Monday, August 22, 2011

Long time no talk!

Hey guys!  Its been a while since my last post, and they have been rather irregular over the past month or so, and its because I have had a lot on my plate and have not had much time to play LoL lately.  As I have been moving, I have no internet at the moment (writing this at work...  ;-)   ) and I am not sure how long before I will get internet again.  As soon as I can, I will be getting back into LoL and will try to update this blog more often.   I will also be trying to put out more YouTube videos.  I have some footage I just need to get around to editing...  (Damn you procrastination!)


Things to look forward to in the near future:
More random writing from your truly.

More YouTube videos (highlights, kill compilations, character/map impressions, ect).
The new map, Dominion.
The end of summer, and all this hot California weather.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Buffs and Nerfs/Hate on Riot

No matter how often Riot buffs and nerfs champions, a good number of people will always be unhappy.  I have just been really disappointed with The League of Legends community as a whole recently because all I ever see is complaints against Riot, and most of it stems from their balancing.


Look at the most recent patch preview (HERE), practically every other comment is "Panth is OP why you buff him???" OR "I am so happy they finally buff Panth!".


Riot cannot make everyone happy, and I personally believe that they actually do an ok job of making the champions balanced.  And even when they fail, we should remember that they are still just puny, pathetic, mistake making humans, and should be treated as such.  Give them a break, they work really hard to give us a balanced, complete game, that we can enjoy.  They do a lot of work to keep releasing new content to keep the game interesting, and balancing the game to keep it fair.  Just ride out the changes, and enjoy your free game.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Word on Karthus

Karthus is a very unique champion in the fact that really, you WANT to die in the team fight; preferably with the entire enemy team around you.  He is a good farmer with Lay Waste, he has an amazing slow with Wall of Pain, and good AOE damage from Defile.  But Requiem is mainly what I want to talk about.  Karthus’ Ultimate is one of the most annoying in the game.   It has high base damage with a 0.7 AP ratio, and can and will hit every enemy champion in the game no matter where they are or even if Karthus can see them.

Because there is absolutely no targeting involved, some people (me included) refer to Karthus as a faceroll champ (meaning, you could slam your head on your keyboard somewhere around the 1 key, and roll your face across the keyboard to the \ key) and get kills.  I will not deny that playing Karthus affectively excluding his ult does take some skill.  But you could theoretically get to level 6, and then just sit in the fountain spamming the R key and get kills.  (Hmmm... Now I want to try this…)
Getting magic resist with a Karthus on the enemy team is a must, though I would not say that Karthus is OP.  But maybe a small tweak to his Ult would be good.  Really it wouldn’t have to be anything drastic.  Make it so it would only hit champs that Karthus had sight of when it finishes channeling (still ignoring distance) or make it so it deals less damage the further away Karthus is.  And I only say this as a “well that would be nice” scenario, because I do not believe Karthus is over powered.  He is just really annoying.

Knowing how to counter him is really the key though.   It’s a bunch of simple things like:
1.       Don’t bunch up in team fights.  (Why would you do this anyway???)  His dying inside your team will eat your HP for breakfast with Defile.
2.        I don’t care how much damage Karthus can output, DON’T TARGET HIM FIRST!  Once he is dead, he will continue living for 8 seconds (usual length of a teamfight).  Take out someone else, because then it becomes a 4v5 instead of staying a 5v5.  (AND on top of that, Karthus gets to cast at no mana cost once he is dead.)
3.       Some people come with built in spell shields (Morgana, Sivir, Nocturne).  If you are playing one of these champs, you MAY want to save your shield for his ult if you can.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Akali: The First of Shadow

Story:
There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Akali is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Pruning the Tree - eliminating those who threaten the equilibrium of Valoran.

A prodigal martial artist, Akali began training with her mother as soon as she could make a fist. Her mother's discipline was relentless and unforgiving, but predicated on the fundamental principle: "We do that which must be done." When the Kinkou inducted her into the order at the age of fourteen, she could slice a dangling chain with a chop of her hand. There was no question - she would succeed her mother as the Fist of Shadow. She has had to do much in this role which others might find morally questionable, but to her it is in service of her mother's inviolable doctrine. She now works with her fellows Shen and Kennen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice.

