Could we see Magma Chamber this week?


I don’t know how many of you are on Twitter, but the Riot staff has been teasing its followers this week with the promise of amazing content. If Dark Shurelia is to be believed, we may see Magma Chamber as early as this week.

The forums have been abuzz as well. RiotMontag said the amazing content we’ve been waiting for his coming “Not Soon. This Week.” I’m curious what that means, though. Are we going to see another Friday patch day like we did with Leona? For the Rioters’ sakes I hope that’s not the case – I would imagine the servers are going to need some attention over the weekend and no one likes working on the weekend.

This is the most buzz we’ve had surrounding League of Legends since Dreamhack, which I take as a truly positive sign. It seems like good timing, too. Valve just announced the first public showing of DotA 2 at a Gamescom tournament later this month. Oh, did I not mention that the purse for first prize in the tourney is a million bucks, USD? Yeah, you read that right. One million dollars cash to the first place team. Dreamhack was cool, but Valve is definitely sending a message to competitive players in just about every strategy game on the market. Can Riot’s news this week keep up?


Magma Chamber is still months away


Over the past month or two I’ve held out hope against hope that we would get some news of Magma Chamber on patch day. For a while there I thought it might even be released to custom games until the Shiny update was ready to go. That’s not going to be the case, not anytime soon, anyway. Unfortunately, it looks like the Shiny update and, by association Magma Chamber, is at least several months away.

A player made a forum post asking about Shiny and received the following response from Tamat:

We’ve actually made some crazy advancements with this since the last time we released screenshots. We’re probably going to be releasing some new assets to give you a glimpse of where it’s at in the next month or two.

If you remember, Riot said the Shiny update and Magma Chamber would be coming at the same time. Reading into Tamat’s post, it seems that time is pretty far off. “Glimpse,” doesn’t exactly imply a load of content, probably just some more screen shots and maybe a video of a developer build. “The next month or two” is also a shaky enough timeframe to make me think there’s still a serious amount of work to be done before it’s even ready to show off.

I hope everyone’s ready for several more months of champion releases before we see a feature update.


Magma Chamber delayed by the ‘Shiny’ update


This past week’s patch fueled a surprising outburst of rage, mostly centered on the IP system remake. Of course, any time Riot makes an unpopular decision, the forums explode with demands for Magma Chamber and general unrest. Phreak responded with a fairly lengthy post, covering most of the features Riot has yet to release. It’s not really news, but he did reiterate the fact that Magma Chamber is being delayed until the graphical update, which Riot calls “Shiny,” is released.

In short, that’s a huge bummer. I know that Shiny is meant to improve the graphical experience on both the low and the high end, but it means very little for veteran players. Newcomers might be slightly more impressed, but what we really want is features. I read an article in a digital media class in college about the intersection of graphics and gameplay. Though I can’t find the article, a simple search for “graphics vs gameplay” brings up scads of blog posts, articles, and forum threads dedicated to the discussion, most of which lean in favor of gameplay. That’s no surprise – I think almost everyone could agree that gameplay makes the game. It’s interesting to see developers then go for graphics in many instances.

Now, I don’t really think that’s what Riot is doing. Riot’s growth has been something of an anomaly in the development community, so as a company, they have to focus on the total package experience and getting that total package to as many players as possible. That includes the people playing at the low end of the hardware spectrum. It just sucks that veteran players are still waiting for a compelling feature release, and the thing that’s holding it up is a graphical overhaul.


Magma Chamber is confirmed 5v5

Magma Chamber Illustration.

This is old news, and it’s been sitting in my Instapaper just waiting to be posted. Early last weekend, Morelio confirmed on the official forums that Magma Chamber would be a 5v5 map and no larger, as some have speculated.

Here’s the quote:

5v5, with a goal being to allow more splitting up and skirmishing than SR.

At the outset, I think it sounds great, though one sentence can hardly get at the way a metagame will develop around that sort of map. I would love to see smaller skirmishes instead of the big teamfights we have today. It makes some of the marginal characters, like Nidalee and Swain, much more effective. Who knows if that will actually work.

As for release, I’d bet we’re looking at 2011. I don’t see Riot releasing the map, even for testing, in the midst of the holiday content. Release for testing in January, launch in March, Season Two in June?


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