HiRez Roundup #3
Editor’s Note: Thank you, HiRez for taking 4-20 so very very seriously, as it deserves. That was delightful; so thank you.
Hello, and welcome to the HiRez Roundup #3! Today, I want to talk about mostly SMITE and Paladins, since I covered Hand of the Gods on Tuesday with my Topdeck Tutor (which you can find here), from Patch 4.20, stuff coming in 4.21/Season 5, and the latest Paladins Update/Upcoming Stuff/Hilarious but awful Terminus bugs/thoughts on the character. Hopefully, I will have time to do a more detailed post on him in the coming week after I’ve played him a bit more. Though I do have to say I’ve very much enjoyed Hand of the Gods and balance is slowly but surely happening. I get that it’s a beta and that change has to come naturally, but I stand by how un-fun it is to play against Zeus. It might be just me, that I’m just not capable of dealing with his deck, but it’s my current frustration with an otherwise terrific game. Before we get into the meaty stuff, what skins are coming? Skins for this update are mostly exclusives, but they’re primarily for Odyssey and the SWC Pack. I’m sure next update will have more accessible/non-exclusive stuff.
Super Chill Bacchus – Exclusive/Odyssey
Pixel Rush He Bo – Exclusive/Odyssey
Sand Viper Ao Kuang – Exclusive/Odyssey
Mystic Defender Neith – Limited/SWC Digital Loot Pack
SWC 2018 Queen Aphrodite – Limited/SWC Digital Loot Pack
SWC 2018 King Thor – Limited/SWC Loot Pack
Convention 2018 Cernunnos – Exclusive/SWC Digital Loot Pack
He Bo Mastery Update – Mastery
SMITE: Patch 4.20 Thoughts:
Now, I’ve read from a few people that the “SWC 2018 Bundle is not worth it”, and that’s one of the more absurd things I’ve seen this week. For 1600 Gems it comes with four skins: Mystic Defender Neith, SWC 2018 Queen Aphrodite, SWC 2018 King Thor, Convention 2018 Cernunnos. It also has a Global Emote, Recall Skin and Ward Skin. Maybe people think it’s bad because they don’t know how to ward, so they don’t understand ward skins. That’s probably it. It’s also got a Divine Chest roll and 750 Fantasy points, which are also pretty handy. Sounds like it’s worth the price of admission for me. Plus that Neith skin is adorable. She’s not hypersexualized in this one! Maybe that’s it! I think I figured it out. That is what people are upset about. But it has Aphro in it! Isn’t that good enough? A lot changed in this patch though, some of it was cosmetic (an absolute slew of item portraits were changed to fit with their line), some were just some bug fixes that were probably fairly important (Cu Chulainn’s ability descriptions to fit in line with the 4.19 updates, Kumbhakarna where the Movement Speed Slow from Mighty Yawn would also cleanse the Attack Speed Slow). A big one though is with Gods that have “controlled dashes” (Geb, Wukong, Erlang Shen, Kuzenbo). It should always cleanse roots on cast, but the God can be rooted after the charge has initiated (unless otherwise stated, like Geb becoming immune). The aforementioned Gods had fixes put in place to put them in line with this.
As far as Balance goes, there were only a few item changes, and only one of them I’m even remotely upset about. Shield of Thorns’ upgrade lowered the duration down to 5s (from 8s), and as a Guardian main, this repulses me. Clearly, HiRez has a bias, and it’s against the Tank Meta. I’m on to you, Ajax … I mean. Executioner also saw a cost increase, as it was useful/powerful in basically every single Hunter build and I imagine I would see it in other lanes as well. With its incredible flexibility/usefulness, the increase in cost to 2350 (from 2250) is probably for the best. But the real change, the biggest change, jokes aside, is Soul Eater. Now it becomes “Evolved Soul Eater” and has it stats adjusted for what they were looking for. One of the biggest weaknesses for Physical Assassins is a reliable sustain item. They need so many stats, that it becomes hard to really figure out what to build. It’s an Evolving item (Soul Eater) now, that builds stacks when anything dies near you. Once it hits 100 stacks, it gains +20 Physical Power and allows Abilities to heal you for 10% of the damage dealt. It’s going to be a must-buy. I have a feeling it’ll probably get nerfed in a few patches, if the heal on it turns out to be too powerful. I’m not so certain that it is though. So now it’s: 2500 Gold, +30 Phys Power, 10% Lifesteal, 10% Cooldown Reduction, and Passive: Each time anything dies near you, you gain a Stack. Gods, large Jungle Monsters, and Jungle Bosses provide 5 Stacks. At 100 Stacks, Soul Eater Evolves – gaining +20 Physical Power and allowing your Abilities to heal you for 10% of the Damage dealt.
