Sunday, December 22, 2013

Reworking Rammus

Rammus is a pretty controversial topic on the forums right now. In patch 3.15 he got his E 'Puncturing Taunt' nerfed -"Duration reduced at later ranks to 1.25/1.50/1.75/2.00/2.25 seconds (from 1.00/1.50/2.00/2.50/3.00 seconds)." He got some minor buffs to his mana costs in exchange but really this is still a nerf. Many players on the forums are complaining, saying this is undeserved and that Rammus isn't OP, champion X/Y/Z is. The truth is though, his solo queue win rate per has been well over 50% for all of 2013, usually hovering close to 55%. In fact even after the nerf, his win rate today is still 54.1%. Statistically, I'd say this makes him the most consistently OP solo queue champion of 2013. So yes, as sad as I am to say it, he did deserve the nerf. So if Rammus was, and is, so OP, why was his pick rate less than 5% for much of the year?

Even though Rammus has a higher win rate than champions like Kassadin and Riven, he doesn't appear OP because he doesn't snowball out of control like they do. Even if Rammus is making a huge impact on the game, his impact is more subtle because the laners appear to be doing all the damage, and Rammus can't do anything on his own. It also doesn't help pros rarely play him in tournaments or solo queue, mainly due to his niche utility and lack of powerful teamfight presence. Rammus was the first champion I bought, and I've always liked him since I started playing in 2009, but in today's League of Legends world his kit is imbalanced and not very rewarding to play, so I propose a rework. Rammus is already rarely picked, so if they keep nerfing his taunt until he reaches a balanced win rate near 50%, no one will play him. A rework would save him from this and improve his playability without making him OP. So, let's look at his pros and cons and see where he could use some tweaks to make him more fun to play and more competitive.

  • Mobility
  • Ganks
  • Peeling
  • Very tanky
  • Good against AD compositions
  • Easily counterjungled
  • Bad farmer
  • Weaker vs AP compositions
  • Weak teamfight initation for a tank
Rammus has some of the best ganks in the game with his speed and his very long taunt, but his farming is abysmal and he doesn't have super impactful teamfight presence like other popular junglers such as Vi or J4. I think these two factors are keeping him from competitive play. His kit also isn't that interesting to play which is keeping his solo queue pick rate low. This is because his spell order is obvious and has little to no strategy or counterplay. So I want to buff his initiation and farming, while nerfing his mobility to keep him balanced. Here are the changes I propose (if you don't know his current abilities you can reference them here):

Passive - Spiked Shell - Same 'Rammus receives bonus attack damage equal to 25% of his total armor.'
This passive makes Rammus unique and helps him in his role as an anti-AD champion. It's essential to give him a little more damage throughout the game as he builds tank items.

Q - Powerball - Change this to force Rammus to charge up while stationary in order to reach max speed and reduce the duration spent moving, so he can't go as far with it. Still allow him to use it without charging but at a much lower speed. Also remove the slow.
Right now powerball allows for both a strong engage and disengage, as Rammus can get out of almost any tricky situation. This change will allow Rammus to still have a strong team fight initiation by rolling in quickly by surprise, but it will reduce his ability to disengage because he won't have time to charge up before running away. This will also reduce his ganking power by making it easier to ward. Right now Rammus can roll from his jungle into lane so quickly people don't have time to react. If you reduce the distance he can roll, it will force Rammus players to setup ganks from the river which would be easier for opponents to ward. I think it would also just be more fun to play charging up and rolling in. The slow applied is providing him unnecessary extra power because during ganks, he typically taunts after his power ball anyways. And for teamfights, we'll give him back a slow later.

W - Defensive Ball Curl - I want to keep this the same, but increase damage dealt to monsters.
This will help his farming immensely. Right now if Rammus doesn't get ganks off, he gets super behind because he farms so slow. This would even him out a lot and make him more forgiving to play. In competitive play its essential to have junglers who can farm and gank so this would improve his viability in tournaments as well as his playability in solo queue. 

E - Puncturing Taunt - I think we should remove the armor reduction on this spell, and keep the duration the same.
Taunt is already one of the longest CC's in the game. Even after Riot's 3.15 nerf it is very powerful. All of the power on Rammus's kit is centered around his taunt, so he is lacking in other areas. The armor reduction on this spell gives a lot of unnecessary hidden power and has no counterplay. It's not a fun part of Rammus, so by removing it we can channel power in to other abilities to make his kit more interesting.

R - Tremors - I want to severely reduce or remove the damage from this and definitely remove the damage to turrets. I want to add a big slow to this with an effect like Randuin's Omen, but with a bigger AOE and slow amount.
The extra damage is not necessary for a tank, and it doesn't make sense for him to have a tower pushing ability that would fit better with a split pushing bruiser. Rammus could use more teamfight utility and this is the place to put it. This will give Rammus a very strong initiation, which is something he is currently lacking when compared to other popular junglers. After removing damage from his ultimate, hopefully more damage could be added to his other abilities to improve his dueling, which is currently horrendous. 

