Evolve or Die: What the New Season Means for E-Sports and Solo Queue

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League of Legends is about to change in a drastic way, that much is clear. Season 3 is bringing a myriad of changes to the way the game is played even more drastically than from Season 1 to Season 2. With the jungle changes and the item overhaul, Summoner's Rift will finally innovate in a big way. Sure, things will settle in eventually once people are able to decipher what works best in the new season, but more options bring more chances for innovation. Champions will become viable again or fall out of favor, particularly in the jungle and the players who are naturally more talented with the newer champions and can understand how to build dynamically will be the ones who excel.

Oh these times they are changing - What does it mean for Individual Players

Certain players are naturally gifted with certain champions. Froggen plays Anivia extraordinarily well because they just seem to 'click." This happens across the board and is understandable because each player is in their own way different and utilizes a champion in slightly different ways. So even if say HotshotGG was your pick for best Nidalee in the world it wouldn't mean he would have the same success on Jayce even though they are at the core very similar. Players can certainly learn and adapt to the changing landscape by learning to play more champions, but it doesn't necessarily mean they will be good with them no matter how many games they play on them.

Does this mean that they can't learn more than who they are immediately or already good with? Of course not, but what it does mean is that not only do players play a certain way that allows them to excel, they play certain champions as well. With the huge overhaul in Season 3, this will mean some players will rise and others will fall depending on their ability to change along with the game. The game shifts over time.

For example, you saw support jungles with heavy ganks come into vogue throughout the later part of Season 2 and more carry-oriented jungles like Saintvicious not have the same impact consistently as say Snoopeh who didn't play as well when carry jungles were in vogue. There are plenty of examples of players who excelled in Season 1 never to be heard from again in a meaningful way. Sure some of it is practice habits and more but sometimes the game passes people by. Shushei was never the same in Season 2 because the game moved away from the characters he was naturally good at and his style waned as did his interest in the game.

So what exactly does this mean? If jungles aren't able to gank as heavily or effectively early because of the jungle and oracle changes, lane dominant players will have to be contained. A player like Voyboy, who excels in being very aggressive in lane and trying to win in a 1v1 situation could enjoy even more success without having to worry about top lane getting the constant pressure it is getting. Even more so, passive players might have to learn when to ramp up aggression because they won't be able to rely on their jungle to snowball them. It's unclear exactly how the game is going to change, and probably won't be truly evident for awhile in the new season, but when the dust settles don't be surprised to see different faces on top of the world.

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Competitive teams and innovation: Bring on the Cheese

The new season is bringing not only new items and a new jungle, but a new gigantic spotlight that Riot wants to shine on as many teams as possible. The emphasis on the 5v5 ladder leading to the salaried league will bring new faces into the forefront from around the world. The game is already starting to shift. Teams have been trying things like Double Bruiser, Double Ranged AD, or even just something as mundane as GP middle and Rumble top to gain any kind of advantage in lane as they can.

Let's get one thing straight, Riot loves the direction the game is going. They love that the Asian scene has accelerated the pace of the game away from some of the farm fests we use to see for 10 or 15 minutes sometimes and into a frantic 'see hero, kill hero, push tower' philosophy. The numbers don't lie, and League of Legends has been achieving gigantic stream viewership in large part because of how exciting the games have become.

That was this season though, with old items and an old jungle that everyone had settled into. Once things kick off in a major way for Season 3, expect teams to try all sorts of crazy things to get ahead because what matters is being one of the teams that qualifies for the Season 3 salaried league. Teams innovating and playing the game differently from the norm not only wins games, but propels them into relevancy quicker than just trying to beat teams the "old-fashioned" way.

Look at Moscow 5 when they first came into the scene. They were all terrific players sure, but they worked as a unit to take the game to their opponents, particularly by controlling the jungle and buffs. They pressured even your smaller objectives as a cohesive unit, and not just a rogue jungler trying to counter you when he could. Azubu Blaze ran over the competition at the MLG Summer Arena because the teams had never seen a team push so hard so fast, and all of a sudden they were down 3 or 4 towers by 15-20 minutes and had no map vision which also gave up control. There are several ways to dominate a game, and the teams that are able to do it consistently and differently from others will enjoy a lot of success in the upcoming season

All this isn't even mentioning item changes. The new items bring about such a smorgasbord of options with interesting aura of effects that players aren't going to be able to copy each other into cookie cutter builds. Supports having the cleanse item, a top AP getting DFG to ramp up his teams burst on a specific target, and a number of different aura items could drastically change team-fighting tactics and strategies. Cookie cutter builds and everyone copying everyone else isn't going to be near as in-vogue as it is now because Riot is finally delivering the diversity needed for a game that is so dynamic in the way it plays out.

