PAX Day 2: League of Legends Dominion
I left The Secret World booth in a daze that lasted for hours. Although we covered a few other games in the meantime I just wasn’t able to wake up to reality until Spunkify and I approached the gigantic sea of human masses. So much popularity surrounding one booth could only mean one thing: League of Legends had Dominion on display for the public!
After being frantically rushed around by RiotNick who handed us off to another Riot member, and then another Riot member, we eventually found ourselves inside the living wall of people staring down at a 2 story LAN super party. From there PR Manager Chris Heintz sat us down with RiotBrackhar and two other members of the press to face off with some of the general public in our first game ever of Dominion. We had virtually no time to prepare and were thrust into the match making screen where it soon became painfully obvious that the two nameless press on our team had never so much as touched a MOBA before. Our initiate team setup was:
Spunkify: Lux (AD Build)
DizzyPW: Sona (Tanky + CDR)
RiotBrackhar: AP Annie
Press2: Lee Sin
Udyr, Malzahar, Nunu, Shaco, and Janna
Needless to say this team composition was going to be brutally mangled in Dominion, and I quickly switched to Shen but was unable to find a good runeset on the account and ended up running an AD runed Shen with defensive masteries. RiotBrackhar gave our team some quick tips about what works well on Dominion. For those unfamiliar with the Dominion map, it is shaped like a massive doughnut with a jelly filled goodness pack in the center known as the Storm Shield and sugary morsels placed in a triangle on the S, NW, and NE sides of the map to offer temporary speed boosts to anyone who passes through. Fog of war hides the center of the map but the outer rim is always visible to players of both teams. The objective of the match is to capture and hold 3 or more of the 5 control towers placed equal distances apart on the outer rim of the doughnut. For each second you control that many points, the enemy’s nexus will begin to lose HP. The nexus starts at 500 HP and the first team to lose all nexus HP is defeated.
RiotBrackhar went into the match with a master plan: Send Spunk down the southern road as a distraction, attempting to force a chase with the enemy while using Lux’s incredible CC skills to delay the enemy. Meanwhile I would capture the tower closest to the base and then rush to join up with Brackhar and the other 2 to do battle for the northern most tower on the doughnut. The gates opened and off we went, and in true LOL noob style the 2 other press members followed Spunk on bottom lane, and Brackhar and I ended up in a 2v4 battle for top tower against Janna, Twisted Fate, Udyr, and Nunu. It got ugly fast.
Despite the two randoms on our team going 0/11/2 and 1/11/1 for their Kill/Death/Assist counts, Spunk, Brackhar, and I were able to utilize the bonuses on the map to keep a fighting chance. Spunk stayed just inside the fog of war and raced around the map using the speed boosts to launch Lux’s long range laser ulti to interrupt enemies attempting to capture our towers. I picked up the Storm Shield on Shen and was able to hold off 3 enemies at once thanks to my new found protection and shen’s taunt luring people into firing range of our controlled towers. The game suddenly swung from our nexus only having 120 HP left and theirs having 480 HP to a 90-200 game. At this point anyone could win!
Besides the obvious changes on the map, we also found quite a few interesting changes to the item shop that altered our gameplay. I discovered that wards were not available for purchase, turning the inner jungle into Udyr’s hunting grounds for any of my team members crazy enough to enter the jungle alone. This worked both ways though as people fleeing team fights on the outer rim would often run straight into me for an easy kill as there was no way they could know I was laying in wait unless another member of the enemy team stumbled upon me first. The map is definitely large enough that players can still go mysteriously missing so map awareness is more important than ever before.
Another new item of particular interest was the Entropy Hammer. This hammer is a legendary tier item built by combining the Phage with the BF Sword + 600 gold. Essentially it acts as a Frozen Mallet but with an active ability to 100% slow attacked enemies by 30% for 2.5 seconds with each melee strike while dealing 80 true damage over the period of the slow. This effect lasts for 5 seconds and then has a 60 second cooldown. This item on a tank when it came to ganking was the equivalent of having red buff whenever you needed it and squishy enemies were helpless to the traps we set for them. Shen in particular seemed to be a raid boss. This map is set up so perfectly for him with walls everywhere he can hop, turrets everywhere he can utilize with taunt, and the built in ability to teleport to any team fight in the map makes him an ideal choice and a likely ban in competitive matches.
Although we put up a valiant effort and I finished 12/4/3 on Shen, we were still defeated by a Nexus Score of 140-0. The game mode lasted about 18 minutes, true to Riot Game’s predictions that this is a much faster paced mode. After that we received our complementary Riot Sivir cards and got some time to walk and talk with RiotBrackhar.
We will have the full interview video eventually but I’ll share a few interesting tid bits to wet your appetite for now. Brackhar claims he is one of the biggest pushers for removing dodge from the game and confirms that dodge is really on the chopping block though not the highest priority. He also mentioned that the general office consensus is Talon is not underpowered and likely won’t be receiving any significant changes in the next patch.
He then laughed a bit about the support changes and said Soraka had been made into a real monster. When I mentioned to him the success I had been having building Sona AD via Win10Cent’s Ezona build he said he would definitely be testing it out for himself. The real irony is that angry support players are now playing their characters aggressively in early game and forcing non-support characters on the enemy team to play passively and hug turrets. He then said that there is still a lot of tweaks likely needed to be made to support characters and if the right people see to it, we might not have seen the end of the support class rework. Be sure to keep an eye out for the full Spunkify and RiotBrackhar interview later this month!