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This Week in League…


A Weekly Recap of Happenings in League of Legends (1/13/14-1/26/14)

Hello all! Alex here, and welcome to another This Week in League! It’s been an intense past couple of weeks with the return of EU and NA LCS, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the games so far. It’s exciting to see the new strategies teams have employed, as well as cheer on old favorites like TSM, Curse, Fnatic, Gambit Gaming, etc., as they remind us again why they are the most longstanding teams in NA and EU.

During this week’s recap, I will be discussing Patch 4.1 (We are officially out of the 3’s!), OGN, LCS, Lunar Revel, and more.

Gameplay Updates

I was a little disappointed when the official announcement came out that there would be no Magma Chamber, but ultimately, not surprised. Banksy explained some of the reasons behind this decision – This decision was largely due to analysis of Featured Gameplay Mode Showdown’s success:

“Showdown was a relatively short-lived experience for most players. Tons of players tried Showdown out when it was first released, but, after only a week, players worldwide spent less than 1% of all in game time on Showdown. Generally, we heard good feedback about the 1v1/2v2 gameplay on Howling Abyss as compared to Magma Chamber. Players also had ideas about continued improvement of the 1v1/2v2 experience such as being able to do specific top, mid or bot lane matchups on SR.”

However, this doesn’t mean that a 1v1 or 2v2 mode may not return at some point in time:

“Ultimately, we concluded that Magma Chamber simply isn’t the right place for us to further develop a great 1v1/2v2 experience and the mode itself isn’t sustainable as a permanent feature. So, after many discussions and a lot of fact checking, we’re halting development of the Magma Chamber map you saw at last year’s All-Star Game. That doesn’t mean that a lot of you (and us) didn’t have fun dueling it out on Howling Abyss, and we really want to bring back 1v1/2v2 in the future.”

Disappointed or not, at least an official statement has been made about this map so we no longer have to wonder about its development. Now, with no further ado, let’s move onto Patch 4.1!

Patch 4.1

As most of you are now aware, Patch 4.1 debuted on the live servers last week, bringing with it a large variety of gameplay and champion changes. Below, I will provide a basic breakdown of what all was affected by the Patch.

Champion Changes

Here’s a rundown of the champion changes, as taken directly from the official patch notes:

  • Anivia: “We’ve increased the speed of Anivia’s basic attack projectile and brought down the mana cost of Flash Frost and Crystallize. Additionally, Anivia’s ult will now have a warning effect when she is almost out of Glacial Storm’s range.”
  • Annie: “Pyromania’s stun duration is now shorter at earlier levels but Summon: Tibbers’ cooldown has been reduced at later levels to compensate.”
  • Evelynn: “We’ve slowed down Hate Spike’s missile speed, changed Ravage’s damage from magical to physical and Agony’s Embrace now grants its shield instantly.”
  • Janna: “Monsoon now channels immediately on activation and the channel duration has been reduced. Additionally, we’re increasing Monsoon’s heal per second and total heal amount.”
  • Jinx: “We’ve lowered Jinx’s base health but increased her health per level. We’re also standardizing Flame Chompers! arm time, reduced its damage at earlier levels and fixing a slight bug.”
  • Nasus: “We’re reducing Wither’s range and removing the increased Wither and Spirit Fire range granted through Fury of the Sands.”
  • Rengar: “We fixed a bunch of bugs in Savagery and tweaked Empowered Battle Roar.”
  • Riven: “We lowered Riven’s base attack damage but increased her attack damage per level to compensate. Additionally, Broken Wings’ damage has been decreased and Valor’s shield duration was shortened.”
  • Shyvana: “We’re lowering Burnout’s overall damage and Flame Breath’s damage at earlier levels. Dragon’s Descent also received a bug fix and the damage now matches the tooltip.”
  • Thresh: “We made it more obvious that Dark Passage is a clickable item and gave it a small collision radius. We’re also slightly increasing the time it takes for The Box to form.”
  • Yasuo: “We’ve smoothed out Yasuo’s gameplay overall and made Steel Tempest auto-smartcast. Additionally, Last Breath now gives maximum Flow when cast and has a slightly shortened animation.”

