You know what people say when admiring the glory of real-world teenagers: "They grow up so fast." The same goes for League of Legends characters. You just have to replace "grow up so fast" with "received a number of small but not insignificant changes over the course of many, many patches." My, how time flies!
Reddit user FlurpaDerpNess took the League community down memory lane this morning by digging up the champion spotlight for Ezreal, a mage character in the game who has the honour of being the very first champion to get a red carpet introduction:
Champion spotlights are now a staple feature that League of Legends developer Riot uses to showcase new characters — detailing for expectant players what the new guy or gal's special abilities do, and show some examples of how they'd fit into a team. Here's the one they just put out for Bard, for a point of comparison:
Just by watching these two videos side-by-side, you can already see some neat ways that Riot has changed its craft over the past five years. Gone is all the high-level talk about Runes and stuff like that. With Bard, they even make sure to show him going into battle with a special premium skin. Riot's certainly learned how play the #branding game better, I can tell you that much.
What interests me about Ezreal's original spotlight specifically, though, is what it says about the sheer amount of experience that's been stuffed into the past five years of League of Legends. Champions in League are never considered so sacred that they're immune to epic, game-changing nerfs or more subtle tweaks to their inner (and outer) constitution. Ezreal is no exception to this rule.
For starters, there's his revamped character design. His current concept art looks like this:
Looks a bit more... menacing, yeah? Less like he's actually made out of Play-Doh or belongs on the cover of a Redwall book? (Just to be clear, I think Redwall is awesome and do not mean that as a slight against the works of Brian Jacques or Ezreal. They're just from two different worlds!)
And then there were the many gameplay-specific adjustments to the guy that Riot put in place over the years. In 2013, one player compiled a then-current list of buffs and nerfs Ezreal had received in a post on Riot's League forums. These are worth noting less for their specificity than to give you an idea of the minutiae of details that fans of this game must process on a regular basis:
Base Armour increased to 15 from 12
Base Damage increased to 49 from 47
Base Mana Regeneration increased to .9 from .8
Movement Speed increased to 305 from 300
Mystic Shot base damage increased to 40/65/90/115/140 from 40/60/80/100/120
Essence Flux missile width increased to 120 from 100
Arcane Shift closest unit targeting range increased to 750 from 650
Arcane Shift mana cost reduced to 90 from 100
Rising Spell Force duration increased to 6 from 5
Essence Flux heal reduced to 70% of the damage value from 100%
Mystic Shot attack damage per cent increased to 120% from 100
Essence Flux heal amount reduced to 50% from 70%
Essence Flux attack speed buff/debuff reduce to 5/10/15/20/25 from 20/25/30/35/40%
Trueshot Barrage ability power ratio reduced to 0.7 from 1
Patch 22.214.171.124 (b)
Removed the heal component from Essence Flux
Essence Flux attack speed buff/debuff increased to 20/23/26/29/32 from 5/10/15/20/25
Mystic Shot range reduced to 1100 from 1200
Mystic Shot damage percentage reduced to 110 from 120
Arcane Shift cooldown increased to 19/17/15/13/11 from 17/15/13/11/9
Patch Season One
None (tool-tip remake)
Bug Fix (minor)
Mystic Shot attack damage ratio decreased to 1.0 from 1.1
Base damage reduced to 45 from 47.6
Damage per level reduced to 2.6 from 3
Attack Speed per level reduced to 2.8 from 3.22
Arcane Shift can no longer be cast while rooted
Mystic Shot damage reduced to 35/55/75/95/115 from 40/65/90/115/140
Essence Flux mana cost reduced to 70/80/90/100/110 from 80/90/100/110/120
Essence Flux ability power ratio increased to .7 from .6
Trueshot Barrage abiilty power ratio increased to .8 from .7
Essence Flux attack speed increase changed to be additive rather than multiplicative
Essence Flux cooldown reduced to 9 seconds from 10 seconds
Trueshot Barrage ability power ratio increased to 0.9 from 0.8
Lizard Now Grants Less Movement Speed Reduction For Ranged Carries.
10/20/30% MS reduction for Melee's and 5/10/15% MS reduction for Ranged.
