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League Of Legends Season 4 Changes Detailed

Adam Barnes

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As LOL's third season comes to a close, the preseason patch has been detailed by Riot Games.

Published on Oct 24, 2013

Changes are coming to League Of Legends, and the preseason patch - which will get players ready for Season 4 - looks to change a number of key parts of the MOBA.

In a post on the official League Of Legends website, Riot Games discussed some of the ways LOL will be changed ready for Season 4. It described its approach to Season 4 as a way to "refine League of Legends" but still "creating a deeper, clearer and more satisfying player experience."

So while the exact details of what the preseason patch will change has not yet been explictly discussed, Riot Games has told us what we expect to see change and why.

We take a look at these changes, and what that means for League Of Legends.

League Of Legends Season 4 Preseason Patch Details

There are three changes that Riot Games is looking to affect with Season 4 of League Of Legends: map vision, equal scaling power to all roles and game pacing.

Changes To Map Vision

Riot Games has now confirmed what its plans are for Season 4's approach to map vision.

The key new feature are Trinkets, a brand new item slot that can only include one of three Trinkets that any Champion can equip.

These items are free and can be swapped at any time in the shop, meaning everyone on the team will have access to some form of personal vision - as will the opposing team.

There are three types of Trinkets you can equip:

  • The Sweeper Trinket, which reveals and disables any invisible wards on the map. Useful for clearing the map of vision.
  • The Totem Trinket, which lets you create a Stealth Ward that will last for 1 or 2 minutes, depending on your level.
  • The Lens Trinket, which reveals a selected part of the map for a brief amount of time - akin to Clairevoyance.

Not only that but other changes are coming: players will have a ward limit that, when reached, will remove the oldest ward placed on the map (kind of like Sightstone does already).

Sight Wards will stay the same - though now apparently called Stealth Wards - while Vision Wards are cheaper, but not invisible and can be destroyed easily. Each player can place only one vision ward on the map at any time.

The changes are far-reaching, but should improve the whole map vision strategy for the better.

League Of Legends matches are often won and lost by the control a team has over vision, and by enabling everyone to participate - rather than relying too heavily on the support role - there's a greater level of depth to the process.

The three ways of enabling vision too adds an increased layer of strategy, since you'll never quite know what your opposing team can see.

It's not yet clear whether or not these Trinkets will appear on the scoreboard - we'd assume it is - but even then it only tells you what they have access to, not when they've used it.

It'll need balancing, of course, but we're already pleased by the theories offered up here - anything that adds an increased layer of depth to a LOL match and removes the role expectations is only going to make the game better.

A New LOL Jungle

Though League Of Legends' jungle has been tweaked over the years, it hasn't really changed in layout or aesthetic. Season 4 could be the first time this happens.

Riot Games is looking to add a fourth new monster camp to the jungle, and while it's not clear what form this will take the ramifications could be pretty large.

This new jungle will appear near blue buff (Golems) and Wolves, and will help balance out the uneven nature of blue and purple sides.

Its goal is to provide junglers with a little more option in their routes, to help give a little more flexibility to your jungling patterns - rather than the typical routes that happen now.

Additionally, jungle creeps will have an inherent level that will scale alongside the team and provide XP based on the champion killing them. If they're a higher level than you, you'll earn more XP.

The objective for Riot with this new jungle is to provide a little more flexibility - not only with who can jungle, but how.

Though champs like Lee Sin will be at risk of becoming a little too overpowered - his quick jungle clear will mean additional mobs helps him farm even more - it does also mean others will become a little more viable.

Evelynn, for example, relies quite heavily on an early advantage - perhaps in a successful gank kill or farming unabated - but without it can fall behind quite easily.

With these tweaks, a farm-heavy jungler like Eve will be far more comfortable even if she doesn't manage that initial advantage.

Though Riot hasn't yet discussed exactly how, it has also confirmed it will be looking to "put more gold into the pockets of junglers".

As with all of these changes, it's looking very positive for League Of Legends players and Season 4.

Buffing Support Roles

Support is often an overlooked role. However vital, it can other feel like - in a game largely focusing on 'feeding' on kills as much as possible - that support is ignored when it comes to team-gains.

But Riot will be taking a look at how these key roles will be earning their gold. The term used is that gold will be "heavily adjusted to put more money in the pockets of duo-lane supports".