Item Changes

Tweaks were made to a variety of items this patch – For example, we should now see less building of Spirit Visage on champions unless their kit actually synergizes with it.

Here is a basic rundown of the item changes, as taken directly from the official patch notes:

  • Rabadon’s Deathcap: “Tooltip now displays the amount of Ability Power gained from its UNIQUE Passive.”
  • Spirit Visage: “The cooldown reduction for Spirit Visage is to reduce its high gold efficiency for almost all tanky champions, especially since many were just buying Spirit Visage as part of their “core” tank build, regardless of the enemy team composition. Cooldown reduction reduced to 10% (from 20%).”
  • Sunfire Cape: “Magic damage changed to 25 + character level (from 40).”
  • Spirit Stone

    1. Now gives 8% of damage dealt to monsters as health and 4% as mana (half effect for area of effect spells)
    2. No longer has health or mana regen
    3. No longer has Maim passive
  • Spirit of The Ancient Golem

    1. Now gives 8% of damage dealt to monsters as health and 4% as mana (half effect for area of effect spells)
    2. No longer has health or mana regen
  • Spirit of The Spectral Wraith

    1. Now gives 8% of damage dealt to monsters as health and 4% as mana (half effect for area of effect spells) (from 8% of spell damage for both health and mana)
    2. No longer has health or mana regen
    3. Now grants 2 ability power for every large monster kill (max: 30)
  • Spirit of The Elder Lizard

    1. Now gives 8% of damage dealt to monsters as health and 4% as mana (half effect for area of effect spells)
    2. No longer has health or mana regen

Summoner’s Rift Changes: Towers

Currently, Fast Push is still exerting a strong limitation on the viability of champions, mostly due to the strategy not having any meaningful downside. Fast Push occurs too early in the game for Dragon to be a meaningful deterrent and for champions to have the tools necessary to combat them.

Probably the most dramatic change to take effect in this new season, the tower changes introduced in this patch have a direct effect on the way that teams can approach 2v1 Lane Swaps.

From the patch notes:

  • Outer turrets no longer gain bonus armor and magic resist for the first eight minutes of the game.
  • Top and middle lane outer turrets now have 20 damage reduction from champion basic attacks.

According to a forum post by Solocrushed, a Live Balance Designer for Riot Games, this change has been made for several different reasons – Here’s a clip of what he had to say:

“This change is directly targeted at “Fast Push” strategies, where teams swap a 2v2 lane to a 2v1 lane to avoid equal lane matchups while quickly pushing down an enemy outer turret and securing an early gold+vision advantage (and in some cases ALSO hiding a weak lane). Fast Push has been a very common early game strategy in high competitive play across all of our regions.

Currently, Fast Push is still exerting a strong limitation on the viability of champions, mostly due to the strategy not having any meaningful downside. Fast Push occurs too early in the game for Dragon to be a meaningful deterrent and for champions to have the tools necessary to combat them (475 gold and one ability). Since the team initiating the swap does not take meaningful risks, the opposing champion needs to function well in a 1v2 or 2v1 lane as a baseline judgment, and that limits the pool significantly.

We’re currently planning on making this change only last for a shorter set duration of time so that it won’t have an effect on most games outside of highly competitive play

We specifically chose this solution because there are limited ways to introduce these kind of strategic tradeoffs. Since the team initiating the lane swap leaves behind a 1v2 at bot, any symmetrical changes would not actually open up the space we want it to. The current solution was picked as the one that would have the least impact on other elements of the game and non-pro level games. We’re currently planning on making this change only last for a shorter set duration of time so that it won’t have an effect on most games outside of highly competitive play (as it takes an incredible amount of coordination for this change to have an effect).”

These changes have brought a fairly strong public outcry from both the general League community and analysts, such as MonteCristo (You can see his Patch 4.1 rant here). It will be interesting to note how teams will adapt their strategy to this change.

