Patch Day roundup: Leona

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but since I’m not playing (and neither is anyone else) I might as well provide a little reading material for anyone that needs a fix. Today’s patch brings Leona, the Radiant Dawn into the League along with a decent number of balance changes. I’ll be covering Leona in separate posts, but there’s plenty to discuss with the other champion changes.

I’m pretty surprised to see Alistar catch such a nerf. I like the big cow. I like seeing him in games, whether he’s on my team or my opponent’s. He’s just such a pure toon – all CC and bull testosterone stomping down the lane. He’s a great ganker, but I don’t think he really tips the scales into invincibility since his last AP nerf. I’m sure plenty of people will be upset about this one.

The Ashe nerf is overdue and probably not enough, but maybe that’s just me. Personally, I’d like to see her ult go to a flat 90+ second cooldown at all levels. That, or cut the slow/stun duration by a third.

Despite the hate around Guinsoo’s Irelia nerf, she seems unscathed to me. Bladesurge mana cost went up ten at max rank? Yippee. Transcendent Blade got a minor nerf? Again, yippee. Her issue is that she is always at the advantage in a fight. She’s highly durable, incredibly bursty, high sustained damage, resistant to CC, and packing CC of her own. That’s to say nothing of how hard it is to shut down her early farm, which actually got more forgiving thanks to the mana buff on Bladesurge when it really counts – at the lowest ranks.

I’m happy to see Jarvan get continual tweaks. He still does way too much damage with a straight tank build, and likely still will, but it’s a steady step in the right direction. I’m also happy to see some Kog’Maw animation tweaks. He’s slow enough that he really needs those quick response times. Hopefully we’ll see him a bit more often in the carry position.

Both Warwick and Swain caught some sustainability nerfs in the lane, which is a good thing. I’m really surprised Udyr was left off the list, even more surprised than I was when he got the Phoenix buff. I still maintain that the champ is broken, even if it’s somewhat situational. The problem with balancing him lies in the fact that his skillset is totally unique and he can take several different build paths, all of which are pretty different from typical tank or jungle builds. I’ll be curious to see how Riot handles him in the future.

The Yorick buffs seem like they will definitely help him out, but I think his problem is in the pet design, not the numbers. His power level shifts dramatically from game to game, thanks to the percentages on his ghouls, his farm level, and the farm level of his potential revenants. Finding a “just right” point will be very tough – I’m actually not sure it’s possible.

The biggest surprise for me this patch was the lack of a Malzahar nerf. In fact, he got a bit of a buff with the Nether Grasp bug fix. I know he’s on the list of characters slated for some nerfing, so I’m surprised he didn’t get even a little number tweak. The Rabadon nerf will hurt him a little bit, but I would expect to see more Malzahar nerfs in the near future.

That pretty much does it for this patch. Check back tomorrow for some thoughts and impressions on Leona. I’ll probably play a couple games tonight – add me at “The Wiggin Boy” if you feel like playing.

Leona release leads to server downtime

I was more than a little surprised today when I woke up to find a patch preview from sometime yesterday evening. Then boom, servers were down and the game was patching. Leona was in! Then she was not. Then the servers were not in at all. Now we’re waiting out what is expected to be at least a three hour downtime. Bummer.

I’m really shocked Riot decided to release Leona at week’s end. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As I’ve written before, players are used to the Tuesday patch system. To us, that is the rule. That is when this game is patched (as are many others). Why push for a release today? I know Riot couldn’t have anticipated the amount of downtime, but even assuming something goes wrong, Friday is kind of a bad day for it. Players are ready to dive into some games for the weekend, which for a lot of people won’t happen even hours after the servers come up. Once they’re live again we’ll definitely be looking at login queues, which are bound to scare off quite a few people. Waiting a day certainly isn’t the end of the world, but if I had my choice I’d be playing games without Leona rather than waiting to play games at all.

I think I would understand the decision to patch today if the changes were a little more interesting. Did Yorick need a buff? Definitely. Was Alistar due for a nerf? Yeah, probably. Did they need to happen as soon as possible? No, not really.

