Hirez Roundup #22: Makafushigi Adventure
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It’s that time again! Hirez dropped the Smite Patch notes yesterday (5.6 on PC), which includes some stuff that many are excited for (Hel skin! A new adventure! Instant death from giant hydra-fish!) and stuff that people are not so excited about (Ares buffs! Cerberus buffs!) but overall it’s a very solid patch, if you ask me. An absolute wealth of items were adjusted (many of these changes loved), and gods were nerfed and buffed with what seems like reckless abandon. I will say before I get started, I love, love, love the Sol nerfs. I’m rather tired of seeing her showing up as an ADC/Hunter and while I’m sure this will stop virtually no one, at least it won’t feel as insanely strong. But I did hear that the last adventure (Da Ji and her Foxes) wasn’t as popular. I enjoyed it, and the concept of it, but here’s where I start to lose my way. The simple, easy-to-do adventures should evolve if they’re going to be around for several patches. They should change, evolve, become more difficult, even if it’s the same stages. I understand that these stages take quite a lot of effort and money to bring to life. I also love that the UI is being updated, for both pre-match lobby and the “gods” section of your client. You can easily tell what side you’re on in the pre-match lobby. It’s wonderful.
I accept that, but I do think they should evolve in some minor way to keep them fresh. I can imagine this could be done in the “Inner Demon Arena”, but then people would find new reasons to kvetch, which I’m certainly going to come back to by the time this piece is done. That’s mostly for the Paladins portion though. I want to start with Smite though, as I always do. There are an absolute ton of new skins in this update, with two Mastery updates, for Chaac and Hercules. Our Trunath is excited for Dashing Deceiver Loki, the Apocalypse skins continue with Road Rebel Hercules. All of the skins in this update gorgeous, from Inner Demon Hel (with a skin that’s not in a chest, but in an event!), Abyssal Executioner Chaac (look at that horrific maw in his abs), and Violet Sorceress Aphrodite. Players who unlocked all of the Birthday Bundles will also get Jackal Tech Anubis, designed on the model of his Tier-5 skin. I really enjoy this skin, even though I don’t play Anubis so much. One more miscellaneous change that I love, “Death marks”. It’s a customizable item that drops when you kill someone. Only three will be available for now, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what my teammates make of these.
Inner Demon Arena:
This adventure takes place within the mind of Hel. A goddess who is constantly torn between her inner battle of good and evil, her mind is a wasteland apparently. It’s also very purple. This is an Arena Game Mode, with water pools on the map that will execute players who stand there too long. Players who stand there for more than a second (I believe), will be consumed by one of the Serpent Demons. Occasionally, those Serpent Demons will appear in the center of the map (every two minutes). The team who kills two out of three will get a juggernaut mob to spawn (which actually fight back in this mode)! Jungle Buffs last less time but are more potent, and the Bonus Round is back. The Bonus Round gives you extra points to use towards rewards in this mode. In addition, Respawn timers are adjusted to be more consistent, based on time and performance. They will respawn in waves set by the time of the first player to die. It should be exciting. Tickets Earned will be more clear, and the Minions/Juggernauts will walk directly into the portal instead of animating in ways that can be confusing. I don’t have a lot to say about this mode yet, but do look forward to a “Helping Hand” piece coming next week once I’ve had time to sit down with it.
My lord, there are a lot of item changes in this update. This will definitely be a piece where I don’t highlight every item because there’s a pile of them. Out of the items that were buffed, I think my favorites were Rage, Toxic Blade, and Bulwark of Hope. Rage received more Critical Strike (30% up from 20%), but it no longer provides an additional 10% on evolution. This just means it will have that wonderful crit at all times. No more waiting for crit! Toxic Blade gained more pen (10 to 15), increased the stack duration for the Anti-heal (5s up to 8s), but now it’s only 2 stacks instead of 3 (40% Anti-heal from 60%). This is more of a balance I think because it was a good item, but the stats just didn’t make it worth picking up in a lot of cases. Bulwark only saw a cost decrease, but it was down 150 gold (2550 down to 2400), because I love Bulwark, and the price point simply wasn’t worth it to me in a pinch. Shogun’s Kusari got its Magical Protection back (back to 50), and it lost 5% Attack Speed in its passive (down to 20%). This is definitely worth mentioning, because damnit, I love Shogun’s Kusari.
Hide of the Nemean Lion took a bit of a nerf, losing 10 Physical Protections (80 down to 70), which does disappoint me from the point of a Guardian, but it was such an incredibly powerful item. Now it’s less of a catch-all auto-buy to counter physical damage for Warriors and more of a counter-build. Another physical damage item took a hit, and that’s Shield of Thorns! It and the upgrade now reflect 40% of damage, down from 50%. I get it, I understand it, but I hate it. Pestilence is one of the most-bought items for tankiness because it’s Anti-heal, and Anti-heal is pretty hard to come by. With gods like Thanatos and Hercules running around, getting restored and what-not, it’s a necessary commodity. But the cost of Pestilence is going up 100 gold (2150 to 2250 gold), which isn’t a serious change, but it’s one worth noting. And finally, Soul Gem is taking a beatdown, going from 40% of Magical Power to 30%, because the bonus of it is simply too great. Toning down the bonus damage portion will hopefully make some of the situations where you get burst by someone wearing it a bit less hopeless or uncounterable.
