Thursday, November 21, 2013

League of Legends: Preseason 4

Today marked the release of League of Legends patch 3.14 which marks the start of the preseason for season 4. The patch brought in a bunch of big changes to vision, supports, globals and jungling which all look to be pretty interesting and have me looking to stop playing Path of Exile 18/7 and switch back to at least some League of Legends.

First up they've changed the jungle so there are more monsters to kill and so the rewards scale based on your level and time to make it easier to catch back up if you're a jungler who fell behind. The claim is this will also allow for carry style junglers to exist again but that's what they said before season 3 and I feel like jungling was entirely about early gank pressure and not at all about farming. I doubt they'll succeed this time either but I hope they do. I think it would be good for the game if early lane pressure and late game farming were both reasonable options, but I worry that the line there is too fine and one or the other will just end up being significantly better and the 'only' way to play.

Global gold and experience from early game objectives (including local gold from player kills) has been reduced with the goal of curbing early game snowballing. I liked being able to help out the team by pushing my tower down early and I'm a little sad that it's going away but it seems like it could make pro games more interesting to watch if every game doesn't just have Caitlyn 2v1ing a lane to push down a tower.

Vision is getting changed by switching the burden of map vision onto the entire team. They're doing this by limiting the number of wards on the map to 3 per player so if you want more than that you need to get other people involved in warding. They're also giving all players a 7th inventory slot just for a vision trinket and making those free at the start of the game so everyone will have the ability to place a ward, or sweep for a ward, or scout ahead. Vision does win games so I like that they're 'forcing' everyone to get involved by making it free to start into. Maybe more people will see how good it is and buy extra wards?

Supports got drastically changed as a result of the vision change. It used to be that the support spent their gold on vision, period. Now they can't do that so much. So they changed all the supports to scale their CC up with ability power while reducing their damage from ability power with the goal of giving supports something useful to do with their new gold without just making them killing machines. They're also changing the way passive gold items work to switch up the way supports play. You can get one which encourages being near minions getting killed by some else, or one which encourages team fighting, or one which lets you last hit for your friend and they get the gold. I like this one in particular because it opens the ADC doing some harassing in lane without worrying about missing a minion because the support can go pick it off for them.

They've also announced a bunch of new features to be coming eventually. New map modes to shake things up for fun like a map where everyone has to play the same champion! They're also adding in a World of Warcraft 'dungeon finder' equivalent where you get to declare your champion and role in advance and get matched up with a team that fits your desires.

Initially my gut feeling was that this queue would take a long time to launch as people wait for supports to show up like tanks in an MMO but I'm not sure that's actually going to be the case. I frequently was in games when I was pushing to get platinum (I succeeded!) where someone aggressively wanted to play support and I suspect the new changes might make that even more true. I end up focusing too much on the situation at hand to like support very much (I have bad map awareness and like offloading that task to someone else) but I like that other people like to do it.

I can't wait for the pro season to actually start up again because I miss watching LCS games while I eat!

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