League of Explorers Card Highlights

What is League of Explorers bringing to the Hearthstone table?

“The Discover mechanic!” is the easy answer. As the Zinaar boss already showed us in a not so subtle way, Discover lets you pick between three different cards and add one of them to your hand, just like an Arena draft. Discover isn’t going to take over the game, but its a new way to gain card advantage. You play a card that has a Battlecry: Discover effect and then it trades with something. You traded card for card, but you also got a bonus card through the Battlecry.

With that said here’s a few of the cards that look the best to me in the League of Explorers adventure for Hearthstone.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Super useful if you’re building a deck for a class, but don’t plan on using that classes hero power very much. A Rogue Inspire deck for example. And if you wanted to have more Murloc stuff Sir Finley Mrrgglton can be included in a deck with these two beauties: Everyfin is Awesome and Anyfin Can Happen

Brann BronzebeardRumbling Elemental

Both of these cards will make Battlecry decks way more popular and viable. I’d wager that this will be on the level of the rise of Deathrattle decks after the release of Naxxramas.

Reno Jackson

He was released in the first wing and already has a few highlights on YouTube. Good in any control deck. Reno’s Battlecry will trigger based off the cards in your deck at the time he is played, so if you are using a deck that runs two of everything, but you’ve drawn or played one copy of each of those cards then his effect will trigger.

Arch-Thief Rafaam

Just a strong late game card. Rafaam lets you choose between three different cards and put one in your hand. These three cards are:

Mirror of DoomLantern of PowerTimepiece of Horror

Rafaam has the advantage of giving you whatever tool you need to take control of the game. His disadvantage is that you won’t be able to take advantage of that tool until the turn after you play Rafaam. Also, imagine a combination of Rafaam and Brann. Two super cards! They remain super expensive though.

Animated Armor

I saw a lot of buzz about this card being good and how it will make Mages even more untouchable. I gotta say that’s not true. Most of the time this will act as a 4/4 taunt. Just a slightly different stat allocation that Sen’jin Shieldmasta.

Keeper of Uldaman

This one functions a lot like Aldor Peacekeeper but it has an alternative use, buffing a Silver Hand Recruit up! When use that way it comes with a grand total of 5/6 stats making it one of the best 4 mana cards out there.

Unearthed Raptor

I routinely compete in a Hearthstone card creation contest on Order of the Stick’s Forums and cards like this have been suggested many times in the past. I’m glad that Blizzard has introduced the card. It’s got good stats and it should reliably have a good Deathrattle effect. Or it could be used to make Mill Rogue stronger by copying Deathlord or Dancing Swords Deathrattle.

Explorer's Hat

I don’t think this card will be particularly good, but I’m excited that it was released. Hearthstone is based off of Magic the Gathering and there are obvious similarities between the two games. Hearthstone has spells that buff creatures, and Magic has enchant creature spells. Enchant creature spells hang around as a card that is actively affecting it’s creature while Hearthstone cleans up that mess by having the effects of the spell visually appear on the card’s stats.

But what if you want to separate the buff/enchant creature from the creature after you’ve played it? that was easy enough in Magic, if you have a card that lets you do that, you move the enchant creature to a different creature. Wizards of the Coast made that process even easier with the release of equipment cards. In Hearthstone… There’s no easy way to do that and have it integrated with the game’s current mechanics.

So instead we get this janky mess! It hearkens back to the early days before Magic’s equipments were released. When Rancor and Angelic Destiny were the staple for reapplying enchant creatures. I understand Explorer’s Hat perfectly well, but it’s going to be a confusing card for novice players.

There’s a lot more cards but none that wowed me like these ones did. If you want to look at the others they are all posted here.

-GoCorral

Hearthstone Adventures: The Old and The New

League of Explorers Banner

Blizzard had released the next Hearthstone adventure and I still haven’t finished the Heroic versions of all the Blackrock Mountain bosses.

When the adventure was announced I rushed to do a few of them. Here are the decks I came up with.

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A lot of double taunt creatures in this deck help with Direbrew’s nonstop aggression. Then there’s some high attack minions to deal him damage. The Windfury card is what really pulls it together. Drop it on something like a Core Hound to deal a bunch of damage to Direbrew at once.