Easing New Players into League of Legends

While these changes are due to be turned on at a later date, the introduction of a static lineup of champions available to play for new summoners will be rolled out this season. Here is what the Patch Notes say:

“We’ve introduced a stable roster of free champions for new players to play. Our goal is to improve the way players learn to play League of Legends when they’re first starting out. These champions were picked because of how easy they can be learned and how enjoyable most new players find them.”

While it has yet to be announced which champions will be included in this roster, it wouldn’t surprise me if this included champions tagged as “Recommended.” This small quality of life change should help as the player base continues to grow for League of Legends. Invite your friends to get started!

Wrapping it Up

So – It’s safe to say that there have already been a lot of changes at the start of this season. If you still haven’t taken a look at the complete patch notes, you can do so here.

And for those of you who are like, “TL;DR,” you can just watch this video to get up to speed:

Ranked Reset

As is custom at the start of each new season, a soft elo reset has been completed for all players. You must complete ten matches to receive your ranking. If you are looking for more information on placements, rating, or MMR, you can check out this Reddit post by RiotSocrates for further understanding.

Changes to the Ranked System

We also removed “LP clamping” where players would only see tiny LP gains at Division 1 of their tier

There are a few changes to tiers this season – Starting with the following:

“For the 2014 season, it’s possible for a player to get demoted out of a league if they continuously play at a much lower skill level while losing games. You’ll be sufficiently warned of the demotion if it looms, but the change will improve ranked play at Division V tiers.”

This should remove some of the issues with players sitting at 0 LP when they reach their goals for the season, then trolling and ruining other players’ experience with no repercussions.

A further change is the removal of clamping for all tiers, with the exception of promotion from Diamond I to Challenger. As stated in the notes:

“We also removed “LP clamping” where players would only see tiny LP gains at Division 1 of their tier. Clamping will still be in effect at Diamond I (because Challenger should rep the best players, so it needs to be strict), but all other tiers will see regular LP gains from now on.”

The above changes should improve the overall ranked experience throughout the season, after the early turmoil of placement matches has been played out.

If you haven’t played all of your placement matches yet, best of luck out on the Rift!

eSports

The start of the 2014 LCS Season for EU and NA, OGN Champions Winter coming to a close – There has been a lot of action these past couple of weeks for us eSports lovers! Which teams do you think have been looking the strongest across the first couple weeks in the LCS so far? From EU, Fnatic has been leading the pack with a perfect record thus far, with ROCCAT not far behind. In NA, it’s been TSM and Cloud 9 continuing to lead the way, and I have also been impressed by the domination from Dignitas, particularly in this second week. But only time will tell whether the current leaders will keep hold of their top spots or if other teams will come in across the long haul and cause an upset.

EU & NA LCS Week 1

C9 TeemoThe first week of the 2014 LCS opened up with a superweek, featuring a whopping 16 games per region. With a multitude of roster changes, lane swaps, and a few new teams joining the LCS elite, it’s been exciting to witness firsthand the strengths, weaknesses, and improvements of the teams in NA and EU at the start of this new season.

If you missed any of the games, take a look at the Week 1 VoD post I created here. It has all the games from both NA and EU embedded into the post for your viewing convenience.

OGN Champions Winter 3rd/4th Place: NaJin White Shield vs. KT Rolster Bullets

Having been slated down to the third/fourth place bracket, NaJin White Shield and KT Rolster Bullets faced off against each other for the final time in OGN Champions Winter.

While KT B failed to take down the World Champions, SKT, in their reach for first place, they were able to remain in control of this series against Shield. While finishing out OGN Winter in third place may not have been what they had hoped for, KT B has still demonstrated a strong overall performance across OGN Champions Winter.

