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Hirez Roundup #13: A New Beginning

Hirez Roundup 13 - Main Image

Sorry guys, just focusing on Patch Notes and Patch Notes thoughts this week. Whew, there’s just too much to cover. Thanks to Thom “What is Joust?” Badinger and Hinduman for trying to cover up for the issues with PTS. I’d rather play the PTS than watch them play. I am very excited for this season though. Even if I don’t play much Conquest on stream, I do in my downtime, and it’s a change that’s definitely long-since overdue. One of the things I love is now that there is incredible new information to find. Everything is new, shiny, and exciting again. There are too many skins for me to cover in this update. I’m mostly focusing on the in-game stuff today. Overall, I’m digging it. So, let’s get started!

The new map is absolutely gorgeous. The layout of the bases is completely redone, as are the Titans. They’re encased in a crystal at the start of the game, and it’s very clear that they can’t be harmed. They break free after the Phoenixes in the base. They’re also based off of the Greek Titans lore. It’s very clear where corners and boundaries are. Everything is smooth, and it is very obvious what you can and cannot do.  The Order Base is very clean, very white, pristine. From there, the first thing you’ll likely see is the Speed Buff. Now, Speed Buff is closer to the base, making it much harder to invade. This should make halting that Snowballing a bit. It’s such a powerful buff, so getting it from your opponent’s side early can really slow them down. Roaming as a full group simply will not work or be smart. The centaur represents the Speed Camp, which does make sense to me.

Moving on, we saw Order Blue Buff. Satyrs hold the Blue Buff. And they’re no longer ranged, so they can pull them out and will be much easier to group and kill. Fun fact, all the buffs are now melee. Thank. God. The Blue Buff camp is gorgeous, and the foliage and the tiny river of crystal clear blue water is a nice touch. Every camp is thematic now. It’s beautiful. Solo lane came next, and the biggest change is that it’s symmetrical. It’s very clear what side you’re on with this visual update. Even the minions got an update. There’s a huge rift that breaks the map apart, and distinguishes both halves and fits with the present storyline, of Hades causing Ragnarok and rising from the underworld with his newfound power. This vile eruption and split in the land shows with incredible clarity the beautiful greek landmass with the destruction and destroyed, Tartarus of the Chaos side. The Harpies for Mid-Lane are a bit farther back now, and there are some outcroppings that make it harder to ward, and a bit more fun for the jungle. And the Harpy Nests … look like Harpy Nests.

Hirez Roundup #13

The Morrigan still has the best voices in the game.

There’s an interesting curve in mid-lane too, a bend in the middle. It’s to add to the symmetry of this map. The map is symmetrical across the Horizontal Side of the map.  The left and right sides of the map have differences, but the Order/Chaos will still be the same. It’s nice that you can see little touches that the Harpy Nest pokes out over the rocks. I’m also glad that Jungle Fog is back. I wasn’t here for it, but it definitely makes it clear where you have warded and adds to the danger of being in the known. The line of Sight is shorter, and the jungle is without a doubt more threatening. This is not “Fog of War”, mind. Sure, they’ll disappear when you get far away. The important thing is, that Fog of War was already here. But just because you’ve warded doesn’t make the fog “go away”. This is a thematic change and one that I think will make entering the jungle far more thrilling.

Order Red Buff was next, and it is time … for the Manticore! He guards the Red Buff. Manticore has the wings, the weaker manticore does not. The lair of the Manticore is gorgeous, with the ruined bones, as if the Manticore devoured a dragon and left its remains. The Purple Buff is the Chimera. Purple also is receiving a change. It’s keeping the flat buff, and will also see a scaling buff, which is great for us Guardian mains. I love the ruins of the Chimera Lair, very twisted, very gnarly (in the literal sense). There are slightly different entrances on the Duo side, as we approach the rift between Order and Chaos. There are two entrances instead of one, changing how ganks will occur in the Duo Lane. The Towers are still further away in the Duo Lane though. Also, RIP Crabs. It’s the little things that I really love about the map. The elevation you feel at the duo lane is really quite lovely, and a little intimidating. You see the water trickling down into the chasm, the depth feels like it truly goes down forever. The next stop is the Gold Harpy. Now it’s the Gold Fury. The Gold Fury is reminiscent of the Demonic Furies, so they look suitably demonic.

But I love the piles of gold in their lair. I also enjoy that the scaling of everything on the map is going to go. So the mid/late game will be far more important, so every objective will scale. The Gold Fury has stored the wealth in a ruin from the underworld, hoarding it, defending it with all her worth and might. Behind her, the Oracles for Gold Fury standby for that vision, so it’s still there, just slightly relocated. It’s a nice touch to see the steps down into the Underworld behind them, though you can’t walk that path. They also have their own nice radius, so it’s kind of nice to not have two mob radius’ on top of each other. I also enjoy that it’s very clear who is being targeted, with a laser, that is followed by the blasts. But if a god is standing on the other side’s floor will ripple and light up with energy, with raw magical power. Both sets of towers look considerably different. The differences between the two sides are very stark, very obvious.