So, who will rise and who will fall in the coming season? Players will be benched and new face will grace the scene as champions fall into and out of favor. Stylistically the game is about to change in the biggest way in over a year and only one thing is truly certain. It will be absolutely fascinating to watch. So RoG'ers what do you think of the new changes will mean for the game and who do you think will rise to the top or fall off the map in the weeks and months to come?


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19

Comments

  • #17 clutz1

    I think eventually it could be a positive, but lets face it. The first 1-3 months is going to be full of players exploiting things Riot had no idea were going to be exploited. While Riot consistently puts out a fun game, and fun new champions, they also consistently overlook even small changes, like the introduction of Athenes, or many of the recent champs.

    Now imagine that on the scale of: All items revamped, massive jungle overhaul, many champs revisited, + a new champ or two. Chaos will reign, players/teams who find op items and exploits early will dominate, then by about February we will see an order established.

  • #16 ghetifal

    You know what this means? NA and Europe are screwed. Think about it. The one thing that they had over Asian teams is that they've been playing the game longer, and while there were plenty of tweaks, there were never huge overhauls for the game like there is now. Now all the creative and dedicated Korean teams get to start fresh at the same time as NA and Europe. That is scary. Oh, and I think more than ever people are going to be copying builds, just the opposite of what you say. What did Cpt Jack build? OK, done. Lilballz jungled what? Ok, standard now. People are going to be so unsure of what builds are optimal that there will be a LOT of imitation. I can't wait though. It should be fun, and if the game turns out a lot less competitive (which I've already noted there is a possibility for based on decreased importance of last hit mechanics as well as near impossibility of roaming/ganks with two red sightstones on team+Oracle nerf) Riot can always revert, although that may get more of an uproar than some of the current changes are getting from people who can't handle change. Then there are pure ragers who just want attention like Hashinshin.

  • #15 ghetifal

    I'm not saying anything until we see a few months of pro play with the new changes. I honestly think right now there are a wide variety of winning styles. The aggressive teams are exciting because of the contrast. If everyone is forced to play aggressive, it won't be as interesting when teams do, but honestly, I'm not sure what playstyle is being incentivized (not sure why that word isn't in this forum's dictionary) by these changes. We give everyone more passive gold (essentially 3 free GP10 quints) decrease the lead you can get by out playing your opponent in the CS department, make jungle tougher so junglers can't gank much (and thus are actually more screwed on gold). Really, they are more screwed, they can't really pick up assist money early, and the jungle isn't worth more gold until after 11 minutes. But who is still power jungling 15 minutes in? While your team needs help? Farming all game as though you're playing a single player PvE? But they are trying to incraese aggression? Or not? 6 free wards always up if jungler and support get red sightstone (and why not since both like hp). And oracle's is kind of huge waste of money (doesn't even last two wards duration worth). So its like both teams have map hacks so you sit in lane and don't roam, jungler just farms, everylane just farms, but you don't get a big lead by outfarming since creeps are worth as much.

    Riot, is there actually direction in mind when making these seemingly conflicting changes that on first glance make the game less team oriented and less skill oriented?

     

    Last edited by ghetifal: 11/20/2012 10:13:15 PM
  • #19 BossPikachu

    Yeah, I think the game will become a lot more difficult for junglers. But with the increased amount of wards there will be on the map, the oracle will become better as well. I think this is why they made it 5 mins for 250 gp now, instead of 400 gp for an everlasting version.

    Though, I am already really confused by all the new items, and actually fear I will have to relearn most of the game again. My main roles are Jungle and Support, and it seems these roles will get most of the changes.

  • #14 ghetifal

    Interesting article, but you have to be stuck in 2010 to think that HotshotGG is the best at ANY champion in the game. Probably worst player to make the world championships.

  • #12 Khoral

    "So RoG'ers what do you think of the new changes will mean for the game"

    I'm really happy with them actually.

    To me, these changes will make a transition from a S2 where you would build some "core items" on champions (= always the same build on a champion, already known/expected since champ select) to a S3 where you'll have to build against the enemy champions. And you'll have all the options to do so, whatever these champs take (you always have something to counter Armor, MR or Life, with efficiency).

    But that also means that you'll need a brain in S3, and not only to copy a solomid/mobafire/lolpro guide without even thinking (except maybe for ADC. But I'm waiting to test this specific part).

  • #9 PalestineBeFree

    Nice article

    cant wait for the changes >_<!

  • #8 stuffedcheesybread

    I just hope the new changes lessen the chance of top lane snowballing from jungle pressure like they claim it will. Can't wait to play and find out

  • #6 Deliq

    I just like drastic changes to be honest. Whether it is good or bad, a change always brings new stuff!

