In its ongoing attempts to repair the current highly contested state of the jungle in League of Legends, Riot has taken a stab at one of the most heavily criticised champions currently associated with the role: Nidalee.
Nidalee is one of those League characters who's hard to look away from at the moment simply because she's become so notorious. She's frequently banned from individual games, according to the League-centric sites like Lolking that keep close track of that sort of information. And barely a day passes without a post imploring Riot to fix her or decrying the players who keep picking her bubbles up to the top of the game's most popular forums.
What makes Nidalee such a terror for League players? In her current form, a few of her abilities and assets can make her a terrifyingly formidable assassin character when placed in the right hands — one that can easily demolish opponents and survive on her own in the game's jungle without too much of a hassle. Chief among these is her "javelin toss," a special spear-throwing attack that removes huge chunks of a target's health bar each time it connects with an unlucky target. While Riot's recent changes to the jungle have largely benefitted tankier champions than Nidalee, meanwhile, they haven't done much to impinge upon her current dominance of the position in many games.
A new patch released today addressed ongoing concerns many League fans have had with Nidalee by chipping away at her health, of all things. The champions base health we brought down by 30 hit points, and the amount of health she gains every time she levels up was reduced by 10 HP. It's a peculiarly incremental adjustment, given how Riot itself has started to talk about Nidalee. Here's how the developer broached the topic in the patch notes immediately preceding the ones that came out today:
Let's talk Nidalee.
Nid's a polarising champion where, when she succeeds, generates more hate posts on forums around the world than most other champions combined. That said, with tank junglers picking up steam, Nidalee's got some very real challenges coming her way. Hard engage has traditionally been one of Nidalee's big weaknesses - when she can't dictate the pace of a fight by wearing down her opponents - so if big, beefy champs are constantly running at her face (and this becomes a trend), we want to see what that world looks like before taking action.
That was just two weeks ago. The current 5.7 patch is only just going into effect, so it's not clear how, exactly, players will respond to the nerf to Nidalee's health once they have had enough time to truly appreciate them. Already, however, some have begun to sound concerned about whether or not chipping away at the character's health will actually get to the core of the issues that make her such a frustrating jungler:
Today's Nidalee nerfs don't preclude the champion from receiving any future changes to her character make-up, mind you. Like anything else in League, its champions are always subject to change. But it's interesting to see Riot take such an incremental approach to character adjustments, particularly for an oft-maligned character such as this one.