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Thaurissan’s challenge remains the same, you have to keep his wife alive. Only now instead of being a 1/3 she’s a 3/1. So you’re taking more damage from her each turn and she dies from just one stray point of damage. The solution? Flip-flop her attack and health with Crazed Alchemist, buff her health and heal her when Thaurissan gets all “wife-beaty,” and win in the end with the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo.

In this deck I also included a few cards to try and steal Moira. I never got the chance to use them, so I’m not sure what happens if you succeed. Let me know if you do! Either way, the minion theft cards are unnecessary to clear Heroic Thaurissan.

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For finishing off Executus and Ragnaros I give you the traditional Divine Spirit/Inner Fire deck. This one works a little differently. The idea is to kill Executus and Ragnaros in the same turn so Ragnaros doesn’t get to use his double strength hero power. The deck also has some Light Warden/Holy Champion heal combos to try and get some more minions with super high attack while sustaining yourself. Executus has 30 Health and 15 Armor while Ragnaros has 30 Health and 30 Armor. Coming up with 60+ damage in one turn might seem difficult, but this deck manages it well.

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Omokk kills a minion every turn. To get around that, we have to give him a lot of weak targets. Imp Master spawns a few and the Paladin’s hero power pumps out one every turn. Couple that with the Inspire spawning power of Silver Hand Regent and Murloc Knight and by the midgame you should be ending every turn with a board of 7 minions. The deck has a little difficulty starting because often you can’t play anything until turn 3 or 4 because Omokk will kill any minion you play by itself. If you stabilize after getting to the point where you can play some cards and hero power every turn, then you should win.

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Drakkisath has a nice thing going because he can play two cards every turn while you only get one card. So what do we do? Try to trade two for one as much as we can! Not much else to say about this deck. Getting Alexstrasza and Ragnaros are probably the most important parts to beating Drakkisath and you need them to get you a big advantage before he plays Twisting Nether. Winning this takes some luck and as you can see, a lot of legendaries.

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Defeating Razorgore means never letting his eggs hatch. They turn into 7/7 drakes once they reach 5 health. The deck has a lot of low cost minions so you can start keeping the eggs under control right away. Razorgore will build a little bit of an advantage while you concentrate on his eggs. You’ll take a lot of damage from his attacks, so the Tournament Medic is in the deck to help stabilize. Once you have enough minions the egg count will start reducing and you can slowly push back against Razorgore and win the game.

Now on to League of Explorers. The first wing is out, the second releases on Thursday, with a third and fourth wing coming after Thanksgiving.

League of Explorers has an Indiana Jones theme to it. Delving into ancient ruins to uncover forbidden treasure, trading witty insults back and forth with your trusted teammates, and battling Azerothian Nazis or something like that. All of these things and more are part of the League of Explorers.

Obviously there’s some new cards. I’ll be covering those and my opinions on them in a post later this week. For now I’d like to give some guides to beating all the Heroic bosses of League of Explorers first wing, the Temple of Orsis.

Zinaar Deck

Zinaar’s whole thing is that he has more cards and mana than you, but at the cost of giving you free stuff, specifically, a bunch of spells that cost 0 mana. To take advantage of that we make a deck that has Mana Addicts, Mana Wyrms, and Questing Adventurers in it (Flamewakers would also work). These get buffed every time you cast one of the wishes. You attack Zinaar with your buffed minions while freezing his hordes out with typical Mage freeze stuff. Easy win!

Phaerix Deck

Phaerix’s staff only makes him immune for Heroic and is a 3/8 for Phaerix while only being a 0/5 for you. A 3/8 is still killable with a Shadow Word: Pain spell though. Then proceed to do the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire nonsense. I had a perfect draw with this one where I got all three of the necessary cards in my starting hand. Phaerix had no answer for it and lost quickly.

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Not sure if Duplicate and Lorewalker Cho do anything in this deck…

This boss was a lot of fun! Instead of trying to defeat the Temple, you are trying to get out as fast as you can. You need to survive ten turns while the temple’s guardians and traps attack you. Since you don’t need to (and can’t) attack your enemy, all you need to do is survive. Freeze Mage is perfect at surviving a long time and now the deck doesn’t even need a win condition like Antonidas! There is a specific sequence event for each turn as follows.
1. Summons a 6/7. You get to draw a card or gain a mana crystal.
2. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You get to take 5 damage or flip a coin to take 0 or 10 damage.
3. Summons 2 8/8 minions with Divine Shield. A Rolling Boulder is summoned to the far right side of your board that destroys one minion to its left every turn.
4. Summons a 10/10. You draw 2 cards or gain 10 Health.
5. All minions are destroyed on both sides.
6. Summons 2 6/15 minions.
7. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You can do nothing or reduce the turn counter by 1 and let the temple summon an additional 7/7.
8. Summons a 5/9 that deals 5 damage to you and all your stuff at the end of every turn (skipped if you summoned the 7/7).
9. Summons 3 10/6 minions.
10. Survive this turn and you win!