  • #5 iain

    I've risen my level to cautiously optimistic. I want to be down right excited, but Riot has burned me too many times in the past! With such drastic changes, I hope it isn't just certain strategies face rolling all over the map, and they've actually been able to maintain a semblance of balance in the game. Seems very difficult with how drastically they are changing the game.

  • #10 l3rowncow

    i agree with balance concerns.... there is no way that the game will be balanced when they release these things, or even 2-3 maybe up to 10 patches after all these changes. it's just not possible... and with so many teams trying for the riot salary league... playing on an unbalanced game.... i dont know.... i just hope riot checks EVERYTHING on a COMPETITIVE level before the game just becomes whoever gets X comp/champ/situation wins.

  • #4 Blacknsilver

    I don't think the way Junglers play will change in a major way. You are still required to gank because if you don't and the other guy does- his lanes will win. 3 winning lanes>the farm and xp you got while you weren't ganking. The only thing that will change is less junglers will be viable.

  • #7 Dyslexicon

    Except the way junglers play will change...
    Currently the jungle on the PBE offers more gold, and discourages a lot of the early ganking that you saw in s2 jungle. You say less junglers are viable, which is just not true. Trundle has been an incredibly unpopular choice for junglers in s2, but now that the new jungle hurts you more on your first clear, he seems to have something other junglers don't for the first clear- sustain that actually keeps him safe. I've yet to drop below 1/2 health on my jungle clears with trundle, which means he will be much scarier than he was in s2 jungle.
    Junglers who choose to focus on ganking will now be punished harder for messing up a gank because of how far behind it could put them compared to junglers who farm well. Sure, you could still play maokai in s3 jungle and gank a lot, but unless you're snowballing your team a lot with those ganks, you could end up putting yourself behind the enemy jungler.

    Last edited by Dyslexicon: 11/20/2012 3:00:52 PM
  • #13 ohGr

    The jungle changes in general have been favorable to most champs able to self defend or sustain. Diana's speed is unchanged, which is nice since she was already pretty quick (now one of the fastest ins3); Cho/Trundle/WW offer you early gank opportunities because of their high as hell sustain and the deemphasis on boots first to dodge their initiates; and lesser sustain champs like Hecarim are fairing better than some of the old standbys like Lee Sin and Shyvanna, who take way too much abuse currently.

  • #18 clutz1

    Quote from Dyslexicon »

    Except the way junglers play will change...
    Currently the jungle on the PBE offers more gold, and discourages a lot of the early ganking that you saw in s2 jungle. You say less junglers are viable, which is just not true. Trundle has been an incredibly unpopular choice for junglers in s2, but now that the new jungle hurts you more on your first clear, he seems to have something other junglers don't for the first clear- sustain that actually keeps him safe. I've yet to drop below 1/2 health on my jungle clears with trundle, which means he will be much scarier than he was in s2 jungle.
    Junglers who choose to focus on ganking will now be punished harder for messing up a gank because of how far behind it could put them compared to junglers who farm well. Sure, you could still play maokai in s3 jungle and gank a lot, but unless you're snowballing your team a lot with those ganks, you could end up putting yourself behind the enemy jungler.

    By the way, the junlge doesn't offer more gold now than before until after 9 minutes into the game +. The only real earlygame diff is boots are almost unusable for junglers, so ganking is less good by a lot. Also you get more passive gold. The only plus for junglers is that lane gold has been reduced, so regardless if you are farming or ganking you will be less behind laners.

  • #3 StacoOrikoro

    The snoopeh ur talking about, that was bad on ad oriented junglers in s1, was also bad with deffensive jungles.

    Snoopeh managed to get good as a player himself and this just happened during the time where everyone started playing tank junglers, so u only know snoopeh being so good on the tanky ones.

  • #11 Tuck359

    While I agree Snoopeh has grown tremendously as a player, his Amumu was always one of if not his best champions, and I don't believe it was more coincidence that he got better as the game shifted to champions that he was inherently better with.

  • #2 StacoOrikoro

    I dont fully agree withs this though.

    This champion "click" thing does not exist.

    Hotshot on Nidalee and Froggen on Anivia are that good with the champs, because they played 100 and 100 of games with them vs top players in all different matchups.

    If Hotshot played 100 and 100s of Jayce games when he started playing, Jayce would be Hotshots bread and butter champ.

    Theres is no thing that just "clicks" and says ur good with a certain champ.

    The only thing that matters are certain skills champs need.

    For example a midlane main doesnt know how to AD carry as well, because he doesnt know the long range kite mechanics that well and they are necessary skills for a good AD.

    same is skillshots.

    many toplaner might not be the best skillshorts, because they dont learn to use them with the toplane champ roster.

  • #1 OniPanda

    Nice article, very interesting.

    I'm just as impatient as you to find out what all this changes will bring to us and our way to consider and play League of Legends.

    See ya !

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