Hirez Roundup #13

A new Athena skin? And she's French? Deus Vult indeed.

The Phoenixes feel like the actual mythic bird to boot, and I love the dark colored Chaos Phoenix. If you break the Phoenix, the platform closes up, and a fuse of energy trickles along the ground, which makes the Titan break free and is now ready to be targeted and fought. Despite the rocky feel of the Chaos base, it still contains pillars and other architecture, so it still feels like Tartarus has actually risen from the ground in defiance of the Greek Gods. In the distance, you can see Hades’ palace, with energy churning through the sky, very Skeletor palace. And the evil titan is reminiscent of Chronos, the original Titan. The last things we get to see are the Pyromancer (Demon Portal) and the Fire Giant. Portal Demon is gone, and Pyromancer is in his place. Instead of the portal, you now get a buff, which means when you leave the base, you get a speed buff (think old Swiftwing). Now you can use that buff to rotate where you need. Even if you die, you can still go back to base and get the buff again.

The Fire Giant is new and improved, and definitely feels like Surtr, and makes me think of the Adventure Mode, the last one. Fire Giant certainly has a Norse feel to it, which I absolutely love. Fun Easter Egg, in that the old giants chains are hidden in the molten lava of the Pyromancer. The reason for the Norse Fire Giant being on a Greek Map though is because of Ragnarok. So he’s crashed here, and is ready to continue the destruction. He spawns as a ball of fire crashing from the sky. It’s truly ominous. He also has new attacks and new strategies will be needed. But his appearance on the map actually fits with the lore, which is the big thing for me.

There are so many number changes, that I’m going to probably avoid talking about. I’m more curious about serious changes and new items. The starter items you know and love are gone. Bye, items! Masks, etc, are all gone. Blessings are the new type of item for starters. You can buy one Blessing a match. You’re locked to it when you do. They will evolve as the game goes on though, to become better. An example is the Assassin’s Blessing: Gain 35% bonus damage vs. jungle monsters. It also gives 7% health health/20 mana restored on killing a jungle monster. They also have “Role Quests”. For example, you have to kill/assist Jungle Monsters to give stacks for it. At 50 stacks, item Evolves and gives +10 Pen. You can also kill gods for it. (There will be unique ones to conquest, and the other modes get a different set. No overlap) You can still get this on a Guardian, Mage, etc. You aren’t locked to it for your role. It’s all about the one you think will fit. All Blessings are also 700 gold. I really like this idea. I don’t know if they take an item slot yet though. This is such a cool idea.

Hirez Roundup #13

I can't imagine anyone being upset about this. But this is the Internet, so...

I’m going to forgo typing all of these because frankly, it’s going far too fast. But let’s just say that the Blessings are marvelous and a change I think is going to be very much appreciated by the audience as a whole. I personally am looking forward to this change to new builds. There. Are. So. Many. Item. Changes. Sovereignty and Heartward are being buffed, which as a Guardian Main makes me insanely happy. Lots of items are receiving new buffs, changes, or adjustments. So a lot of the old Starter Item effects are coming back in new ways on tier 3 items. EG: Rod of Tahuti now gives 25% additional magical power against targets below 50% health. It looks to me that builds are really going to open up in some fantastic ways. That’s what I’m looking forward to, not being forced to build the same crap over and over again. I have however noticed that the Smite audience can’t be happy with anything. All I saw is “RIP <Role>” if something even remotely changed.

I do love the new Telkhines Ring (Your basic attacks deal bonus damage of 10 +5% of your magical power. Does not affect structures). Freya’s back! Even though … she was still here. Mage ADCs became a lot more viable with this item alone. So, the item changes are pretty damn incredible. Book of the Dead is no longer a Trinket, also. Now, there’s basically a Book Tree. There is a whole Book Tree that makes sense.  A new luxury item, Typhon’s Fang. 2800g, with great stats and “Your magical lifesteal from items, is increased by 50%.  Your magical power is increased by 100% of the magical lifesteal you have”.  It’s a magical lifestyle multiplying item. Good. Lord. I like the changes to the phys/magical pen items (Obsidian/Titan’s Bane, et al). It shreds more armor if they have more defenses, and less if they have less. These will not be good against another Hunter or something, but the tankier the target, the more it’ll hurt (within a set amount). Flat Pen items are still pretty handy, especially for damaging towers. But Obsidian/Titan’s will no longer be catch-all, must-build items.

