Season 4 is coming to popular MOBA League of Legends, so it's no surprise that Riot Games wants to spruce things up a bit before players dive in. Right now, the development team is bringing a flurry of changes upon the game to evolve, refine, and polish gameplay -- all driven by the players and their suggestions. One of the biggest things Riot has been striving to do is reduce snowballing -- this means more chances for teams at an early disadvantage to make a comeback.
A rundown of some of the bigger changes we'll see can be found in the video below, and outlined in the rest of the article, so read on!
In preparation for the new season, Riot has done quite a bit of cleaning up around the maps. Namely, brush areas have been cleaned up. This eliminates awkward spots where one ward wouldn't illuminate the whole brush, or where two champs could stand in the same brush without seeing one another.
A number of changes concerning the jungle:
- Additional jungle camp have been created near the ancient golem and wolf camps
- Adjusted jungle monsters so they scale with champion levels
- Champions who’re lower level than the monster they slay will gain an experience bonus - this will help everyone on the team stay close in levels, but especially addresses concerns with junglers falling behind as the game goes longer.
Dragon now rewards global gold and local experience based on its level, in an effort to reduce the early snowball effect of Dragon. Plus, it adds an element of mid-game comeback value. Lower level champs will gain additional bonus experience when they help slay it.
We’ve made a large number of changes to vision, including adding a new item slot for specialized vision items, per-player ward limits, and more ward options to make the vision war a more strategic part of the game and less of a raw gold race. Additionally, we saw that optimal play patterns emerged where one player was expected to shoulder the whole burden of vision in a game, and we want to re-emphasize the team nature of securing vision.
A list of changes affecting vision:
- Each player may place only 3 stealth (formerly known as sight wards or green wards) wards on the map at a time, placing a fourth ward removes the earliest placed ward
- This includes wards from Sightstone, Wriggle’s Lantern and Trinkets
- Vision wards (also known as pink wards) are limited to 1 on the map at once per player
- Vision wards now have 5 hit points and are no longer stealthed
Three trinkets are free to purchase currently, with each evolving when the equipped champion hits level nine. Here's what we know:
- A new type of item that gets its own slot
- Designed to grant/deny vision
- Once evolved, another upgrade can be purchased at the shop for gold.
Turrets & Inhibitors
Completely changed these, as well as their role as an objective for preseason.
Early tower kills often helped every lane get ahead of their opponents, nullifying the skill-testing components of the laning phase. Laning is an important part of the game experience on Summoner’s Rift, so the global gold for destroying an outer tower is going down, but the gold given to the individual players directly responsible for destroying the tower is going up. Inner turrets reward more global gold, while inhibitor turrets reward the most.
We'll be seeing as well a lowered inhibitor death timer and removed global buff to all enemy minions when an inhibitor is destroyed. Instead, lanes with a destroyed enemy inhibitor will now spawn stronger and more durable minions.
Bounties, Death Timers & Start Timers
Lastly, some changes on these systems:
- Bounties, kill streaks, and assists now have a reduced benefit of early kills until around the four-minute mark to reduce early first blood snowballing. Champions present for large numbers of assists will have an increased reward.
- Death timers, deemed too punishing, will have a few seconds shaved off
- Minions may begin spawning earlier in a future patch, with neutral monster spawn times adjusted to match. The goal? More pressure on early game strategy.
Sounds like the competitive scene could get mighty interesting in the upcoming season! Speaking of which, if you haven't heard about the new LCS player contracts, some controversial limitations have been revealed. An anti-competition clause outlined in the paperwork includes bans on several categories of games which LCS players will not be allowed to stream *AT ALL*:
- Gambling Sites: Full Tilt, TopBet, Pokerstars, Sportsbook, BetOnline, Winpalace Casino, Bet365 and any site that aids or abets the wagering of funds on a sporting/esporting event and many more
- MOBAs: Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth, Guardians of Middle Earth, Infinite Crisis, Rise of Immortals, Dawngate,Realm of the Titans, Sins of a Dark Age, Demigod
- MOBA-likes: Awesomenauts, Smite, Fat Princess, Solstice Arena, Monday Night Combat, Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes, Bloodline Champions, Land of Chaos Online, Crasher, Warlocks
- eSports: World of Tanks, World of Warplanes
- Blizzard Games: All games in the Diablo, StarCraft, WarCraft, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone franchises
This has been a great primer for what's to come in Season 4, but it hardly encompasses the massive scale of changes. For in-depth information about League of Legends, including strategy, champion, and gameplay guides, check out ReignofGaming.net, LoLPro.com, and Leaguepedia.
Posted on the official League of Legends forums, you'll also find an introduction to game flow changes in this preseason by Live Balance Designer FeralPony.