Riot's been teasing out a ton of changes it's making to its ludicrously popular multiplayer game League of Legends this week. The biggest by far impact powerful ranged offensive units, known alternatively as "ADC" or "marksman" characters. Sounds like the bottom lane of League's map is about to become very...different.
The marksman changes are similar in intention (if not in practice) to the "juggernaut" changes that Riot made to four of League's beefy melee champions earlier this year. In both cases, Riot said that its gameplay updates were designed for two objectives. First, they wanted to liven up champions who were either at risk of becoming stale and outdated in League's current ecosystem — something that company is constantly battling against, given the fact that it's playable character pool now has a whopping 120-plus champions and is only getting bigger. Second, they hoped to bring certain champion's in-game abilities and stats closer in-line with a champion's sense of character, thematically and aesthetically speaking.
Riot's already detailed changes it's planning for 12 different marksman champions, and there could very well be more, so I'm not going to make any strong judgments until all of the reworks make their way into the main game. But a few tweaks have already started to stand out for fans.
Take Jinx, for instance. She's a ranged champion who wields a machine gun that can morph into a rocket launcher with the press of a button.
Riot's tweaking her to encourage players to get up close and personal with her minigun, rather than rely on her longer-ranged rocket attacks to keep a safe distance from team fights. From News of Legends:
Change Goals: Playing up what it means to Get Excited! as a path to success through a teamfight.Slowing down Rockets' Attack Speed so there's some tradeoff she incurs more of a tradeoff with that weapon.
Get Excited! Can now chain together and stack, increasing Total Attack Speed by 15% per stack (Movement Speed portion does not stack)Duration increased 4 >>> 6
Q — Switcheroo! Jinx now has -15% Total Attack Speed while using Fishbones, the Rocket Launcher
Then there's Graves, the gruff shotgun-wielding dude who got his own detailed breakdown on the League of Legends forums. Riot designer CertainlyT, who's working on the Graves rework, said that they're trying to make him feel like he's actually fighting with a shotgun. That means giving him two shots before he has to reload, and making those shots hit differently than other marksmen's basic attacks:
1. Graves' attack is a cone of 4 bullets whose AD ratio scales up by 33% over game time. The first bullet does 0.75-1.1 tAD (by level); extra bullets deal 33% of that. Each bullet can apply On Hit Effects, but only once per target. Graves' crits fire more bullets (8 normally, 10 with Infinity Edge), empowering him at close range to burst a target and long range to deal AoE damage.
2. Graves stores two shells at any time. After using them, he will reload before he can autoattack again. Reload has a longer delay than the normal time between attacks and is reduced only slightly by attack speed. Graves' time between attacks otherwise is reduced dramatically by attack speed.
4. Unlike other basic attacks, Graves' bullets hit the first unit they collide with.
As someone who's played a ton of Graves games over the 2015 League of Legends season, I'm both intrigued and a little scared by these changes. Giving an extra oomph to Graves' shotgun blasts sounds cool. But Graves has also already suffered for having shorter (and slower) attacks than many of his fellow marksman. Amplifying these aspects of his character could risk expanding his pre-existing weaknesses.
I couldn't write a post about marksman changes without highlighting the tweaks to one of my favourite underdog League of Legends champions, the oft-maligned big fat pus-filled zombie monster Urgot. As I wrote back at the beginning of my League adventures in March, the undead crab king has one of the most peculiar ultimate abilities (ults) in League, which lets him swap positions with an enemy champion after a short channeling period that immobilizes both Urgot and the target:
Riot's changing the ult so that it adds damage reduction, rather than magic resistance and armour:
Change Goals: Restore Urgot R's defensive steroid function later in the game so that he doesn't get wrecked so hard by all the per cent penetration floating around out there.
R — Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser No longer adds 60/90/120 Armour/MR. Now adds 30/40/50% Damage Reduction
Ideally, this would make it easier for Urgot to immobilize enemy targets in team fights so his teammates can wail on them...and also be able to keep himself alive for longer in the process so said wailing can actually take place.
Those are just three of the dozen champions being altered by this update. Changing that many characters at once is bound to be very interesting, to say the least. The marksman changes are just coming to League's public beta environment, and I'm planning to test them out there over the next few days.