Boots are getting nerfed! Huzzah! They’re now more expensive at Tier 1, but the buffs on them are also very different. EG: Talaria / Travelers Boots – Gain 20% additional Movement Speed after leaving the Fountain (lasts 7 seconds). You lose power for wearing these (they don’t have power on them), but they are definitely still useful. All Boots are a bit more expensive, which I think is fine. But Talaria/Travelers are the biggest changes for boots. The Crusher is a now a souped-up Bluestone, which adds “Your abilities deal bonus damage over time equal to 30 +15% of your Physical Power over 2 seconds”. It opens up the item to be used by a lot more characters, and though it has attack speed, you can get attack speed for ability characters (which certainly is useful for those ability characters too). Ability Warriors get some fancy new stuff in the reworked Blackthorn Hammer (while under 50% Mana, gain +50 MP5. While over, 10% CDR).  Ichaival also now reduces Magical Power by 15 per stack, in addition to Physical Power.  Silverbranch Bow now also increases your Attack Speed by 5% and reduces your opponents by 5% for 3 seconds (3 stacks). I love that the two bows do very drastically different things, while also being very useful for a host of situations. There are simply too many items to go into today. Tanks get a stacking item! Gauntlet of Thebes loses health, gains cost, and gives stacking defenses on assists on minions. So it’s like … 70 defenses, and at the Evolution, you give the 20 defense aura to your allies. I love this, because you have to sincerely commit to being a guardian. You aren’t stealing stuff from your team (unless you’re Ganesha, then you do what you want). Spectral Armor also has anti-crit, so has a passive that reduces 50% of the crit damage you receive (instead of 100%). It has less in the way of stats, and the fear is gone, but put it on Geb? Oh dear lord.

RIP Hand of the Gods. The item is gone. Good riddance.

Hirez Roundup #13

I can't have Archon Thanatos, but I can have Demonic Thanatos. Good enough.

Nike was nerfed, and this is good because she was ludicrously powerful (why do you people want more buffs for her? WHY?) Conversely, Thoth is claimed to be OP but is not, so he received a buff to his clear. Tyr’s Power Cleave is getting a buff, increased Heal Physical Power scaling from 0-20%. This is another good thing, even though I hate dealing with how much I deal with Tyr. The buff to him depends on how aggressive you play and if you’re going to sacrifice power for healing. I was very excited for “Ares Buffs” but it’s a movement speed buff (360-365) and nothing more. While that doesn’t sound like much, even a few digits matter, and as a very immobile tank, this will make him a bit more viable in this new world we’re in. I will, however, say I’m glad to see Cu Chulainn be nerfed. His reduced base HP5 is a blessing (7 down from 9), and Spear of Mortal Pain/War Cry being given a higher cooldown (100s from 90s) is probably also desperately needed. His ultimate is so incredibly powerful, giving CC immunity, can knock up an entire team, does decent damage, and is probably going to make him trigger Berserk. Loki fans can rejoice a little too. His Decoy is seeing a few buffs, in reduced Cooldown (12 from 14s) and the damage on it is going up (75/125/175/225/275 to 90/140/190/240/290), to make his clear a little more reliable in the jungle. That, coupled with Assassin’s Blessing will definitely make him viable in Lane or in Jungle, in Season 5. Is it enough? I’m not sure just yet because I don’t play him. But we’ll have our Assassin main do some crunching. I do know that even the smallest numbers can be impressive. 

Nike, Nike, Nike. . . I cannot believe people think she needs buffs. How? I know I just said that, but come on. Her passive is incredible, and really offers a lot of power after mid-game. She’s gaining knockback immunity while channeling Rend, but she also loses damage (50/85/120/155/190 to 50/80/110/140/170). The nerf train just keeps on rolling though! Another one that was far overdue, was Raijin. Oh dear, Raijin makes my blood boil seeing him in my ranked games, because it’s always on the other team it seems. Safe wave clear, safe pokes, lots of damage, and CC? Taiko Drums are now a 100s cooldown (from 90s), Raiju reduces damage to targets beyond the first (15/25/35/45/55 +13% scaling to 9/15/21/27/33 + 8% scaling per tick). Then there’s Percussive Storm is lowering its base damage (30/45/60/75/90 to 25/40/55/70/85 per shot. (120/180/240/300/360 to 100/160/220/280/340 total)). That’s just a tiny bit of the coverage from this update, and you can find it all in the link below, on Reddit, and later on

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Hirez Roundup 13 - Main Image
Sorry guys, just focusing on Patch Notes and Patch Notes thoughts this week. Whew, there's just too much to cover. But we're gonna do it!