Thursday, 30 June 2011

Unavailable Servers

So, today the servers have been unavailable all day and the EU site, for whatever reason, isn't giving out updates as to the problem in English. I'm not sure why they're only updating in French (As of writing this) but it seems a bit odd to keep everyone who isn't French completely out of the loop in regards to the server status.

Regardless, I've been thinking about Mundo today. I like Mundo a lot and he's great fun to play as one of those "medium DPS tanks". He's not Trinity Tank material because he has no burst but he has some nice consistent damage if he can stand around in a group of enemies. The problem with Mundo is that he's one of the easiest champs to counter - an ignite is enough to shut him down completely and an Madred's-wielding carry will rip him to shreds. It's a real shame because Mundo is one of those champs that doesn't really feel like any other - he has fairly individual mechanics (read: fairly - I'm sure you can compare him to another if you try hard enough) and he is more than capable of carrying a team to victory if he gets fed early game.

Speaking of Mundo early game... Boy, can it be a nightmare. As with all champs that are dependant on their ultis for survivability - Mundo, Tryndamere, Swain - they're very limited in what they can do before they get it and can end up being a very easy kill before level 6. This is very true in Mundo's case and more often than not, a bad Mundo player will be dead twice before level 6 and that's usually enough to put him behind so far that he'll never be able to snowball into becoming a real threat.

Mundo's tanking style basically involves him becoming more and more threatening the longer he's allowed to run around in a team fight - the team don't want to focus him but he ends up doing a ton of AoE damage, CC reduction and enough single target damage to make him hard to ignore. He isn't a CC heavy tank like Amumu or Alistar but he gradually becomes more of a problem as a fight and game develops but, as I said, if he doesn't get the farm he needs and doesn't get a couple of early/early-mid game kills, he can be very easily focused or ignored when team fights start kicking off.

I am going to stick with Mundo in normal games because he can easily dominate and faceroll over an uncoordinated team who probably haven't seen him played a lot before but in ranked, he remains a bad pick as far as I'm concerned and probably always will until he gets a big mechanics overhaul which might end up destroying what makes Mundo, Mundo (Mundo Mundo hahaha)

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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I was not expecting that...

Holy crap! EU server stability news went apeshit tonight. We've gone from getting no information at all to being overloaded! I was literally overjoyed when I first saw the news feed on the EU site and after reading through the overview, FAQ and temporary queue fix, I actually think it's all pretty awesome.

Splitting the community in two has one huge disadvantage for me, though, and that's the language barrier it's going to create. Right now, the West EU server has a massive problem with no dominant language being universally spoken - obviously, English is going to be widely spoken and is to be considered the dominant language on the new server but the Western EU players (excluding the English) tend to have the worst grasp of English when compared to the Nordic and Eastern EU players. This is a problem for me as an English speaker - I don't know French or German or any other language for that matter, well enough to talk in those languages. Everyone in Nordic countries speaks English at a high standard. Everyone. Most of Eastern Europe speak about the same level of English as I expect from French/German/etc players too. But losing those Nordic players - it should be noted half of my friend list are Nordic - by default means I massively lose the chance to get a team of people who understand me in ranked solo queue games. For that reason, I'm likely going to be using my free transfer to head to the Nordic and East server - obviously, I'll see what my teammates are planning on doing but right now, it's going to be better for my gaming experience at large because the language barrier is just going to be so much less of an obstacle on that server.

Still, that's a pretty minor problem and frankly, Riot have offered me a free solution so I'm pretty happy about the whole business! I admit, I did give Riot a bit of a hard time lately but I never lost faith and I never resorted to outright flaming or abuse of them - those that did probably aren't happy about this solution either, though - but I do feel reassured that they do still care about us EU players.

The temporary queue fix? Meh. I'm not happy about it, of course, but what else are they supposed to do? It's pretty much the only option they have to fix stability and realistically, sitting and waiting for the "Busy" status to be revoked isn't any difference from sitting in a long queue or getting disconnected. It's not perfect but I can deal with it.

