Korjak is a half-orc and is the vessel for the Nordic god, Baldr. Korjak was a Lieutenant in the Rebellion army and he nominally led the four dragovinian mortals, Gregor, Sivirdm, Stanton, and Wu, during their quest to reclaim the lost pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy. He grew to like his traveling companions more than the Rebellion leadership. After the completion of their quest he resigned his command and left with Gregor and the others to reunite the orc tribes in the east. Continue reading →
As some of you may have heard, League of Legends is coming out with a new map for next year.
The new map will be replacing Summoner’s Rift. It’s more of a visual update with additional changes to the Jungle that Riot makes every year.
First things first though! I’ve played the map and it is in fact quite pretty even on lower graphics settings.
One of the goals of the new map is to visually differentiate every zone of the map. The two bases should FEEL different.
Blue base uses a lot of straight right angles while red base uses a lot of curves. The blue minions wield hammers while the red minions wield axes.
The jungle quadrants are also differentiated. The whole upper left side now looks corrupted due to the Baron’s vile influence on the terrain. The left blue side is rocky and barren. The top red side is dry and desolate. The right blue side is ancient and mysterious. The bottom red side is lush and green.
At least in theory. My experience was that the top and bottom sides felt noticeably different than each other and different from the blue sides. Unfortunately, the two blue sides did not feel different from each other.
The jungle minions have been changed as well. The four basic old camps consisted of Wraiths, Wolves, Golems, and the Wight. Now those are Birds, Wolves, Golems, and a Big Frog. Riot gave them some madeup names that I probably won’t ever use.
The buffs have also changed. The Blue Golem is now called the Sentinel and the Red Lizard is called the Brambleback. The Sentinel is almost the exact same as the old Blue Golem. His little lizard buddies have been replaced by smaller rock buddies though.
The Brambleback looks quite different. It’s more like an animated thorn bush than a Lizard Shaman. Its little buddies have been similarly changes to little thorn bushes.
Another change was to the walls. Riot made it so the width of a wall is roughly matched by its apparent height to give you a clue on whether you can jump the wall with an ability or Flash. If its too high, you can’t! Pretty simple addition for clarity’s sake. Riot loves clarity.
Those are all cosmetic changes. Maybe they changed the buffs that Nunu gets from minions as well, but I don’t know yet. The true gameplay changes come at Baron and Dragon.
They both fight a lot differently. If you played Ascension then you already got a glimpse of where Riot hopes to take boss fights. The Ascendant Xerath had attacks with zones you could dodge out of with good reflexes. The same is true for Dragon and Baron.
Plus, both have a knockback now which will make it harder to sneak these objectives over the wall. They’ll knock you into the river at some point and the opposing sides wards will see you there if they weren’t granting vision of the pit.
Overall, the map was a great visual upgrade with very few gameplay changes. There are more gameplay changes coming, but right now those are restricted to the PBE. We’ll have to wait and see on those! Or you can check out videos on Youtube like I have.
I’m excited for the new map and I hope you are too!
One of my personal goals for this blog when I was first constructing it was to post designs for League of Legends champions, items, and game modes.
When I first read about where champions came from in League of Legends it was pretty clear that the answer was Anywhere.
Champions come from cities, farms, mountain villages, deserts, jungles, and out of the ocean. They can come from more exotic places too like the distant past or other dimensions. Kayle and Morgana come a dimension populated by angels. Lots of champions come from The Void. Malphite comes from a rock dimension. You get the idea.
So why couldn’t a champion come from an alternate dimension like Star Wars?
So there is room in League of Legends for crossover characters if Riot decides to go that route. It could be Link, Donkey Kong, Master Chief or Darth Vader who I’ll be designing today.
One issue with making a Darth Vader champion is there is already a character very similar to Darth Vader within League of Legends. That character is Kassadin.
I don’t mean similar in story or personality, Kassadin is nothing like Anakin Skywalker. I mean in terms of what that character can do.
Darth Vader has an ability to choke people from a distance. Kassadin can interrupt what people are saying from a distance.
Darth Vader has a shining lazer sword. Kassadin has a shining lazer sword.
Darth Vader can summon powerful winds (remember when that whirlwind hits Luke in The Empire Strikes Back?). Kassadin can throw out magical energy that slows people down in a cone close to him.
They even look similar!
So how do we differentiate a League of Legends Darth Vader from Kassadin?
Let’s just go through the abilities I had in mind for Vader and see how they compare.