"The Fist of Shadow strikes from the cover of death itself. Do not impede the balance."


Akali is a hybrid anti-carry champion with huge burst damage and is a fantastic chaser.  She is probably the best hybrid character in the game with her passive, Twice Disciplines, which adds magic damage to her auto attacks based on her AP and spell vamp based on her AD.  She has Mark of the Assassin for burst damage, Crescent Slash (which deals AD) and AOE damage, Twilight Shroud for defense, and Shadow Dance for chasing and juking.

The biggest drawback for Akali is that she is squishy AND melee.  She alleviates some of this while hiding in her Twilight Shroud, but it has a fairly long cooldown for how often you are going to want to use it.  But the best way to prevent your death is to just do what Akali does best; run in, assassinate someone, and run out (Twilight Shroud/Shadow Dance for safe exits), while your tank takes all the hits.

While there are several champions that can very viably go Hybrid (Shaco, Twisted Fate, Ezreal, Kog’Maw, etc), most of these characters would actually do greater damage by just picking AP OR AD; whereas Akali would be missing out by only picking one.   You are losing either extra spell vamp or extra magic damage, both of which are going to make you far more deadly if you have them.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

8 Simple Rules for playing League of Legends

These are some very useful tips for playing well in League of Legends.  These will not make you win every game, it will not make you unkillable, and it will not make you more skilled than you really are.  These are just basic and fairly straight forward things to do to prevent dying a terrible, terrible death at the hands of your enemies.

1.       I have seen this many places, but it requires repeating.  Do not chase Singed!
2.       Last hit, last hit, last hit, last hit.  Quit pushing your lanes all the way up to the enemy tower unless you are in the position to deal a huge chunk of damage to it.
3.       Buy at least 1 ward every time you go back if you can afford it and know where to place them for maximum coverage.
4.       Don’t stay at a tower that you KNOW is going to go down.  You are just going to give the enemy team a tower AND a kill.
5.       Never give up Baron or Dragon for free if you can do anything.  Don’t just give away a kill, but try to stop them.
6.       Unless you are guarding your base, do not just stand around.  Always be doing something.  If you deadlock while trying to push a tower, move on.  You are wasting time by continually trying and failing to push a tower or just standing at a tower.
7.       Going off by yourself after the laning phase is the best way to get yourself jumped on by the entire enemy team and getting killed.
8.       Do not JUST follow someone’s champion build.  Every game, with every team comp (for your team AND theirs), you WILL need to vary your build even if it’s just a little.  There is NO reason to get a Last Whisper if your enemy team has no armor.  Adapt your build to each game.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MIAs

During the laning phase, keeping track of where your laning opponent(s) is located is quite important.  Are they hiding in the bushes waiting to jump out at you?  Did they go back to buy?  Are they headed to the jungle or to another lane for a gank?  As important as keeping track of your own lane is, you also need to keep track of ALL enemies, not just the ones in your lane.  You can help your teammates and they can help you with wards and calling “MIA” when their laning opponent disappears.  But you should not always rely on these measures alone.

Whenever someone gets ganked, dies, and then starts bitching because I didn’t call MIA, I tell them the same thing every time; “Use your mini-map.”  Watching the mini-map is the easiest way to know where your enemies are.  If you can’t see an enemy (or they have a global ult) they are a threat to your lane, and you should be playing more cautious.  Do not rely on your teammates to tell you when someone disappears from their lane, because they can’t always let you know.   I cannot count the number of times where I have been 2v1 and one of them breaks off while I am still engaged with the other.  I WILL NOT stop what I am doing to type out MIA while I am in the middle of a fight.  It’s just plain stupid to do this.  You will be opening yourself up to a world of hurt if you suddenly pause.  And it might not have even been worth it because maybe they weren’t going to gank, just laying down a ward.

