Twohp Goes All for One

Finally, almost a week into the new preseason, I finally played my first All for One games in League of Legends. Overall, I see some strong merits in the mode, but I also see some changes that could be made to make the game better.

Let’s start in champ select. Just like Summoners Rift you get three bans. After that, your team votes on which champion you would like to play. Outside of Teemo, Karthas and the champs you banned, everyone is fair game. Democracy is a great thing, especially when you are in the majority, and All for One Mode really emphasizes that.

If you are queuing with two or more friends then you will easily be able to play whatever you want in each game. If you are by yourself or with one other person then there is a great chance you will be playing what others want for most of the night.

Don’t worry though. Even if you are a group of three it’s not all clear sailing. In pretty much all of my games at least one person called us names for refusing to pick the champs they wanted to play. I feel like this kind of abuse is even worse in All for One because it is a little bit more of a pointless game mode if you can’t get the champ you want. Trolling, dodging and verbal abuse all seem to be common in All for One. This is kind of to be expected. For some reason the non serious game modes seem to attract just as many angry people, and even more trolls, than ranked games.

Once your champ has been voted on, and you have had 60 seconds to tinker with your Runes and Masteries, you are launched into the loading screen. Just like in Blind Pick games, the loading screen is the first time you will catch a glimpse of your opponents.

It is at this moment when you realize that your all Lux team is probably going to have some serious problems against an all Volibear composition. Yes you can snare them, but I promise you, those damn bears will keep coming back for more.

I understand that going in blind is probably the only way to ensure that one team isn’t always hard countering the other. The only annoying thing is that when you do find yourself hard countered you are stuck in that situation for at least 30 minutes.

Oh yes, unless you have managed to pick five champs that push hard or kill easily, most All for One games can take a long time. Five Volibears can rip apart a Lux, but they tend to be slow pushers until the late game.

The game play itself is the real beauty of this mode. We all know a lot about how certain champions work well together, but seeing how five of the same champion work together is new and exciting. Watching five Lux lazers cut across the map at the same time is enough to make you pause a second and just bask in that moment. Then, right after, you have five Volibears rush at you. This is also cool but kind of scary and fairly annoying.

My point is that there are a lot of cool things that happen when you get five of the same champion on a map together. I firmly believe that this game mode will keep sucking me back in until I have tried out a good number of the champs that I think would be fun to have five of.

I don’t like to complain about game types such as this without trying to think of a few ways to make them better. All for One will be no exception. In champ select, regardless of how many people you queue with, I think the champion picked should not be voted on. I think it should be entirely random or you should be presented with a random choice of several champions to choose from.

This would make it easier to play this game mode without having a pre made group, and it would hopefully cut back on a bit of the whining for people upset over their champion not getting picked. If you want to be able to vote on your champ perhaps that could be available in custom games.

The other, admittedly much more vague, change I would like to see would be shorter games. Silly modes like All for One tend to promote trolling, dodging, raging etc. If I am trying to play for fun and I end up stuck with a bunch of trolls then I want to be able to leave that situation as soon as possible.

One way to do this could be to play All for One on a smaller map, such as the Twisted Treeline. I believe the Howling Abyss is a bit too small, but having three lanes and fulls sets of towers to go through is just a bit too much. Fast games are the key to other non competitive modes, and there is a reason for that. All for One should be the same.

I have to say that I simply do not see myself playing a lot of All for One. Even if they made the changes I am looking for it took me a long time to even like ARAMs, and the only reason I like those is that they are short and sweet. Twisted Treeline and Summoner’s Rift will always be my true loves, and they will get most of my attention.

But get me with a group of friends, put a few drinks in me and suddenly All for One will likely be the game mode of choice. It is entertaining, it is fun but it’s just a bit too long and a bit too silly if I’m not already feeling a bit silly myself.

What do you guys think of the new game mode? Any champions you would recommend trying or changes you would bring in to make the game mode better? How many drinks does it usually take you to really get into the All for One spirit? I would love to hear your thoughts. Oh and for those of you who made it this far…I wouldn’t be me without finding a way to bring Thresh into things. Enjoy.

My Season Four Fears

When a new season starts I like to take note of things that I fear might happen. These fears are often based on a combination of community knowledge, looking at the proposed changes and gut instinct. As you might imagine, they do not always turn out – thank goodness. Some do, and then I can happily tell everyone I saw it coming. Let’s take a look at my fears for Season 4.