These changes will push Rammus more neatly into his role as a pure tank. Right now he is a tank, but his ultimate doesn't fit that criteria well, and his Q provides way too much mobility for a champion with very strong CC. We can improve some of his weaknesses like clear speed and teamfight utility, while still maintaining his core role as a tank with strong CC and mobility.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maxsparrow's Pre-Season 4 Jungle Picks

I'm sure you're asking yourself "Who is this guy? Why do I care what junglers he picks?" Well that's up to you to decide. I'm just a Gold II player who loves to jungle. I'll be the first to admit I'm pretty biased too. I have terrible mechanics so when I choose champions like Lee Sin, I play so bad I might as well be blind. So when I say "Lee Sin is the worst champion in the game and I hate him," maybe you should take that with a grain of salt. My strengths lie in decision making, strategy, and objective control, so I have a tendency towards tanky junglers that let me initiate fights and help my teammates make plays. With that in mind, these are my favorite junglers so far in the preseason:

Dr. Mundo - "Mundo goes where he pleases" is finally true again! He got stomped with the Season 3 changes and has been crippled ever since. With the latest changes though, the extra camp allows Mundo to continuously farm which is what he's best at. Also the mastery changes were great for Mundo. In the defensive tree there is Juggernaut (+3% maximum health), Perseverance (regenerates 3% missing health every 5 seconds), Second Wind (increases self-healing by 10% when under 25% health), and Legendary Guardian (reduces duration of crowd control effects by 15%). These are all so good on Mundo. I think he will hit a sweet spot where he's good enough for competitive play but not so OP that he gets nerfed. My #1 pick right now.

Evelynn - The reduction in true sight helped Evelynn so much. You can't just buy pink wards to shut her down anymore (not like that worked well before anyways). Also she scales well with the new hybrid penetration masteries. Prepare to see her banned frequently though in solo queue.

Shyvana - Since her rework, she's been really hot. She got some needed buffs, and the jungle changes really help her by giving her more gold from farming the jungle. Her ganks were weak in the past due to a lack of CC, but now she can stay in the jungle and come out as a late game monster.

Zac - The mastery changes really helped Zac because he's so health based. The same masteries that help Mundo, help Zac. He can also farm quite fast if you max W first and the new jungle rewards farming well.

Nautilus - They buffed him again!? In the last patch they increased the duration of the root on his passive. He was already awesome and got another buff. He brings an insane amount of crowd control to a fight and this just made him even better. He's got me hooked in for the long haul as my favorite jungler.

Honorable Mentions: Nasus, Vi, and Elise were all still strong picks at the end of Season 3 and I expect them to continue be strong in the pre-season and Season 4.

tl;dr I feel the tanky, farming junglers will rise to the top this season, which so far are Mundo, Shyvana, and Zac. Also the changes in vision helped Eve become even more annoying. Nautilus isn't a stealth champion or a fast farmer, but I love him anyways so he gets on the list too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Preseason 4 Jungle Changes

I'm excited for Season 4 I think the changes will have a big impact on competitive play. Since I love jungling so much the first thing I did after patch 3.14 is play one game with each of my favorite junglers: Dr. Mundo, Hecarim, Nautilus, Evelynn, Zac, Rammus. I'll go over each champion and give my opinion on their current status and what changes effected them most.

First I should briefly go over the most important changes for junglers:

  • New jungle camp - Wight. This is just one monster by Blue buff that can provide a little more gold to very fast clearers, but mostly will give junglers a positional advantage because you can have more variety in your routes.
  • Updated jungle items - actually might not help that much. These have gold bonuses now so I thought they would change the jungle completely but the impact isn't that huge. You should still build the same items you used to on your old junglers. It just means junglers that liked these items now have a slight advantage. Also most people agree Wriggle's Lantern still sucks.
  • Trinkets - These are big. So far I think the sweeping lens is best for junglers as it let's you clear enemy wards. You can clear a ward then come back a short while later for the gank. Also a warding trinket would be fine if you want to help your laners ward but I think it's less good on a jungler. Now that there are more free wards available it also makes ganking a bit more difficult, but still possible.
  • Masteries - These were changed so much its still hard to tell who's going to come out on top from these. A lot of experimenting still needs to be done before we know the best setups to use and who will get advantages from them. Right now, the defensive tree just seems better for junglers. The jungle creeps do too much damage now to go without a lot of defense. I think these changes will make tanky farm junglers the best now. I've been running 4/26/0 in the jungle and the masteries deep into the defense tree are just so strong.
  • Smite - Now has a 40 instead of 60 second cooldown which is a pretty big deal. Every jungler can clear faster now.