Passive (The Imperial March): When Vader attacks an enemy champion all allied minions with an attack range within 100 of that champion will also attack that champion for the next 2 seconds. The minions will lose aggro if the target gets more than 200 outside of their attack range. This ability has a cooldown per champion targeted of 12 seconds (like Nautilus’ passive).
This ability brings in a little of the stormtrooper element of Vader’s strategies in the movies. He gets the little guys to do his dirty work. The minions still have to move in range and complete their attack animations though, so there is some ability to escape the minion assault. Plus, Vader’s minion won’t be attacking the opposing wave, resulting in the opposing wave pushing in. I’d like to say that I can predict how this passive would play out in actual games, but I can’t. Is it broken? Is it awful? I can’t say. The good news is the passive fits thematically and it is unique, making the gameplay of Vader easily identifiable, even if he’s not using his abilities.
Q (Force Choke): Vader lifts an enemy off the ground with the Force and chokes them. This is a short ranged ability, probably 500. Vader will channel for 1 second while the opponent is knocked up and takes damage over the duration. The knockup can be interrupted if Vader’s channel is broken. The target takes damage over the channel that scales off Vader’s AP and the target’s missing health. The last tic of damage should be three times as much as the other tics. The last tic is supposed to be from the target hitting the ground, so it will trigger if Vader cancels Force Choke or is interrupted. The ability refunds half its mana if it kills the target. Force Choke will have a short cooldown of about 6 seconds.
The base damage on this ability would be pretty low so that Vader either has to rely on the execute part of it or the AP part late game to get any use out of it. The knockup will be almost useless to Vader for trading in lane because he can’t do anything during the channel either. The short cooldown will allow Vader to CS with it against ranged champs that might zone him. In team fights it should be a great initiation tool, but it has the drawbacks that Vader must expose himself when using it and CC on Vader will interrupt the knockup.
W (Dark Side Fury): Vader draws additional power from the Dark Side of the Force and channels it into his weapon. His weapon crackles with purple lightning and Vader gains increased AD and attack speed for the next 6 seconds. His next auto attack is also empowered to deal additional magic damage scaling off his AP.
There were other ideas considered for this ability slot, but none of them fit the overall concept as well as a simple steroid. Throwing Vader’s lightsaber was one idea as he does that in Return of the Jedi, but Vader should be a melee champion and giving him what is effectively a ranged auto didn’t seem right. I also considered an ability called Turn to the Dark Side that taunted an enemy champion, but that really put too much CC power in Vader’s hands. Force Gale was also considered for this slot, but my friends convinced me that it belonged as an ultimate. The auto attack empowerment matches the lightning enhanced attacks and the Force Fury mechanic in the Force Unleashed games. At first I felt uneasy about this because Vader never uses lightning in the movies, but if professionals designed Vader with this ability in Force Unleashed then maybe I should too!
E (Feel the Force): For the next 3 seconds Vader uses his lightsaber to deflect all incoming ranged auto attacks, effectively dodging them. During those three seconds Vader also reveals all enemy champions within 1,500 of Vader. As this ability all but nullifies ganks it would have a long cooldown on the order of 30 to 60 seconds.
This ability is one of the chief things that all force users do in the Star Wars movies, deflect lazer shots with their lightsabers! Its one of the first things that Obi-Wan teaches Luke! Gotta include it. Force users can also sense the presence of other force users which covers the other use of the active. When Obi-wan is on the Death Star, Vader says, “I sense something; a presence I’ve not felt since…”
R (Force Gale): Vader stands still and shoots a wind gale in front of him. All enemies in the gale are pushed back 150 and a zone is established while Vader continues to channel the ability that slows enemies moving towards Vader and deals damage to all enemies within it.
This is that power that Vader used to throw a bunch of stuff at Luke in the fight before he says, “I am your father.” He also throws other stuff with the Force at other times in the movies and all the time in the Force Unleashed. Force Gale is basically a weaker form of Rumble’s Equalizer because it deals damage over time and slows in a linear area. The area in which Vader can place the Force Gale is more limited than the Equalizer though. Vader acts as one of the ends of the line. This ability could be used for damage in combination with other champions like Amumu or it could be used to zone people in a team fight.
How do you play Vader? He is an AP bruiser who is best suited for Top lane or Jungle. He could work as a Support as well. Hard to say without getting to play him.
