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Today League of Legends developer Riot Games released a new version of long-time champion Ryze. They also announced that they're revamping another classic character.
Ashe, like Ryze, has been in LoL since day one. They're two of three characters available to players in the tutorial because they're so straightforward. Riot hasn't changed either of them much since 2009 but that's now changing.
In the case of Ashe, Riot's objective is to make her more interesting to play. Frost Shot is now a passive rather than a toggled ability. Her basic attacks and abilities will now always slow opponents. She'll do bonus damage to these slowed targets. This plays into her new ability, Ranger's Focus. She gains stacks of Focus by slowing enemies and can then unleash a salvo of arrows when she gets five stacks.
"Ranger’s Focus fills the gap, providing Ashe with incentives for staying in combat (versus her old passive, which literally rewarded you for not attacking), and giving her a decent spike in damage when she handles her Focus stacks effectively," Riot said.
Hawkshot, a projectile that reveals the area it passes through, no longer has the passive bonus that grants her gold. However, the scouting capability of that ability has been greatly improved. Her Hawkshots now have a global range and she can store up two at a time. This lets her easily scan key objectives in the map and spot ambushes.
Riot hopes that these changes will solidify Ashe's role as a "utility carry." You can check out the revamped Ashe by playing the Public Beta Environment of the game.
Ryze's update just went live as part of Patch 5.8. His problem was the same as Ashe's: he's kind of boring. You knew exactly what you were getting with him from match to match.
"His damage output was predictable and his damage windows were pretty much always open," Riot said when the reworked Ryze first hit PBE. "He’d build a tear and catalyst as early as he could, then pretty much sit back and hope to reach his final late game hypercarry form. This turned him into an all or nothing champion in competitive play - he was either 100% pick/ban or never seen at all depending on where his numbers were - and while consistency isn't usually a bad thing, Ryze just ended up flat and predictable. Changes were needed."
As part of his makeover, Ryze's passive has been changed. Arcane Mastery no longer simply reduces the cooldowns on his abilities when he casts a spell. Instead, he now builds up stacks of Arcane Mastery by casting. When he maxes them out, he gains a shield and much stronger cooldown reductions. The idea, Riot says, is to give him "windows of power."
"Where old Ryze was largely consistent with his damage output, new Ryze alternates between moments of relative weakness and power. For both Ryze and his opponents, learning to play around Arcane Mastery is crucial: Ryze’s power spike is colossal as soon as it’s triggered, so he’ll likely start to move in to engage as his passive stacks near completion."
Ryze's offensive spells have been revised as well. His Overload has a longer range but no longer has a passive bonus and has to be aimed manually. Spell Flux, meanwhile, is now more powerful on groups of enemies.
You can read the rest of Patch 5.8's changes here. Other big changes include nerfs for Jinx and Sion along with a buff for Yasuo, Champion Mastery wasn't included, in case you're wondering.