Tuesday night was a very panicky, game-filled night for us.
Not in a bad way, it was just we’d realized that the preseason League of Legends update had snuck up on us. With changes to things like currency, leveling, and the very state of the universe as we know it, we had some prep work to do.
Mind the drama.
So what got changed?
A case of the blues
When I heard about the update, most of the focus was on the changes to the rune system. It didn’t even occur to me to think about the changes in currency until Tuesday night.
What Riot did was remove Influence Points, the free currency you got just for playing, and replace it with blue essence. Blue essence had originally been hard to come by, but now you can get it for playing, and that’s a huge change.
The blue essence I’d had before the change got multiplied by 6.5 and added to my existing IP balance, which was pretty nice.
Things did get a little more expensive, but I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference in the overall game experience. For example, previously, it was going to cost me 700 blue essence to get my level 7 mastery with Nami. Now, it’ll cost 3,900.
Bit of a jump, but realistically, it’s within the boost that Riot gave; if you multiply 700 by the 6.5, you get 4,550, so I still get an extra 650 blue essence.
The new system also lets you buy some aesthetic components, like chromas and some skins, making them more readily available for players who didn’t necessarily want to spend points on the game just to get a fun new look.
Master of none
The main thing that Riot did for the preseason update was get rid of masteries. Well, sort of.
It actually combined the previous system of runes and masteries to create an all-new version that no one understands.
Before: Runes let you choose from all kinds of different power-ups to build unique pages of boosts for your characters. You had nine slots for marks, seals, and glyphs, and three slots for quintessence, for a grand total of 30.
Masteries let you choose from three categories, Ferocity, Cunning, and Resolve. These had various options for bending the rules a little to make your character more effective, like giving them a faster running speed outside of combat.
Between runes and masteries, there were so many options that it was hard to find a build that would work well with two different champions in the same role.
Now: Runes combine the boosts of former runes with the boosts of former masteries to give you five categories, Inspiration, Sorcery, Precision, Domination, and Resolve, from which you can pick two “paths” per build.
Overall, you can only pick six powers (instead of 60 points in various places), but so far they seem much more powerful.
Building the fish
The new system comes with presets for those who want to dip their toes into the waters of new League, but I decided to be brave and try to build a set for Nami.
Her first path? Sorcery. Because magical fish.
- Arcane Comet sends a comet flying at an enemy when I hit them with an ability, and although it doesn’t hit often, it’s pretty fun. It’s really just a bonus when it does hit.
- Manaflow Band occasionally refunds the mana or energy I spend on abilities, which is super helpful when paired with the Archangel’s staff because basically I can just cast forever. It’s magical.
- Absolute Focus gives me extra adaptive damage when I’m above 70% health, which I pretty much always am because I’m squishy and I’m a chicken. Adaptive damage is new to the game, and essentially means that the type of damage will change to the type that your champ already uses.
- Scorch lights ‘em up when I hit them with an ability, which I find hilariously ironic because I’m a giant fish just throwing water at them and they’re catching fire.
Her second path? Inspiration.
- Biscuit Delivery means free cookies, and cookies make you healthy. Right? I’m happy about this ability, because the original masteries I built for Nami gave her biscuits to restore health and mana instead of just health potions, and the new system got rid of that. This is the closest I can get.
- Cosmic Insight goes a long way toward cooldown reduction, which is a big deal for Nami. Learned that lesson. Never accidentally ult.
The AP problem
I’m not personally familiar with this issue, but apparently, most season changes have tilted the game strongly in favour of ability power champions like mages. This tends to make attack damage champions like Jinx, Shane’s favourite, less effective. And that’s not good.
It became pretty evident to me in the first few games we played that yes, that is the case. It’s made Nami a little harder for me to control, but it does make her more effective at healing.
I expect that eventually, as people get used to the new rune system, the imbalance will settle—but for now, it’s the waiting game.