Public Test Realm is coming back

You may remember a time when Riot had a public test realm. You may remember when pictures like the one at right – the first shots of Ezreal – would show up from time to time because of that realm. I actually remember when Riot gave out a select number of Test Realm accounts. I had prepared to be around for the giveaway, totally forgotten about the timing, but still somehow managed to snag one. It was nice for a while, but then there was the whole crackdown on information sharing, despite the fact that the Test Realm forums were totally public so long as you had a regular forum account and blah blah blah.

But enough history! Public Testing is about to return. Here are the juicy bits from Udyr’s sticky in the General Discussion forums:

Over the next few weeks, we will give thousands of level 30 summoners who are active contributors in the community the opportunity to join our Public Beta Environment, where this testing will take place. We initially plan to limit access to summoners who’ve reached level 30 and are active within the community, to ensure those participating in the environment have a very firm grasp on League of Legends.

Don’t worry if you don’t meet the minimum criteria to qualify; we’ll be adding additional summoners to the Public Beta Environment over time to make sure the feedback we receive continues to shore up our release process.

I would like to think I fall under the “active contributor” umbrella, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I’m also curious what sort of NDA will govern information obtained through Test Realm access.

I wish I could say more about the relative value of Test Realms. I’m sure it will be good for Riot to get a couple thousand people testing new patches before they go live. I hope it will streamline the patching process a bit so that we can have a regularly scheduled patch day. But I also realize that a PTR comes with all kinds of headaches, and it’s just another place for players to run amok and do things that will ultimately detract from the value of the game, the community, and the testing appearance. Here’s hoping the initial test group has as few trolls as possible.


PTR update shows significant Kennen/Malphite buffs, Kog’Maw tweaks

The latest PTR update patch notes are out and hold some interesting info for some of the lesser played characters. It looks like Kennen will be getting a buff, as will Malphite, and Kog’Maw is getting some work that should make him a little more viable.

Kennen.For Kennen:

Electrical Surge
Ability Power ratio increased to 0.55 from 0.45.

Lightning Rush
Energy cost reduced to 100 from 110.
Can no longer be slowed during Lightning Rush.
Now provides 10/20/30/40/50 Magic Resistance and Armor for 4 seconds.

Slicing Maelstrom
Ability Power ratio increased to 0.4 from 0.33.
Number of bolts increased to 6/10/15 from 6/8/10 (still retains the cap of 3 hits per target).
Removed the cap of applying only 1 Mark of The Storm per target.

Have fun laning against him. I’ve maintained since the beginning that Kennen is one of the strongest laning toons in the game with great teamfighting capabilities. His ultimate was a little underpowered in some situations, but it most cases I thought it got the job done. Now that Surge hits harder, he can’t be slowed in Rush, and his ult hits harder, you will be very hard pressed to outplay him in the laning phase. That ultimate will also devastate team fights. For the mathematically challenged among you, 15 hits at rank three means the entire enemy team is stunned if they stay in for two ticks – yes, two, because of Surge. Granted, that won’t always happen, but it also increases the likelihood that you’ll catch and kill two players, and still have plenty of ticks to chain stun another opponent if he steps in halfway through the ult.


Seismic Shard
Reduced the cooldown to 10 seconds from 12 seconds.
Reduced the duration of the slow to 4 seconds from 5 seconds.
Reduced the mana cost to 70/75/80/85/90 from 80/90/100/110/120.

Brutal Strikes
Changed the active effect to increase Malphite’s armor and damage by 20/25/30/35/40% instead of increasing his damage by 30/40/50/60/70%.
Reduced the cooldown to 16 seconds from 20 seconds.
Fixed a bug where the cleave percent would double dip on bonus attack damage.
Increased the passive cleave percent to 30/38/46/54/62% from 30/35/40/45/50%.
The cleave passive will no longer proc while hitting towers.

Ground Slam
Reduced the mana cost at all ranks to 60 from 60/70/80/90/100.
Updated the tooltip to display how much bonus damage Ground Slam gains from armor.

Unstoppable Force
Malphite should no longer be subject to CC’s while charging with his ultimate.