Now I'm going to go through each jungler I've played so far and give my opinion on their strength in the current state of the preseason.

  • Dr. Mundo - muahahahahah Mundo goes where he pleases. Mundo is strong again! The extra camp allows Mundo to continuously farm which is what he's best at. Also the mastery changes were great for Mundo. In defensive tree there is Juggernaut (+3% maximum health), Perseverance (regenerates 3% missing health every 5 seconds), Second Wind (increases self-healing by 10% when under 25% health), and Legendary Guardian (reduces duration of crowd control effects by 15%). These are all so good on Mundo. I would rank him as tier 1 in season 4. I think he will hit a sweet spot where he's good enough for competitive play but not so OP that he gets nerfed. My #1 pick right now. Also FYI none of the new jungle items are great for Mundo I'd just rush Spirit Visage, which is so strong right now.
  • Hecarim - meh. He was becoming less popular throughout season 3 as more and more nerfs hit him. Season 4 changes didn't really hurt him but it didn't do him any favors either. I rank him as Tier 2. His ultimate is still great but there are better choices. Also I tried using Spirit of the Elder Lizard on him, but I feel it's just such a risky item that will only work if you are ahead. I recommend skipping jungle items and rushing Iceborn Gauntlet. 
  • Nautilus - still very strong. I don't think the new season effected him too much. He got a minor buff in the last patch so that helped and Spirit of the Ancient Golem is slightly better. I thought he was one of the best junglers already though and I think he still is. Tier 1.
  • Evelynn- a little worse. Changes to Spirit of the Spectral Wraith helps her sustain and clear in the jungle but it takes a while to build and is a big investment. I question whether it would be better to skip it altogether though and get an early Haunting Guise. She's always been situational because your laners really need CC to make ganks work, and that hasn't changed. The changes to masteries made her defense too low and really hurt her early clears and sustain, so I'd rank her as Tier 2.
  • Zac - Very good. I think the mastery changes helped Zac because he's so health based. The same things that help Mundo, help Zac. He can also farm pretty fast if you max W first and the new jungle is all about farming. I rank him Tier 1.
  • Rammus - Even worse than before. It's harder to gank now and Rammus's slow clear speeds hurt him even worse now that other farm junglers got buffed. He relies on his laners so much to take action when he ganks and it's so difficult to do anything without their help. Still, his taunt is so OP at rank 5, that he is still viable. Any idiot laner can pay attention long enough to kill their opponent if they are CC'd for 3 seconds. So I rank Rammus as Tier 2.
Overall, I feel the jungle changes are going to discourage ganking as frequently, and despite Riot saying carry junglers will be more viable, I think the opposite is true. Due to the masteries deep in the defensive tree being so strong and the addition of the extra jungle camp, I think we will have a return of the Season 2 meta of farming tanky junglers like Dr. Mundo and Shyvana.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hearthstone: My Criticisms and Suggestions

In Part 1 of this series, I did an introduction to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and in Part 2 I went over some strategy tips. In this post I'll go over my criticisms of Hearthstone and how I feel it could be improved.

First I'll say what I like about it. Its a fun game. The overall gameplay is good. Most of the mechanics are simple and easy to learn, but still allow for interesting decisions and strategy. The hero system is great. It provides variety to decks and leveling up to unlock new cards is exciting because the cards unique to each class are really cool. Deck building is fun and easy to learn too. The suggested cards system and mana curve info they give are really helpful.

My criticisms of Hearthstone mostly lie outside the gameplay. My biggest problem is it seems so hard to get enough gold to unlock new cards. You only get gold for winning, so when on a bad losing streak, it feels as if you've accomplished nothing. Also the main way you are meant to earn gold is by doing quests that require you to win with specific heroes. You can't receive new quests until you complete your current quests, so you are practically forced to play certain heroes. So I'm playing heroes I don't like, and then losing with them due to my lack of experience. So I still can't even complete the quests and I'm just wasting my time. My suggestion for this is to have new quests be randomly assigned every day. Or alternatively, make the quests rotate on certain days. That way I could be excited to play on Shaman Saturday and try to win as much gold as I can. The biggest improvement to the system in my opinion would be if you received gold for playing every single game. You would get a little gold for playing unranked games, more gold for playing ranked, and even more gold for winning games. This would encourage people to keep playing even when they're losing and it makes you feel a little better about those losses. I love that League of Legends does this for IP and I think Hearthstone should do it too.

If you really want new cards and gold, then playing the Arena yields the best rewards. If you win a few games, you'll get some of your gold back, some crafting dust, and one or two card packs. My problem with this is, in the Arena you don't use cards you own, so what's the point of unlocking new cards? I like the Arena, but I prefer playing ranked, so I'm frustrated I feel almost forced to play Arena just to earn cards for ranked. It seems like they want to encourage you to play both modes, but I feel most players prefer one mode or the other, and should be able to play the one they prefer without feeling penalized.

