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.