One time while I was playing League of Legends with my friends one of our opponents asked us an interesting question, “Which League of Legends summoner spell would you rather have in real life, Teleport or Flash?”
There are a few different summoner spells in League of Legends, but Teleport or Flash are probably the best two.
What do they do? They move your champion a long distance for Teleport and a short distance for Flash.
When you calculate what the distances in League of Legends would be in real life, the distance of a Teleport spell is 227 meters (745 feet) and 4.25 meters (14 feet) for Flash.
As you can see in the picture, Flash is instantaneous but Teleport takes a little bit of time to cast. 3.5 seconds to be exact.
Teleport has an additional restriction of where it can be used, but we’ll ignore that for this thought experiment.
Both spells can only be used every five minutes.
So which would you use?
A lot of my friends first chose Teleport, but later changed their minds. It just doesn’t go far enough. 227m is only a little more than a city block. I can’t even get to the grocery store, let alone the lab where I work.
Sure I could use it every five minutes, but that doesn’t really shorten my commute by much because it only helps a block at a time. My commute takes 10-15 minutes. Teleport might shorten it by a minute or two at most.
It could be useful for vertical distances. My lab work is split into two different spaces, one in the basement and one on the third floor. With Teleport I could go instantly between the two spaces instead of trudging up the stairs or taking the scary shakey elevator.
But should I do that? Walking up three flights of stairs all the time is actually a pretty good easy of working exercise into my day. I don’t necessarily want it to go away.
Then we have Flash. One of the first things pointed out to us by the opponent who gave us this question was how Flash could be used to avoid car accidents.
Teleport takes 3.5 seconds to cast, Flash is instant. So if you’re about to be in a car accident you can just use Flash to get away, but Teleport would take too long to cast for you to react.
Flash could also be used to go up or down a flight of stairs. I could use Flash to get on my roof without having to get the ladder out.
I probably still wouldn’t want to use Flash to go up the stairs every time I use stairs for the same reason I shouldn’t be using Teleport for that. Stairs are free exercise, man!
But the car accident reason convinced me that Flash was probably the better choice.
I’ve been putting off my post about Christmas for awhile. I was busy spending time with my family during Christmas break and didn’t set aside time to write then, but I am now!
My wife and I went home to visit our families. Her parents and mine live in the same town, so its easy to see both families when we have a break. We stayed with my family this time and brought our cats, Lucky and Carmelita, along.
We got to spend some quality time with both families, chatting, going on walks, playing minigolf, and playing card games.
The big news of the break was that my wife’s uncle (my uncle-in-law? Is that a thing?) is moving to Taiwan. He’s a doctor right now. He’s in his late 50’s, but he doesn’t have any kids. It’s likely that he’s saved enough for retirement at this point, although he isn’t calling this retirement. He plans to work on something else in the future, but it isn’t clear what that is.
His wife is from Taiwan and they’ve gone there plenty of times to visit her family, so it makes sense for them to move there. She works over the internet which she can do just as easily in Taiwan as she can in the USA until she chooses to retire.
The crazy part of this whole plan was that they plan to keep some sort of residence in Nevada even though they currently live in California. It was a little confusing to us, but it seemed to be for tax reasons.
And of course the most important part of any Christmas break, WHAT PRESENTS DID I GET?!??
First, we got two huge bags to carry all the loot in, one for my wife’s stuff and one for my things. We got a decorative glass apple which we’d like to display once we move to a place with more room. Our space for decorative items is filled up in our current apartment.
We got an ice tray specifically made to produce long and thin pieces of ice to put into travel bottles. A lot of candy, some candied popcorn, and my favorite, a chocolate orange.
I got two movies, one is a favorite of mine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The other is Pirate Radio, something my dad claims I said I wanted a while back, but I have no memory of. It has a lot of my favorite actors in it though so I will most likely enjoy watching it.
I got a new iPad keyboard which I am using to write this post. It’s amazing and I love it. I got the Villainy board game that I played at Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve. I got an Imagine Dragons CD. I got a cool book, On Killing, that was recommended in the Harcore History podcasts. It’s about the costs and methods of training people to kill in modern society (soldiers mostly, but it touches on the media influence of other forms of violence as well).
I got an electric razor to give myself the 5 o’clock shadow shave that I’ve been wanting. I got a pair of bacon and egg magnets for my fridge. I got a Snow Wars t-shirt. It shows Han Solo and Chewbacca having a snowball fight, only they are illustrated in Calvin and Hobbes art style as if Han Solo is Calvin and Chewie is Hobbes.
I got a puzzle and a new pair of scissors (I did want these things). I got a new lab coat to wear at work. I got a hand blender due to a mixup on my Amazon wish list (might still use it!). I got all of the Hardcore History podcasts that are no longer available for free on iTunes (Awesome!). I got a cookbook solely for making stuff in the microwave. I’ve looked up recipes like that in the past and I’m very happy that there is a whole cookbook devoted to microwave recipes.