Granite Shield
The shield now recharges after 8 seconds instead of 10 seconds.
The shield will now automatically restore to full after 8 seconds of not being hit. Previously it would not replenish until a new shield activated.
Fixed a bug where the particle would not appear for a second after the shield activated.
Fixed a bug where the shield strength would not update after buying a health item until a new shield activated.

This is exactly what Malphite needs to make him more fun. Shorter cooldowns, lower mana cost, and a little better synergy between Brutal Strikes and Ground Slam. I also love the cleave removal during tower attacks, as you won’t pick up aggro just from trying to down a turret.


Caustic Spittle
Spell Remade. Now grants:
Passive: Increase Attack Speed by 10/15/20/25/30%.
Active: Deals 60/110/160/210/260 damage and reduces the target’s armor by 5/10/15/20/25 for 4 seconds.’

Bio-Arcane Barrage
Cooldown reduced to 15 from 20.
AP ratio removed.

Void Ooze
Cooldown reduced to 12 from 13.

Living Artillery
Now has a 0.5 AD ratio in addition to the AP ratio.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s obviously tilting him toward AD build, or at least Maldred’s with the passive attack speed buff. I think his real problem, though, was high mana costs, extremely low survivability, and one of the longest attack animations in the game. It forced you to blow skills to last hit creeps, if only because the delay between your attack command and the projectile landing was so damn long.

Riot has been pretty good about leaving vastly overpowered tweaks on the TR until they seem balanced, despite the release of some seriously OP toons recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if we only get one or two of these in the next patch. Personally, I’m hoping for Kennen.


LoL: A special note about TR posts

I realized this morning that I laid down a lot of “probably” and “will soon be” and “are likely going to be” type comments with regard to changes on a certain secretive and very hush-hush Test Realm that may or may not exist. I thought it was important to remind you that I’m no longer at liberty to address those potential changes, so please treat them as though they were never mentioned. A lot can change between the first iteration of a test patch and the live version.


LoL: Say goodbye to Test Realm posts

Pendragon...RAWR!I really enjoy my Test Realm account. It’s a nice way to see what’s coming up in the game, and it has helped me plan some rune purchases based on changes to mechanics. Unfortunately, it seems TR content has produced a bit of a shit storm for Riot, so it’s starting to crack down on people sharing TR information.

For that reason, I will no longer be posting regarding Test Realm features/changes/heroes/etc. All posts here will now be with regard to live content or content that Riot has officially announced as fit for public consumption.

Trust me, I’m not happy about this. I understand Riot’s position, but having a public Test Realm forum (albeit, this will be changing) has made an NDA a bit pointless. I also think there is valuable feedback to be had even from people who haven’t played with the new changes. Some people are excellent at game analysis, even if the vast majority of people are not.

Ah well, they didn’t ask me. I’m still happy for the TR account and I’d hate to lose those privileges.


LoL: The Flash change (Yordle Stompers)

Alistar will be so happy.Riot snuck another change into the latest Test Realm patch, one we’ve been waiting on for quite a while. The patch introduced the Yordle Stompers, a new pair of boots with a Movement Speed 2 buff and an active that you’ve known up until now as Flash. Yes, Flash on boots.

The boots are expensive – 1400 in total – and obviously take the spot of one of those other pairs of sneakers you love. Personally, I think it’s the best option other than removing Flash completely. It forces players to make a choice between the utility of a Flash (on a 240 second CD, by the way) or the functionality of dodge/CC reduction. It also opens up player options for summoner skills, so characters that previously had to rely on Flash can now make some more interesting choices for their two skills.

If you want to see more of the community feedback regarding the boots check this TR thread. It’s worth reading through to see some of the opinions and the response from the devs. I really like the idea behind Phreak’s post. The basic gist comes from an article written by another game designer who says when there’s only one best way to invade France, you start the game after that invasion. I think that’s the problem overlooked most in game design. It’s not interesting when one spell, skill, rule, build, loadout, whatever is ubiquitous. It kills the variety of a game. It’s the difference between Halo 1 and Halo 2. Halo 1 it was pistol or nothing. While 2 still made heavy use of the Battle rifle, you always had the opportunity to take a strategic point with dual-wielding or a well-placed shotgun blast.


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