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 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 and graphical update leaks

I’ve finally had the time to edit down all of these pictures for your perusal. They are a couple weeks old and have been leaked on other sites, but here they are for you. These are shots from Magma Chamber and several pics of the graphical update slated for League of Legends.

As you can see from the initial image, the overall map design looks to be just about done. What we’re likely waiting on are the little tweaks that happened with Twisted Treeline over time. Remember all the brush changes and the mob changes, the gold per creep and gold per minute changes? All of those things affect the balance of a map.

I’ve also included some champions in post-graphical-update form. Personally, I don’t really care about this stuff. I like stylized graphics, and frankly, graphics are rarely the thing about a game that gets me hot. I do think some of the new models look better, but some of them just look like they’re wet.

As I mentioned yesterday, this stuff is long overdue. I hope we get to see it soon.


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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