More places to ward, less wards for supports to do it with, more people yelling.
Expectations of bonus support gold transforming supports into high powered carries. Anything less = unhappy teammates.
Players yelling at supports to ward while those same players still have ward trinkets sitting unused in their inventory.
Junglers farming the new jungle all day, refusing to gank or help the team with objectives.
Traditional supports such as Soraka, Taric etc remain underpowered due to the new ratio changes.
Bushes don’t feel as good to hide in.
Twisted Treeline receives no major changes.
Riot is happy with teambuilder, leave the Honor System to die.
No effort is made to reward positive players.
Awkward Thresh nerfs
Having to learn to play more AP mids as supports
Summoners Rift has its visuals updated, frame rates fall (already see this on TT and HA)
Solo queue becoming even more toxic as more people start playing.

These are my Season 4 fears. It looks like some are already getting dealt with while others are still developing. Some of them…some of them I hope really won’t come true. Hopefully Riot keeps making this game better and turns more attention to our needs and not finding new ways to take our money. They are already quite good at that ūüėõ

What are you afraid of going into Season 4? I would love to hear what’s scaring you guys.

LoL Preseason Changes Overview

Hi everyone. With the servers going down tonight to officially bring in the League of Legends Season 4 preseason, I wanted to post this amazing summary of all the big preseason changes that my good friend Shierra and I put together.

Make sure you give Shierra at least 80% of the credit, he did the heavy writing, but I did supply some brain power. Hope this helps everyone get started come tomorrow. You will also be able to find this article and other amazing articles Shierra and I have done at eSports Nation. Enjoy!

 

With Season 3 officially closed and the rewards handed out, Riot is gearing up for a new preseason. Just like last year, they are introducing a huge number of changes to the game. Everything from new jungle camps and dragon experience changes to new items for junglers and supports.

VISION

First off, Riot has gone out and completely changed the way summoners will have vision on the map.  There are three major changes coming that affect the vision system.  Vision wards (pinks) are now no longer invisible.  This is to promote protection of these wards and to make using them more strategic. Vision wards are now permanent until destroyed by the opposing team and have five hit-points each. The cost of pinks is also going to go down, and champions are only allowed to place one vision ward on the map at any given time.

Sight wards are also getting a change. ¬†Now tentatively being known as ‚Äústealth wards‚ÄĚ, players will also have a limit on how many they can place on the map at a time. ¬†Like with the old Sight Stone, summoners will only be allowed to place three sight wards on the map at a time. If you place a fourth sight ward the earliest ward you placed will disappear. Items that give a built in ward. such as Wriggles Lantern and Sight Stones, also count towards your limit of three sight wards at a time.

Riot has also added completely new items called Trinkets. Trinkets are vision oriented items, and Riot has added an inventory slot that can only be taken up by Trinkets. They are also free and can be swapped out at the shop at any time. They can also be upgraded at level nine to either gain more power or lower a cooldown of a Trinket ability.

There are three Trinkets currently being implemented. The Sweeper, the Totem and the Lens Trinkets. Sweeper Trinkets reveal and disable certain nearby invisible objects such as wards and invisible traps, but not invisible champions, for a short time.  The Totem Trinket places a free stealth ward that lasts 1 or 2 minutes depending on the level of the Trinket, acting much like a Wriggles Lantern. The Lens Trinket reveals a nearby area of the map for a brief time, acting like the clairvoyance summoner spell. Trinkets are cool down controlled and do not count against your ward count.

JUNGLE

Riot is doing a huge overhaul of the Jungle.  Season 3 primarily consisted of junglers starting off strong but having to fall to more of a support role as games progressed to the late game. Riot wants to change this so that junglers aren’t completely reliant on a number of successful ganks and having to leech experience from lanes to carry games.

Some of the changes that they have in store start with a new jungle camp. The new camp will be placed near blue buff and the wolf camp. This is to add balance to each side of the jungle to give more experience and flow to jungle paths.

Jungle monsters are now also going to scale with champion levels.  Each time a camp spawns, the level of the camp will be adjusted to the average level of champions in the game. Bonus experience will also be given to champions who are a lower level than the camp.  The idea of this is to make farming a jungle more of a viable playstyle and to give players who might be a little behind a chance to equalize levels and get back into the game.

