Seemingly every week (despite the fact that it’s probably more like bi-monthly) Riot is putting out patches for League of Legends. Yes, I’m still playing LoL quite regularly, although I haven’t had an awful lot to say about it. It’s hard to capture the gameplay and things you enjoy about the game with words, you would have to play for yourself to understand the jargon I would use. But because of these new changes to the game, which have been churning out pretty regularly, there are things to discuss and this is something I would like to start making a habit of. I used to discuss patch notes for MMOs, I might as well start doing so for MOBAs. Today I noticed the new Patch Preview video for when they release the new champion, Darius, and it presented some gameplay and art changes that I feel are discussion worthy. So here we go.
First off, and most notably, the main game-play map Summoner’s Rift is getting a face-lift, adding new textures and details to the environment. The video shows a bit of this, and everything looks better. On top of the extra visual goodness, Phreak reported that there would be significant frame rate improvements not matter what settings you use (very high quality – very low), and that is very welcome news. Lately I have been having issues with frame rate drops and lag spikes, so I hope this clears all of that up.
Some HUD changes are coming in this patch as well, and though there wasn’t much that was specific, it sounds like the overall artwork and text readability are going to be improved. Two things that were specific, were that the top right information bar will now include creep score, and that turrets are going to come with new UI elements. I love the fact that they are adding CS to the info bar because of the fact that before you had to always hit tab to see that information, when really the only reason you should ever be looking there is when you are dead or at the store. I have made the mistake of looking at said window during live play, and paid the price, so now my curiosity can be sated with a quick glance. The turret change is significant as well, as an indicator will appear above your champion’s head when he is the turret’s target, along with a sound playing to alert him/her as well. This is a welcome change because there are times when you will lose track of the fight and not realize you have turret aggro. Very useful!
Ashe is getting a rework, receiving new art, animations, and particle effects. Her ultimate looks a lot better, her skin looks a lot cooler, and I think it’s cool that Riot goes back and revisits champions, progressing their look in different ways. I don’t really play Ashe much, but it’s cool that they are constantly trying to improve the look and functionality of the game.
In ranked queues, they are removing the free rotation champions as options to be played. People who play ranked have to own the champs they play. I think this is great for balance, but I never play ranked (as of yet), so this really doesn’t pertain to me. Normal Draft mode games are getting a change as well, now when queuing up, every player has a 20% to be the team captain (the person who gets to choose the 3 champions your team is going to ban, and who is first pick on the team). This is cool to me for balancing, but I only play Draft mode about 10% of the time.
Finally, a new item is being introduced, and I really love the fact that items are constantly given more options, or are being re-worked for balance. In this case, the Chalice of Harmony (provides magic resistance and mana regen with a passive that increases mana regen per % missing), is now part of a larger item recipe. Prior to this, AP carries and mana hungry champions felt that the item wasn’t good enough for the item slot it was taking up. Now the item can be built into Athene’s Unholy Grail, and this adds a large chunk of ability power, plus a little extra MR and MP5. It also gives some cooldown reduction, and keeps the original passive. This is great for AP’s and mana hungry champs. This reminds me of the Maw of Malmortus that was introduced a few patches ago that allowed for expansion beyond just a Hexdrinker. Improvements like these keep me playing the game.
Last but not least, Darius is the new champ coming out in this patch. From what I can tell he appears to be a melee fighter, and I’m sure he will be overpowered to begin with. I will talk more about him when I actually see what he can do.