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011


I was going to make this post a bit more positive and maybe wait a while to post it but currently the servers are busy and I can't get in still so I'm going to make the post now and try and avoid any "I can't play sadface" bitterness. I'm going to riff about LoL for a while and express my thoughts right now and see what comes out - I'm going to avoid server stability and Riot's lack of support as much as possible, I swear.

I'm going to talk a bit about Trinity tanks today. For those of you that don't know, a Trinity tank is a tanky DPS champion with Trinity force and then a tank build - they're pretty common and pretty popular right now and for good reason. If you can't think of any champions this would work on, I'll use Irelia as an example - she's considered one of the strongest at the job right now and, again, with good reason.

Irelia's base damage is pretty high meaning that building her as an AD champ isn't necessarily putting her to her best use - she has an ability that gets her in melee range, consistent true damage and a slow/stun to keep her in range and stop runners, helping your team grab the kills. The problem with this is, jumping straight into a group of enemies means she's very focusable and can go down very quickly if not built to take the damage that's going to be thrown your way. The solution is to grab tanking items to take that damage and the Trinity Force gives you a load of extra damage on her Q to get some nice instant burst off when she charges in, as well as on any abilities that follow.

That's more-or-less the idea behind Trinity Tanking - close in on a target, do some burst and tank the resulting damage. Jarvan IV, Irelia, Lee Sin, Blitzcrank and Trundle are my personal recommendations for the job but there are plenty of others who can do it to - almost all melee champs (Pre-nerf Trinity tank Eve was fun!) can be built this way, some are just better than others (First rule of building in LoL - just because you can build a certain way doesn't mean you should).

I end up playing a Trinity Tank quite a lot these days and I have to admit, it's a role I really enjoy. Jarvan and Irelia are both great fun to play with way - if you're solo laning on these champs, chances are, you're going to win the lane. Personally, for playing this way, I grab ArPen marks and quints, flat armour seals and magic resistance per-level glyphs and take a 0/21/9 mastery build - both runes and masteries are interchangeable depending on your preferences but this is a good starting point.

If I'm completely honest, Trinity tanking is not an especially hard role to fill. You're not going to be dishing out tons of damage and one-shotting squishies but you do a nice bit of burst and consistent damage and you'll be able to hang around in the middle of a team fight for quite a while if you're careful.

Anyway, I've finally managed to get in game after writing this so I'm going to go and see if I can manage to get through champion selection without being kicked from! Wish me luck.

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League of [Session Closed]

Let me start by saying that I love League of Legends and I love Riot. I really do.

What I don't love are 3 hour queues, constant chat disconnects that lead to "Session Closed" messages and my getting booted from the client and having to sit through the 3 hour queue again and a lack of communication to the point of it being insulting from the people who's responsibility it is to fix it.

I didn't want to start my blog with such negativity, especially towards a company and game I actually like but this is really starting to ruin my League of Legends experience and that of my team. We're getting really sick of having to juggle reconnects between people and, most nights right now, be unable to get a game. It's a shame that Riot feel they have to lie to try and make themselves look better, it really is. I mean, we know that the DDoS attacks didn't cause this damage. We know. But Riot still insists on pretending that the entire problem is down to that (Or at least, that's the only problem that they've admitted to, which tells me they're trying to imply that it's the only problem without coming out and directly saying it to avoid directly lying to us - something that is of course, just as bad as lying) and it shows such huge disrespect to the customers that it's really just not acceptable.

I'm not going to quit in protest, of course, because I'm a complete hypocrite but it's still frustrating and pretty much every player who knows a little bit about the infrastructure of a game like League of Legends (Unless Riot are using some third-world, slap-dash server set up - which wouldn't surprise me) knows that the problem is being caused by too many players and too poor a network of servers trying to support them. The US doesn't have this problem due to the time zone difference and the lower volume of players - I'm guessing better quality hardware and a consistent connection across the zone (as opposed to the lots of different companies and qualities of connection running through the many different countries of Europe) have something to do with it too. But, combined with Riot's refusal to communicate with the EU for anything other than dropping the odd champion sneak-peak or gloat thread, a lot of bad blood is brewing between EU players towards Riot. It's a shame that Riot are taking the stance that they are but, at least for now, it's something we'll have to live with and wait on until Riot fix it (Because I'm sure they will eventually).

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