There are also going to be more gold flow options for junglers.  Now there isnt a lot of information about this, but Riot has stated that they are toying with some ideas of adding extra gold rewards to specific jungler items and to have the gold reward increase as the level of the jungle camps increase as well.

SUPPORT

Riot is planning on making some big changes to supports and are planning on giving them much more versatility in game.  Instead of having the AD carry obtain most of the gold income and rewards, Riot is planning on changing this to give the supports more of a chance to grow, have item flexibility and an opportunity to have a full build by end game.

To achieve this, Riot is going to increase the amount of gold income for non last hitting summoners, introduce bonus experience in the lane for players who fall significantly behind their teammates and have the ward caps and vision changes so that less gold is required as an investment for vision.  There will also be new income opportunities in the form of new masteries that grant bonus gold to shared lane players, improvements to gold generating items that reward effective support play and an increase in assist rewards for summoners who get significantly more assists than kills.

Some of the new items that are being experimented with to add more gold to a player’s pocket are the Ancient Coin, which grants gold every 10 seconds and when a nearby ally kills a minion.  The Relic Shield executes minions below 200 HP and grants gold to both the item owner and the nearest ally when the item holder executes a minion.  The ally will also be granted a small gold bonus on top of this and can make it happen twice every minute.  Finally, there is the Spellthief’s Edge, making it so that your spells and basic attacks against enemy champions grant you gold.  It will not affect the same target more than once every 10 seconds and last hitting an enemy minion disables this effect for 10 seconds.

GAME FLOW

The ‚Äúgame flow‚ÄĚ refers to how the core game functions and plays independently of specific roles, champions, items, etc. ¬†Basically, it‚Äôs everything that happens that is not directly controlled or changed by players in game.

To start, dragon will become an increasingly growing factor.  What this means is that the experience and gold reward from slaying Dragon will grow as the game progresses and it will no longer have a fixed number all game. This changes the dynamic of the mid to late game, as dragon will become more valuable as the game goes on.

Riot has also added an increase in experience given when teams that are behind in the game kill the dragon. This makes it more valuable for teams to slay the dragon if they are struggling to get back in the game. It also gives the team that is ahead more incentive to secure dragon and protect it to help keep their lead.

The rewards for destroying a turret are changing as well. ¬†Instead of a fixed global gold reward for all champions, the gold amounts will be changing depending on who helped in the destruction of the turret. The gold amount rewarded for champions not near the turret when it was taken down will also go down, but if you’re directly responsible for the turret being destroyed your champion will receive more gold than before.

The way destroying inhibitors affects the course of the game will also be changing.  Instead of having all lanes strengthened from a single downed inhibitor, only the lane of the destroyed inhibitor will be strengthened. The way game currently works is if an inhibitor goes down, that lane will spawn super minions, but the other lanes with have the base minions become stronger as well.  With this change, the lane with the inhibitor destroyed will push harder than before, but the other lanes will remain unchanged.

The bounty system will be getting a change in the way it is set up. ¬†Riot will be adding ‚Äúassist streaks‚ÄĚ, where champions that have far more assists than kills will receive additional gold for additional assists. There is also talk about changing how death streaks will be reset, and how the bounty rewards work differing from the early to mid/late game.

Lastly, there are going to be changes to the brush on the map.  The C and L shaped brushes will be getting trimmed up so that players can have visuals of the whole brush with just one ward.  In the jungle this means that sight lines will be more accessible for ward vision and anyone wanting to travel through the jungle.

There will be a dial back on some brush Riot feels creates odd fighting situations.  Some team fights were made completely one sided by a single ward being placed in a brush by a team, and that one ward turns out to be completely devastating for the opposite team.  In these specific areas, the brush will be trimmed back to still allow for sight lines to be blocked and to be tactical for melee champions, but will no longer deny vision to entire areas when unwarded.

CONCLUSION

It looks like Riot has definitely made some major changes to the game, which guarantees the way that the game plays will change significantly.  With all the changes coming this preseason, one thing is certain. The gameplay will definitely be more exciting and it will be interesting to see how many of these changes will make it to the regular season. Only time will tell.

