Sunday, April 6, 2014

What's wrong with Urgot? - Ultimate Suggestion

What's wrong with Urgot? Well, as of this writing, he is the least picked champion in the game right now with a pick rate of 0.4% and the lowest win rate in the game at 41.62% ( Riot Meddler has been working on Urgot and I agree with his analysis below (from LoL General Discussion: Undeath, Terror and Acid Hunters: Let's talk Urgot)

Biggest Gameplay Problems:
  • Insufficient counterplay on Q/E combo.
  • Lot of invisible power (to be shifted to visible power and/or given better feedback to improve visibility).
  • Unclear niche, resulting in some aspects of kit creating awkward moments of play.

Initial Direction to Explore:
  • Push Urgot into more of a ranged bruiser or tough, front line AD caster role (better thematic fit, more interesting than making him more of a standard AD ranged auto attacker).
  • Find a better way of offering homing Acid Hunters that give both more counterplay options for an enemy and more opportunity for skilled use by the Urgot player, in contrast to the current binary outcome (E+QQQ or nothing, with insufficient options for either player after the initial E shot).
  • Investigate fundamentally different options for passive and ult. Both do offer some good benefits, but also generate a lot of problems, power versus satisfaction (passive) and clash with core of kit (ult much of the time) in particular. Also potentially some missed opportunities r.e. abilities that offer more gameplay and capitalize better on Urgot’s theme.

I think Meddler is on the right track, and I think Urgot's most difficult problem is his ultimate. As he said the ult clashes with the core of the kit.  It doesn't make sense for a ranged poke champion to dive into the middle of the enemy team. His ultimate is very fun and iconic though, so changing it or removing it would be sad. People have said they like that Urgot is a Bruiser/Poker, so why don't we enhance that? My suggestion is to make it so when Urgot uses his ultimate, he goes into a 'Bruiser' mode where he becomes melee for 15-30 seconds. His E and Q abilities would change during this time, so he could have moves like Decapitate maybe, which would fit his High Executioner lore better. This would also make his ultimate fit better with his playstyle because he would have a good reason to dive into the middle of the enemy team.

This doesn't address Urgot's other issues such as invisible power from E armor shred and passive, and the lack of counterplay from his Q, but I feel his ultimate is his most difficult problem to solve and there aren't that many options for it that don't involve scrapping it.

Please provide feedback and let me know what you think. Thank you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Champion Design Proposal - Kevin Bacon

This champion is based off the monster from the classic film Tremors, so I named him Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon is a sort of giant worm that can burrow under ground and pop up and eat people. Here are some ability ideas:

Big Bite: Kevin Bacon wraps his giant maw full of teeth around his target, dealing physical damage and returning health to Kevin Bacon. If Kevin Bacon uses Big Bite while burrowed he pops out of the ground and snares his target, but deals less damage than he would above ground, and does not return health (see bottom part of picture above).

Burrow: Kevin Bacon burrows under the ground for a few seconds, gaining increased move speed, and becoming untargetable. Using any of Kevin Bacon's spells or attacking an enemy causes him to pop out of the ground and become targetable again. Getting a kill or assist reduces the cooldown of Burrow by x seconds.

Barb Spin: Kevin Bacon spins around in a circle, releasing barbs from his skin that deal AOE damage and slow his enemies.

Devour: Kevin Bacon wraps his mouth around an enemy and swallows them whole, dealing massive damage over a few seconds. This is an execute ability that deals more damage based on % health missing from the target. Devour is a channeled ability and can be canceled if Kevin Bacon is killed or interrupted.

I have to admit, this kit is pretty cheesy. It sounds fun though right? You get to eat people whole! I think Kevin Bacon would be played as a jungler or top laner. In the jungle, he could clear camps with his Barb Spin, lifesteal with Big Bite, then gank when he has Burrow, and his Big Bite would be good CC to catch enemy laners. Top lane, Burrow would be great for getting out of tricky situations (like Vladimir's pool).

Kevin Bacon deals a lot of damage, all at melee range, and he has an ability to become untargetable, so he would need to be quite squishy to make up for all that, like an assassin. That's why I think having a reset skill on Burrow that reduces the cooldown on kills or assists is good because it would let him escape if he successfully got kills. Also, I made his ultimate, Devour, a channeled ability because otherwise there would be no counterplay - he could just burrow up to a low health enemy surrounded by their team, pop out, and kill them. This makes the ability difficult to use, but definitely rewarding, especially if you get a reset.

