Reducing global ult range doesn’t solve the design problem


Among the big changes slated for upcoming League of Legends patches is a rework to the global ults in the game, most notably the ones that that teleport the player to a new location. Riot has said in several places (none of which I can seem to find, though this quote from Phreak serves as an indicator of the design decision) that they want to limit the range of what are now global ults so that they work more like Nocturne’s Paranoia. The problem, of course, is that this doesn’t solve the problem with global ults.

Globals suck because they allow players to effectively be in two places at once. As Phreak mentions in the quote linked above, TF and Shen can go push bot during a mid stalemate, all the while planning to port mid when needed. They present all the defense necessary for mid lane while still being able to push bottom. This scenario isn’t completely fixed by limiting the range of those ultimates, but teamfights aren’t the only thing affected by semi-global ults.

When players can gank in a 3500 unit radius around them, they don’t have to play with any kind of foresight or worry about positioning. They can linger longer in the jungle. They can finish that dragon before defending a tower. They can spring out of the jungle from beyond ward range for the gank. In short, it encourages lazy play from less skilled players and offers masters of the game an easily exploited advantage. It’s also just not a lot of fun to play against.

Personally, I’d love to see the global ults removed. They’re too strong for skilled players and don’t provide the learning hurdle for map positioning that new players need.


LoL: Shen Sneak Peek

Shen, the Eye of Twilight.It’s been a crazy couple of weeks so I’m a little behind on the news curve. I had some extra time today to catch up, though, which included logging some time on the Test Realm and playing as Shen, the Eye of Twilight. I was really excited with the initial Shen leak. He’s a freaking ninja! Unfortunately, his playstyle is anything but ninja-esque and he’s another “paradigm breaking” character that probably won’t fit well with most team comps.

Shen is different from other heroes in that he uses energy, much like rogues in WoW. It’s basically a low capacity mana bar that regens much more quickly than mana. I know I haven’t even finished describing his skills but this needs to be said: the energy system sucks. It puts an artificial cap on his ability to deal burst damage that cannot be lifted by items. Every other character in the game can get cooldown reduction, a larger mana pool, more health regen, whatever to improve and extend their ability to deal damage. Shen cannot augment his damage that way unless they implement some new items for him.

Take a look at his abilities:
Vorpal Blade: Hits a target enemy for magic damage, and marks the target for allies to see. Allied units that attack the marked enemy target get healed over several seconds. This is your basic damage dealer. It has a three-second cooldown, which means you can spam the hell out of it. Though the damage scales with AP, the healing does not. Late game the heal will be negligible, even if you’re casting it every 2 seconds with some CD reduction.

Feint: Shen defends against the next champion attack or spell, blocking much of the damage from it. This is yet another damage mitigating ability that scales with AP, which you probably won’t be getting on Shen. You’ll be able to soak 240 damage at the max level, which isn’t even a level four cast from most of the mages in the game. Granted, it can be toggled fairly often – every 2 seconds – but you’ll run into some energy issues early game and late game it won’t likely block enough damage to be highly effective.

Shadow Dash: Shen dashes towards target location, taunting enemies he passes through. Think Gragas‘ Body Slam when you think of this skill. It’s a targetable charge with a fairly short cooldown. For Shen, though, it’s extremely high cost – 120 energy out of his total 200. Granted, he gets 40 refunded if he hits an enemy champion, but if you miss you’ll be horribly short on energy to do much else.

Stand United: Places a shield on target ally which absorbs damage. After channeling for several seconds, Shen teleports to the target ally and shields himself as well. Obviously designed to break ganks, this can be great early in the game but it scales very poorly. It will be a crazy mechanic for the 3v3 game, but I think Shen lacks enough other viability to mostly ignore this skill. Best use would probably be to cast it on a tank as they rush in to a fight, shielding both of you to ease the load on the healer.

Ki Strike (passive): Every 10 seconds, Shen’s next attack deals bonus damage based on his max health. Being attacked by enemy champions makes this passive occur more frequently. This one sounds great, especially with that taunt, but the taunt starts at just .8 seconds, which is one hit from each hero, and I’m guessing the max you’ll get in most situations is three. That’s 6 second reduction once, meaning you have another 4 seconds before that bad boy procs again. It’s pretty terrible, and requires massive health to be very effective.

Overall I think Shen will suffer from a confused design. Three of his abilities scale with AP while his passive scales with health. That seems to point to a Rod of Ages build, maybe something a lot like you might do with Singed. Without Singed’s passive, which gives him additional health based on his mana, he can’t get tanky enough with a RoA build. Add to that the energy system and I think it will be a long time before we see someone play him really well.


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