However, quite a few Gods were changed/balanced in this patch. The Raijin updates weren’t a shock, we were told he would continue to be balanced until he’s where he ought to be. The radius of his projectiles were lowered to 4.5 units (from 6 units) and updated the targeter to better reflect the overlapping area for the projectiles on the double shot (Percussive Storm). Raiju changed too, but it was mostly fixes to the FX to make it show up more quickly, and fixed an issue where all targets inside the targeter would be highlighted, rather than just the closest target to the center, and made sure the FX would display when necessary. Not a balance or nerf to Raiju, just some minor fixes. Zeus had a sort of rough season. Anytime I saw someone select him in Conquest, they’d get made fun of for picking a bad God. Which, I don’t think he was bad. He needed a little boost though. Now Aegis Assault static AOE will now be triggered when the Aegis is hit by Zeus’ Chain Lightning as well as increasing the overall scaling of said Lightning from 40-50%. This won’t make him pick-or-ban tier, but when it will be another way to get that AoE popping, and that’s always a positive. That means you can combo the Shield drop into the Lightning shot, and not rely on a slower auto-attack to hit and you know, just pray they stay nearby. His scaling isn’t as great as most mages, so hopefully this will lend him the hand he needs to be viable in a very late game situation.
Kumbhakarna received a nice little buff, making his Epic Uppercut easier to use. Well, make it happen more often (90/85/80/75/70s to 75s at all ranks) and made the audio cue for it to be louder to be a bit more obvious when it’s happening. Personally? I don’t play Kumba much, but for Kumba mains, this will make them happy. It allows that ult to be far more impactful overall. I won’t cover every change here, but the patch notes can be found below if you want to read them all for yourself. Amaterasu’s Heavenly Reflection was touched up (lowered mana cost from 70/75/80/85/90 to 60/65/70/75/80) and lowered its cooldown to 12s (from 14s). Guan Yu is getting some much-needed TLC this patch too. It’s not a major change, but easing up on the cost of his Conviction (from 60/65/70/75/80 to 60 at all ranks) and overall increasing his mana to 35 per level (from 32) isn’t a major buff, but it’s just enough to let him use that heal far more frequently, and keep both himself and the team going. A fighter with an AOE heal is pretty unique and can see him in other lanes (like in the duo) and maybe this will be what we need to see a few more support Guans. The last change I want to talk about is for:
Poseidon. His Trident movement speed’s going up (from 5/10/15/20/25% to 10/15/20/25/30%) to make him more viable. The nerfs to that Movement Speed buff really killed his ability to rotate or find picks for his team, so it’s returning. Let’s see how that helps him. Release the Kraken is getting consistency which is arguably, more important than a buff to its overall damage. It can now be cast within player-made deployables (Thor’s wall, etc) and the Outer Ring damage went from 170/195/220/245/270 (+30% of your magical power) to 175/210/245/280/315 (+45% of your magical power). The Center Area lost some damage, from 180/220/260/300/340 (60% of your magical power) to 175/210/245/280/315 (+45% of your magical power). The damage is now evenly split between the center/outer ring, meaning the center target is still hit for both areas damage, but players in the outer area will receive more damage in this update. Now, just because you’re close to the end of the whirlpool, that doesn’t mean you’ll just walk away. The burst should be a bit more even, because it was such a vast difference between being in the middle, as opposed to being on the outside. Many times I’ve just walked away from something I shouldn’t have, because of where the ult dropped/where I was standing. Look forward to a minor Artio nerf, and a bigger nerf to Izanami (but she needed it. Let’s be honest).
SMITE: 4.21/Season 5 Brief Thoughts/Paladins Thoughts:
Patch 4.21 will contain Discordia (which we at least got to see, complete with resplendent energy wings/Golden Apple of Chaos) and the only things we know is that she’s a Roman Mage. And what she looks like. At least this confirms what we’ve all be hearing whispered on the Internet, and it turns out to be true! I seldom trust what’s been data-mined, but that’s because I’m a cynic. That’s part and parcel of what I do for a living! But I am glad for it because Discordia promises to be a blast. Part of me hoped to see the Eris instead, but you know. That’s all because of “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” and I will not apologize for that. We also got to see a sneak preview of the Conquest Map for Season 5! It hasn’t been seriously changed since its inception, other than minor jungle stuff, but one of the great nitpicks I’ve had is the lack of symmetry. What’s going on on one side of the map should be going on on the other side. As long as it doesn’t give one side an advantage, it ought to be fine in theory, but I’d rather them be the same. I hear whispers online of “Chaos side is better” or if you’re on Order side, the game expects you to lose. I don’t really know enough about that one way or another. Maybe I can get Ajax on the horn sometime for an interview and see what he says? Who knows? That’s speculation for another time, but I have certainly felt crushing defeat more frequently on certain sides of the map. That might simply be a lack of skill/lack of communication/people picking things that they can’t do. But the map is going to be bigger, the lanes will be symmetrical, and we know nothing about the jungle yet, but I’m hoping for some actual cover/bushes/foliage to hide in/behind. It’s not really much of a jungle, is it …
On the Paladins front, I have to retract something I said on a stream! I said that Wrecker was changed to deal more damage to Front Liners, but that’s only on PTR right now. That may or may not happen. So, apologies if you’re reading this! I’m not really sure how I feel about that change, as a primary Front Liner. Sure, it makes it so Wrecker’s not worthless on people without shields (Inara, Terminus) and is useful even when Barik, Ash or Torvald aren’t covered in a shield. But I have a feeling it’s just going to cripple those Front Liners that naturally do not have shields. I don’t have any evidence to support that just yet, but it’s definitely how I worry it will go down. But Terminus is also in the game now! Boy did I find a lot of bugs and glitches with him yesterday. I think I shared most of them on Twitter (thank you, SuperBadJuju for seeing them!) but I think my favorite was where Grover snared my Terminus and kept me snared for the next three rounds of the game. Which is fine … okay, it’s not fine. But what made it worse, was that it was the Grover that was on my team. The other team did not have a Grover. I understand that you can’t always get everything in the testing phases before an update rolls out. But please remember friends, this game is still in beta. It’s not a full release. Bugs, glitches and other issues are bound to occur. That’s the point of a beta, is to find these things, and offer feedback. Though it was admittedly entertaining watching an enemy Terminus laying down, but still leaping through the air to use his F. I enjoy playing him, and with a competent/active healer, I think he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. I’m still puzzling out what I want his general kit to be (as far as card builds go), but he’s fun. I feel like he’s got a higher skill cap for survival, but his damage and abilities make him a force to be reckoned with. And his ult, whoo doctor, his ult.
Finally, there’s going to be a new Adventure in SMITE 4.21! It’s apparently much bigger than the last dungeon adventure, which blows my mind. Judging by that there will be puzzles, challenges, and so much to explore, my guess? It will be a Greek-themed patch, and be “The Maze of the Minotaur”. I might be wrong, but that’s just what I’m basing it on for now. What about you guys? What are your thoughts? Likes, dislikes? What else should be included in these? Interviews? Speculation? Feel free to let me know below!
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