Patchnotes: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/patch/patch-314-notes#patch-game-flow

Shierra: http://www.twitch.tv/shierra/profile

Things Madlife Does

Happy Friday everyone! I was trying to go to bed at a decent time today, but I think we all know that there is one League of Legends player whose exploits would cause me to postpone sleep to share them with you all. That’s right, it’s a video of Madlife being amazing.

See the other reason this caught my eye? Yup, it’s a Thresh play. So let’s recap. Madlife + Thresh = a very happy but tired twohp.

What can I say, these videos just hook me in ūüėÄ

What’s New with Twohp2few

You know you haven’t been blogging much lately when WordPress makes you enter your password and seems to stare at you accusingly. “Where have you been?” I can hear it say. I honestly don’t care what WordPress thinks, but I do miss interacting with all of you guys. So here’s what’s up.

After roughly¬† a solid year of searching I finally found employment, and it even happens to be in my “field.” I use that term loosely because, as a guy with a general Arts degree and a Public Relations diploma, I’m basically qualified to do anything involving talking, writing or researching.

But it is nice when I can actually use some of the things I learned in school and work at a place that will give me even just a little bit of that all mighty EXPERIENCE (roughly five months worth in this case).

Just when I thought I was done with bumming around campus, I find myself doing communications for my university. I’m actually doing communications for one of their major extra curricular events that they call International Week. It’s a fun week, and there’s lots of cool things to learn about and to see.

The days have been keeping me nice and busy, but the downside to it being my first week back to living like an employed human being is that I come home and basically collapse into my chair. I barely seem to have enough energy to game, and today is the first day I found myself actually able to string together words.

Hopefully I’ll get the hang of this in not too long, but this new beginning has given me even more respect for those of you who consistently are able to work long hours and then still write amazing blog posts – you guys are heroes!

In a few days I hope to get my sleep schedule sorted out and plan to be back on here blogging, reading and liking up a storm. In the meantime, I just want to thank you guys again for being the best blogging community a guy could ever be part of. You helped me stay strong when I wasn’t sure writing was something I wanted to do. You read my work when no company would, and you keep teaching me so many great things about life and the things that make life special for each of you.

Thank you so much everyone. You kept me writing and working and it payed off. So forgive me for taking a few days off, I hope you can understand. I’ll be back soon, and I will definitely be looking forward to everything and everyone that I have missed this week.

Why Match Making/the League System Frustrate Me

It’s that time of the year again. Season 3 is almost finished, and everyone is frantically trying to climb up the League of Legends ranked ladders. Who can blame them when a Gold level placement will earn them a nice new Elise skin along with the standard issue glory. My own adventures in ladder climbing have led to both joy and some questions being raised about the good ole match making system.

First, a little bit about me. I am not the biggest fan of solo queue. I like working with people on a team…but solo queue isn’t really that. Solo queue, as someone once adequately put it, is much more like five strangers thrown together to try and bake a pie. Everyone thinks they know how to do it, and ends up tripping over everyone else to get it done.

I have come to really enjoy putting together teams and challenging the ranked team queues. It is often quite hard to get five people together to play, so I have ended up playing a lot of the Twisted Treeline. In fact, I believe I have become quite good at threes. This made it all the more frustrating when our team, meaning myself and the two gentlemen who let me boss them around for a few games here and there, found itself soundly stuck in Silver III.

It wasn’t like we couldn’t get to the promotion series, but during those series a weird thing would happen. My guess is that the game was looking to promote us up a few divisions at once, which would have been fine by us, except that the level of competition during those promos would suddenly become ridiculously hard. We would go from stomping teams of Bronze and Silver level players to fighting teams consisting of Diamond and Platinum players.

It would have been one thing if we were consistently playing against players of that caliber, that is how you get better at this game, but we only ever seemed to hit those players when we made it up to the promos. At first I didn’t mind this “problem.” Gold is generally considered only above average in solo queue. For ranked teams Gold is considered difficult enough that you frequently find teams that have multiple Diamond and Plat players on them. We probably simply weren’t ready to ascend to that level.

Then I noticed some of the kind folks that we have played threes with before were also grinding for Gold. They had logged quite a few more games than we had and were making their final push into Gold. I expected their opposing teams to be chalk full of high level players, but I was mistaken. Instead, they were facing off again a few low Golds and Silver players. I knew I should be happy for these gentlemen, and I was because they are a great group of gamers, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit miffed that their Gold promos were involving weaker competition than our Silver II promos.