Matches played on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 

Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4

OGN Champions Winter Grand Finals: SK Telecom T1 K vs. Samsung Galaxy Ozone

Excitement was in the air as the world waited to see history made in this Grand Finals series between SK Telecom T1 K and Samsung Galaxy Ozone. Ozone has been one of the only teams able to take a series out from under the seemingly godlike SKT. The question on everyone’s mind was: Would they be able to repeat this feat? On the other hand, SK Telecom was looking to do what no other team in OGN has been able to do: Take home back-to-back OGN titles. While they had been on a literal perfect streak across this championship, could they do the unthinkable and secure their place on the OGN throne for a second time in a row?

Check out this amazing OGN Grand Finals Opening Video:

If anyone had doubts in SKT, they should doubt no longer. In their world-renowned dominating and calculated style, SKT swept their way to a perfect 3-0 victory against Ozone, giving them a perfect 18-0 season – showing us all once again, that they are indeed, the best team in the world.

Matches played on Saturday, January 25, 2014 

The Final Stand-Off

Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3

Faker’s Thoughts on Game 1

Of note, if you are looking for OGN Runes and Masteries, take a look at Deficio’s Facebook post about how to get your hands on this information.

EU & NA LCS Week 2Dignitas Ziggs

This week’s games were played on Patch 4.1, which featured a large variety of tweaks and nerfs for many of the champions played so abundantly on the Preseason patches. Team Solomid enjoyed a perfect 2-0 weekend, snatching First Place at the end of this week, with Cloud 9 and Dignitas not far behind in respective Second and Third place spots.

Just as provided for Week 1, if you missed any of these games, you can find all of these games within my Week 2 VoDs post here!

Coming Soon in eSports

We’ll be moving into Week 3 of EU & NA LCS, starting on Thursday, January 30. Here the schedule for this coming week:

EU LCS: Week 3Each Game is scheduled to run approximately one hour

Thursday, January 30 – Games begin at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST (Click each match to vote for winner)

Friday, January 31 – Games begin at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST (Click each match to vote for winner)

NA LCS: Week 3 Each Game is scheduled to run approximately one hour

Saturday, February 1Games begin at 12:00 PM PST / 3:00 PM EST (Click each match to vote for winner)

Sunday, February 2Games begin at 12:00 PM PST / 3:00 PM EST (Click each match to vote for winner)

Coming Soon

The Lunar Revel is nearly here! Information on how to earn Lunar Revel icons has been released on the PBE forums, as well as lore for Lunar Goddess Diana and Dragonblade Riven!

Lunar Goddess Diana Lore

“Prophecy tells of the lotus cycle, where the flower endures humble beginnings in mud and one day blooms in perfect beauty.

Facing fierce persecution at every turn, a woman toiled among the laborers, the weak and the broken. In the shell of an ancient lunar temple, she uncovered a crescent blade slung across golden armor inscribed with blown lotus petals. A soft voice sang when she grasped the hilt of the weapon, lilting with honest knowledge. She was struck by a vision of a warrior goddess wearing the gilded regalia. Stirred by the truth in the moon’s hymn, she lifted the sword.”

Dragonblade Riven Lore

“One tale tells of a woman, her sword forged in dragon’s fire, descending into an enemy enclave in the aftermath of a bloody battle. She leaped and slashed through hordes of foes, slaying captors and freeing their captives. Refusing to bow to those who would enslave the innocent, she stormed across the countryside, giving hope to refugees and the unprotected. Those who witnessed her crusade soon knew the truth behind the proverb, “There’s no shield like a Dragonblade’s sword.”

Lunar Revel Icons

Lunar Revel IconsThe Year of the Horse: To earn this icon, you must play and win a game in a matchmade queue. Custom games do not count, but you do not have to play with friends to earn the Year of the Horse Icon. Games against AI or “bot” opponents will not count.

Lunar Goddess Diana: To earn this icon, you must enter a matchmade queue (not a custom game) with at least one friend and finish two games on Twisted Treeline or the Crystal Scar (Dominion game-mode). Games against AI or “bot” opponents will not count.

