League of Legends's Season 5 is wrapping up in a matter of days. In the lull between seasons, Riot Games plans to make some far-reaching changes to the game.
The top item on their to-do list is updating marksmen en masse, just as they did with juggernauts earlier this year. They're going to make revisions to six marksmen (Corki, Miss Fortune, Graves, Caitlyn, Kog’Maw, and Quinn) to ensure that they each feel different and help their team in distinct ways:
We want to really push the breadth of what a marksman offers. Much like how you pick Ashe for global stuns, or Sivir for when you gotta go fast, or Miss Fortune when you need some wombo for your combo, we want teams to think different based on who’s joining the fray.
The items that marksmen will also undergo changes. Again, Riot wants players to have meaningful choices. The new and improved equipment gives them the opportunity to reinforce their preferred role in the match, be it smashing towers or dueling enemies.
All players can also look forward to a revamp of the mastery system. Riot says they want to ditch the current "slew of nuanced micro-math optimizations" and make the decisions more clear to players. It sounds a little like the talent tree simplification that World of Warcraft went through in Mists of Pandaria. The mastery trees will be broken into three increasingly powerful tiers. The third tier in each tree will be made up of "keystone masteries" that can have a profound affect on your playstyle. One example they tossed out was a mastery that gives your abilities a bleed effect.
To further promote player choice, new starting items will be added to the shop. Doran's Blade, Ring and Shield will stay the baseline choices but Riot will also introduce more specialized items. One example is Cull, an AD item with less defensive stats than Doran's Blade but also provides extra gold if you kill a certain amount of minions.
The way players establish vision throughout the map will also be changing. On the one hand, Riot is going to give free trinket upgrades to everyone and make sightstone upgrades more worthwhile. On the other hand, Stealth Wards will no longer be purchasable from the shop. The goal is to make players more reliant on the non-stealthed Vision Wards as well as blue trinkets.
Riot's plans for potions might be even more controversial. Health potions will become more expensive so they'll only be purchased by players that really need early sustain. Mana potions, meanwhile, are being removed altogether. They explain that mana potions hindered their ability to balance the game:
100 mana tends to benefit certain types of champions over others (with mana costs being balanced against individual champion kits) and can wildly shift from being a mediocre purchase to a very cost-efficient one. By removing mana pots, we can better balance champion ability costs with the mana regeneration stat while also streamlining the ‘sustain game’ of League.
The last change teased by Riot Games today concerns top lane. Top lane right now feels a little lonely. Junglers are far more likely to visit the bottom and mid lanes`to set up dragon kills. The two top laners spend the first 15 minutes or so trading shots and farming until the teamfights begin. Riot wants to better integrate these players into the match, by adding a new monster called the Rift Herald. This creature will pop up in Baron's pit in the opening minutes and give out a single-target buff to whoever slays it.
The World Championship for Season 5 will be held on October 31st at 8 AM EST. KOO Tigers and SKTelecom T1 will face off in a best-of-five series, with the winning team walking away with $1 million.