I'm also skeptical about their card purchasing system. I just don't feel drawn to buying plain random packs. I feel it would be more enticing to buy card packs if you could buy different types of packs like 'little minions', 'big creatures', or 'spells'. Stuff like that. It would also be cool if they created a system like Magic: The Gathering, where there are different expansions that are released from time to time with new cards. These expansions could have special pre-built decks you could buy, like 'Murloc Invasion'. I think that would be a great way to introduce people to the game that aren't prepared to make their own decks and give them some ideas on how they can make deck building creative and fun. These decks could also have some unique cards to entice more veteran players to buy them.

I like Hearthstone, but I wouldn't spend money on it in it's current state. It needs just a little bit more to entice me and pull me in. I'm not a big trading card game fan, so I'm sure there are plenty of people that will spend money on this game besides me, but I don't see why the audience should only be trading card game fans. If the game was just a little more rewarding for the average or casual player, then I think more people would get sucked in to this game for a long time (myself included).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hearthstone: Basic Strategy

In Part 1 of this series I went over a basic introduction to Hearthstone. This time I will delve deeper into how to play the game and give you some tips for winning from my experience thus far.

Deck construction:

Once you pick the hero you are using, try to pick cards that synergize well with your hero power and the hero cards that you like. For example, as a Shaman, you can create many totems on the board with 0/2 so they do no damage but help in other ways. If you can use cards like Bloodlust that give all your minions +3 attack this turn, then those totems are suddenly a huge problem for your opponent.

Card draw is important and useful in almost every deck. Since you only draw one card per turn, other cards that draw cards are powerful. I once built a deck full of 1 and 2 mana creatures thinking i could overwhelm my opponent early on and just keep playing a ton of minions. By turn 6 though I'd have 6 mana but only one 2 mana card in my hand! I wasted a bunch of mana by not having enough higher cost cards to play. This deck could have worked if some of my cards drew other cards.

When creating a deck, its important to have a good mana curve. This means that you should have a good distribution of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7+ mana cards. On the deck building screen it will show your current mana distribution when you hover over your hero in the top right corner. Generally its best to have a few 1 or 2s, many 3-5s, and a few 6+ cards. It depends on your deck and your play style though. If you are a Mage with the ability to clear most enemy cards early, then holding out until late game and using higher cost cards could be an effective strategy.

In game:

Having a board advantage or a hand advantage is typically better than a health advantage. The goal in this game is to bring your opponents health to 0, so it seems obvious that having more health than your opponent means you have an advantage. That's often not true though. A board advantage means you have more or stronger minions on the board than your opponent. If you maintain a board advantage this will very quickly lead to your opponents death even if he had more health than you. Its easy to lose a board advantage though if your opponent has a hand advantage. By having a lot of cards in your hand you have more options. If you have 4 minions on the board and 1 card in your hand and your opponent has 1 card on the board but 8 cards in his hand, your opponent has a lot of ways to wreck your board and kill you.

It's usually better to clear minions first rather than attack the enemy hero. This is because leaving creatures on the board gives your opponent more opportunities to buff them. A 1/1 minion in the right deck can quickly get out of hand and become a 5/5 threat. By missing opportunities to clear your opponents minions, you are giving them more options for their next turn.

Don't be afraid to suicide your minions for the right reasons. It's rarely good to skip attacking with your minions, and by being the aggressor you can decide what trades are best for you. If you take the 'wait and see' approach, your opponent gets to decide the pace of the game. Although, to contrast this, just because you can play a card doesn't mean you should. Even if you have to waste mana by not doing anything other than using a hero power for a turn, its better than wasting cards. A good example is the spell Polymorph which turns a minion into a 1/1 sheep. You may be tempted to use it on the enemy 4/4, but that spell would be much more valuable when used against an enemy 7/5. So if you can sacrifice two of your minions to clear the 4/4 and save your Polymorph for a time when you really need it, then that's the best choice.

Be aware of the enemy hero's potential. Against a Mage be careful playing all your minions at once because their spells can clear your whole board. And against a Priest, if you think you're so smart playing your biggest creature on turn 8 with nothing to support him, then you're in for a surprise when he gets mind controlled and the Priest kills you with it. The capabilities of different heroes you'll mostly need to learn through playing though.

I hope these tips were helpful. Let me know if you disagree or have any questions.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An Introduction to Hearthstone

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a new free to play game by Blizzard currently in closed beta. It's based on collectible card games. Below is a great layout of what the gameplay looks like from

The goal is to reduce the enemy hero's health down from 30 to 0. You play minions or spells which damage or control the enemy's minions or hero. These cards cost mana to play. You gain one mana crystal per turn until you are at 10 mana crystals, and each turn your mana is refreshed to full. There are 9 classes you may play as in Hearthstone and I believe they are the vanilla World of Warcraft classes - Mage, Priest, Warlock, Hunter, Druid, Warrior, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman. Each hero has their own specific hero power that makes them unique.