Now let’s move on to gods. I’m going to start with my favorite because I’m biased and there’s nothing you can do to stop me: Ares! No Escape can no longer be countered with line-of-sight issues. That means Ymir can’t just throw up his wall to survive. That’s what most of the chat was whinging about, that now that guardians with less mobility can’t escape a move can’t “No escape”. Seems fitting, if you ask me. It’s not like Cabraken or Ymir can’t just burst Ares down, either. No more ducking around a corner to get out of the ult, now you need to have immunity from CC. Build smarter, you bunch of dorks. Man, Cerberus got some serious love in this patch, and I think he needed it. He just lacked range and had a pretty high skill cap for his Paralyzing Spit. Speaking of, Paralyzing Spit now goes through walls and had some adjustments to reflect the targeter. It will feel more obvious what you need to do to get the stun. The radius of each projectile went up (3 to 3.5) and the stun is now subject to diminishing returns. Soul Expulsion saw a range increase (50 to 55 units), and Stygian Torment no longer requires line-of-sight either. Can you feel it? It’s the Reddit commenters blowing up their keyboards in anger.
Hel mostly saw adjustments to make her projectiles match the targeter properly as well as the passive meter for her Stance Attunement will be updated. Now you’ll be able to see the cooldowns of the opposite stance, which is a pretty big deal. Nothing worse than stance-switching to find that you can’t do the things you originally planned and now must wait. Ah yes, Sol. Another Norse goddess in need of adjustments, specifically to her Passive. It’s what made her so incredibly strong in the duo lane, making Mage ADC Sol a real terror to deal with. Unstable Manifestation saw a decrease in Bonus Attack Damage (25% down to 20%), Decreased Attack Speed from 1.2% to 1% (overall 30% to 25%), and decreased Magical Power bonus from 1% to .8% (25% to 20%). This won’t cripple Sol, though Sol mains might tell you otherwise. The last god I really want to focus on is the biggest change in my opinion: Terra. I loved Terra when she came out, but she was just so strong. The dev team has made change after change, to try and keep her global ultimate in the game, but it just wasn’t working. If she were to keep the global ultimate, the numbers on it would be almost worthless. So, with that, she has a new ultimate, Earthen Fury which has a radius of 55 ft. For 10 seconds, allies in the radius gain 10% damage mitigation as well as a heal over time, and protective stones that heal them if all 4 are activated. Enemies caught in it receive 10% more damage from all sources, and harmful stones that damage the enemy if all 4 are activated. (They are activated when ally/enemy takes damage). If I missed something you were interested in, the full patch notes can be found here.
Paladins: OB69 In Brief:
I do want to talk about some news we received early this morning for Paladins. It’s the notion of the VIP System and Gold Weapons. Gold Weapons are going away, per se’. You can’t purchase them anymore, but in OB69 they will be permanently able to be unlocked, but without the boosters attached to them. They’re changing how they’re doing boosts, and all Boosts will be in the new Battle Pass. The ability to purchase Account Boosters is going away in OB69 also. I just really liked how the weapons looked, and the exp on them was neat, but not necessary. I can see why people would consider this unfair, but as it didn’t affect gameplay all, it just sounds a bit childish. As far as VIP goes, I really just think it needed a different name. It sounds pay-to-win, even if it’s not. It was just another weird currency that people had to grind for (or invest crystals into) to get skins, voice packs, and such. But as I said, there’s a new system coming, in the Battle Pass. There isn’t really much to say about it yet, except that it’s coming and it’s replacing VIP. Players will unspent VIP points and Membership time will be compensated, which can be read at this helpful link. I think people just want an option to buy those skins legit, without putting them in a chest, and I hope that does become the case. I have them, but I want more people to have them too. Players who received VIP Tier 3 or higher will receive a limited in-game Avatar, and if you got to Tier 5 or higher, you’ll get the first Battle Pass, and the legendary mount contained therein for free.
I am excited for many of these changes, and I’ll save the Khan skill breakdown for a review since I want to get back into that. I bet you can’t guess what chat’s reaction to Khan was? “OMG BROKEN!!!!!!” I really love his skillset, and the ability to force grab people (especially assassins) out of the air and hurl them to their death? Love it. We needed a new tank with a bit more of an aggressive playstyle, and though I think his pistol feels a little small, compared to the rest of him, I’m not complaining. He has an amazing shield that you have to judge when you want to use it, a dash that flips people backward with impunity and of course, he can snatch people right out of the sky (or off the ground) to punish them for offending the Primus of House Aico. I would have done more of an analysis of the OB69 update but honestly, Pre-Pax Thursday is such a nightmare, and I can’t find the link to the patch notes. So, I’ll leave it here. Is there something you guys really liked or didn’t like in this current content update? Feel free to let me know below!
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