I hope all of this helps you beat a few more of the Heroic Hearthstone bosses!

Flash vs. Teleport: League of Legends

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.

Red guy on the upper left is teleporting. Green guy on the bottom is flashing from where that bright yellow light is to where he is now.
Red guy on the upper left is teleporting into that bush on the right. Green guy on the bottom is flashing from where that bright yellow light is to where he is now.

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.

So which would you choose? Flash or Teleport?

-GoCorral

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 21

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 20

Another transitionary period post where no major events really happen, but there’s plenty of minor events! The Bwarloran Dwarves are kicked out of Halusho Forest, but they haven’t been a major player since they created the Hobgoblins. We do have the creation of Proaxium which will come to play a large role in future events (The Profiteers play a role in those events as well). I was the one who had the idea for Proaxium because previously there was no single location identified as a center of knowledge. Najar and its associated cities have a good school system, but Proaxium is the place to go for advanced education. And of course the Hykman League is growing.

Another thing to notice in this post is the drastic reduction in time scale. I’m only able to cover a 5 year period in the post because events get closer together in the third age of Dawn of Worlds and because we started to have more interesting events to fill those years.

699 NA: Trade relations expanded over the new human world. Allies and enemies were quickly made and lost as every city and organization vied for control of the old Empire. A new organization splintered off from the shadowy Brotherhood of the Living Immolation. This new organization, the Frugal Profiteers, sought to control all wealth within the Maw. They no longer cared about the resurrection of Navillus or the Najar Empire. All that mattered to the Profiteers was power. The Profiteers secretly bought up many of the mercenary companies used in the wars between the human cities. They installed Profiteer members as the leaders of the mercenaries and awaited the right time to strike.

The Merfolk and Bwarlor dominated the sea trade network that established itself across the Maw while the Hykmans controlled the Eastern Maw’s land trade and slowly worked their way into the sea trade.

700 NA: The Metal Dwarves sensed that the Shadow Lord had been shut away in his tomb. They read through the Books once more, searching for what they must do. Perhaps now the world was ripe for civilization. The Dwarves edited portions of the Book to recognize threats from outside the normal cycle. They would have to do things differently this time and they hoped for better luck in the next cycle.

The Metal Dwarves set up an outpost to teach the world the Dwarven way. Using their vast ingenuity, they built a stone island paradise in the mouth of the Maw, south of Cyflenwi. The Kenracktopar resurfaced from their ancient isolation and built schools, roads, and aqueducts aplenty upon the new land. The island and the city of great learning built upon it were known as Proaxium.

The Merfolk, upset by this brazen annexation of their land in the Maw, sent delegates to the Dwarves to resolve the matter peacefully. The Dwarves stalled the delegates with regulation, fanciful tours of Proaxium, and, if all else failed, bribes.

In the Upper Maw, the wars between the cities continued with Syluk often gaining the upper hand.

701 NA: The Hobgoblin population constantly grew. There was no real organization, only constant pressure outwards. Ancient magic protected Crodolan, The Homestone Bridge was warded, and the sea and the mountains surrounded the Hobgoblin tribes. The only open place to destroy was Shianosoth. More and more Hobgoblins began congregating around the city and eventually they came smashing down upon it. The Bwarloran Dwarves attempted to control the Hobgoblins with pleas of fraternity and alliance against the Metal Dwarves, but their cries went unheeded. The city was burned and looted. Few Bwarloran Dwarves escaped the destruction.

703 NA: After seeing the mercantile benefits of the Hykman League firsthand, the Elves of Rotandean joined the League. They built a beautiful forest garden paradise within Hykma to celebrate their new friends. The Elven Gardens became the center of commerce and politics within Hykma and by extension for all the Eastern Maw. However, this was only for the upper class. The lower class cultural center remained in Domicilius. Class tensions heightened after the building of the Gardens. The poor saw the picturesque trees and waterfalls as a symbol of wealthy oppression.

