Tag Archive: Riot Games

The Appearance Problem

EDIT: Riot, you know how to set my heart aflutter. Just today had Diana announced. I’m not going to pretend to be less angry about Zyra because the next female champion is well armed and armored (but Zyra != Diana, and I will be ecstatic for her), however…  if this is a new initiative to bring out a broader range of characters, then I can accept where Zyra went (somewhat, still not entirely cohesive). I’m eagerly watching. I have high expectations because, in the end, you guys don’t let down. I know Riot can put out phenomenal quality work.


Let me preface this with the dual warnings of vehemence and yes, once again, we’re talking about Zyra. Specifically, how flat and boring the character is because Riot opted for the ‘eye-candy’ approach instead of fleshing out the character in a meaningful way on top of her mechanics and back-story. And as a further warning, there will probably be harsh language in this post for the first time ever. Why? This is why. This is a fucking problem and you should care. But we’re not going to talk about that first. First it’s the obvious problem of Zyra’s graphical design in-game.

Now I know this first part is probably going to ruffle some feathers, but it needs to be said so pay attention. Zyra is a boring and uninteresting character. Whats even worse than that is Zyra is thematically in-game a worse plant character than a damned skin for another character. Who? Blackthorn Morgana. Yes, you read that right, and it is completely sad. A recent skin for a very old champion is a better plant mage than the plant mage Riot was trying to make.

Now, that is a pretty bold statement, so let’s break it down a little. We’re going to mostly compare the two characters in thematic sense, both with spell details and character details. No one bring up the spells themselves, it’s very obvious Zyra wins out here, however it’s the subtle addition effects where she loses to Morgana. First we’re going to the more obvious visual effects on each character. Keep in mind from here on out, I’m only referring to in-game models, not the lore, design, or mechanics of the characters just yet.

Blackthorn Morgana, Riot Inc.

Blackthorn Morgana is an obvious elemental of Nature, specifically Fall or early Winter. This is evident all through the character as the eye rests on her most prominent features, her “dress” of roots and thorns, and the wings on her back. Depending on what team you spawn on, the wings can play an even greater visual component, but for now we’ll just assume you’re looking at her from the front. Her dress of roots is constantly shifting as Morgana moves around, especially on a subtle level as the roots that comprise it slither and shift slowly drives home the feeling of a living creature. Her ‘clothing’ isn’t merely there as a covering, it becomes part of the character and brings a holistic and living aspect to what once was mere cloth and metal. This is further exemplified by her idle animation, as the tips of the roots will constantly push under the soil, as if they were searching for a place to take root and draw sustenance from.
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Playing What You Got

Thinking about what I said before, I don’t really think I went into enough detail about how you can use each of your champions moves to better your play and to get the most out of any engagement. While this is still true for junglers everywhere, it is still important for everyone to know at least some of the ways they can use their skills in non-standard ways to benefit themselves and the team. Obviously, damage skills have their own catagory, and I can’t sit here and list off all the plays some ninety-something champions can do. So instead of looking over, say, Brands E -> Q stun, we’ll go into simply using your other moves better.

First up are actually not directly tied to champion skills, but are the spells each summoner chooses before the battle begins. Some have obvious utility like Teleport being able to blink you across the map, which allows you to split push/farm/gank from fog of war/whatever, or Ignite which deals a bit of true damage as a damage over time effect and a heal reduction effect. The most obvious and well-known summoner spell for being used in a multitude of situations, and the star example to start with, is the summoner ‘Exhaust.’ Exhaust lowers evenmy attack speed, move speed, and ability damage for a short time, and you can see people using it frequently in offensive situations (exhausting a target for an easier kill) or defensive ones (exhausting someone trying to catch you). What is primarily an offensive skill can be used in other ways to save yourself or a teammate.
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Dominion is Coming

So, as some of you may know, Riot recently enabled Dominion for a few hours during off-peak times of the day to let players get a little taste of Dominion. What you may have also heard is that Dominion is absolutely bloody amazing. I’ve had a friend call it “everything Arathi Basin wishes it could be” and we both had an absolute blast playing four games before the map was pulled to prevent servers from crashing. And so here we are! This will be a first impression of the new map and items, and my thoughts on the idea overall. Alright, with that out-of-the-way, let’s get started with those juicy items.


My, my, my, Riot has gone out of their way to create some outstanding items with a flair for the insane. Just going over the small list of things I got to toy around with…

  • Ionic Spark: Probably my favorite of all the new items for any ranged carry, or anyone who uses attack-speed items. Still feels weird having a freaking bow on a dude with a 6 foot lance though. I guess he’s just really dexterous? Anyways, back to the item! Ionic Spark gives 45% attack-speed and 250 health, with a unique passive of blasting up to 4 targets with 100 magic damage. The item is better the earlier you can get it (because 100 damage means a lot more to a mage trying to break through 1000 hit points than one with other 2000), the effect is noticeable and satisfying, and overall the item is an absolute blast to use. I honestly can’t play AD Ranged in Summoner’s Rift anymore, it just feels incomplete without this.
  • The Lightbringer: This is one of those insane items you will always hate but grudging build to counter certain people. The Lightbringer gives 50% attack-speed and 20 damage, and has a special passive effect of granting vision on your target for 5 seconds, every time you land an attack. You will hate this item because it means you get to watch that person with 13 hitpoints walk away from you and live, every time. You will love this item for every time an enemy walks away with 13 hp, and then your jungler comes barreling out of the forest to rack up the kill. Vision is a powerful ally, and so is this bow!
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League of Legends: Skarner

So, this is something new I’ve been planning for a while that I’ve really wanted to get rolling. So once a week I’ll take a look at one of my favorite games, League of Legends, and talk about various things from champions to maps to meta games. This week we’re going to be starting with the most recent champion to come out: Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard.

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