A basic combo for Vader would be to walk to an enemy champion during laning phase and auto attack that champion. This sets off his Imperial March passive. He follows up with Force Choke while the minions attack. When the enemy champion lands, Vader hits them with a Dark Side Fury auto attack. Then, depending on the situation, Vader can give chase with his enhanced autos or retreat now that his combo is done.
In teamfights Vader provides short cooldown CC with his Force Choke. He has a strong battlefield control option with his Force Gale and in rare situations it can be used to snipe fleeing opponents. Feel the Force gives Vader a tool for fighting ADCs as well. His weakness lies in his lack of mobility. Vader never moves quickly in the games or the movies. He walks freaking everywhere all the time. While his ultimate is strong if used in the right place, Vader has to position himself in the right place. Mixing that positioning with Vader’s strong kit will separate the good Sith Lords from the great Sith Lords.
Tadah! There’s my first idea for a League of Legends champion! I think Darth Vader will play and feel quite different than Kassadin. Their laning phases are differentiated by Vader’s passive and Kassadin becomes an assassin upon getting his ultimate while Vader gains more CC to solidify his tank role. Thanks a lot to my friends who gave me feedback while I was coming up with the idea. You know who you are!
P.S. If this post has made you interested in playing League of Legends you can try it out by clicking this link.
Today I’m going to talk about the League of Legends meta.
In the everyday usage of the word, meta means something that is self-referential. But meta means something different when you’re talking about video games.
The meta of a video game refers to specific strategies used to play against other people.
The meta of a game evolves out of the rock-paper-scissors mechanics that most games use.
The meta can shift so that more people are playing rock than any other symbol, but if that happens then inevitably more people will start playing paper because paper is good against rock.
Or maybe the game designers will notice that scissors is losing more games than it should on average. The designers give scissors a buff for fighting the other symbols. The buff results in more people playing scissors and then more people playing rock because it counters scissors and on and on and on.
So what is the meta of League of Legends?
Like I said in my previous posts, League of Legends has three different lanes that shape the map.
Each lane has a set of resources that give gold, the enemy minions. Killing minions gets you gold.
There’s also the jungle monsters inbetween lanes that give gold.
So four places to get gold, but five people on each team. Not quite enough to go around.
The jungle, top, and mid lanes are what you’d expect. One person in each collects resources from that lane.
In North America the current meta is a large champion who can take a lot of hits in top lane.
The mid lane usually has a champion that can’t survive a lot of hits, but can deal a lot of damage with their abilities.
A lot of different champions work in the jungle. The North American meta for League of Legends jungle champions has been shifting a lot lately, so I couldn’t say what really fits there. In the picture above I’m a tanky jungler who can take a lot of hits and slow the other team down by throwing snowballs at them.
The League of Legends puts two champions in the bottom lane.
Because there’s two in the same place, you can’t name the lane based on the position. Instead the two positions are called Attack Damage Carry (ADC) and Support.
The ADC is responsible for shooting arrows or bullets at people. They’ve got a lot of abilities that make their arrows or bullets hit harder or reposition themselves so they can keep shooting arrows or bullets at the enemy team, but that’s the gist of the role.
The support is supposed to keep the ADC alive and provide basic utility to the team as a whole.
For example, a friend of my is playing Nami in the top left of the picture above.
Nami is a mermaid support. Her abilities let her heal her allies, trap her enemies in a bubble of water, buff her ADC’s attacks to make them slow enemies, speed up her team, and create a giant tidal wave that pushes the enemy team away.
So if Nami’s ADC is jumped on by an enemy, Nami can trap that enemy in a water bubble to save her ADC.
If someone is running at her ADC, Nami can increase the ADC’s speed and allow the ADC to slow the running enemy with their arrows and bullets.
The support’s role is so focused around keeping the ADC healthy and alive that the support doesn’t even share the gold from minions in the bottom lane. It’s expected that the ADC will kill all of the minions and get all of the gold.
So that’s the meta in League of Legends right now. More League posts to come!
If you’re interested in playing League of Legends you can give it a try using this link. Feel free to message me in game if you want to play a little with me! My name is SoapySeahorse on the North American server.
In this post I use the word champion a lot. A champion is the character a player uses within League of Legends. There are over a hundred champions to choose from. The picture above is of one of my favorite champions, Nocturne.
How do people actually play on the map for League of Legends? Why have I described all these turrets and minions and monsters?
The reason is the one of the in game currencies, gold.
