Tag: League of Legends

New Game Mode: Fog of Wards

Riot has recently announced the Rotating Game Mode Queue, a queue which changes every weekend. The queue will include games like Ultra Rapid Fire, Legend of the Poro King, and Ascension (You can click here to read my other article about it). But Riot plans to do more than just add previous game modes into this queue. Brand new games will be introduced to this queue, and just today they have announced their first one: Fog of Wards

In Fog of Wards there is initially no fog of war; everything on the map is visible to you right from the start, including the enemy team. You must find new strategies to win the game while knowing that the enemy team is watching your every move. Since this eliminates the use for the wards you know and love, they have been redesigned in this game mode along with every other stealth mechanic in the game:

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Vision Wards: Vision wards now blind all enemies in the area until they can manage to find and destroy them.

Stealth Wards: You can now place up to ten stealth wards at one time, creating fog of war in an area which the enemy team cannot see.

Sight Abilities: Sight abilities such as Ashe’s ‘E’ and Quinn’s ‘W’ now grant fog of war for the enemy team.

Teemo: Teemo’s passive allows him to walk around the map stealthed. When he stands still however, he is revealed to the enemy team. His mushrooms (along with Shaco’s boxes) are visible to enemies, so use them wisely!

Evelynn: Is no longer passively stealthed. Instead, she is only stealthed while in combat.

 

Baron and dragon buffs have also been repurposed. Upon killing Baron or your 5th dragon, the enemy team’s fog of war is turned back on and their wards now again give them vision. This will greatly give your team the upper hand, as you can now sneak around the map assassinating enemies who don’t see you coming.

New items are available in the store during this queue! Be sure to pick up these essential Fog of Wards items:

Fog Stone: Holds up to 10 wards at a time (The maximum amount you are able to have on the map at once)

Cloak of the Mirage: For just 2000 gold, the cloak of mirage allows you to activate every 2 minutes to create 5 decoys of yourself all standing alongside you. During this time, your opponent has no idea which is really you! – Just don’t move.

 

With the announcement of this brand new game mode, the Rotating Queue cannot be far from release. Fog of Wards looks like it will be a very strategic game and will be a favourite among many players. Who knows, maybe it will eventually get its very own queue and take over the pro scene.

Chroma Packs: Are They Worth It?

Chroma packs were released back in April of 2015 with recolours of Lucian, Blitzcrank, and other champions and skins in League of Legends. They were offered as a way to “express your style and personality in League of Legends”. But is 590 RP really a good price to allow me to be myself? That’s more than $5.00 just for a few palette swaps that no one really notices in game. Why are we paying close to the price of a brand new skin for different colours of a skin we already previously purchased? Expressing yourself in League of Legends should mean more than having a bigger wallet. I don’t know about you, but I want to feel like my new blue cloaked Lucian actually means something. I bought the skins I think look cool, now let me unlock different colours for them through actually playing the champion. As someone who buys so many of the cool champion skins when they release: Please just let us unlock their Chroma Packs through other means.

Riot has stated: “All options are still open in the future, but we’re sticking with RP-only at launch, in line with our historical approach to cosmetic content.” After a year of waiting, I hope that Riot expands on this statement and announces a new manner of obtaining Chroma Packs. Making money on a free to play game through cosmetic content that has no effect on gameplay is understandable, but give us something to strive for; Give us a goal to reach with a reward for putting so much time into the characters we love.

One of the major problems with purchasing Chroma Skins at this price is that you are paying for all three colours, while you may only like the look of one of them. If the Chroma’s were sold individually, with the price split evenly into three, someone might feel inclined to buy that colour just because they have some extra RP. This would at least rival the new Hextech Chests now being sold for a much more reasonable price. You could even perhaps combine the two features and implement Chroma Skins to be unlocked with its corresponding champion shard.

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Additionally, Chroma Skins would of course fit right in as rewards in the Champion Mastery system. With the new level 6 and 7 masteries, hopefully this is something we see. My personal hope is to unlock each colour scattered throughout the seven levels of mastery, but I won’t complain if the whole pack is just unlocked through just one of the levels. Through this method, Chroma Skins would no longer just show your opponents how much money you have by buying both the skin and the Chroma for it, but instead shows them just how much you have played that champion. Isn’t that what Champion Masteries are all about after all?

Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm implemented this method from the very beginning. Through leveling up, you unlock the different colours through playing the hero. It was however easier for Heroes of the Storm to add their Chroma’s for free since the system was in place since the very beginning. With over 120 champions in League of Legends, going through all those files is a much more daunting task, but why not start releasing them with every newly released champion? It would at least be a start.

