In my last article, I discussed holiday events in each of our favorite MOBA games, highlighting updates for League of Legends and DotA 2. In the last week, both League and DotA have released major updates, expanding upon their winter festivities. Here is a continued synopsis of everything going on this holiday season.
League of Legends Holiday Event
Alongside Snowdown skins, the legacy skin update, and Mystery Gift Boxes, Riot has released the Legend of the Poro King game mode, a 5v5 blind draft free-for-all on the Howling Abyss map. The game resembles a snowball fight–champions hurl poros at enemies to advance across a single-lane map. D and F key abilities have been replaced with “Poro Toss” and “To the King!” Champions start at level 3 with 1,500 gold, and they must die to buy more items. The base no longer heals champions; instead, four healing stations are spread across the map. Although the stations grant marginal amounts of health, managing them–using them and keeping enemies away from them–greatly affects the outcome of the game.
The “Poro Toss” D ability hurls a small poro across the screen. If a poro hits an enemy, players can hit D again to dash at them (like Lee Sin’s Q ability). When a champion gains ten poro hits, they summon the Poro King–a game-changing boss that topples towers, inhibitors, and bases; does AoE damage to oponents; heals AoE allies; and hurls poros in all directions. The “To the King” F ability warps champions to the Poro King when the boss is active. If used correctly, both “Poro Toss” and “To the King” can completely change the tide of a battle.
Like with League’s Harrowing event, the Legend of the Poro event comes with three earnable icons: the “Snowdown Stylin'” icon, the “Friend of the Poros” icon, and the “Champion of the Poros” icon. To claim the “Snowdown Stylin'” icon, players must win a round of Legend of the Poro King wearing a Snowdown skin. To claim the “Friend of the Poros” icon, players must win a round of Legend of the Poro King, use the king once, and tag five enemies with the “Poro Toss” ability. And to claim the “Champion of the Poros” icon, players must tag an enemy 150 times and summon the king 65 times.
Players can also buy Poro icons that come with cool in-game cosmetics. “Astronaut Poro,” “Gentleman Poro,” “Battlecast Poro,” “Dragonslayer Poro,” and “Shadow Isles Poro” all cost 250 RP (or, bundled, cost 1,000 RP). The icons resemble popular champion skins and event skins from this year; the icons reskin champions’ poros in Legend of the Poro King. (I personally prefer Gentleman Poro–but to each his own.)
The community has also released limited edition gift tags that can be printed and pasted onto presents. The League Gift Tags can be found here.
DotA 2 Holiday Event
Valve is notorious for making big promises and spending impressive amounts of time delivering on said promises (like Half Life 3, Left4Dead 3, Portal 3, Team Fortress 3, or any other update or franchise installment that ends in “3”). DotA 2, Valve’s current flagship, is no different. DotA 2 developers have been teasing a major overhaul for months. Both Diretide and The Greeviling have been (more-or-less) placeholders for a big update. In the past couple days, Valve has released said overhaul. The Shifting Snows Update (update 6.83) shuffles champions and items, cosmetically changes the map, and honors season two champions with trophies and custom teleports. Here are the highlights.
General Updates (from the official development blog)
- The ranked “All Pick” planning phase has been reduced from 40 seconds to 30 seconds.
- Ranked All Pick initial planning phase reduced from 40 to 30 seconds
- First rune spawns are now both Bounty Runes that are twice as effective (50/50 gold/xp to 100/100)
- All Illusions now deal 25% less damage to structures
- Melee and Ranged Barracks bounty reduced from 352-370 to 100-150
- Melee and Ranged Barracks now give 125 and 75 gold to each player, respectively
- Ward location to the right of Roshan is now pathable
- Fixed a ward location near the Dire ancients that could not be easily seen
- Ancient Granite Golem health reduced from 2000 to 1700
- Ancient Granite Golem now has an aura which grants 15% bonus health to its allies
- Private Lobby games now use the Captain’s Mode creep spawn timer when in All Pick
- Maximum Attack Speed increased from 500 to 600 (the primary impact of this is on abilities like Windranger’s Focus Fire and Ursa’s Overpower)
- The following abilities no longer have restrictions when cast on Spell Immune Allies: Kunkka’s X Marks The Spot, Magnus’s Empower, Treant Protector’s Living Armor, and Warlock’s Shadow Word
- The tooltips for Vanguard, Stout Shield, Poor Man’s Shield and Crimson Guard now reflect their internal proc chance instead of their legacy representation (no actual balance change)
- Vision and Fog of War can now be any numerical value, rather than specific intervals (previously it was 0, 64, 192, 320, 448, 576, 704, 800, 832, 960, 1088, 1216, 1344, 1472, 1600, 1728)
A lot of champions’ abilities and stats have been changed, too many to list in this article. Here are few highlights, though:
Axe‘s Battle Hunger has received a major overhaul. His Battle Hunger duration has been changed from 10/12/14/16 to 10. His Battle Hunger damage has been increased from 15/20/25/30 to 16/14/32/40. Cast range has reduced fro 900 to 750. Movement and slow has been changed from 10% to 12%. and Battle Hunger’s mana cost has gone from 75/85/95/105 to 75.