At the very least, this has let Riot make use of the forum feature that rolled out a couple weeks ago. The big red bar you see above appeared recently to alert players to current issues. It’s nice to have important information readily available regardless what subforum I’m viewing.

Patch day passes without champion release

Frostfire Annie.

I’m happy to report that I wasn’t eaten by bears over the weekend. I did come back to a decent amount of work, though, and there is the usual catching up to do across various gaming forums and RSS feeds. I finally had a chance to check out today’s patch this afternoon and was a little surprised when there was no new champion.

I know the teaser post was made late in the week, and I’m guessing with the office move Riot didn’t have time to fully balance out a champion. With that in mind, I’m really glad we didn’t see a new champion today. In fact, it has made me wish champion releases were just a little further apart. I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s been a while since Riot has actually missed a release date, giving me some time to reflect on the difference.

It’s a nice breather to be able to focus on the other champion changes in today’s patch, even if those changes were pretty light. Annie got some minor buffs, as did Kog’Maw, and Vayne saw a few minor nerfs, but Alistar saw some pretty serious damage nerfs that could dramatically affect the way players build him. Irelia also got some significant changes – mostly to her ult – which I’m interested to test out a bit.

I am a little curious when we’ll see Orianna. I would love to see her put off another two weeks; I can’t imagine it makes financial sense to release her even mid-cycle and then give us another champ a week later. If anything, I suppose I could see pushing her back a week and then pushing the development cycle out a week from here forward.

What do you think? Is this a nice respite from the stream of champion releases or do you prefer to have someone new in champion select every two weeks?

Patch Day 11/16 – The nerfs that didn’t happen

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It’s patch day again, a day that was supposedly going to bring some balance to the game. While I’m pleased with the nerfs Sona caught, some of the Riot posts on the forums led me to believe we’d see significant rebalancing this patch but there really wasn’t much.

That said, here’s the rundown, which, as usual, is only big picture stuff. You can read about all the little bug fixes yourselves.

Amumu got a bug fix and damage reduction to his ult, both of which look really nice. I know that Amumu is strong – anyone with an AOE disable is – but he’s often not a great pick for a team. He’s quite bad in lane, and he takes a jungling spot from your team. Granted, he’s a very strong jungler, but that leaves the enemy free to use a toon like Warwick or Shen or Udyr, all of which are strong picks as well and much less reliant on one big skill. In short, I think this is a good change.

Corki got nerfed, though not a ton. He’ll be extremely scary if he’s ahead, and I’d say, despite the nerfs, he’s still a top-tier carry. His Big Ones deal 60 percent increased damage, down from 100 percent, and Missile Barrage caught a general mana cost and base damage nerf.

LeBlanc got a buff to two of the stats that were recently hotfixed. Her ultimate now has a scaling cooldown and she gains .5 more armor per level. It’s very strange to me that she was apparently so broken she needed hotfixed but that the hotfix was apparently overkill. So why has Sona been so busted for so long? That’s another post for another time.

Lux caught some small buffs, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to make her a force in most games. Her Prismatic Barrier got a missile width increase and a slight AP buff, while Lucent Singularity has increased radius and greater slow values at all ranks. Her ultimate also now ignites her passive debuff if it’s already on the target and then reapplies the mark. Personally, I’ve never been able to make much of her passive. It’s decent against melee toons in lane, but anyone else just avoids the thing. I still think she needs some base damage buffs for her spells, even if they’re small.

Miss Fortune caught some nerfs and a strange little fix. Her auto attack missile speed is slower, though I’m not sure why. It’s not that she’s attacking slower, just that once she does, the actual bullet takes more time to land. It really makes very little sense to me. Bullet Time got some bug fixes that will result in damage nerfs and also had a significant cone width reduction. Make It Rain also got a slight damage nerf, though personally, I’d still maintain that it’s Double Up causing most of the lane problems.