This video is somewhat dated but it gives a good overview of the game:

There are two important game modes. 'Play' allows you to play ranked games against random opponents of your skill level from decks you built with cards that you own. Each deck has 30 cards. At first you'll start with very few cards, but you can earn in game gold by winning games or completing quests. So far these quests have been quite simple such as 'Win 2 games as a Mage or Priest.' Once you have enough gold you can buy a pack of random cards to open. Or you can skip that whole process and buy them with real money. Also, each hero has unique cards you can only earn by playing that hero and gaining experience to level them up. There is also a crafting system that allows you to create some cards you are missing by destroying ones you don't need.

The other main game mode 'Arena,' costs gold or real money (currently $2) to enter. In this game mode you can choose between 3 champions randomly presented to you. Then the system shows 3 cards to you and you must pick one to add to your deck. Then it shows 3 new cards for you to choose from, and repeats until you reach the 30 card deck. Then, you play in the Arena against opponents of your skill level using that fixed deck you created until you lose 3 games. Once you lose 3 games that deck is gone forever and if you want to play in the Arena again you must pay to re-enter. The benefit is though that you get nice awards from the Arena that scale depending on how many wins you get with that deck.

There is also a practice mode to play against AI opponents but you get minimal rewards for doing that and it isn't really the point of the game. It is a nice introduction to the game though.

At first I thought Arena was my favorite mode because I liked the element of it that chose cards for me, but now I'm really getting into building my own decks and fine tuning them over many games to do what I need, so I've been doing the ranked Play mode more often. The Arena is a one shot go, so if you build a bad deck you just need to suck it up and do what you can. The awards for the Arena are great though so it's still tempting to play.

So far this game is pretty fun and I quite like it. I will write two more sections about Hearthstone. The next installment will be basic strategy, and the final installment will be my criticisms and suggestions.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jungle Riven: Is she viable?

In short. Yes. Is she the best jungler? No, but she sure is fun.

  • Decent ganks - OK CC, OK gap closer, Tons of damage
  • 'Carry' Jungler 
  • Late game power is insane with a few items
  • Fun!

  • No reliable initiation
  • Mediocre sustain and clear speed
  • Hard to play from behind
  • Need to be greedy

Quick Tips
  • Keep in mind your passive, try to autoattack between spells to maximize damage
  • Stack your passive before starting buffs. 10 seconds before you start your first jungle camp press Q, then wait as long as you can to press Q again, and then wait and do it again. If you've done this right, by the time the buff spawns you will have 3 stacks of your passive and about 3 seconds left on your cooldown before you can Q again. This will maximize your damage as your passive is very strong.
  • You can use certain wall jumps to avoid wards. This clip (Youtube) shows the main useful spot to wall jump to gank. His video also has many other useful wall jump tips.
  • You're not a tank. You'll often need to wait for a pick or a good engage from one of your teammates to go in because if you go in first you will get melted.
  • I like hunters machete/5 pots start. I tried Doran's blade start but you lose too much health, even with lifesteal quints. 
  • I prefer AD/Armor/MR/ArmorPen runes [EDIT: As Joris suggested below - 6 ArmorPen reds, 3 AD reds, and all AD Quints is best] and 21/9/0 masteries.
  • Favorite items: Bloodthirster, Brutalizer, Last Whisper, Guardian Angel, Hexdrinker (situational). Doran's blades are decent early game but I usually prefer to rush my Bloodthirster. Her shield scales off of AD and gives her inert tankiness so don't buy typical tank items. If you want to do that you should pick a different jungler. 
  • I've been playing her every game, but she's really a better pick when your team has some kind of initiation (Blitz, Leona, etc.). It also helps to have a tanky top laner.

She is a good bruiser, but I feel she isn't as strong as some other popular damage dealing junglers such as Aatrox or Vi. I don't play those champions though because I like Riven. She can certainly carry a game if you get ahead early, and you can get first blood often. Riven snowballs very well and once you have your ultimate it makes it easy to clean up kills. The disadvantage is you have to be greedy and take gold from your lanes to really succeed. This can bite you in the ass in the long run if you can't use your gold advantage to carry your team. Her biggest problem is her lack of a strong initiation that is currently expected from a jungler. In my opinion, this is why junglers like Vi and Aatrox are considered better because of their great ability to start a fight. If you have a strong initiator on your team though, Riven can really shine and reach her potential as an incredible diver and just blow people up.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's wrong with Sivir?

Well some people would tell you nothing. Her win rate is 48.54% when writing this. This is higher than other popular champions such as: Shen, Tristana, Elise, Jayce, Lulu, and Nunu. She is great at pushing and chasing, has a ton of early game burst damage, and "she has no counters in bot lane" - Luscious Lenny, an avid Sivir player with over 1000 ranked games as Sivir this season. So why don't more people play her?

I've been playing her quite a bit lately and I decided to look into it. I did some research on the forums and interviewed a couple Sivir players to see what they thought.

"Compare Sivir to Varus + Ashe. Not as strong in the utility category. Compare her to Lucian or Corki. Not as much damage. Compare her to Cait or Ez. Not as strong poke. She doesn't do anything better than other ADCs." - KingDempz. She's known for her pushing ability, but even then split pushing isn't usually the best choice. She pushes so hard but she isn't the best duelist nor does she have a reliable escape to help her out of the tricky situations she inevitably gets in. So why can't she do anything better than other AD Carries? Well the problem is she really has no specialty. She is best known for pushing as I said, but she also has great early game burst, a strong 1v1 ability in her spell shield, and a lot of team utility from her ultimate. She has so much power in those areas that this requires her to have other problems like very short range (the shortest of the AD Carries), high mana costs, and no escape in order to be balanced. This leads to a champion that feels clunky and not intuitive to play, as her kit isn't cohesive.

Tentative Sivir Visual Update
So what if we gave her a rework? What would people like to see? Here were some frequent requests:
  • Longer range
  • Lower mana costs
  • Make Ricochet a toggle ability like it used to be or have some other interesting effect
  • Change her ultimate somehow - or just remove it entirely
  • Many people want a better escape besides her ultimate, but others don't want to change her spell shield because it's iconic
  • Different effect on successful spell shield
  • People like that she is a pusher and burst carry and want to maintain that

Keeping the above in mind, here is my proposal:

She really needs an identity as a pusher, poker, utility, or burst ADC. I think she's closest to a pusher or burst right now so to maintain her feel we should emphasize those concepts. I also LOVE her movement speed theme and want this to be even more pronounced.

Tons of people want increased range, as it's currently the lowest of all AD Carries at 500. Her short range fits her well in lane because she is an aggressive in your face type of champion. It's just not very forgiving for running away or for team fights. 525 range would be great for her as it is just a little bit more to make her not quite so risky, without giving her too much poke power.

Passive - Fleet of Foot "Sivir gains 10 movement speed for 2 seconds when she hits an enemy champion with her abilities or basic attacks. This effect can stack up to 10 times to a cap of 100 bonus movement speed. Sivir's multi-target spells can add multiple stacks." With this change, in the early game Sivir wouldn't get as much movement speed from her passive so her chasing power would be reduced, but as her attack speed increased with items and her ultimate, late game she would be able to kite better in team fights. This would balance her out a little by making her easier to use in team fights by trading in some of her early game power.

Q - Boomerang Blade is a great spell and loved among the community. I think it should be left alone as I like it exactly the way it is. The mana cost could be reduced though, and this might be possible due to other changes I list below. If the damage on her Q has to be reduced to allow lower mana costs though, then I don't think it's worth it. Personally, I love her high risk-high reward play, and having the insane damage on her Q is a part of that I wouldn't want to give up.

W - Ricochet should be kept as is. It's a good iconic spell that keeps her identity as a pusher. Many people want the toggle back, but I feel she already is a great pusher, and if you give her the toggle just for more power in team fights it seems like she would be too powerful. AD Carries are meant to do single target damage and focus one champion. A few of them like Miss Fortune can do damage to the whole team but it's only for a short time and it's very conditional. Making Sivir's W bounce to the whole enemy team 100% of the time would pretty much make her an AOE champion like a Mage and she would need to be balanced around that. Honestly, it seems like she still is balanced around the idea that she is an AOE champion, which would explain her very short range, high mana costs, and poor late game scaling, just like a Mage. So, if we revert her back to the AOE monster she was, we can't solve her other problems because she needed some liabilities to have all that AOE power.

E - Spell Shield should have a different effect than returned mana. It doesn't make sense on the character. I think on a successful spell block it should give her a large amount of bonus move speed for a very short time (maybe 50% increase for 2 seconds), which would stack on top of her passive. This would be like giving her a dash or other escape that a pushing champion should have. Many people wish she had a better escape, but many people also don't want to change her spell shield because it is an integral part of Sivir, so I think this could satisfy both sides. Also if you take away the mana boost from her spell shield, then you can reduce mana costs on the rest of her kit because she no longer needs to be balanced with that in mind.