Despite repeated requests from Hykma to join the League, Farpoint continued to remain independent of the Hykman League, maintaining their own laws, culture, and army.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 22

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 20

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 19

And the new world begins taking shape. Hykma becomes a commercial center, the Najar Empire officially disintegrates, and the Dwarven Curse on the Bwarlor wears out. The Bwalor are finally able to start a civilization that could rival other nations in power. This is symbolized by the expansion of the previously small city of Balkus into a large port stop in The Maw.

We also see the Hykman League forming which will become similar to the Delian League of ancient Greek history. Cities will join, but then be forcibly prevented from leaving.

652 NA: The Twins, Alixria and Alrdia, the wiliest of the old Najaran Quintet, saw their chance for prosperity alongside Cynelle. In the days of old Najar they had been shining jewels reduced to a dull glean by long centuries of toil, war, and occupation. Now, they too renounced Navillus and declared themselves free of the old ways.

664 NA: The flame of Najar had been extinguished but many of her people yearned for the days of comfort beneath an imperial banner. An exodus from the great valley and the cities of Old Najar began, traveling east, then south down the Lower Maw towards the majestic city of Hykma, untouched by war and turmoil. With her help, refugees settled in the fork north of the Tonsil and build a new city, The Hearth, to house the culture and history of old Najar. Battered by centuries of turmoil, they too embraced peace and extended an olive branch to the mixed city of Farpoint where, removed from the turmoil of the great valley, Najaran and Dwarven kind had melded into a peaceful order.

666 NA: The Rana, almost overwhelmed by the influx of battered and tired refugees into their region, rose to the occasion. First, they constructed a place to house their great sages and the great spawning pools from whence all Rana come. On their great lake they built Pulchrito, an amphibious city of immense beauty, peace, and serenity. With their own affairs in order and under the guidance of the Monks of the Gossamer Waves, the Rana built another city, Domicilius, to the northeast, where the river splits. It was a good place, a bastion for all folk fleeing the horrors of the north and the monsters of the southern jungles.

679 NA: The city of Hykma, a refuge for the princes of old Najar and those that could sail to her shore, swollen by an influx of wealth, history, knowledge, and culture, expanded in extravagant majesty. Long friends with the Rana and happy to welcome their neighbors, both Elven and Najaran, she became a radiant gem on the coast of the Lower Maw, and in time, the capital of a new alliance between her, The Hearth, Pulchrito, and Domicilius. The new alliance was bestowed with the name, The Hykman League. Invitations were extended to Rotandean and Farpoint as well.

691 NA: The Dwarven Curse upon the Bwarlor finally ended. Only a few Bwarlor still gave birth to Dwarven children. The Bwarlor rejoiced. With trade revived on the Maw and an end to much of the turmoil of the previous wars, the Bwarlor looked to their own isle. New wealth began to congeal and soon a new city grew up from the towns. Balkus was born, a mighty port and a safe haven for those crossing the treacherous Maw.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 21

New League of Legends Map

So pretty!!!
So pretty!!!

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!

-Mister Ed

Twitch.tv Panels

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.

Panels Down There

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.

Here's what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral
Here’s what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral

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.

-Mister Ed

Darth Vader in League of Legends

For the last time! Who ate my sandwich?!?
For the last time! Who ate my sandwich?!?

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?

There’s a precedent for this kind of crossover in other games. There’s a whole wikipedia article on crossovers between video games. For Star Wars specifically, Soul Calibur IV had Yoda, Darth Vader, and Starkiller in it.

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.

Freaky helmet, evil lazer sword, dark energy coursing through him. NOPE! Definitely not a Sith Lord...
Freaky helmet, evil lazer sword, dark energy coursing through him. NOPE! Definitely not a Sith Lord…

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.

The Imperial MarchPassive (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.

Force ChokeQ (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.

Dark Side FuryW (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!

Feel the ForceE (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…”

Force GaleR (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!

-Mister Ed

P.S. If this post has made you interested in playing League of Legends you can try it out by clicking this link.

League of Legends Meta

I'm the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!
I’m the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!

My previous post outlining League of Legends was forever ago. I posted League of Legends Map Part 3 on March 22nd.

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.

-Mister Ed

Streaming Other Games

An stream interface I made for streaming Faster Than Light. Still in progress!
An stream interface I made for streaming Faster Than Light. Still in progress!

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.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed