Hirez Roundup #27 – Events Ahoy
I haven’t had a chance to do a Hirez Roundup in a little while, guys and I missed it! Between travel for work, holidays, and a shift in the time in which they release Patch Notes, I’ve had a lot working against me, but I have a plan and I’m back now! Count on these to start appearing on Monday mornings, so I have the whole weekend to ruminate over changes coming to the Hirez suite of games. However, I’m starting to think they’re trying to do me in! Two events coming at the same time, for Paladins and Smite? Goodness. I’m honestly more excited about the Paladins one though, not to say that Medusa’s Deathmatch isn’t awesome too. It definitely is. But Paladins has my eye with a new support (Furia), a new event and more. Before I get started, I want to talk about a “controversial” skin, in Demonette Maeve. A lot of people seem to be upset that now Maeve is being sexualized in this skin because up until now she has not been. It’s been postulated that she’s “less endowed”, and now suddenly we see breasts. The only thing I have to say one way or another is when you have to jump so much, say from roof to roof, maybe Maeve just wore a binder? The skin doesn’t bother me one way or another, because I don’t even play Maeve, but that’s the one thought I had on it. I think the skin is fine – it’s a skin. Her main look wasn’t redone, she’s still the same adorable, knife-wielding sneak. Also, I’d like to welcome Thunderbrush to the Paladins team! I really have enjoyed their art so far, and am looking forward to the future content they create!
SMITE – Medusa’s Deathmatch:
Smite is doing something brand new and exciting in the SMITE sphere – Medusa’s Deathmatch, which is a 3v3v3! Yes, that’s right, three teams going at it at once, which is something I’ve wanted to see for the last few years in SMITE. It reminds me of a Team Deathmatch Elimination match with the added stress of a Battle Royale, the encroaching mist coming to force players to fight it out to prove their dominance. The goal is to be the Last Team Standing, and it sounds like it could be a very intense Event. I was admittedly hoping for another PVE event, but we were long-overdue a cool PVP moment, and this without a doubt meets that. I’ve spent some time thinking about what kinds of comps I think will serve the best in this mode. I have a feeling we’re going to see some wacky, janky nonsense. Triple Assassin I think will be popular, but you know what might be fun? One hyper carry and two healers. Say, Chang’e and Aphro, paired with someone obnoxious like He Bo, Achilles, or some other carry. I’d also like to see three Guardians, say, Ares, Bacchus, and Kumba, with at least one of them going damage. Ymir! There we go, let’s bring Ymir into this mode. I’m going to be playing some of it this week and see if I can’t put together a piece on both Events at once. It’s going to be a busy week for yours truly. There are simply too many amazing skins in this update though, so I’ll splash this piece with them as I can! Though I am hoping to see more direct purchase skins that aren’t bound to limited-time bundles/chests. But I will say I’m glad the Slavic Chest has a “Pick 3 option” and I’m imploring Hirez to implement it for all of their chests. Or for the huge chests, have an option to pick a role from that chest or something. I’ve heard a lot of complaints in that dept, and I think having options like that would have people spending on chests with more frequency, knowing they will get something they want.
There was an absolute mountain of bugs fixed in this update, and I’m going to skip over those and point out you can find them in the patch notes (right here), but there were quite a few that were important. Like “Searching for a Pantheon causing a crash”, a spot where players could avoid the Fire Giant Fire Wall, or Queueing too quickly would result in a timer for the queue not appearing. As far as item balance, there wasn’t a ton of it in this update, but the biggest was arguably Heavenly Wings. This one, in particular, was interesting, because it was being picked up by almost every Pro player at level 1 in a ton of matches, creating some unreasonably strong picks/ganks. It lost 10% of its Movement Speed across it and the Upgrade (30% down to 20%). It’s still amazing and still an AOE movement speed item, but now it’s not going to suddenly overwhelm people and be a “must-pick” for level 1. Heavenly Wings is one of my favorite level 1 relics for Arena, as an aside. Even with the nerf, it’ll still be a delightful pick. The big thing people were doing was buying it level 1 and upgrading it, which really showed off how powerful it really was. Celestial Legion Helm just had an update to its text to make it clear that stacks are lost on Physical God damage. However, Assassins rejoice! Hydra’s Lament saw a 10% basic attack bonus damage increase (40% up to 50%). This will be a big deal for Hunters and Warriors potentially as well I think, but I mostly see Assassin’s scooping it up. Any god that revels in basic attack damage should eye this change.
This update in general for items focused on Basic Attack gods I think, with the Midgardian Mail nerf. This one made me kind of sad, losing health (350 down to 300), but I get it. Having items that are a “catch-all” that work in every single situation is kind of bland and boring, so this is probably a smart decision. When the RNG was removed from it a few patches ago, Midgardian Mail became an insanely powerful defensive item. The final item adjusted was the Hastened Katana, the last of the Auto Attack items to be adjusted. The overall cost of Hastened Katana went down (2400 to 2200) to make it a more viable pick and less stressful. So many of the Attack Assasin items are pretty expensive, so the notion is that now they won’t have to wait quite as long for their power spike items. I don’t really think Assassins need “items” or “powerspikes” but here we are. Jokes aside, I like these changes. I don’t think they’re going to make all Attack Assassins OP, but it should give them a foothold they need to get moving, even in bad times in a game.
Can we all just take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief? Guan Yu‘s Conviction thankfully received a nerf. Back in 5.8 Guan Yu’s heal was buffed, and it turned him from almost never being banned, to being banned in almost every Conquest Match I took part in. He went from zero to hero, just like that. Guan Yu is going to be monitored further to see what exactly needs to be done, because he was quite clearly overtuned. Instead of 2x healing, now it’s 1.5x healing, which is still really quite strong. Speaking of necessary nerfs (Sorry Sundrops), He Bo! He lost some health (400 down to 365), a decrease in HP per level (68 to 67), and his Water Cannon saw a decrease in overall damage (90/140/190/240/290 to 70/125/180/235/290). Was there anyone who pushed a lane down harder and faster? Not too many at all. His burst is overwhelming and it can feel very disappointing to come to a lane and even a mediocre He Bo can just obliterate people. This is a step in the right direction. It’s not all nerfs, though! Medusa’s Viper Shot was changed – Instead of 3 shots at all ranks, it went up to 3/3/3/4/4. Medusa, while fun, seemed a little lacking compared to the other Hunters. This will make Medusa a little more challenging to box with, as the laning phase goes on. The last change I’d like to touch on belongs to Nike. Plan of Action enhances one of Nike’s abilities after activating Plan. But the only real option you had for initiating was Plan of Action, then Sentinel of Zeus. That was it, because it added a 40% slow. Now Sentinel will always give that 40% slow, letting Nike mains use Plan of Action for other abilities and all told, this is a very exciting Nike change. I wonder if that slow is going to be lowered after this patch because now it’s going to be on tap a lot more often. We’ll just have to see.
Paladins – Patch 1.1 (Rise of Furia):
Paladins Patch 1.1 also had a slew, a gargantuan amount of Bug Fixes and issues corrected, which can be found below. There are simply too many of them to go into, and I would like to focus on the bigger things in this update. This is another brand-new type of event in Paladins, the “Rise of Furia” event. Players will relive the last days of the city of Seris, as it was ripped asunder by the Abyss. The goal is to have a Team Deathmatch battle after climbing the spire, under the watchful gaze of the Abyssal Lord. What makes it fascinating is that it’s a platforming event, climbing the spire and making a false move can see you plummet to your doom, lost in the Abyss. Only one team can escape the Abyss, and once the teams reach the top, they will do battle. Both teams will have champions assigned randomly, but both teams will have the same champions on them. Thankfully they also have increased movement speed/jump height to make the leaps possible. Players cannot impede each others climb, but the Abyss slowly rises, forcing them to climb and climb fast. If you can grab a Pyre’s Blessing, it will provide Ultimate Charge to the team who gets it first. Destroying the Crystal near the top will also unlock the Abyssal Spire Arena, which brings all players to the top. Then it’s time to do battle! The team that unlocks the Arena also gains additional ultimate charge. Then it’s TDM Rules – First team to 30 kills wins. There are some amazing cosmetics in this Event Store, which are 100 Abyssal Shards each (with quests that give 100/200 shards), and the now-unavailable “Divine Seris” skin is here for 1,000 Abyssal Shards, but you must purchase the event Bundle to gain access to the Event Store. Unspent Shards will be exchanged for unowned store content at the end of the event, but it’s not clear what you’ll get. I assume it’s random. TDM is one of my favorite modes in all of Paladins, going all the way back to the very start of the game, so I’m pumped to try this event for myself.
There’s also an incredible ultimate skin in this event, Abyssal Lord Drogoz, which is unlocked by acquiring the Demonette Maeve, Fallen Androxus, and Archangel Tyra Bundles. This stuff is only available during the event, and these skins are absolutely gorgeous, each and every one of them. One day, skins for champions I play regularly will come out, but I still love them anyway. The new art lead, Thunderbrush has a real eye for talent. Speaking of skins, Mastery Skins are changing, with Golden Skins being unlocked instead of the single-texture Obsidian/Cosmic skins. Honestly, I really liked the Cosmic skins, so I hope they will still be around if you “want” them, but I’m curious to see the new Golden Skins. I’m not going to talk about Furia much, because I want to do a piece on her later, so I’ll be saving more of my thoughts for that. I liked her original artwork, but the updated artwork is also pretty awesome. No complaints either way (but I understand why people were upset). So we have a new, very aggressive support, and she is just the kind of playstyle I love. You should expect to see lots of sick Furia when I hop back into the Realm. The sister of Seris is nothing to trifle with, but it’s certainly appropriate that they are both supports. However, since there are not intermittent patches for balance, this one only has a few things in it. Sha Lin’s Impaler Arrow has a projectile size reduction (Good, very glad for this!), Strix has more Scope zoom distance (less thrilled about this … more Strix in my games is a negative), and Pip‘s Evil Mojo has a slower charge rate. I’m kind of glad to see that, though I truthfully seldom see Pip in my games. Most people at my ELO I guess hate Pip? I don’t think he’s a bad healer at all, but the general consensus is that Pip is bad, or people want to play Flank Pip. Now that gets my goat. However, the reduction on its charge I think was a good idea. I do wonder how much of a reduction it received, but I doubt it was a huge amount. This is a really exciting pair of patches, and I’m positive about the changes all across the board (with some very minor exceptions)! Once I’ve had some time with the new events, do expect some more content on them!
How about you guys? What do you like/not like in these updates? Let me know in the comments!