R - On the Hunt should have the team effect removed. In the lore, Sivir is meant to be a mercenary, so she shouldn't be helping out her team. From a gameplay perspective, the team utility is taking too much from her personal kit making her weak. New effect: Bonus movement speed and attack speed granted for Sivir based on the number of enemy champions nearby -the fewer there are the more you get. This gives her more of an "On the Hunt" feel when chasing down prey 1v1. This fits better for a pushing champion as she will be able to duel people better, or run away easier if necessary, like Quinn or Vayne could. By making this big change to her kit, her ultimate becomes much less impactful on the game, which will allow her numbers to get tweaked in places she needs it such as base stats, auto attack range, and mana costs.

I realize some people won't like removing the team buff on her ultimate, but in order to give her other things she needs, we have to remove some things. She is already a pusher/burst/utility champion and this is just too many things at once. She can't be good at everything, so if we remove the utility aspect of Sivir, we can solidify her identity as a pusher by giving her improved mobility and dueling skills, while still maintaining some of her early game burst damage.

I love playing Sivir in her current state and would be a little sad to change anything about her, but I think she needs more than a visual update to truly be loved by the community again. Maybe my suggestions won't make her perfect. But it's a start.

Below are the forum threads where I did my research:
LoL Champion Feedback - To Sivir Fans
LoL General Discussion - To Sivir Fans
LoL Guides & Strategy - To Sivir Fans

Reign of Gaming - Let's Talk Sivir
Reign of Gaming - Why is Sivir bad?
LoL Champion Feedback - Sivir changes I would like to see
LoL Champion Feedback - Sivir to become viable again
LoL General Discussion - What could be done about Sivir?
LoL General Discussion - A serious request regarding Sivir. @Morello pls.
LoL General Discussion - About Sivir....(Visual Upgrade and some Move Changes)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Your Champion Pool and Trusting your Instincts

You may want to learn every champion in the game and play something new every day because you can't resist the lure of the unknown and the exciting mystery of a new champion. But noooo that's wrong - people on forums and guides tell you that you have to play one role and one champion or you'll never be Challenger. I own 70 champions and I'm here to tell you that I think you should play whatever you want and tell the haters to shut it.

When I started playing League of Legends I loved when the next free week came along because it gave me the opportunity to try new champions. I would get so excited I would make a list of all the free champions and mark off the ones I hadn't played before and pick which ones I wanted to try out that week. Most newer players feel similarly as they don't know how all the champions work and it's great to try them out and get a feel for what you like. Even though I've tried almost all the champions at this point and the free weeks aren't as interesting to me, I still like playing a huge number of champions. I love the thrill and excitement of learning the skills and subtleties to a champion I don't know how to play.

Some say this play style makes it more difficult for me to win or improve because I don't practice the same champion or role. I disagree. Playing many champions gives me a much broader sense of the game, and an ability to be flexible with my role or champion for my team that can be very valuable. Most importantly, if I force myself to play the same champion over and over my heart just isn't in it. When my heart's not in it, I know I'll lose. I've tried to force myself to focus on one champion or role, but I find that it really stagnates me. My periods of greatest growth and improvement come from experimenting and trying new things. I'm not saying you should have a giant champion pool too. All I'm saying is trust your instincts and play what you feel is best for you and not what someone else tells you to.

Don't pick what says is the best counter to your lane opponent. Don't pick what Insec is playing because he made a great play in the last tournament. Don't pick Blitzcrank just because he isn't banned this game. Pick a champion you actually want to play.

Monday, August 19, 2013

League of Legends: Why I don't like the new Aegis/Locket

One tough decision supports used to have to make was whether to buy Aegis of the Legion or Locket of the Iron Solari. After Runic Bulwark came out that decision became obvious since Bulwark was so strong you HAD to build it. In the last patch though they removed Runic Bulwark and changed Aegis of the Legion so that it builds into Locket of the Iron Solari. The reason Riot stated for this change was because they felt that Bulwark had become a required item every game and it was too much of a burden on supports. I mean, they were right. It was a huge gold sink and supports weren't really able to buy anything else some games. Riot didn't really fix that issue though.

By making Aegis build into Locket they've made it so Locket is now the required item that each team needs at least one of and that burden still lands on the support. Sure the new Locket is a little cheaper than Bulwark was, but if you add in the fact that they need to get Sightstone too the item builds for supports are still quite limited. They have very little room in their coin purse to try other more risky items like Shurelya's, Twin Shadows, or Ohmwrecker (lol).

I think if they separated the items back the way they were and just kept Bulwark out of the game, we would have two pretty strong items supports would have to choose between - Aegis of the Legion and Locket of the Iron Solari. After the items were separated Riot would need to consider nerfing them because they might still be so strong that supports could only choose between those two items. Even so, that would at least be a step in the right direction - allowing them to choose between two items rather than the way it is now where you have to take the obvious choice of building Aegis into Locket. I think it's great Riot added a bunch of new items for supports this season, but support itemization still needs a lot of work.