But knowing where your enemy is, is not just important for prevent ganks.  It’s also important for pushing lanes, doing your own ganking, taking dragon and/or baron, and pretty much every other aspect of the game.  If you know that 2 people went back to buy, and there is a 3v3 at your top turret, it’s fairly safe for you to push bottom or take dragon if you have the firepower. 

Once out of the laning phase and on to mid or late game, MIAs become far less important, but much more deadly.  If it is not your job to be by yourself (Master Yi and Twisted Fate, I am looking at you…) and you are out alone with no enemies visible on your mini-map, they ARE coming after you, and you WILL die.  It is a good idea to discourage this kind of soloing on your team.  If I see someone running around by themselves, way over extended pushing a lane, I will type ALL MIA to try and get their attention.  And if it’s the enemy, group up and take them out.  But again, you need to understand that the enemy team is missing and that tasty Veiger off by himself may very well be bait in a very big, very deadly, fishing net.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rumble: The Mechanized Menace

Story:
Even amongst yordles, Rumble was always the runt of the litter. As such, he was used to being bullied. In order to survive, he had to be scrappier and more resourceful than his peers. He developed a quick temper and a reputation for getting even, no matter who crossed him. This made him something of a loner, but he didn't mind. He liked to tinker, preferring the company of gadgets, and he could usually be found rummaging through the junkyard. He showed great potential as a mechanic. His teachers recommended him for enrollment at the Yordle Academy of Science and Progress in Piltover, where he may very well have become one of Heimerdinger's esteemed proteges, but Rumble refused to go. He believed that Heimerdinger and his associates were ''sellouts,'' trading superior yordle technology to humans for nothing more than a pat on the head while yordles remained the butt of their jokes. When a group of human graduates from the Yordle Academy sailed to Bandle City to visit the place where their mentor was born and raised, Rumble couldn't resist the temptation to see them face-to-face (so to speak). He only intended to get a good look at the humans, but four hours and several choice words later, he returned home bruised and bloodied with an earful about how he was an embarrassment to ''enlightened'' yordles like Heimerdinger. The next morning he left Bandle City without a word, and wasn't seen again for months. When he returned, he was at the helm of a clanking, mechanized monstrosity. He marched it to the center of town amidst dumbfounded onlookers and there announced that he would join the League of Legends to show the world what yordle-tech was really capable of, without hiding behind a foreign banner.

''Ugh, it's gonna take forever to scrape your face off my suit!'' – Rumble


Thoughts:

Rumble is a heavy hitting, tanky DPS champion with devastating moves, trading blows with him is likely to leave you dead.  Flamespitter’s damage is massive.  While he hides behind his scrap shield for protection, Rumble can cripple you with Electro-Harpoon and then finish you off with some fire.  He has an extremely powerful laning presence with his Ult, The Equalizer.  Rumble can push lanes line nobody’s business through being able to burn minions with Flamespitter and his regular attack at the same time.

Rumble really excels at pushing lanes, taking out turrets, and protecting allies.  He has so much slow (especially if you give him a Rylai’s) that no champion will be able to catch up to your escaping carry.  And then because Rumble is fairly tanky, and has his Scrap Shield for a speed boost and damage mitigation, he can get away too if necessary.  Chasing people down with Rumble is also a breeze; a well placed Equalizer, 2 Electro-Harpoon shots, and Flamespitter to finish them off.

One of my favorite things to do with Rumble (is a little mean… but I am ok with that!  ;-)  ), is to get someone extremely low in lane, have them escape behind the safety of their tower, and finish them off with my Equalizer.  Rumble is another one of those champions that people say is OP.  Most common complaint I hear is that The Equalizer is broken because of how much damage it can do.  It does not really do that much damage, and you just have to move off the “wall” of damage and it does nothing. 

