponent. I’ll then use either the passive from Electrical Surge or the active to keep my marks up. The active has surprisingly good range and can be used any time a nearby target has a mark. Try to always have at least two marks on your target so he’s prepped for a gank. At level 3 you can start rolling with your combo. Without boots your opponent will have a hard time avoiding Lightning Rush. I try to get a stack or two on the target and then Lightning Rush in. The stun procs some extra energy so I can Shuriken again while I’m standing on top of my target and auto attack for some harass and hopefully another mark from the Electrical surge passive. The high early health pool allows me to soak a little minion damage and bring my opponents down to half health or so. Once you have your opponent to half health you should be able to get an easy kill. Again, work up two marks on the target while you farm, regen some energy, build up your Electrical Surge passive and Lightning Rush in. Your stun procs extra energy again and with an auto attack you gain a mark, Shuriken will net you a mark, set your ignite and then auto attack the target down. As they start to run away you should have plenty of energy for a quick Electrical Surge active for a second stun. This combo is your bread and butter until you have your ult. Obviously it relies on your ability to keep marks on your target, so get some practice, even on bots if you want.

For the rest of early game you’ll main Shuriken for the cooldown reduction and increased damage. I follow that with Lightning Rush, again for cooldown reduction and because the damage scales better for the early game than Electrical Surge. Obviously, you want to take your ultimate as often as possible and save consecutive ranks of Electrical Surge for the end of the game.

You should find it very easy to farm. In the mid lane it’s important that you only last hit. You want to keep your target closer to your turret so you don’t have to dive for the kill. I typically wait until I have 1400g, which should be around level 5 or 6, before heading back to base to pick up Haunting Guise and my boots.

At 6 your ganking power only improves. If you’ve done a good job farming your Guise will give the penetration needed for some early kills on targets with low magic resistance. Stack up a mark or two (preferably two) and Lightning Rush in. Once rush hits I Shuriken and start to auto attack for the duration of the stun, planting one mark on my target and dealing a little damage. Once stun ends (which is fast, don’t get me wrong), I pop my ult, which drops another mark and then Electrical Surge for a second stun. You may have to wait a second for the energy to Surge, but if you prepped your target correctly you should have a mark waiting on your Surge passive just in case. That combo alone will kill most targets at 6. Thankfully, you brought Ignite for anyone that might be a little more durable.
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LoL: The push strat

Heimer doing some jungling.It can get a little boring running the same teamfight strategy over and over, so I like to switch things up. Lately I’ve been running a heavy push strat with a couple friends, and though we’ve been taking our time learning it’s still been a lot of fun. Here’s a quick run down of a few of your options.

When you’re going for a push strat you want to have at least one tower down under the five minute mark, but preferably a second if you can manage it. Your team comp focuses on early game durability and push. When four people surprise push a lane it’s very hard to counter without a lot of ports or quick action. Alistar is a must for keeping creep waves healed and his ability to rip up a turret. You should also take Sivir along for obvious reasons. Personally, we’ve been rolling with a Heimerdinger as well to keep up the push. He is great at mowing down minion waves to set things up. From there it’s pretty much your pick. Janna is great for AOE crowd control on your opponent and her AOE heal can grant you some extra push time. You can take Warwick then for his global attack speed buff or Taric for heals/aura and Radiance for pushing.

I’ve not tried a game with Taric yet, but the Warwick game does seem to work well. I’m planning to try Taric at some point this evening and I’ll drop some comments when I know a little more.

As for summoner spells, you need to have a few rally flags for the early game push. It keeps everyone healed up and gives you the extra damage you need to push. Taking Clarity and Heal can also keep a push alive. Basically you want your mid toon, in this case Heimer, to push the opponent back to turret. At level three you rush four people middle to take the first turret and the second if you have the health. Then it’s back to lane for farming and leveling until you have a minion wave prepped to take another turret.

If you can get an inhibitor down in 15 minutes you’ve done your job. The super minions are extremely difficult to manage at low levels which forces the other team to clear them, giving you the time to push at will. In the end it’s all about coordination. If you communicate well and move as a team you should be able to give your opponent a painful game.

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