I hope this to be the first of many League of Legends posts on this blog so I hope you liked it! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Chivalry Medieval Warfare (3/5)

This is a fairly cheap game that is pretty bare bones. It's a multiplayer medieval combat hack and slash game. There is no single player except a short tutorial.

Things I liked:
-Simple and easy to understand combat system that had more depth than just button mashing that makes gameplay addicting and fun.
-Variety of game modes and classes with different abilities and weapons keeps gameplay interesting.
-Hilarious the way the bodies get dismembered and how you can make your character shout before going into battle. Game just ends up feeling sort of wacky.

Things I didn't like:
-Dated graphics can be slightly distracting.
-Combat can get repetitive fairly quickly.
-I believe there are rewards like new weapons from leveling up and playing more but that was never made clear.

Chivalry is a fun, simple, and relatively cheap game that I think is totally worth picking up, especially if you can get it on sale.

Hours played: 2
Final score: 3/5

Review: Dishonored (2/5)

When I first saw the trailers for Dishonored it looked like a cool environment, but I thought it still looked like just another action game. When the reviews came out though it seemed very well rated so I thought I'd reconsider. In Dishonored you play Lord Corvo, the protector of the Empress, who is framed for killing her and must take his revenge. The world is loosely industrial revolution themed with different science based on whale oil. Magic also plays a role but it's not known about by the common man. The game is a first person hybrid between stealth and combat with some minor RPG elements in picking your powers.

Things I liked:
-Interesting and unique environment and theme.
-Missions had a good variety of ways to play through them and felt very open.
-I enjoyed the unique spells such as possession and rat swarm, and I especially liked the blink spell. I love teleporting in games.

Things I didn't like:
-Combat grew stale quickly. Lack of variety in enemies early on bored me.
-Often felt like I had too many options. Between all the weapons and powers it was too hard to decide the best way to dispatch enemies.
-Stealth mechanics were interesting, but it seemed like I wasn't punished enough for getting caught. I played on hard difficulty and I could often just stand up and kill everyone or blink away onto a roof until they forgot about me.
-The game made too many compromises between stealth and combat, resulting in neither gameplay option being as good as they could have been.
-The plot was unique enough, but too predictable and not very exciting.

I'm going against the grain here by disagreeing with most reviewers but I thought Dishonored was nothing special and felt like just another action game. The plot, environment, and themes had a lot of potential but were lacking in execution. I wouldn't recommend it.

Hours played: 8
Final score: 2/5

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Tropico 4 (4/5)

I wasn't expecting that much from this game going into it because it was only sort of well reviewed on Metacritic and was fairly unheard of. My friend Zac had recommended it ages ago, and well the steam holiday sale was going on so I thought "no way this is as good as SimCity but I'll give it a shot." Well I was wrong. It is as good as SimCity, if not better. They are fairly different games at the end of the day though mostly because of Tropico's setting. You are a dictator of your own little island and you can control every aspect of it from building things to politics.You can also issue edicts such as "Contraception Ban," improving your respect with the religious faction, but lowering it from other factions. There's also ways to interact with foreign powers by doing things like trade missions with the US or USSR that will make one like you more and the other less.

Things I liked:
  • Great sense of humor, lots of hilarious jokes and jabs about dictators and communism
  • Good variety of buildings
  • Campaign mode is quite long and kept missions varied, interesting, and funny with different scenarios (I only got about halfway through)
  • Islands varied in difficulty based on the amount of resources available and frequency of natural disasters. 
  • No zones mechanic like in SimCity. I really like how I get to choose exactly what to build, although this can lead to tedious micromanaging at times. 
Things I didn't like:
  • Organization of building menu was often confusing and the interface and controls could've been a bit better. 
  • How to use some buildings and edicts was often not explained well
  • Normal speed is too slow. Fortunately there are 2 and 3x speed settings. Unfortunately these are both often still too slow. I always played at 3x. 
  • Missing some useful mechanics like being able to upgrade several buildings at once or building wider roads for more traffic. Traffic was often a problem on my islands.
Hours Played: 25
Final Score: 4/5

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Prototype 2 (1/5)

You know I feel like I haven't reviewed enough games I didn't like. Here's one though. Instead of buying Prototype 2 just go ahead and buy the original Prototype. It was a very fun game with a decent plot. I was hoping the sequel would be like the first one and just be more of the same kind of free form gameplay. And it was, but it was almost exactly the same. In the few hours I spent with the game I felt as if they had added nothing to the gameplay, and even somehow made it worse. In addition to that the plot didn't seem to make very much sense and was pretty boring. The plot in the first one was a fairly simple zombie kind of story but it had some unique points and it was told in an exciting way. They tried to do the same thing in Prototype 2 but it really didn't work out. Don't buy this game. If you are interested in the gameplay style just buy the original Prototype. I never wrote a review for it but I'd give it 3/5.

Final Score: 1/5