OK, so by now I’m assuming that you, dear reader, have heard about League of Legend’s infamous pre-season changes. You know the ones, the ‘at first it feels wrong but as you play for hours in the new layout everything becomes familiar and you can’t imagine League before this’ changes? Well, with the end of the season 3 World Championships the pre-season changes are not far away and I would like to discuss my thoughts on some of them as Riot already released their intended patch notes.
Firstly, each player can now only place 3 stealth wards, formerly known as just wards, at any point in time. Vision wards are now unstealthed, permanent until killed, limited to one per champion, and cost less. Players will also be now given a trinket slot in their inventory that will not take away from their 6 item cap and is meant to hold a new item called, you guessed it, a trinket. Trinkets are free and swappable items that can only be placed in the trinket slot and do one of three things; reveal and disable invisible units (excluding invisible champions such as Akali and Twitch) for a brief period of time, place a stealth ward that lasts for 1 or 2 minutes depending on level, or reveal a nearby area on the map for a brief period of time. These changes were meant to limit the responsibilities of the support and spread the responsibility of map vision across the team.
I feel like the ward-limiting system would do wonders in reducing death-induced rage towards the support as late game supports will now no longer be expected to ward the entire map. It also makes the support a lot more useful than just for warding and their abilities as they are now free to rush cooldown items, oracles, or other activated items such as Twin Shadows. This gives the support more freedom in how to spend their gold, makes more expensive support items less rare in-game, and adds appeal to support champions during champion selection. The only change that the pink ward change will bring about is that during late game, players will no longer be able to spam pink wards to clear out stealth wards and will most likely utilize oracles more frequently. Trinkets worry me, however, as they can easily be abused in early game. Trinkets have made clairvoyance obsolete and redundant, and champions like Blitzcrank over-powered for obvious reasons. The spammable nature of the trinket’s mini-clairvoyance makes early game invades much more viable as well making the enemy jungler’s life a living hell, as the amount of counter-jungling and fail ganks due to spotting by mini-CVs will make leveling up on just jungle monsters as well as leveling up on gank assists a much harder. This will certainly encourage both teams to invade and counter jungle at every opportunity which makes the game more chaotic and quite frankly more fun to watch at the pro levels.
Secondly, champions that do not last hit will have increased gold income per unit of time than their last hitting counterparts (ap carry, bruiser, lane tanks, and adc). Also, items such as Philosopher’s Stone’s GP/5 attribute will also be increased. These changes were obviously meant to buff the support’s gold income in lane but they also cause other things.
For example, this change makes roaming much easier as assists and income-helping items will carry the roamer through early and mid game (whenever lane phase ends) with ease. Also, champions that lose their lanes will not fall behind too much which balances the lanes out by a bit. These effects, in combination with the ward/trinket changes, will encourage lane ganks by junglers, roamers, and laning champions alike which will make the lane phase less stagnant, promote teamwork throughout all phases of the game, as well as making gameplay a lot more complex in the future.
Finally, global objectives are being changed by a bit. Dragon’s gold and experience gain will increase with time, Baron buff will be nerfed and become more oriented towards bonus movement speed and tower damage, tower’s global gold reward will be decreased but increased for the player that directly kills the tower, and now downed inhibitors will not cause any buffs on minions of any other lane except its own.
These changes will only do a few things and will only influence players in specific times during a game. Dragon fights and contests will now be more frequent, influencing team battles about every six minutes. Baron buff will now be more useful when a team is behind in objectives and tower pushing of any kind (split pushing, aced and pushing etc) will be quicker and easier, especially for AP champions with slow attack rates. The inhibitor change is a subtle one and in my opinion probably will not be noticed by most players.
Please note that this article does not contain all pre-season changes. Stay tuned for part 2!