League of Legends has three in game currencies, Influence Points (IP), Riot Points (RP), and gold.
IP and RP aren’t used when actually playing the game. They can get you new champions to play with or new looks for those champions. They also get you minor bonuses in game called runes.
Gold is used for purchases while actually playing the video game. Gold starts at 475 at the beginning of every game, enough for one small item.
For a bit of perspective, short games often end with each player having 6,000-9,000 gold. An average length game ends with each player having 12,000-15,000 gold. A long game ends with 15,000-20,000 gold for each player.
Gold buys items. These items can do tons of different things.
They all provide a few basic statistics, making your champion stronger in particular areas. Attack damage makes your attacks stronger, ability power makes your abilities stronger, armor and magic resist prevent a bit of damage to your champion. Health lets your champion take more damage over all. Speed makes your champion faster. You get the idea.
The big items also provide a few special bonuses. One of them lets your champion freeze in place for one second and ignore all damage during that period. Another gives extra strength to all the other players on your team. Another makes your attacks hit three enemies instead of just one. There are dozens of other cool little bonuses.
But how do you get more gold to buy items? There are four basic ways, killing things, having items that give gold, destroying towers or other large objectives, and just waiting (everyone gets a certain amount of gold per second no matter what).
First, killing things. If your champion gets the last hit to kill a minion, monster, or opposing champion, then your champion gets a certain amount of gold.
The amount of gold from kills is decided by how hard it is to kill the target. Champions give the most, followed by the big monsters at each monster camp. After that are minions, with the small monsters at each monster camp being last.
There are a few items that give you more gold just by having them. The ways they give you gold vary. Some give it when you are close to someone else who kills a minion, some give you more for each thing you kill, etc.
Destroying towers or other large objectives is the point of the whole game. Taking down one of those gives a bunch of gold to the whole team. Often the team of five people will gather up to take down a specific tower or objective.
What are the other objectives? Remember the Baron Nashor and Dragon I mentioned in a previous post? Those are the other objectives.
Baron Nashor and the Dragon are two large monsters that sit in their camps adjacent to the River. They are effectively as big as a turret and can deal nearly as much damage as one. Because of this the whole team or close to the whole team is usually required to take them down as minions will not be taking the laser shots like they do at towers.
Killing Baron Nashor or the Dragon gives the whole team a buttload of gold. Baron Nashor has the additional benefit of giving a buff to your whole team, increasing all of their statistics. This buff lasts for four minutes.
The Baron respawns after seven minutes while the Dragon respawns after six minutes.
A lot of the gameplay of League of Legends requires teamwork. I’ll describe how a team is chosen in another post.
If reading this has gotten you interested in League of Legends you can click this link to download the game for free. Doing so also gives me a little boost in game, so we’re both winners! League of Legends Signup Link
Today the focus will be on a specific part of the League of Legends map, the Jungle.
The Jungle is the space between the lanes and the river. There are four different sections of the Jungle formed by the X that the River and the middle (mid) lane create.
Each of the four sections contains three monster camps. Each section has a few names in the game. The top section is called purple top because it is close to purple’s top lane. The right section is called purple bottom (bot) Jungle for the same reason. The bottom section is called blue bot and the left section is called blue top.
The sections have other names that are used more often that refer to the specific monsters within them, so lets take a look at those.
Purple top and blue bot are mirrored and contain the same three monster camps in identical places. The central camp is the Lizard Elder and his two Lizard buddies. The Elder attacks with his nasty sword while the little Lizards shoot fire from their staves.
When a player kills the Lizard Elder they get a buff that lets them deal a little bit of extra damage every time they hit a minion, monster, or another player. This buff has a visual effect of red runes circling the player who has it. This red effect is why the section of the Jungle with the Lizard Elder is sometimes called the red Jungle. The two different red Jungles are differentiated by calling them “their red side Jungle” or “our red side Jungle.”
The other two monster camps around the Lizard Elder are the Golems and the Wraiths.
The Golems are two big rocky brothers. One is an older brother and is thus bigger than his younger brother. The Golems attack you by smashing you with their rock hands.
The Wraiths are four ghostly looking things. One of the Wraiths is bigger than the other three. The Wraiths attack by shooting out little ghost lights from their hands.
The purple bot and blue top Jungle sections are dominated by the Ancient Golem at the center who also has two Lizard buddies. The Ancient Golem is the huge father version of the two Golem brothers in the red side Jungle. The Lizard buddies are just like the two that hang out with the Lizard Elder.