Sona is probably the one place Riot delivered for me this patch. She’s still very strong, still a giant, walking Baron buff for her entire team, but she isn’t quite as easy to play. I still think her design is severely flawed, mostly because she isn’t encumbered by targeting her spells, but hey, it’s a lot better than they did on any other top-tier toon.

Here are the Sona changes:

-All aura durations reduced to 2 seconds from 3
-All aura buff durations reduced to 0.25 seconds from 1

Hymn of Valor
-Attack damage and ability power aura reduced to 6/8/10/12/14 from 8/11/14/17/20
-Mana cost increased to 65/70/75/80/85 from 55/60/65/70/75

Song of Celerity
-Active movement speed boost reduced to 8/10/12/14/16 from 8/11/14/17/20
-Mana cost increased to 65/70/75/80/85 from 55/60/65/70/75
-Aria of Perseverance mana cost increased to 65/70/75/80/85 from 55/60/65/70/75

Crescendo range reduced to 1000 from 1100

That’s pretty much it for the champions. As I said, not a lot in the way of top-tier nerfs. I think Miss Fortune is ever so slightly less problematic, as is Amumu, but Galio is still a ban, no questions asked, and you’ll probably still see Sona on the list as well. The one bright light here is that Riot has talked at length about fixing some of the frustration around the AoE metagame, so maybe those changes (which would affect every champion I’ve listed) are lined up for a later date.

I’ll have another post later this evening regarding the new item and the item changes.

Patch Day 9/21 – The patch for support players

Muse Sona.

It’s patch day once again, this time bringing us Sona, the newest support toon to join the League. Other than Sona there aren’t many changes to the League’s champion lineup. The real changes this patch come to a couple of existing items and a new item, Shurelya’s Reverie.

I’ll let you read over the champion changes for yourself, but there are a few worth mentioning. Garen’s Courage got a small nerf, Kog’Maw’s attack speed bonuses were apparently multiplicative, so that was fixed, and Zilean’s Chronoshift now lasts 13 seconds instead of 15 and the cooldown is 180 seconds at all levels. Oh, Blitzcrank’s Power Fist now resets the auto attack timer as well. That’s really it as far as notable champion changes.

So let’s talk about the good stuff. Along with Sona, Riot’s remade Innervating Locket and added Shurelya’s Reverie to the list of support items. The new items are as follows:

Innervating Locket
Combine cost reduced to 450 from 850. New total cost is 2250.
+430 Health
+450 Mana
Unique Aura: Nearby allies gain 20 hp/5 and 9 mp/5.
Unique Passive: Reduces ability cooldowns by 10%
Unique Passive: When you cast a spell, you regenerate 50 health and 20 mana over 2 seconds. This effect has a 3 second cooldown and no longer affects allies.

Kindlegem
Recipe consists of Ruby Crystal + 425 gold
+200 Health
UNIQUE Passive: Reduces ability cooldowns by 10%

Shurelya’s Reverie
Recipe consists of Kindlegem + Philosopher’s Stone + 500 gold
+330 Health
+25 Health Regen per 5 sec
+12 Mana Regen per 5 sec
UNIQUE Passive: Reduces ability cooldowns by 15%
UNIQUE Active: Nearby champions gain 40% movement speed for 2 seconds (60 second cooldown)

The new Locket is really underwhelming. A slow regen aura? Not really really worth it for the minimal benefit it provides, to both allies and the bearer. It might be decent on Sona, but I doubt I’ll be using it. Shurelya’s Reverie, on the other hand, seems like a great item. I can’t imagine why someone would choose Locket over the new item, but maybe I’m missing something. The buff that Reverie grants is pretty huge, and could make for some tough initiation against a team that doesn’t have one. I’m also glad to see that Philosopher’s Stone has been given a new purpose. It needed something.

The other big change is that disconnected players run home if the automatic recall gets interrupted. Disconnected players also gain 1000 magic resist after a minute out of game, so no more Karthus killing level one or two players with his ult.

That’s about it. I’m hoping future patches bring some fixes to the client, but I’ll be writing more on that later.

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