Not many people on the American server seem to be able to use Rumble correctly or play him that often, but he is extremely popular on the European server.  I will hopefully be able to throw up a game play video this weekend some time for Rumble.  I would love to see some better Rumble players because he is a lot of fun to play, and an interesting champion fairly different from the others.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trollz will be Trollz

This may come as quite a shock to you, but not everyone who makes up the League of Legends user base is going to be a nice, intelligent and helpful person.  In fact, a large portion of the player base would, at first glance, appear to be made up of 8 year old's with pleasant Summoner names like “Xplosiv3D1arrea” and “EyeH8Jews”, and so on... and mentalities that fit their names oh so perfectly.  There are lots of different types of these people playing LoL matches every day.  I will list some examples and the proper response when each one shows up in your game.

1.      The Feeder—Chooses to, for a variety of different reasons, to continually suicide into the enemy team.  Will sometimes blame others for their deaths even though it was very obviously on purpose.
Response:  Ignore them, try to play the game as best you can.  It isn't likely, but you MIGHT be able to win anyway.  If not, surrender at minute 20 and Report them for feeding.
2.      The Harasser—Whether provoked or not, The Harasser will spend all game shouting profanities, racial slurs, noob, and the like.   Usually they target one person.
Response:  Ignore them, try to play the game as best you can.  There is no telling whether or not this person is good at the game so you might when, you might lose.  Report them after the game for harassing.
3.      The Troll—This player is not here to actually play the game at all.  They are just playing so they can ruin someone's day.  They will spend all game bitching for no reason, calling people out for being bad, build items on champs that make no sense (AP on Garen for example), and/or general game disruption.
Response:  Ignore them, try to play the game as best you can.  Report them after the game is over.
4.      The Leaver—The most irritating type, but also the easiest to deal with.  At least you don't have to ignore these people, as they are no longer in the game.  It could be the disconnected at level 1, or maybe RAGE quit some time during the match.
Response:  It is not impossible to win a 4v5, I have done it several times.  It does take good teamwork though.  But if you decide you give up just because someone else quit, then you are just giving away a victory that could have been yours if you kept on trying.  Keep playing, try to win.  Report the leaver after the game.

And there are a lot more where that came from.  Did you notice the trend?  Just ignore them, try your best, strive for victory under slightly skewed conditions, and then report the griefer after the match.  Riot has recently added a new system, The Tribunal, to help with all these griefers in our games.  By submitting a report every time someone fails to uphold the summoners code, you are adding just a small part to the cleaning up of the game as a whole.  And you can do another small part by voting to punish those that deserve it in The Tribunal.  But the biggest thing that you could do to prevent these attacks, is just don't react to them.  Every single one of these griefers is only doing it to get some sort of response.  And if they keep getting a response they are going to continue to do it.  Riot gave us a /ignore command for a reason.  USE IT.

As a side note:  Just because someone is not doing well, does not mean they are a griefer.  Maybe they are new to the game in lower level games.  Maybe they are trying out a new champion and can't seem to get the hang of it.  Don't be snotty about it, but ask if they are new to the champ or game.  If they say yes, then give them a break.  Suggest websites with information, give small pieces of advice, or (I cannot stress the first word in this enough) CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Don't just tell them they are bad and should quit.  If you know how he/she could be doing better, tell them in a polite way.

You will always get people on your team who are not at the same skill level as you, or that just do not understand certain game mechanics, but that is no reason to start raging yourself.  Don't become one of the griefers.  Unskilled players and griefers will always be a part of the game, but you can do a lot to prevent the numbers from getting outrageously high.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garen: The Might of Demacia

Story:
Throughout Valoran, the resolve of Demacia's military is alternately celebrated or despised, but always respected. Their ''zero tolerance'' moral code is strictly upheld by civilians and soldiers alike. In combat, this means Demacian troops may not make excuses, flee, or surrender under any circumstance. These principles are espoused to their forces by unrivaled demagogues who lead by example. Garen, the valiant warrior who bears the title ''the Might of Demacia'', is the paradigm to which these leaders are compared. Thousands of great heroes have risen and fallen on the bloody battlefields between Demacia and its preeminent rival, Noxus. It was beneath their mighty banners of war that Garen first met steel with Katarina, the Sinister Blade. The infantrymen who beheld this event (and survived) commented that it seemed as though the two were locked in a mortal waltz against a symphony of clashing blades.

Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and leader of the Dauntless Vanguard, returned from this battle breathless for the first time in his career, though some speculate that this was due to reasons other than exhaustion. The plausibility of these rumors was bolstered when, in every instance thereafter, Garen seized the opportunity to encounter the Sinister Blade again. A paragon of Demacian ethic, Garen never entertained such allegations, for he knew others couldn't understand. Even simply the pursuit of a worthy opponent on the battlefield is, to a true warrior, the reason to rise each morning. The promise of one, particularly so beautifully and diametrically opposed, is the validation of his existence. 

''The most effective way to kill an opponent is to slice through the man next to him.'' - Garen, on front line strategy

Thoughts:
Garen is by far one of my favorite champions in LoL.  I main Garen, and usually tank with him, but he makes a fantastic DPS as well.  He is not the best option for tank as has no hard taunt, no slow, no stun, and sub-par initiation.  But his damage mitigation is HUGE with Courage, and he is very fast with Decisive Strike.  Garen has what is called a soft taunt; even while tanking, Garen does enough damage and has enough CC (when built right) that the enemy team can’t really ignore him.  Tanking towers is a breeze, Judgment and Decisive Strike makes it so you can safely escape if need be, and Demacian Justice is great at just ripping through injured champions.

DPS-ing with Garen is also a lot of fun.  Even after the nerf to his early game, Garen can output very high damage at low levels if paired with someone with a slow/stun/snare.  The biggest drawback with DPS Garen is that most On-Hit effects (Frozen Mallet, Madred’s Bloodrazor, The Black Cleaver, lifesteal) do not apply to Judgment; which is Garen’s main source of damage.  Auto-attacking except in lane is not a high priority for Garen.  Because of this, there are a lot of great damage items that do not do quite as much good on Garen as they would on say, Ashe.  Pretty much any crit item is good though.  IE, Atma’s Impaler, and Youmuu’s Ghostblade are all good choices.  Judgment may not apply On-Hit effects, but it DOES crit.  Judgment AOE with high crit chance, means lots of crits.  And throw a Sunfire Cape on top of that and Garen will output a TON of AOE damage.

As a melee champion, even when DPSing he has to be on the front line.  Courage will do a little to protect Garen from damage, but he still needs to be built a little tanky.  I almost always get Mercury Treads and Sunfire Cape no matter what I am doing with Garen.  This really is a very core build for him.  The synergy of these two items with Judgment is just too great to ignore, and gives very decent Magic Resist and Armor.

Overall, Garen is a fairly easy champion to play, and is easy to learn.  He is a great character to start off with, but can still hold his own in higher level play as well.  The best part about Garen, in my opinion, is that he is not a really popular pick.  When queing up a normal game, you don’t have to be too worried about someone else taking Garen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Calling champs OP is OP

THIS in my humble opinion is one of the biggest problems with League of legends.   People saying that everything is OP (Over Powered) or UP (Under Powered).   Riot has been working very hard to churn out new champs fairly often that are unique and fun to play, and they do a pretty good job.  Then we get a bunch of poor players with absolutely no idea what it means to adapt to a new game play mechanic getting completely slaughtered by the new champ.  They whine and complain, spouting word vomit over forums, in game, and everywhere else that the new champ does too much damage or he’s unkillable or something else like that.

Common situation in game after a new champ comes out:
IPlayNewChamps has slain NoobGamerGG.
[ALL]NoobGamerGG: OMG  Vayne SO OP  F—king can’t wait NERF hamer hits!  So stupud!  GG
NoobGamerGG has called a surrender vote.


