Hirez Roundup #20: Giant-Sized Hirez
Hello, Internet! This one’s going to go up a little late because I want to wait for the Paladins news; it’s going to be huge! Today’s focus is SMITE and Paladins, as we move towards two really lovely updates. More incredible skins (A Uranus joke? I cackled like a twelve-year-old), several pretty majestic updates, and … matchmaking updates?!
There was no Hirez Roundup last week, unfortunately. I love doing these, but there was simply no news really to post, and something else had to take precedence. But this one more than makes up for it, because of Update 5.5 and OB .68 being on the way next week. I’m very excited for many of these changes, but the biggest one for me is SMITE’s “Matchmaking Update”. This is significant because every time I’ve heard someone talk about Matchmaking, the result was “Matchmaking is fine” when it is clearly not. There’s not a lot of information on what is changing, but we’re coming to the first step, and that’s to collect data. I cannot stress enough how important it is for players to send in this data. If something isn’t fine, if you’re being pitted against people that are way out of your league, in ranked, arena, whatever, you need to offer up the data! Don’t think it doesn’t matter because it does. In-house data collection only does so much, so the need for real-life matches is very important. For me personally, I’ve seen quite a few competitive matches where we were hopelessly outmatched (and would sometimes win these), and it just felt so miserable. That’s not the experience I know they’re going for. I’m quite curious to see where this goes. I’ll have my eye on it. The “New Player Experience” is seeing changes too. Instead of getting “rentals”, there’s now a nice long list of stuff players get, from gods, favor, gems, chest rolls and more, but I wonder if this will be retroactive for people who have been playing (I know a lot of new, recent players), or just for brand new accounts. I also want to touch briefly on Mixer, and that whole debacle. Without further ado, let’s get going!
SMITE Patch 5.5:
Okay, so everyone knows by now that the SPL (Smite Pro League) will be airing exclusively on Mixer. The outcry was ridiculous and childish. That people absolutely refuse to go to another streaming service because they have emotes on Twitch. That they don’t want to go somewhere else. How is that any different from watching Football on any of the four, five, or a hundred channels that show it? The only issue I heard from people was “Mixer is new and change is bad”. Change is bad! How is change bad? If that’s the case, we’d still be living in Smite Season 1 content and would have an eighth of these gods! It’s immature, petty and sad. Sure, some of the early (non-SPL) streams had only a small gathering. But when I sat down to watch SPL Day 1 of Season 5, the visuals had a very rocky start. I won’t deny that. Hirez had a setting on that was causing incredible amounts of lag, distortion and ugliness. But then it was fixed! And you know what I saw through Day 1 and 2? A range of viewers from 7k-10k. That’s a whole lot of nobody, right? There were only crazy amounts of spam when votes were called for MVP/Who is going to win, but I was able to actually read chat, and see what people thought of the matches. It was such a different experience. It’s a whole different platform, and it’s got Microsoft backing it so it will definitely grow and improve. The four-camera visual is interesting, and being able to see two players (one per team) and what they’re doing can really help players get a feel for how a pro approaches the game. Not to mention seeing the casters goof off while they wait for their turn is pretty entertaining. I know guys, change isn’t always what you want, but I like Mixer, I like what it’s doing for the Smite Pro League, and I’m going to keep watching it. Some of the graphics/visuals were a little wonky in the start, but Day 2 was leaps and bounds better.
Be positive and be excited for Mixer. I’d also like to point out I was right about another thing: That 2-1 Team Rival victory! Something I’d like to do on MMOHuts is talk about some of these SPL matches.
This is another week where I don’t know if I can possibly list them all. But the patch notes will be right here, for any who might need or want them. I think this week I want to just highlight some of my favorite/what I think could be the most impactful changes, see how that works. Let’s get started with items, and specifically Midgardian Mail, an item that, while good, had too much RNG relying on it to be great. The 30% chance to trigger was okay, but it’s not reliable, not consistent. So it was adjusted to have the following new passive: “When hit by a Basic Attack, that enemy has their Movement Speed and Attack Speed reduced by 15% for 2 seconds. This can stack up to 2 times and can stack with other item slowing effects”. This is not broken, but you can be assured that Hunter mains will cry over it. Personally? I love it, it makes the item not only viable but worthwhile! There are so many AS gods that need something reliable to slow them down for Warriors and Guardians, and I think this is the ticket. The stats stay the same, but the passive is adjusted. Malice also saw a serious adjustment, making it less of “Second Deathbringer” or “Deathbringer-lite”. Now, it has a passive that reads: “On a successful Critical Strike, your abilities deal 35% more damage for the next 3 seconds”. This is significant because now people won’t mindlessly (hopefully) buy both and instead, buy the Deathbringer-item that meets their needs. This one’s clearly more for Ability-based Hunters and Assassins. It’s a clear defining feature and makes far more sense this way. Asi gains 5% more attack speed (up to 25%), and Spiked Gauntlet also gets a little bit of love, going from 0 to 5 Physical Power. This is such an important starting hunter item for many players, but it felt slower and less important because it had no Physical Power. That’s a trade-off that hunters shouldn’t have to stress about one or two minutes into the match.