First off is assist streaks, whereby players who have "significantly" more assists than kills - as all good supports should - will get bonus gold for each new assist.

Presumably this will also count for other roles too, so if you fail to get an advantage in your lane - and therefore miss out on the gold - there's still a chance to claw it back after the laning phase.

Part of the new mastery changes, too, will improve early game gold income, to help supports even out alongside their ADC early on.

Riot will need to be careful here, however, to ensure that other roles aren't just switching entirely to utility to benefit from the easy gold early on.

Other important new changes are with items, and how they might help with gold income. We've already mentioned how map vision will be changing, and that will save supports some cash.

However key support items are getting reworked:

  • Philosopher's Stone still grants the gold boost, but also allows you to 'share' CS, or creep score, with a nearby ally. If they last-hit a minion, you get gold.
  • Executioner's Emblem will let you execute minions below 200 health, helping clear the wave with your ally, both of you getting a gold reward with your nearby ally getting a small gold bonus.
  • Spellthief's Blade will now reward gold whenever your basic attacks or abilities hit an enemy champion, giving aggressive supports like Blitzcrank additional gold.

Each of these items do have activation limits so they're not too overpowered, but they'll give supports a wider range of options and choices as to how they want to earn gold.

It's a great move by Riot since now the support role isn't going to be the poorest option - it's a huge buff that should help make the role a little easy to manage.

Core support champions, however, will need something of a nerfing - Nami, Janna, Sona et all will be retuned to account for this sudden influx of gold that could, in theory, make them super powerful mages.

Reduced Snowballing

Though it's not quite as dramatic as changing the way wards or jungling work, this is perhaps an important element for Riot Games to attack.

It's long been a criticism of League Of Legends - and MOBAs in general - that if a team gets an early advantage, it's harder to pull back from it.

What Riot Games is targetting with its bevy of preseason changes for the upcoming season covers how gold and XP is earned from alternative means outside of last-hitting and champion kills.

Take Dragon, for example, which currently loses a lot of its appeal later on in a game where 190 Gold is a minimal boost. Now gold and XP rewards for kill Dragon will increase over time.

Additionally, Dragon will now reward bonus XP for the team down in levels - making it an important goal to claim should the enemy team have an advantage.

Baron will be changing too, no longer boosting damage to enemy champions but, instead, buffing movement speed or damage to turrets - it's purpose to turn it into an opportunity to push to finish rather than making an already advantageous enemy team harder to kill.

The team-wide gold reward for destroying turrets will be dropping, but the bonus for helping destroy a turret is going up - rewarding players that seek to push lanes as a team.

Destroyed inhibitors now only bolster that lane's minions, rather than all three lanes of bots.

Bounties on enemy champions with kill streaks will be retweaked, though the exact details on how are yet to be revealed.

Surrounding brush has been tweaked to enable better vision with wards, rather than separate bushes for each side. 

And lastly minion and jungle creep spawn timers have been drastically reduced - supposedly to around one minute - to help speed up the initial game.

That's a whole heap of changes that might be a bit tricky to take in. What you should take from it is that - by better managing the gold income possible to a team - it will be much harder for an advantageous team to steal the win through snowball.

This will implement measures to give the enemy team strategic options to make a comeback - providing they have the teamwork and the skill to do so.

The added side-effect is a focus on speed. By emphasising aggression and working in tandem with free (or cheaper) wards, and support buffs, a typical League Of Legends match is likely to be a much quicker affair.

Whether that's a good thing or not we won't yet know.

The Extra Changes

Lastly, it's been confirmed that we'll see changes to the way Runes and Masteries work.

Masteries will no doubt be the usual tweaks to tie in with gold, XP or damage buffs alongside the key changes mentioned above, but they will be changed all the same.

Runes, too, won't be massively altered, but they will be intended to be more dynamic than ever.

It's hard to predict what this means, but only because the current set up is so prescripted. It's largely a given that you'll want to bolster your armour, damage and magic resist - leaving your Quintessences being, often, the only bit worth picking yourself.

But then that's probably the issue Riot Games is hoping to remove, to give a little more flexibility outside the typical tried-and-tested rune pages we've seen already.

In both cases diversity will be important - and that can only be great for the strategy outside of a match as well as inside.

You can read the full post over on the League Of Legends website, but it's not yet clear when these changes will be made.

League Of Legends Season 3 is due to end on the 11 November 2013.

 

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