Dragonblade Riven: To earn this icon, you must enter a matchmade queue (not a custom game) with at least one friend and finish two games on Howling Abyss. Games against AI or “bot” opponents will not count.

Warring Kingdoms Tryndamere: To earn this icon, you must enter a matchmade queue (not a custom game) with at least one friend and finish two games on Summoner’s Rift. Games against AI or “bot” opponents will not count.

A few more icons have also made an appearance on PBE, but no official information has yet been released about them or how to obtain them. Stay tuned for updates!

Articles & News

If you missed any articles we published, here are links to them so you can check them all out and stay up-to-date on Cloth5 content:

Blogs

eSports

News

Incase You Missed This

  • Cloud 9 Announces New NA Analyst: If you weren’t aware, a few weeks ago, Cloud 9 EU picked up Charlie Lipsie, previously a writer for Cloth5, as their new analyst. It was also recently announced that Charlie would also become the new analyst for Cloud 9 NA. You can follow him on Twitter and support him on Facebook. We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing what he will bring to the team this season.
  • Bjergsen Fined for Violating LCS Rules: BjergsenMore eSports drama has unfolded recently – This time, in the form of Team Solomid’s star mid-laner Bjergsen receiving a $2,000 fine for violation of LCS Rules. The events surrounding this fine involve his transition to TSM, as he was asked by his former team, Ninjas in Pyjamas, to fill his spot. Bjergsen allegedly approached a member of Lemondog’s team, offering the player a significant amount of money to join NiP. This does not affect Bjergsen’s ability to participate in the 2014 Spring Split, nor does it affect Team Solomid as a whole.

AMA’s/Forum Discussions

Riot Games eSports Team AMA: On the eve of the 2014 LCS Spring Split, the Riot eSports Team sat down for a spirited Reddit AMA to address comments, questions, and concerns of the community. Below, I will post some of the highlights from this conversation:

We want more eSports statistics!

Riot Magus: Stats are freaking awesome – thank you for this question. Please note a lot of stuff is in the works and don’t expect them week 1 of the LCS.

1) We’re trying to make real-time stats. We’re working some awesome [developers] to make this a reality.

2) We want stats in the broadcast. It improves the viewer experience and that’s a good thing.

3) We want stats to be interactive. Graphs for consumption are cool and all, but we want fans to have them at their fingertips and be able to look at cool trends. Look for more of this on lolesports.com and in our API in the future.

4) It would be even cooler if we could take all these real-time stats and make a fun meta-eSports-game out of this… We’ve fantasized about this for a while now.

What about the issue with fans shouting at players during live matches?

RiotRedBeard: One cure to this is that we’ve started incorporating delays into the live feed, so if an audience is cheering so loud it may be a tell, that moment will have already passed. We catch-up during replays throughout the match so a team isn’t celebrating while the live audience is still watching a game end.

Will we ever see LCS…jerseys?

RiotRedBeard: We are working on this as part of our larger merchandise efforts that are now underway (unfortunately still a ways away), but this particular aspect is something we know will be cool for fans and can’t wait to offer! Will be so cool to see fans wearing jerseys of their favorite players!

Will next year’s World Championship format be tweaked? Specifically in terms of tournament formatting.

RiotRedBeard: Yes, we got a lot of feedback from the fans on our format this year and so we will be tweaking it accordingly. Can’t share too much information, but the short answer is ‘Yes,’ and it’s going to be awesome 😛

Will an MVP System be introduced this year for LCS?

RiotMagus: Hey – good question. I’ve tackled this in a Reddit thread about a week ago. We’re going to have a weekly MVP for NA LCS and EU LCS. Each split will also have an MVP that is selected by journalists, coaches, casters, etc. (industry insiders). Lastly, we’re also adding an MVP to Worlds this year.

Will there ever be more than 8 teams per region in the LCS?

RiotNickAllen: We are constantly evaluating the number of teams in the LCS and the appropriate time to expand beyond 8. We take a lot of things into consideration: Ecosystem support, player talent pool, and schedule implications to name a few. For example in our current LCS format, adding even 2 more teams would add significantly more games to the year.

