Riot considering permanent stealth for stealth characters


In the past two days, the forums have become a fountain of leaks about the long awaited stealth changes and remakes for the two primary stealth characters, Evelynn and Twitch. The changes are not final, and while Riot is definitely taking a risk by leaking these things before they are finalized, it’s very cool to have a little something to talk about while we wait for Season 2 and some other features to launch.

Here’s a quick look at Xypherous’ proposed stealth changes:

1. Evelynn and Twitch are permanently stealthed when they rank their level one stealth abilities. However, Evelynn and Twitch can be seen when they are within X units of an enemy champion (Slightly under vision range), or when they are within a true sight radius.

If they attack, they are revealed briefly for 2 seconds before going back into stealth.

This ‘X’ is being adjusted for feel between the two champions. ‘X’ is smaller than champion vision radius, so you can “stalk” an opposing champion, but it will be farther away.

2. Evelynn and Twitch have a “sight gem” above opponent’s, telling them when the enemy can see them or not and whether they are “safe” (green sight gem), “warning – you are close to being seen, but still unseen” (yellow sight gem) or “being seen” (red sight gem.)

So, once Twitch and Eve rank their stealth skills they become permanently stealthed unless attacking/casting. All other players now have limited true sight, allowing the stealthed characters to be seen if they are within a certain radius of the player. Stealthed players can determine their visibility to other players by looking for a “sight gem” on each player that will change color accordingly (probably utilizing tech from Orianna’s ball distance indicator).

This is definitely the best idea I’ve seen so far for the stealth remake. I’m not a huge fan of stealth in general, but I think that was mostly related to the inability for a non-stealth player to know just how much benefit an enemy was providing to his team. The fact that a stealther could literally be standing under my feet without my knowledge was just ridiculous. This removes that element and forces a lot more careful planning and thought on the part of the stealther.

That said, this system could be very painful for new players to learn, especially in conjunction with brush. The ability to get into brush unseen is very powerful, especially during the laning phase. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see a more active lane phase, but it worries me to think that the aggressive play could be so one-sided toward invisible units. This is all speculative, though, so I’ll wait on my critique for a more finalized build. For now, I like the idea, and I like the potential it creates for future stealth characters.


Cassiopeia patch roundup: The times they are a-changing


I realize this is a day or so behind, but I’ve been pretty busy with Spike stuff and pre-holiday stuff and frankly, so much changed in this patch it’s actually a little tough to keep up. I’ve finally been able to sit down and play a couple games, and I’ve read the patch notes enough times that I feel like I know what’s going on to a degree that I can put down a few coherent thoughts. Here goes.

I’m going to cover champions first, though that’s not really where the big changes are.

Cho’Gath, Ezreal, Fiddlesticks, Katarina, and Malzahar all got some incremental buffs that should help them out. Fiddle still needs a rework in my opinion, but I think Ezreal should be a bit more competitive, Katarina should feel more balanced between AD and AP, and Malzahar might deal a bit more damage.

Garen got smacked with the nerf bat. Seriously, I can’t tell you how happy I am about this one. It’s been so long overdue that I almost can’t believe it’s here. He actually got a scaling buff, but the fact that you can no longer stack Sunfires means Garen will have to work a LOT harder to get his job done. I’m glad to see him get a scaling buff, too. I’ve always been tempted by DPS Garen, and now maybe I’ll be able to give him a serious go.

Gragas got a significant Drunken Rage nerf, which was also likely overdue. Coupled with the removal of Innervating Locket, Gragas will be much easier to bring down, but could be frustrating to play as a tank.

I would love to be in on the meetings regarding LeBlanc because I just. don’t. get it. She starts so alarmingly broken that they have to hotfix nerf her, a move I haven’t seen since, well, I don’t even know when. Since then she’s been slowly buffed. She’s almost back to where she started. Give her a little more range and less CD scaling on her ult and, bingo! You have release LeBlanc. I know, she’s still a shade of her former self, but it’s funny that she got crushed by the hotfix and they’ve buffed her in every patch since. Also, the last thing I thought she needed buffed was her stun duration. Seriously, why?

Olaf got a much-needed scaling nerf. I remember saying when he launched that a) he’s overpowered when farmed, but b) he’s like a bad Mundo until he gets some farm. I still believe those things to be true, though the second to a lesser extent. Olaf’s obvious advantage over Mundo is that he’s excellent in the jungle. This nerf will make him slightly less scary late game, though he’ll still be brutal.

Twitch got a pretty big nerf, and though I originally thought it might be a bit of an early game buff, it might have brutalized him. I’m terrible with Twitch, in fact, I’m comfortable calling him my worst toon. There is something about his attack timing that I just fundamentally do not get, but I’ve tried building him every way I could think of since the patch and nothing has been all that impressive. It’s not so much the change to damage versus attack speed but the fact that his attacks are limited. You might blow your ult on one or two people just to have more show up, at which point you’re sorta screwed.

