Morello’s meta challenge update


It has actually been interesting to see the kind of discussion that has happened in Morello’s thread and more interesting still to see the way he has responded. A lot of the thread has been the typical “none of this will work” kind of stuff, which was to be expected. There are a lot of people who are willing to spout off on the forums but don’t have a whole lot of experience with the game. Morello has been mostly level-headed, though he did get a little rowdy with one commenter.

Here’s the original comment:

The thing is, this testing has been done over and over. I honestly feel like you are so out of touch with this game at times it’s ridiculous.

Whether or not Xin beats AP champs mid isn’t the issue at hands. Certain champs don’t fit into the game, period. Xin is just a bad champion currently. This is from someone who has hundreds of Xin games played on their main. His problem is he doesn’t scale for anything and his synergy with items is inferior to better tanky DPS (ie. Jarvan and Irelia). Xin doesn’t have a way to back out of a fight. Once he initiates, he is in. You force him to go glass cannon but don’t give him the defenses to stay up for more than a few seconds.

That aside, there are lots of times I have seen champions like Talon and Pantheon picked to hard-counter certain AP champs. So noting this in the OP isn’t something new.

If you want to break the meta, you need to focus on buffing champions instead of nerfing them. Stop the power creep and bring older champions back in line with newer ones. At times it seems like you guys try to do this, but you don’t hit their problem areas. Let me give you and example:

Ashe has the weakest base and scaling AD of ALL the AD carries. So you buff her HP and Mana? I hate to make this sounds rude, but that’s the only way it can come out: Do you even play this game?

I think this could have been said a little more tactfully, and questioning whether Morello plays the game or not is a little silly. Still, I think this guy raises some decent points, even if his argument is a bit…confused. This whole “who can beat an AP mid” discussion doesn’t really matter on a champion-by-champion level. There are counters all over the place. Unfortunately, without the other lanes changing, beating an AP mid with Talon or Pantheon won’t make the meta suddenly change.

I’ll leave you to read Morello’s response on your own. It’s a spicy one. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s out of line. I think he addressed most of what the guy said fairly well. I just want to highlight one part of Morello’s response to this part of the discussion.

What did we do to change the meta in the US to the EU one? Why are Ezreal and some other AD’s the standard mid in the China metagame? Why does Korea excel at AOE comps? Is one of them superior to all the others? Are they representative of different styles? Do players from different areas practice different primary skills?

It could be any of these, but I’m pretty sure “the current way the local region plays is the best way to play” isn’t true, especially with as often as we do change things.

I think this is where Riot needs to be spending a lot of energy. There are most definitely reasons the meta has developed as it has. There are reasons it has remained the way it has for months now. I wish I knew more what he meant with the “as often as we do change things” bit. From my perspective, the game hasn’t changed very much over the past six months or so. Part of that is certainly meta-driven, but developmentally the game looks very similar to the game in July. Riot is pretty mild with their buffs and nerfs. The one major change has been to the mechanics of the jungle, but even that didn’t shake loose a stagnant meta. Certain champions rose and fell in popularity, but the way people play the game has remained the same.

I would love to see a focus on much bigger concepts regarding meta. Why is safety such a cornerstone of the current gameplay. Why did support/AD bot become such a big deal. Where does sustain fit in to all of this. It would be simple enough to add a new queue that has a more volatile system of buffing and nerfing, and I think that could be really exciting. I’ll be keeping an eye on more discussion about this. For now, results are hugely inconclusive, and I don’t think this forum thread will get many, if any, people to play the game differently than they’re used to playing it.


Morello turns to community to change the meta


For a while there, I was thinking Riot was happy with the current metagame. It looks like they might like to see a little more change than has happened over the past six months, so they’ve turned to the community for ideas. Morello started a thread called “Morello challenge: bust open the meta (AP mid edition),” hoping to stir up some new ideas for changing the current meta.

I like the idea as whole – I think it would be great to see the community come up with new ideas for changing the game – but I think he’s asking the wrong people. The current meta didn’t just evolve naturally. It came from tournaments. It came from the pros. It came from livestreams. Those are the people we need to have pumping out new ideas, but unfortunately new ideas don’t really fit with what they’re doing.

The current meta evolved for a few reasons, but I think the basic theme is consistency. Pro teams were looking for a way to maximize map control, farm, and objective contest power while minimizing the ability for the other team to influence those goals. Perhaps the one wild card in the current meta is the AP mid, but the AP mid is mostly there to provide burst and control in fights, both of which can be overcome in the late game with a farmed top lane and bottom lane carry. You could say the jungler is a wild card, but the evolution of jungling into yet another tanky DPS is just another move toward consistency. Pros want reliable performance, and they’ve found the best way to get it.

Feedback from the rest of the playerbase is going to be mostly anecdotal. For starters, there is very little consistency in skill between games. Every game I play has a wild swing in either the positive or the negative. I sometimes play with very good players, I sometimes play with very bad players. In either case, this is obviously going to have a serious impact on whether a selected champion can beat out an AP mid. I’ve taken loads of champions mid and been very successful – anyone from Talon to Kayle, Shaco to Sona – but that isn’t going to bring about a shift in the meta. In most cases these matchups come down to player skill, and it is that variable that inevitably thwarts most attempts to shake up the meta.