My wife got us a pair of shirts to wear. She got me a bread knife. I also got her a bread knife. There was a miscommunication. She got me Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods which I’d been wanting for a long time. She got me a ton of funny hats as well. I now have a pizza hat, a viking helmet, and a Poro hat (Poros are cute and fuzzy League of Legends animals).
Soooo many presents. Fortunately, most of them are small and I was able to find places for all of them. Let me know what presents you got! Or just your favorite one!
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!
I did a little bit more work on setting up my Twitch channel and I think it is close to its “final form.”
Twitch has these things called panels that hang out below the video of a channel.
Normally you’re just watching the channel or using the chat and not paying attention to what else is on the page. But what if you want to know a little bit more about this streamer?
That’s what the panels are for.
I added a little bit of basic bio info, some Disney Channel level interview questions, my computer specs, and a list of what games I play.
What’s next for the channel? Well, one of my friends keeps bugging me to wear silly hats while I stream, so that’s probably something I should do.
I still have a random frame dropping issue that I need to deal with. The easiest way to fix that is unfortunately just dropping the quality of the stream slightly.
That sounds bad, but having slightly less detail on the video is probably better than a huge ten minute section of my video having 1 frame per second.
Which brings up another issue, my internet speed. Bad news on that front as well.
There are only two significant internet providers in Davis, Comcast and AT&T. I use AT&T currently and I’ll be damned if I sign up for Comcast ever. That company is run by Satan.
But I already have the fastest upload speed available to me with AT&T. There is no way for me to boost my streaming quality except signing up for the better upload speeds offered by Comcast.
That’s just not happening. One of my friends posts a Comcast horror story every couple months. The most recent one was this guy who spent a year arguing with them on the phone for an erroneous $2000 charge. Comcast ended up calling the guy’s work and getting him fired because he wouldn’t pay their bogus charges.
Just… Not gonna get involved with a company like that.
Back to the stream! The internet speed thing means I can’t stream my League of Legends games. League of Legends eats up to much of my bandwith. If I stream at the same time the video quality will be reduced and my League game suffers some lag problems as well where I can’t react as fast to stuff in the game.
This is fine. I can get by without streaming League, but it creates another issue.
I’ve been wanting to stream my Sunday hangouts with my friends. We get together to play D&D and some video games nearly every Sunday.
The video game we play most often is League. We play at least one game every Sunday.
So if I’m streaming on Sundays, there’s gonna be this random gap in the stream when I leave to play League.
And this is also very strange for a Twitch channel. I imagine a viewer being like, “You’ve stopped streaming so you can play League of Legends? The most popular game on Twitch?”
Another option I’ve considered is throwing a switch to reduce stream quality while I’m playing League of Legends on Sunday. That’s probably a good compromise. I wish AT&T just offered better internet speeds though.
The final thing I’d like to do for the stream is to establish a weekday night where I stream every week on that night. Even if its just for half an hour I’d like to have some consistency. I think that’s the best way to build a fan base. Along with wearing funny hats.
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.
A few of my friends suggested trying to stream other games besides Hearthstone.
I am interested in doing that at some point, so I’ve been working on stream interfaces for the other games I play.
Right now I play League of Legends, Hearthstone, Faster Than Light (FTL), Skyrim, and Diablo 3.
The stream client I use, XSplit, only lets me have four different stream interfaces set up at a time. More interfaces are possible if I buy a subscription for their software instead of using it for free like I am now.
I haven’t played much Diablo 3 at all lately so that’s the one of the five I’ll be leaving out. A few weeks ago I began to see it more as hamster wheel than a fun way to spend my time and have quit playing since.
There are other hurdles for creating interfaces for other games as well though.
I’ve always found a stream to be way more entertaining if I can see the streamer’s face, but where does the face go?
I struggled a lot with that issue while making the FTL interface pictured above.
Initially I had the game filling the entire stream. I tried putting my face in the top right, but that blocked enemy ships.
I tried putting my face in the bottom right, but that also blocked enemy ships.
Bottom left blocks my ship’s power use. Top left blocks my ship’s health and crew.
Middle left worked okay, but I ran into a size issue there.
My face was either too small to matter, or it was blocking the back part of my ship.
I ended up scrapping the idea of having the game fill the entire frame of the stream video.
I wouldn’t call the picture above a final product, but it was the best way to include the game as well as my face.
There’s other stuff to add as well.
In my Hearthstone interface I added the URL address of my blog at WordPress to try and get crosstraffic. I’d like to do that for FTL as well.
I’d like a logo of some kind for FTL too, like the Hearthsteed pack logo I made for Hearthstone.
Eventually I want to add in a donation, subscriber, and follower trackers, but I’d like to establish myself more before going on to that part of the interface design.
I’m committed to keeping the interface art grounded in the game I’m streaming though.
Using edited screen captures from the game has worked for me on that, so I’ll keep doing that in the future whenever possible.