This brought up an interesting quandary for my team. We were grinding away in Silver, clearly with a decent or even very strong MMR (hidden elo), but with only a few days to go before the end of season it seemed unlikely that we would be able to grind to Gold. Recently, both of my partners had reached mid level Gold in solo queue. I am still down in Silver, but I had a thought. Maybe, just maybe, it was time to try our luck with a new team and a new set of placement matches.

The placement matches were a lot of fun. You would think that this would be a good thing, and I am never one to say winning five straight games on Morgana is a bad thing, but it terrified us (from an MMR perspective) to see that we spent each game destroying players who were primarily ranked only Bronze and Silver. In our minds, this suggested to us that the game was considering placing us somewhere in low Silver – a place we did not want to be stuck again.

Our final placement match proved to be our toughest. Two Bronze level solo queue players and one Silver player gave us a heck of a run for our money. Their Wukong got ridiculously fed, and they spent the entire game ahead in kills, but we picked our fights well and controlled the map to the point that we were able to take a gold lead and the game. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that there is no tactical thought involved in threes. As the game ended and the glorious placement presentation occurred we all feared the worst. “Is that, is that Bronze?” I stammered to my teammates. No, no it was not. It was Gold IV.

I was exuberant. Getting to Gold in threes had long been a goal of mine (as pathetic as that may seem to some of you) and this seemed to validate the idea that we really did know what we were doing. Even in the midst of this glorious moment I couldn’t help but feel like I had no clue how this happened. How had a team that was struggling with Diamond and Plat opponents just to get out of Silver III been able to sneak into Gold IV?

There is an idea out there that you should choose fame over fortune because once you have fame then fortune will follow you. From what I am seeing, that seems to be the case with ranked team placement matches. A team of all Silver players will be hard pressed to be placed better than Silver, regardless of how well and who they play. A team with a couple of Gold players on it should be able to make it Gold even if their competition is much less stiff than what they had been facing at Silver III.

I still contend we deserve to be at the Gold level. Even in Silver III we were playing well enough to be in Gold, and perhaps that was our problem. Match making was throwing us against much better teams because there was no one else for them to fight. The problem with this was that those other teams were already comfortable in Gold or Plat, and we were still trying to get out of Silver. I get that the game is trying to find good matches for people, but should the lower ranked people really still be losing 20 LP (which we were) for losing to teams several tiers higher than them?

And why were our placement matches so much simpler? Looking back, I do see that a few of the teams we fought against were ranked Gold in threes and did have a few Plats and Diamonds on them. The best part remains that pretty much every team we beat was ranked higher than our old Silver III team, and we were destroying them. Where were these teams when we were still in Silver III? Why were we playing ridiculously high level matches when there were teams much closer to our skill level we could have been playing?

Match making, placement matches etc have always had a certain level of mystery and a strong level of frustration to them. I know the odds of us ever understanding them is pretty slim, but the odds of us continuing to be frustrated by them are pretty good. I do not want you guys to think that I am in any way complaining about playing tough games. Playing tough games is how you learn, it’s what made us better. My only complaint is the fact that in a game where so much praise and compensation is given to those who rise to a certain level it seems unfair that the matchmaking system has the power to allow some teams and players to rise easily while others are left with little hope of advancement.

Maybe it is time for Riot to clarify exactly how matchmaking, placement matches, your hidden MMR, how all of that works. Would that tempt people to exploit the system? Of course it would. But it would also clearly define for us what we need to do to advance to that next almighty tier, because apparently advancing to the next tier is all this game is really about.

I hope what I was trying to get across made some sense. I have a definite idea of what I want to say but very little hard facts to back it up. This definitely ended up being more of a rant than a piece of hard reporting. To be fair, I don’t think there are a lot of hard facts that exist on this subject, which could be a problem, Riot?

Do you, my fine readers, have any interesting stories/frustration related to matchmaking, your MMR etc? If so, I would love to hear about them to get some idea of just how people feel about the current state of this system – especially with a new season fast approaching. No other game I have ever played has had such a mysterious system controlling how fast we are able to advance in it.