Urgot caught a buff, but it’s a strange one. His poison became physical instead of magic (I actually like this, and it’s a perfect idea for Cassiopeia), he got a slight range buff, he got some scaling damage ratio buffs, and a shield buff. There’s definitely some creative problem solving with the physical change, but they might have gone a bit far with his other skills. We’ll see.

After writing all this I realize I just need to make another post for all the other changes that came with this patch. You’ll see that tomorrow.


Where are the mid-cycle skins? [UPDATED]


Since I’ve been away from my home gaming machine for nearly two weeks now, I wasn’t able to pull up the mid-cycle, unreleased skins as I have for the last several patches. They are there, though, I promise you. The real question is, why haven’t we seen them?

From what I’ve been able to find, Ezreal, Gangplank, and Twitch are all slated for some new duds this patch, and Shen and Heimer could be getting new skins next patch. I’m not sure what the delay is, though if I had to venture a guess I’d say it’s that Twitch is getting his legendary skin: Gangster Twitch. I only guess it’s his legendary because he has a tommy gun, which I’m assuming makes a different sound than his little bow. From the splash screen it also looks like he might be bipedal, which would be a really cool change.

The Ezreal skin shows up in game as Explorer Ezreal but what I’ll call Navy Gangplank doesn’t seem to be there. Could he be a prize skin, maybe for the Halloween contest?

UPDATE: The skins are now live. Navy Gangplank remains as yet unannounced.


LoL: Olympic skins edition

The_Mighty_JaxI don’t know about you, but I was shocked to see a patch dropping today. Maybe all the downtime distracted me enough that I didn’t see it coming. It’s here, though, and packed full of Winter Olympic themed content for our enjoyment.

The big news this patch, at least the stuff Riot is touting most, is the eight Olympic-themed skins and the Olympic event that will take place over the next two weeks. As with the Snowdown Showdown event, the patch includes a special version of Summoner’s Rift and themed runes. Here’s the list of skins set to be available:

    -The Mighty Jax
    -Curling Veigar
    -Vancouver Amumu
    -Ice Toboggan Corki
    -Whistler Village Twitch
    -Team Spirit Anivia
    -Festival Kassadin
    -Union Jack Fiddlesticks

There will also be a special “Jack of Hearts” skin for Twisted Fate, available in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Even though I won’t buy it, that Jax skin is one of the best skins out there. If only the hero was worth the RP. It’s nice to see some lesser heroes get a little skin love, though I’ll have to see how much they cost before passing judgement on whether or not they’re worth it.

Check the wallpapers for the rest of the skins at Pendragon’s forum post.


LoL: Is top 500 play worth it?

Anivia.I found an interesting post last night that asked what it takes to be a top-tier player. The consensus is that somewhere around 50 games over .500 you’ll start to see names from the top 500 player list, provided you’ve played a couple hundred games. I’m not quite to that 50+ mark, but I know from the way my losses go that I could get there if I was willing to play someone like TF or Twitch repeatedly to carry teams over the edge. For me, though, it’s just not worth it.

A big part of the reason I play LoL is for the competition. After graduating college it has only gotten harder to put together a competitive game of basketball or volleyball. Most of the time pickup games degenerate into friendly matches among less-than-fit friends. It’s not a bad thing, but it doesn’t fulfill that competitive desire. There are rare occasions, though, when a friend brings a friend and suddenly we have a really solid game going.

LoL is the same way for me. When I have those 70-80 minute games I have a blast, but they are the exception. Most of the time I’m watching teammates feed 1-5 and leave (happened to me like 25 minutes ago) or try an AP Gangplank build because a friend said the ults were lolrape. So much of the competition in this game is out of my hands that I’m content to be happy with the good games and just try to play well for myself in the bad ones.

There is one thing that could change my mind: matchmaking. I know everyone is always bitching about it in the forums, but this is really the thing that keeps me from caring about top 500 play. In the past week I’ve been paired with players under level 15 on multiple occasions. I’ve been level 30 for at least a month now with more than 400 games under my belt. These aren’t smurf accounts either, where players have boosted ELO by trashing new players. These are players who, like the aforementioned, try building Ashe for AP (not kidding, this has happened to me) or spend 15 minutes building a Heimer turret nest in a remote patch of brush and then luring the overleveled opponent and promptly dying (again, actually happened). As long as I’m getting paired with this type of player there is no incentive to get to higher play. The landslide will likely be that much worse, if only because higher tier players are better at exploiting the unskilled.

I’m also put off by the method for achieving the ELO necessary for top tier play. When I first started, I played a lot of TF. He was fun, felt strong, and helped me win a lot of games. I’ve since stopped, mostly because it just isn’t enjoyable for me to exploit a broken toon for gain. I really do like a challenge, and nothing about his playstyle feels challenging to me. The same can be said for Twitch, who can easily roll over a team with very little farm. For me, it’s not a fun way to play (okay, every now and again it’s pretty fun), and if the end result is bad matchmaking of a higher order, I’m going to stick to playing toons I enjoy.


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