A year after Chroma packs have been released, we have not seen much activity, but hopefully Riot is planning something. Whether they have some of the same ideas as me, I don’t know. But whatever they choose to do, I’m sure it will be better than the current system.

 

Thanks for the read! Have you bought any Chroma Skins? Do you agree with my thoughts? Do you have any other suggestions about how Chroma Packs should be distributed?

 

The Rise and Fall of Fun with Champion Mastery

League of Legends has received a plethora of updates and new features so far in Season 6. Some of the most exciting of those changes include the Marksman Updates, Keystone Masteries, the new Champion Select, and most recently, Clubs and Hextech Crafting. But as of just a couple of weeks, the addition of Champion Mastery in all game modes became the most intriguing. Champion Masteries have been a huge deal for me ever since their release almost a year ago now. This was a feature I longed for ever since starting the game in Season 2. Later featured in other newer MOBAs such as Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm and Hi-Rez Studios’ Smite, I knew this feature was to come eventually.

Unfortunately, Champion Mastery was only available in Summoner’s Rift. So in pursuit of that sense of progression I seek in the games I play, that became the only thing I was interested in. Game modes I had previously enjoyed playing with my friends – ARAM with one friend and Twisted Treeline with another two – were not so fun to me anymore. Without the progression I now began to know from Champion Masteries, I felt little reward for winning in any other type of game. Had Champion Masteries, a feature I had waited so anxiously for actually ruined the true meaning of the game for me? The only thing I could do now was wait patiently for the announcement that was soon to come.

10 months since the release of Champion Mastery, that long awaited announcement finally came… And with even more exciting news than expected! Not only will I now be able to earn champion mastery in ARAM and Twisted Treeline, but also in game modes like One For All, Legend of the Poro King, and even the most popular among them, Ultra Rapid Fire; what’s more, these game modes will now be on a regular rotating schedule called the Rotating Game Mode Queue.  This queue will fully support Hextech crafting, allowing us to earn chests and keys depending on our mastery score.

The Rotating Game Mode Queue will be available for players on weekends and will change each week, adding something fresh to the game for those bored with doing the same thing. With this new queue Mastery levels 6 and 7 are sure to follow, so save up your champion shards! Collecting the shard of a champion through the new Hextech Crafting system allows you to unlock one additional mastery level for each shard.

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Champion Mastery has added a whole new way of progression in League of Legends. It has its flaws at the moment, but Riot is working hard to change and improve all of them so that everyone can enjoy the game as intended. These are just a few of the changes coming in the next month, but I can already see the game improving and even reaching new levels of fun it has not been able to reach previously.

These are just my opinions on the coming changes to League. What are yours? What are you looking forward to? What are you dreading? Let us know!

The Business of Team Management

So, you want to make a competitive eSports team. Where do you start? How do you run it? Why should you care? These are just some of the questions I would like to try and answer.

Professional eSports teams are ran very similarly to professional sports teams. For the sake of this article, I will be looking at hockey teams as an example because we are in Canada, and that’s what we do. Sports teams are businesses, plain and simple. Their main purpose is to make money. They do that by providing a service, which is entertainment. This means that a successful team is first and foremost, entertaining. In hockey, the most entertaining things to watch are big complex plays, executed by skilled players who can almost dance with the puck. But teams can be successful even if they aren’t the most skilled. This is why the position of enforcer exists, or why butterfly is the most popular goalie stance. People enjoy watching players hurl themselves at other players, creating drama and conflict. It’s entertaining. So how does this translate to your eSports team?

If you treat your team like a business, it’ll help set you up for success later. As you approach the different areas of your team, it needs to be thought of as a business owner. Let’s start with players. Who will they be? If you want to be successful within a league, you need to think skill and entertainment. So you will hold tryouts, treating each tryout as if it’s an interview. What can this person bring to the team? Are they extremely skilled? Do they perform in an entertaining way, perhaps choosing champions or cards that aren’t particularly strong in the meta, but seem to be effective within their playstyle? Are they a team player, someone who can communicate well, compromise and adapt? Do they show leadership or strategic understanding? Do they display creativity, something extremely useful when trying to think “outside the meta” and catching people off guard? All of these attributes come into play for a skilled and entertaining team. Lastly, and arguably the most important attribute you will be looking for, is commitment. Just like any business, your players need to dedicate their time if they want to get hired. What use is an extremely skilled player if they never show up?