This is a major advantage for an already (arguably) overpowered hero. Axe players just became even more scary.
Likewise, Beastmaster has also received some major changes. He is much more balanced, and he scales better per level, making him a more effective mid-game hero. Call of the Wild now always provides a Hawk and a Boar at each level, and each now scales with each level. Hawk health has changed from 50/50/100/100 to 40/60/80/100. Hawk movement speed has also changed. Instead of 270/270/400/400, it now scales to 250/300/350/400. Hawk Day Sight changed from 500/500/1200/1200 to 700/800/900/1000. Hawk kill bounty went from 30/30/65/65 to 30/40/50/60. Boar health changed from 0/400/400/500 to 200/300/400/500. Boar base damage rose from 0/26/26/46 to 15/30/45/60. Boar attack time has shifted from 0/1.5/1.5/1 to 1.25. And boar poison slow has risen from 0/20/20/35% to 10/20/30/40%.
This update makes Beastmaster much more enjoyable, in my opinion. He has always been a weak early and mid game character. Now he feels like a more viable option in ranked matches.
Lina has also received some big updates. Attack projectile speed has risen from 900 to 1,000. Dragon Slave damage has increased from 100/170/230/280 to 110/180/250/320. Dragon slave mana cost, however, has also increased–from 90/105/125/140 to 100/115/130/145. Light Strike Array damage has been rescaled from 90/150/210/280 to 120/160/200/240, and its mana cost has risen from 90/100/110/125 to 100/110/120/130. The spell’s stun duration has increased from 1.6/1.8/2/2.2 to 1.6/1.9/2.2/2.5. And Fiery Soul’s duration has increased from 9 to 10.
This particular overhaul breathes new life into a somewhat unpopular champion. Most of her spells have gained a substantial damage boost; the new mana costs are insubstantial compares to the spells’ benefits. Lina needed an update. I’m glad she got it.
Night Stalker has received an update, too. Base attack damage has been increased by 4. Crippling Fear’s mana cost has been reduced from 90 to 50. Darkness now sets all enemy vision to a maximum of 675, rather than reducing vision by 25%. Also, the spell no longer pauses the day/night timer, has a duration of 50, and has a cooldown of 160/120/80.
Windranger has also changed a little. Powershot travel range has increased from 1825 to 2600. Powershot max damage is now dealt after 1 second instead of 0.7; it’s cast point has improved from 0.3 to 0; and the area of lingering vision at the end of Powershot has reduced from 800 to 400. Focus Fire has received an attack speed bonus, too, from 400 to 500.
A lot of players like to play Windranger. Next to Axe, Lion, and Juggernaut, she is one of the most recognizable characters in the game. It fascinates me that she has received such a major overhaul. That said, she has become even more of a reckoning force. Like Lux’s ultimate from League of Legends, Windranger’s Powershot has always been a game-changing ability. Now it is even more deadly. Even though its area of lingering vision has been halved, its damage is staggering. I am curious to see how the community adapts to her new power.
And, last and least, everyone’s favorite troll, Sniper, has received some minor changes. Shrapnel has become [more] useful. It no longer does damage to buildings, but it now has 3 charges with a 40 second replinish time, has a reduced mana cost (from 120 to 50), and a duration increase (from 9 to 10).
In short, Sniper has become more of a pest. (And I love him more for it.) Now, beside incredible range and incredible ultimate damage, he can now better manage creeps and enemy heroes with his Shrapnel ability. This throws a major monkey wrench in some players’ plans. A lot of Sniper players skip Shrapnel and improve base stats instead. Now, Shrapnel is a much more viable option. Sniper’s meta game has completely changed. It is going to be fun seeing how players adapt in the coming months.
For a complete update list, see the developer’s blog here. Almost all the major heroes have been changed or shifted in some way.Related: Column, Dota 2, eSports, Event (In Game), MOBA, MOBA Monday, Update