Viktor Impressions

Viktor.

What better way to make my return to the MOBA field than with my impressions post for the newest champion in League of Legends? I’ll tell you. DotA 2. Yes, I’m finally in the beta, but more on that later. For now, let’s talk about the man-machine, Viktor.

You may remember Morello announcing that Riot had plans to introduce more complicated heroes and mechanics into League of Legends over the course of 2012. Viktor seems to be the first of that wave, adding a new item-based skill customization along with a somewhat complicated skillset. While I love the idea of adding more complexity to the game, the actual gameplay needs to support mechanically complex heroes. With Viktor, that just isn’t the case. Hopefully we’ll see more playstyle changes to League as a whole. If not, complex heroes will simply be outshined by champions like Annie and Brand, champs that deal huge damage through a simple set of skills.

Personally, I haven’t enjoyed my time with Viktor, pretty much for the reasons stated above. His skills are too complicated to use without enough benefit for using them well. I feel like I have to work twice as hard for kills that would be easier with many other champions. That’s not all bad – champions with a decent skill ceiling are usually enjoyable to play. In most cases, though, high skill ceiling means knowing when and how your skills should be used, not just that it’s difficult to land them. That’s Viktor. His beam can be very difficult to land in a chase situation – it’s certainly easy to avoid – and without augmenting his stun, he can be pretty easy to outrun.

That said, he has some insane burst. When all of his skills land, he hits hard. His ult works essentially like Tibbers, dealing a big burst in the beginning and a damage over time as it “churns.” With an augment on his beam, he’ll one-shot most any carry.

I don’t think Riot’s going to need to change him much unless a streamer unlocks a truly godlike build/playstyle. Viktor does things that a lot of other champions in the game do, it’s just that all of those things – his stun, his big damage, his AoE power – require a lot more effort than similar champions. He’s also just not all that exciting, which is why I think I haven’t seen him picked much. If I compare him to Fizz, I see one champion with an interesting skillset that adds a couple new mechanics and has a high risk/reward threshold, and one champion that plays like most AP casters. I’ll leave you to sort out which is which.

Champion Sneak Peek: Vayne, the Night Hunter

Vayne concept.

I really thought the Monkey King would be our next champion, especially considering the amount of artwork that’s been done on him. I would imagine Riot is trying to avoid the Lee Sin situation – lots of hype, little conversion – so we’re getting a different champion next week.

That champion is Vayne, a sort of Van Helsing inspired vampire hunter it would seem. I’m guessing she/he/it (pretty sure it’s a she, but it could be a he with very delicate legs) is a ranged DPS champion, a class that is woefully underrepresented in the current metagame. Could Vayne mark the return of the ranged carry? Check back this weekend for the skill list.

Rumble ability list announced

Riot announced the Rumble ability list this afternoon, a list that looks remarkably similar to another champion in the lineup. I’m also pretty worried that we have yet another Tanky DPS champion joining the League. Shield ability? Check. Ranged slow? Check. Damage modifier? Check. Dear lord.

Here’s the list:

Flamespitter: Rumble torches the area in front of him with his flamethrower dealing damage to all units in a cone for several seconds. While in the “Danger Zone,” this spell deals additional damage.

Scrap Shield: Rumble creates a shield blocking incoming damage for several seconds and granting a short duration speed boost. While in the “Danger Zone,” the shield’s strength and speed boost increase.

Electro-Harpoon: Rumble launches a projectile that deals magic damage and applies a stackable slow on the target. A second shot can be fired for no additional cost within several seconds. While in the “Danger Zone,” the damage and slow percentage is increased.

The Equalizer (Ultimate): Rumble calls down a line of rockets over the target location. Enemies in the scorched area take damage over time and are slowed.

Junkyard Titan (Passive): Rumble’s abilities generate heat. When Rumble is above 50 heat, he is in the “Danger Zone,” causing all his basic spells to have additional effects. When Rumble reaches 100 heat he overheats, silencing himself and causing his physical attacks to deal additional magic damage. Rumble loses heat over time.

At first I was worried we had a Blitz clone, but he actually seems to be closer in skill style to Urgot. I am wildly unimpressed by the skillset and, as mentioned above, mostly worried about having yet another Tanky DPS to deal with. From the sound of things, his Harpoon will be extremely easy to land, giving him the ranged harass that often makes Tanky DPS toons such a problem in lane. I’m not excited for his release. Not one bit.

Brand, the Burning Vengeance is up next

Brand, the Burning Vengeance.

The champion sneak peek is up for Riot’s next addition to the League. Brand, the Burning Vengeance will be joining the game in the next patch.

Here’s the official blurb:

Here at Riot Games, we’ve been positively burning with anticipation to tell you about this next champion. And that’s not just smoke and mirrors! If you’ve ever come under fire from critics for leaving a candle unattended, forgetting to turn the grill off, or an over-enthusiasm for fireworks displays, he’s sure to spark your interest. Start getting fired up for Brand, the Burning Vengeance. He’s a real spitfire who is sure to attract all you combustion connoisseurs out there like a moth to a flame.

Hey, did we mention that he’s on fire?

His concept art is pretty cool, and, judging by the look of the image, could be his splash screen. I wonder if we’re looking at some sort of fire mage, maybe even Annie’s father? That would be an interesting bit of lore. You gotta feel at least a little bit bad for this guy – Lee Sin’s hype is a hard act to follow.

Nocturne preview release on IGN

Last night IGN released the first gameplay footage of Nocturne. The footage is basically a champion spotlight, without all the detail devoted to showing the champion’s individual skills. It’s a nice look at what he can do. I really love the fear tether idea. It’s not entirely new – just a remake of Leblanc’s Ethereal Chains – but it adds nice flavor to the character. Check the video and, as always, let me know what you think about Nocturne in the comments.

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