This leads us to practices. They need to be scheduled, and regular. Remember, your team is a business, and if you don’t put the work in, the business cannot produce its services. If no one shows up to make the pizza, there is no pizza to be sold. How much your team puts in is what it will get out. Practices are what your team does. Think of practice as the Monday to Friday, with games being the weekly inspection. Your job isn’t to work only the day of the weekly inspection. Your job is to work every day. A hockey team is good, not because of the players, but because of the team as a whole. They gel, they encourage, and they help each other improve. Even single player teams do this. Starcraft teams will share their strats among the team and help point out weaknesses. The idea is that every team member is just as good as the rest, so when a competition comes, if one player hits an unlucky streak, there are still three or four who can keep going. So practice, and practice more. While practicing, experiment. This leads to the next business concept. Meetings.

Yes, you should have meetings. These are your review sessions, where you look at your past games and performances and brainstorm how you and your team can improve. This is also where you talk about upcoming games and teams you may be facing, what research needs to be done, and possible strategies to overcome them. You then take everything you talked about in your meetings, and apply that to your practices. Communication is key in every business. Talk about what you think is working as a team, and what can be worked on. These meetings are also where the business concept of Research and Development comes in. Talk about upcoming patches, how they might affect the meta. What are other teams doing and how is it working for them? Come up with some crazy ideas. Brainstorm about champion comps, item builds, and strategies. Then take all of that and bring it into your practices. Write down the things you want to test, and schedule a practice to do so. This guarantees that you will be trying new things and shaking it up. If it didn’t work, you now carry that knowledge with you. Meetings and communication as a team are just as important as any other aspect. How can a ship sail without an understanding of its surroundings and a plan to overcome them? So, what do you do now that you have this all figured out?

Now that you are confident that you can deliver your product (entertainment) to the masses, how do you go about marketing yourself? A business’s success is based off of three pillars: quality of product, who knows about the product, and how you treat those people. At this point, you should already have quality down by virtue of your practice and players. Marketing can help with the rest. As such, you need to start worrying about branding and image. How the public views you is just as important as the product you are selling. You need to advertise yourself. In sports, the way to do that is similar to any other business. Websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Twitch is obviously a great medium for eSports teams. You want to cultivate a following. This advertising is strengthened by a well-designed brand. A professional logo and website will go a long way to legitimizing your team in the eyes of the masses. Marketing advertises your product to fans. That product is entertainment. These advertising mediums are great, because they also allow you to interact with your fans/customers. Your brand is what customers will attach to. It’s not really the team, it’s the brand. That’s why hockey teams can switch up rosters, coaches, and GMs so much, because people attach to brands. If you take the time to create a strong brand for yourself, your business will have longevity. People will stay loyal to the brand even when the product might start to waver. This also leads us to diversification.

Now that your team and brand are established, and you are delivering your product well, it might be time to expand and diversify your product offering. Look at starting up teams for other games, under the same brand. Coke has Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke etc. Esports teams do the same. TSM has a Heroes of the Storm team, a Counter Strike team, Super Smash Bros. players, and their original LCS team. Not only that, but they also have teams in different leagues. By this point you might be discovering that your business is no longer a team, it’s a brand. Once you have a brand, you can start making the switch from amateur to professional. I’m not talking about skill level, I’m talking about monetization. People want to support the brand by showing people who they root for. Merchandising and other services are now open to you as a brand, which in turn allows you to start paying your players, which will encourage better performances, which will increase the quality of your product, which will help strengthen your brand, which will help you sell more merchandise… I think you see where this is going. Since you treated your team like a business from the get go, the transition from amateur to professional will be relatively smooth. You have been thinking professionally the whole time. From hiring, and possibly having to fire employees. To managing the day to day of your employees, and ensuring your product is delivering. To research and development, meetings, and marketing.

Does this mean that running a team is boring? Absolutely not! Just because the concepts translate appropriately, doesn’t mean it’s not fun. But it does take hard work. Success takes work, dedication, and commitment. Don’t go into it expecting much, unless you and your players are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to be successful. I would absolutely say that you shouldn’t go into it unless you have the passion and drive to push you forward. Passion means you will have fun in your work. And really, isn’t that what this is all about anyways? Having fun?

 

Kadins (@MrRousseaux) owns the marketing and production firm Wide Mouth Media. He is also the current President of SKL. More importantly, he has been gaming since he was old enough to hold a NES controller. Professionally, he has produced and directed hundreds of WHL live broadcasts, contracted marketing services for provincial health districts, and consulted on branding for many companies in South West Saskatchewan. He’s also a total feeder.

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