There are a few god adjustments I want to go over in brief, because they aren’t game-changing, but important. Aphrodite can now use “Undying Love” even if she’s in the air, knocked up. If you can use beads there, you should be able to ult there for her. Cabrakan‘s “Tectonic Shift” has a targeter that makes more sense, and Chang’e now can actually heal/damage everyone around her, instead of having a tiny “dead zone” where people might not get hit. Sobek can no longer be untargetable during “Charge Prey”, instead gaining “player passthrough”. Now you can actively stop him when he’s doing the charge. I love this because I cannot tell you how many times I predicted a charge and just wound up wasting abilities because he doesn’t glow gold, indicating untargetability. Can we stop for a moment and laugh at Ao Kuang mains though? “Dragon Call”‘s Ranged Throw was nerfed, from 90% to 78% Magical Power scaling (from 15% to 13% per dragon) because those dumb little energy dragons just annihilate everyone and it was clearly a bit strong. His melee will still be horrific, but this should tone his damage down nicely. The last god I want to touch upon is Isis because damned if she didn’t need some love. Her Movement speed went up to 360 (from 355), “Dispel Magic” saw a CD reduction (18 down to 16s), and “Circle of Protection” saw increased Max Charge Damage/Heal Scaling as well as an increase to its damage reduction (scaling: 1.5/2/2.5/3/3.5 to 2.5/2.75/3/3.25/3.5) (dr: 15% 15/15/17.5/17.5/20). This is a significant change because Isis just felt… a bit weak to me personally. Isis has the ability to completely sway sieging and fights in her favor using her ultimate, with its nice large circle, damage/healing AND damage reduction. But it felt a bit on the weaker side until now. I think this will cause us to see a serious resurgence in Isis mid (or why not, Isis support?) and that’s a good thing.
I know I skipped a few gods, but I’m trying something new. If you guys want me to talk about everything, please tell me. I love feedback so that I can improve and give you guys what you want!
OB68 brings a great deal to the game, like a brand new, gorgeous UI. New music, a new look without all the ads and the first event to Paladins: The Siege of Ascension Peak! That was the point where Jenos stepped into the sky and became one with the cosmos. This is the first time we saw Khan, the Primus of House Aico. He is a hulking beast, a titan clad in steel, who seeks to bring Jenos to acquire the aid of the Ascended One, the so-called god to their cause. Khan does not take no for an answer. This also points out that Khan is coming in OB69! I’ve known about Khan since HRX, and it’s been driving me nuts. This also comes with a new map for Siege, appropriately, Ascension Peak. But the event, Siege of Ascension Peak will have players assigned to either the Magistrate or Paladins forces, and given a champion at random from that side. Mastery and knowledge of the champions will be the key to victory. Magistrate forces have Ascension Peak under constant fire! Dodge the explosives crashing down all around, and do watch out for Fire Bombs. The ascendance of Jenos has affected the battlefield. All Champions have 50% cooldown reduction — I am so excited for this mode! This is a new event and the first one for Paladins, and they’re definitely starting off with a bang. Plus you can combine that CDR + Cards and abilities? It’s going to be absolutely insane. There are also new crazy anime skins: Academic Skye, Jade Priestess Seris, Demon Slayer Zhin, and Soul Eater Jenos.
I don't have a joke that wouldn't put me on some kind of list. The SFX are very cool on this skin though.
If you complete the new quest chains that come in this update, and you also own a Crest (from the skin bundles), you can unlock some insanely BM-filled “Roaming Emotes”. You activate the emote, and you can move around and troll and BM as much as you want. These dance/emotes are absolutely lovely, and I need them in my life to create BM moments. Androxus hover-dabs, Strix does the Dark Souls “Take on Me” dance, and Maeve has a cute little hop where she swipes at the air with her daggers. This update will start doing away with customization of skins. These skins are the first ones that cannot be taken apart and customized with other skins. They posted a blog a bit ago talking about increasing the quality of skins, and that means they have to stop making all the parts always fit together.
Season 2 is going to see some serious map updates. They want to make the maps flow better, offering more tactical choices. For example, Lumber Mill will have more walls to hide behind, gorgeous shadows, closed off some of the doors, forcing players to funnel down into a particular playspace, but allowing snipers to still shine on this map. Frozen Guard looks brighter and more open, the ramps at the base are placed in better, closer areas. A lot of the props and stacked items are cleaned up, as well as some bushes being removed. I’ll spare you from descriptions of each map, but aesthetic and gameplay changes will be coming to the maps. In particular, I’m glad changes are coming to Ice Mines (my least favorite map in the game). Frog Isle saw some landscaping to make line-of-fire more reasonable, as well as some other gameplay opportunities. Season 2 will also have Splits like Smite, and each will have their own rewards. If you win 25 games in the first split, for example, you can get the “Town Crier” announcer pack. Simply placing (ten games) will also net you a Gold Chest. But the big one is “Full Throttle Vivian” which can be claimed by reaching Gold V. A new title comes with 100 wins, “Warbound”. Another reward is 200 wins will also land players a Loading Frame (easy for me!). Paladins will no longer dynamically update your border with what rank you are, which I’m so glad about. People put far too much stock in what color your border was. This frame will show your best rank for each split.
A Soft Reset will be hitting players in this season 2. So you won’t be reset back to the bottom, but bringing everyone closer to the middle. The higher-ranked players will still be higher, and lowest will still be on the lower end of the spectrum, but it won’t put all those Masters players back down into the Bronze range, which was pretty frustrating. Season 2 also has 4 bans! Now players will have a harder time being one-trick ponies,and should force players to learn more than one or two champions. However, there’s like 10-20 pages of adjustments to champions, so there’s absolutely no way I’m going to go into that. But there will be a link right here for players to find what they’re looking for. There are tons of changes here, and I’m very excited for where Paladins is, and where it was last year. It’s a lot of growth, and I’m happy to be able to be a part of this community. A fine example is Makoa’s Dredge Anchor getting his collision detection fixed (no more aiming way above someone and still hooking them)! Now people will actually have to have skill with his hook. What a wonderful time to be in the Realm! I hope to see you guys out there.
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