After making these considerations, we thought 8 teams was a good number for where NA and EU are as regions. With the new Challenger Series being introduced, as well as how strong Amateur level play has leveled up in the last few months, growing beyond 8 teams is something we will be seriously considering going into 2015. I apologize if that sounds like the safe answer, but we just want to be super careful that the time for expanding beyond 8 teams is right.

How does Riot eSports feel about media surrounding the LCS?

RiotMagus: We think a thriving eSports media is great for the LCS and all of the LoL eSports community. Good media outlets drive fan discussion and interest in the sport, which benefits everyone. We try to promote good articles written by those outlets on lolesports.com as a way to bring attention to them. I think your idea for an eSports news feed widget is an interesting one and I’ll pass that along to our web development team.

I hope that media outlets continue to grow the quality of the journalism coverage out there. eSports journalism started in the stone age – Poor writing, consistency and story-telling, and the industry still has a ton of growing to do. However, I’m starting to believe that we can get there 🙂

Has League of Legends surpassed original expectations in eSports?

RiotRedBeard: Riot had always planned on developing League of Legends to become a competitive sport. It’s in the DNA of the game – tons of compelling and unique strategies that can win out in any given match, no 2 games are ever the same, it’s relatively easy to pick-up but impossible to master, teamwork is a core competency, etc.

While we knew it would be competitive and fun at all levels, we had no idea it would turn in to the professional / spectator sport it has now become, and it’s pretty humbling to see it surpass any of the expectations on that front, and then some. After seeing the fans show up in droves at our Season 1 finals, we knew if we focused on building a compelling experience it would grow, but nobody ever expected this.

Brandon and Marc are both huge eSports fans (even Brandon’s wife watches most of the LCS matches), and they’ve both really driven the passion and furor around eSports that resonates throughout the whole company. I’m glad they decided to make it such a core focus, otherwise I would be out of a job 😛

What does a typical day look like for a member of the Riot eSports team?

RiotMagus: It differs tremendously from day-to-day. Logistically, my role involves a lot of meetings, as I work with each group within eSports. I’ll do meetings for most of the day (10am-7pm or so) and then spend several hours or more answering emails, reviewing projects we’re working on, brainstorming new stuff, etc.

It’s a very social, hard-working environment. We try to freely share ideas so that anyone can poke holes in them and make them better. That means it’s incredibly fun because the people on the team are awesome, but you also need to be the type of person that likes to give and receive constructive criticism in order to thrive.

Do you think eSports will ever be accepted as a “real” sport?

RiotShantzilla: I don’t think any of us consider it to be a binary “accepted” or “not accepted”, but rather a gradual process. Right now there are plenty of people the world over that consider eSports a real sport (myself included). We’ve already seen tons of progress in converting viewers to this perspective.

At the end of the day, I fully expect to be watching eSports with my kids (that’s about 5-10 years away, hopefully). They’ll grow up thinking of digital sports in the exact same light as traditional physical sports. Who knows, by then there may be a hybrid product…

You can peruse the full AMA here.

 

NA Collegiate Championship AMA: If you’re a college student and are interested in competing with your team in this year’s NA Collegiate Championship, check out this Reddit AMA held by RiotJaws and RiotNickAllen to learn a little more about this move to help players host and participate in regular LoL events within their community.

Travis Gafford of onGamers AMA: Travis Gafford, the face of onGamers.com and a prominent interviewer in the League Community, hosted an AMA on Reddit last week, and if you’re interested in seeing what he had to say, you can take a look at his Q & A session here.

 

Thanks for reading, and I will see you all next week for another recap!

 

Special Thanks To:

Mark Cupp for continuing to deal with my graphics requests.

 


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Alex "Valkyrie"

Hello all! I manage Cloth5's Public Relations and Content Coordination. I am a lover of Tazo Tea, League of Legends, Apple Products, & John Mayer. Follow me on Twitter: @C5Valkyrie

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