And this goes on all game, all the time.  Is Vayne doing too much damage to you?  Why don’t you try not letting her shoot you 12 times in the face for no reason?  Maybe get some armor instead of stacking ONLY AD or AP items?  These players complain so hard and so often that Riot thinks this is what the gamers as a whole want to see happen.  And Riot really DOES want to make us happy.  Happy consumers will continue to consume product.  So they nerf champions, sometimes to ALMOST unusable levels (Pantheon, Twitch, and Galio are all really great examples of this).

Now, I am not saying that Riot should release their champs and then forget about them.  All champs will need balancing once they are released into general use.  Players are VERY good at finding out what something can do, and then abusing the hell out of it.  An example of this is Nidalee’s Javelin Toss.  It deals bonus damage the further away Nidalee is when it hits a target.  So players will toss that javelin and then walk straight backwards.  Probably not what Riot intended when they made this ability, but it works.  But everyone once in a while, Riot hits just a bit too hard with that Nerf Bat.  I will use Galio as the example.  I saw lots of tank Galio’s pre-12/01/10 Patch.  Since then, I have been MAYBE 10?  And none of them did fantastically.  The reason behind this is quite simple, they destroyed the one thing that made Galio such a powerful tank; Idol of Durand.  They made it do 20% less damage, cut the bonus damage in half from his being attacked, and reduced the max damage by 40%.  It doesn’t do any damage anymore.  Sure you have a short AOE taunt, but Galio is going to take heavy damage during that time and there are just much better options for the same basic effect (EX: Amumu’s Ult).

As far as I know Riot has never once made a champion COMPLETELY useless after a nerf, but they have made several champions not viable picks for a well balanced team because of these nerfs and it’s because of whiney people that cannot learn how to overcome a certain champion, or a new game play mechanic.  I would venture to say that for the most part, new champions only need very minor changes for balance issues.  This does not make a character OP, just new.

Also, since it’s relevant at the moment, I will also bring up UP champions.  This almost never happens, and complaints aren’t nearly as common (though griefing for using these champs is a MUST apparently…), but once in a while Riot releases a champ that is just cannot hold its own.  Yorick is the current good example.  He is somewhere between a carry and a tank, but cannot quite manage to do either.  He’s abilities aren’t terrible, other than his ultimate (which in my opinion is the worst ultimate in the game), but he really doesn’t bring anything to a team fight.  He does doesn’t do enough damage to be a good carry, and he doesn’t have enough survivability to be a tank.

No one is really happy with the current state of Yorick, and this is part of the reason why most champions come out a little stronger and why it makes sense to do it this way.  Other than the people that bought Yorick on the first day he came out, MOST people are going to wait until the buff/change Yorick to purchase him.  That is a loss to Riot, as no one is purchasing RP to buy their newly released champ.  But when Vayne and Nocturne came out, I had at least 1 of these champs in every game I played for over a month after they came out.  That’s a lot of RP spent.

The one positive thing that I will give out of this rant, is that League of Legends DOES have a large player base and good number of people that play this game actually do know what they are doing and do know what they are talking about (Most of the people on the high ELO Teams like solomid and CLG for example).  I have seen several good suggestions on the league of legends forums as well on how to improve game play or modify champions to make them more viable.  And these aren’t just griefers or complainers.  These are serious gamers, that really do want to make a difference and improve this game that they have spent so much time (and money…) on.  I just wish that Riot would spend more time listening to these well thought out ideas that sometimes slip between the cracks and less time listening to the hundreds of posts that read nothing more than “  ZOMGS VAYNE ES BROKED!  NERF! NERF!”

And as a last note, I love this game.  I have considered quitting in the past because of all the in game abuse that you have to suffer through if you aren’t getting fed and aren’t a super ├╝ber pro.  But I also played DOTA back in the day, and it was A LOT worse in DOTA.  Stupid is everywhere.  You just have to shrug it off, laugh in their faces, and keep going.  I do have faith in Riot, and I do believe that at some point these little issues will become smaller issues.  But I also don’t expect them to disappear entirely because that is just not realistic.

Ramble, Ramble, Ramble, Rumble, Ramble…. END.