When a player kills the Ancient Golem he receives a buff, just like with the Lizard Elder. The Ancient Golem’s buff has blue runes instead of red runes. The player with the blue buff can use more of their special abilities and can use them faster. The blue buff gives these sections of the Jungle their name, blue side Jungle. Just like with the red side Jungle, the two sections are differentiated by which side of the river they are on, our side or their side.
The two monster camps around the Ancient Golem are the Wight and the Wolves.
The Wight is a recent addition to the Jungle. The company that makes League of Legends, Riot Games, updates the game all the time with significant updates at the beginning of every year. 2014 saw the addition of the Wight to the Jungle along with a few other things.
The Wight is all by it’s lonesome in the Jungle. It is bigger than all the other Jungle monsters except for the Ancient Golem and the Lizard Elder. The Wight looks a lot like the Wraiths and attacks in the same way they do which is why the Wight is sometimes called the Big Wraith. I find this a little confusing because there already is a big Wraith in the Wraith camp itself. I’ll keep calling it the Wight and hoping that everyone else changes.
The Wolf camp has three Wolves, a mama Wolf and two baby Wolves. You can call the baby Wolves Romulus and Remus if you want. The Wolves attack by biting (obviously).
The monsters are a lot like minions, but different in key ways.
Minions walk down the lanes, but if attacked will follow the attacking player out of the lanes. The monsters don’t leave their camps. If you hit them and lead them away from their camp, the monsters will head back to the camp and quickly return to full health.
Minions spawn every thirty seconds. The monster camps only respawn if all the monsters in them are killed. The respawn times are 50 seconds for the Golems, Wolves, Wraiths and Wight, and 5 minutes for the Ancient Golem and Lizard Elder.
The monster camps do not respawn until all the monsters in them are killed. This allows a clever player to kill the Ancient Golem or Lizard Elder on their opponent’s side and waltz away with the buff, leaving the Lizard buddy scraps for the other team to have.
There are two more monsters on the map above, Baron Nashor and the Dragon. Those two are different than the other monster camps, so I will describe them another time.
There’s a lot more to tell you about how the map is played, so I hope you keep reading to learn it all!
If reading this has gotten you interested in League of Legends you can click this link to download the game for free. Doing so also gives me a little boost in game, so we’re both winners! League of Legends Signup Link
This is a map of League of Legends. I figured I’d bring it up to show you a few things about the game to help understand future posts.
The League of Legends map is split into two halves. The middle line is referred to as the River because in the actual game shallow water divides the map. This dividing line goes from the top left to the bottom right.
The two sides, bottom left and top right, are color coded in League of Legends. You can see the little icons on the map above are blue for bottom left and purple for top right. Because of these colors the two sides are always called blue side and purple side.
Each side has a corner deep in its territory where the base of that side is. To win the game your team must break into the opposing base and destroy the giant crystal there called the Nexus. The Nexus is represented on the map by the six pointed star thing.
The map is further defined by the three lanes. The three lanes are top lane, middle lane, and bottom lane. The lanes are marked by those helmet looking things you can see on the map.
Top lane runs the perimeter of the map from bottom left, to the top left, and then to the top right. Bottom lane runs the opposite perimeter from bottom left, to bottom right, and then to the top right. Middle lane runs on a diagonal across the map from bottom left to top right.
Every thirty seconds three groups of computer controlled minions spawn at each Nexus. One group goes down each lane. The minions of each side meet at the River and fight each other to a standstill. The actions of the people playing the game will tip the balance in favor of one side or another.
The goal of the game is to destroy the Nexus, but all those helmet looking things, called towers or turrets, protect the Nexus.
Each turret has to be destroyed in succession. An outer turret in one lane must be destroyed before an inner turret can be dealt any damage.
So why not just walk up to a turret and blow it up? Because it shoots lasers at you! That’s why!
The turrets prioritize their laser targets in a predictable way though. Taking advantage of this prioritization allows the turrets to be destroyed.
The first target of turret is always a player on the opposing team if that player is attacking a player on the turret’s team. The secondary targets are minions. If no minions are in range the turret will fire its lasers at any enemy players that come within range.
So the turrets are approached and destroyed by having minions going first and ignoring any opposing players that may be under the turret. This can be quite dangerous so a certain amount of strategy is required to accomplish it.
I’ll talk about those strategies in a different post though!