I’m not trying to say that you can’t play outside the meta and win. You totally can. But doing so on a regular basis requires a level of coordination that most players just don’t get in their average game. You certainly aren’t going to see it much in solo queue. This is why Morello’s thread puzzles me – he’s asking a group of people that really have no influence over the meta to come up with ways to usurp the meta. Do you think M5 is reading that discussion thread thinking “omg gaiz, we should totally put Taric mid?’ They aren’t. Even if they are thinking that, they sure as hell didn’t read it in that thread.

If Riot really wants to break up the current meta, they need to do a couple things. First, incentivize top players and streamers to try new things. If those guys aren’t doing things outside the current meta and doing it on a highly regular basis, no one else will do it either. The best way to incentivize this kind of play is to make it viable for winning games. That’s number two on the “break the meta” to-do list. Make more options viable. Return some of the experience to champion kills. Stop the diminishing gold returns on killing players. Encourage teamfighting. Release some strong pushers. Encourage players to use spells thoughtfully instead of spamming them for farm and big harass. Return creep damage so that players have to think before engaging in a lane fight because they might actually lose health.

Those things will break up the meta. They will probably require some significant balance tweaks if implemented, but they could actually have an effect on the way the game is played. Asking players to rethink a method that has been advertised to them by top players for a year? That’s not going to cut it.


League of Shields: Locket of the Iron Solari

Locket of the Iron SolariToday’s patch introduced a new tank/support item called the Locket of the Iron Solari. I know supports have been complaining for a while that there aren’t enough support items. I have so little sympathy for them, mostly because I think the current version of support is really toxic to LoL as a game, that I’m sad to see Riot adding these kinds of items. That’s to say nothing of the fact that it adds yet another shield to a game in which shields already have huge presence. Hello survivability creep. How you doin?

Here are the stats for the new item:

+300 Health
+35 Armor
UNIQUE Aura: Nearby allied Champions gain 15 Health Regen per 5 seconds.
UNIQUE Active: Shield yourself and nearby allies for 5 seconds, absorbing up to 50 (+10 per level) damage (60 second cooldown).

I don’t think the shield is too big, and I will agree that as long as support is going to be a cornerstone of gameplay that they need to have more support options. This though? More survivability? I played a game today against a Galio/Janna combo. Janna built one of these early, which meant we could never get through the shields. At least with healing there is some counterplay; use ignite or an Executioner’s or play a champion with counter-healing. The only counterplay to shielding is more damage, but building more damage in an already tanky metagame isn’t really an option. The tanky DPS gets tankier and can deal out just as much pain as a carry buying damage items.

What do you think? Is this a good thing for LoL or pushing survivability even higher than it needs to be?


Riot releases Wukong gameplay video

In preparation for the Monkey King’s release, Riot put together a preview video of his abilities and mechanics. Wukong is a melee DPS that looks as though he’ll be most effective building tanky. He also has enough mobility that I could see him working well as a straight damage dealer. Before I get into too much discussion about his skills let’s take a look at his kit.

Stone Skin: Wukong gains armor and magic resistance the more enemies are nearby .

Crushing Blow: On next hit, Wukong deals extra damage and decreases the armor of his target.

Decoy: Wukong goes invisible and leaves a decoy in his place. After a short delay, the decoy spins, dealing damage to nearby targets.

Nimbus Strike: Wukong dashes to an enemy champion and deals damage. If there are multiple targets in the area, Wukong will make up to two decoys that will also dash to nearby targets.

Cyclone: Wukong spins to win, dealing damage in an AoE and knocking up enemy units caught in the cyclone.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’m having a serious case of champion fatigue with Wukong. He doesn’t seem to bring anything that the League really needs and I think he has the potential to be brutally overpowered. Leona was exciting because she looked like a return to sanity with regard to tanks. Wukong looks like just about every other melee DPS out there. Dash? Check. Armor Debuff? Check. Knockup or stun? Check, and some invisibility for good measure. Read the rest of this entry »


Is the gold-per-10 nerf working?

Jarvan dragon slayer

This latest patch saw a nerf to the gold-per-10 items in the game across the board. The items had become so core to several character builds and proved to be strong enough to merit making the passive gold gain unique to each item type. Does the nerf seem to be working?

In my experience, it’s not. While I see fewer champions taking gold-per-10 items, the champions for whom it was strongest still stack them. I think Jarvan is a perfect example, especially considering the nerf he caught this last patch. Despite the changes to both his skills and the items, I still see Jarvan totally control games, mostly because of the farm he can sustain all throughout the game. I still see him stack a Heart of Gold and a Philosopher’s Stone, too, which gives him incredible lanestay.

I’m not seeing the items on quite so many characters, which I guess is a good thing. Still, I’d like to see the nerfs targeted at the champions the items benefit most. This gets back to an idea that I’ve mentioned before – overpowered mechanics that only the best players can benefit from and overpowered mechanics that everyone makes use of. The gold-per-10 items seem to be that second type. What have you seen since the patch?


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