(Ezreal is increadibly dependant on Lizard Buff)
Base damage increased to 47.6 from 45
Damage per level increased to 3 from 2.6
Base attack speed increased to 0.665 from 0.658
Rising Spell Force now has a particle to indicate the amount of stacks
Fixed a tooltip bug that stated Ezreal was gaining 15% per stack instead of 10%
Fixed a bug where some of Ezreal's spells were displaying incorrect text on cast
Trueshot Barrage now scales with bonus attack damge at a 1.0 ratio
Fixed a bug where Ezreal's Arcane Shot could target unseen minions such as wards
Fixed a bug where Mystic Shot was granting 2 charges of Guinsoo's Rageblade/Tear of the Goddess upon cast
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
That's it for now.
Rising Spell Force - Hitting a target with any of Ezreal's abilities increases his attack speed by 10% for 6 seconds (Max Stacks: 5).
15% — > 10%
At maximum stacks, going from 75% Attack Speed Bonus to 60% Attack Speed Bonus.
Ezreal fires a bolt of energy dealing 35/55/75/95/115 (+) physical damage (applies on-hit effects).
40/60/80/100/120 — -> 35/55/75/95/115
5 Damage less on all levels.
Range Reduced from 1200 to 1000
200 less range.
Essence Flux -
Ezreal fires a wave of energy that damages all enemy champions it passes through for 80/130/180/230/280 (+0.7) magic damage. Affected ally and enemy champions have their attack speed respectively hasted or slowed by 20/25/30/35/40% for 5 seconds.
No longer heals allies.
Ap ratio increased from 0.6 to 0.7
Mana cost reduced on all levels by 10.
Cooldown reduced by 1 second.
Attack Speed Bonus to Allies is no longer mutiplicative and is now addidative.
Ezreal teleports to a target nearby location and fires a homing arrow at the nearest enemy unit dealing 75/125/175/225/275 (+0.75) magic damage.
Range Increased from 650 to 750.
Cooldown on all levels increases by 2. 19/17/15/13/11 from 17/15/13/11/9.
Mana cost reduced from 100 to 90
Can no longer targets wards.
Ezreal channels for 1 second to fire a barrage of missiles dealing 350/500/650 plus the higher value between (+0.9) or (+) magic damage to each unit it passes through. However, it deals 8% less damage for each unit it hits (Minimum 30%).
Ap Ratio Decreased from 1 to 0.9.
Now has a 1 AD ratio.
Base Armour increase 12 -> 15
Base Damage increased from 4.7 to 47.6 (thats it?)
Base mana regeneration increased from 0.8 to 0.9 mana per second.
Movement Speed increase from 300 to 305 (thats going to help alot!)
Base Damage per level increased from 2.6 to 3 (about 7 extra damage at lvl 18)
Increased base attack speed from 0.658 to 0.665 (hardly noticeable)
What does raw data like this add up to? The poster even noted that some tweaks were "hardly noticeable," so it's not like every single thing left Ezreal fans at a loss for words. Looking back at his original spotlight, one change from the Ezreal of five years ago to the one today stands out: Essence Flux.
When Ezreal was first shown off in his champion spotlight, the narrator explained that he could use his Essence Flux ability to deal magic damage to enemy champions while simultaneously healing allies.
Now, Essence Flux just gives allies a temporary speed boost. That's still a great thing to do, of course. But being able to heal your allies in the middle of an intense team fight where every millisecond counts and everyone's health bar is dropping at a rapid clip? Well, there's probably a good reason Riot decided that the original Essence Flux was overpowered and needed to be taken down a notch. But you can't help longtime League players for reminiscing about playing as old-school OP Ezreal:
There's something sad about getting into League of Legends right now and realising that so many monumental things have already occurred in the game. I guess if I don't stop playing for the next several years, I'll be able to sound like a grizzled vet myself by...2020 or so? But that would still be playing catch-up. Like Kirk mentioned when revisiting Destinywith me at the beginning of the year, big multiplayer games develop a "shared folklore" that only becomes more intricate and insular with time.
Then again, I'm also glad I never had to run into OP Ezreal. He sounds like he was a real nightmare when placed in the right hands.