Thanks for reading! Any feedback is appreciated so let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Alistar Analysis

So you know when you're feeling really guilty because you picked Alistar and now you're feeding over and over and you feel pretty much useless? Well, its ok its not your fault Alistar is in a horrible spot right now. He has the second lowest win rate in the game at the time of this writing at 44.35% per Alistar is one of those champions Riot has a hard time balancing. His kit is designed in such a way that it will never be balanced by mere number changes. Alistar has fluctuated from OP to worthless with just small changes (just like Sivir, Olaf, and Mundo). When he is strong enough to be playable he is way too strong. This happens because Alistar just has too many spells that have no counter. Pulzerize and Headbutt both are not effected by Tenacity, and Alistar's ultimate makes him immune to CC and extremely tanky. His ultimate is similar to the old Olaf ultimate in that, enemies have no way to stop you. Against most champions, a player can CC them or kill them and they can't attack them anymore, but that's not the case against a spell like Alistar's ultimate. To 'fix' Alistar when he was too strong, they nerfed his ultimate's damage reduction a LOT, and increased his mana cost on his E (the heal) over 3 different patches until now he's at the point where he has serious mana issues. Alistar needs some love. They fixed Olaf's ultimate by making him more squishy in exchange for him being immune to CC. I think the opposite would work for Alistar, if they removed his immune to CC portion and just made his ult make him even more tanky he would be in a good spot. That is really what you want anyways. Then you can lower his cooldowns, reduce his mana costs, and improve his base stats. I think Riot fears doing that now, because as I said he would suddenly be OP again because his kit is just so strong in it's current state.
I think a lot of people misunderstand me when I make rework proposals. They always look like nerfs because I am removing things from a champion (see my posts on Sivir and Rammus). And well they are nerfs at first, but the reason champions are usually underplayed or weak is because they have some really imbalanced portion of their kit preventing them from fitting into the game. Once that is removed, you can buff numbers everywhere else and make the champion playable. Riot knows this and they did it with Sivir. They removed the attack speed bonus to teammates on her ult which was OP in certain situations, and reduced the damage on her Q which was insane. In return for that she got some base stats, an improved W, and much needed mana cost reductions. I still disagree with a lot of changes they made to Sivir (her ult giving movespeed to teammates is still too strong IMO, and I miss her Q damage), but I understand what they did and why, and now she's in a pretty good spot, being played competitively and in solo queue. Many people seem to think Riot is just sitting around watching players complain about their favorite champions needing buffs and laughing at them. Balance is complicated though, and if Alistar hasn't received a buff in an entire year (last patch from Jan 16, 2013), it's probably for a good reason.
If you read the forums and Rioter's logic on buffs and nerfs in patch notes, you will see there are trends appearing. Certain champion traits make champions very difficult to balance. Best examples: Tenacity/CC Reduction (Dr. Mundo, Irelia, Alistar, Olaf, Poppy) and Globals (Shen, Twisted Fate, Janna, Zilean). All the previous champions are either super weak or super strong and many have fluctuated between those points for years. Riot knows these problems exist, but removing these types of abilities entirely takes away some interesting parts of the game, so it is a challenging spot for them. I think they are on the right track though with the Olaf rework. Riot gave him a trade off for his OP ability to ignore CC by making him more easily killable by straight damage. My point is: even though many champions seem like they are in a horrible spot and are unplayable, they actually need nerfs to their kit and not buffs to be playable again. After you figure out how to nerf a champion's OP ability without destroying who they are, you can buff everything else.

3/10 Edit: Going back to this I think I overestimated the value of the tenacity on his ultimate. It's not even really tenacity as it only breaks CC on casting and does not make him immune to CC as I stated above. I think Alistar's real issue is the power from his Headbutt and Pulverize. They can't be reduced by tenacity, and Headbutt provides so much positioning power. Also Headbutt is very difficult to use for lower level players (i.e. not LCS pros) so that causes him to have a lower winrate in solo queue, but if they just straight buff him, he would be too strong competitively. I think he needs some kind of change to his Headbutt and Pulverize to make them easier to use without trying to do the W+Q combo, which is needlessly difficult.