Oceanic League Finals

The Oceanic regional finals for League of Legends wrapped up at PAX Australia over the weekend and for the third split running new victors were crowned.  Riot Games prepared an impressive booth and didn’t disappoint fans, holding community events throughout all 3 days.

The esports kicked off on Saturday with the regional semi finals. The first series saw Avant Garde taking on Dire Wolves. Dire Wolves performed admirably, despite recent roster troubles, but couldn’t take down Avant Garde who won the series 2 – 1.

The second semi final was between the victors of last split Legacy Esports, and former oceanic top dogs The Chiefs. In a rematch of the grand final of last split Legacy again proved too strong for the Chiefs, taking the series 2 – 1.

Sunday was grand final day with Avant Garde and Legacy Esports facing each other in a best of 5 series. Legacy claimed game 1 in a decisive manner, but Avant bounced back taking games 2 and 3. Game 4 again went to Legacy, leaving both teams at 2 – 2 and setting up a big game 5. Both teams fought hard, with the crowd loving every second of it, until finally Avant Garde broke through and secured the title of Oceanic Champions with a 3 – 2 victory.

This finals series has left Oceanic League of Legends in an exciting place, setting 2015 up to be a huge year for players and fans alike.

How he danced.

I had fun writing this, an simple draft of an idea that came to me on a tram. Could use some refinement.

The 3:05 was late again, as usual. He stood waiting by the stop, peering down the road for the bus. He checked his watch when it came over the crest of the hill, 3:08, not too bad for a Monday. Hobbling on, he checked his ticket, and sat down. He rested his package on his lap, and stared idly out the window. He watched the other passengers, come and go. A few young punks sat across from him, gawking at his suit and tie. They wore their shades, but couldn’t hide the obvious attention they were paying him. Other days it may have made him uncomfortable, but it mattered little today.

Finally his own stop came, and he made for the exit. A young girl offered him help from the bus, but he politely declined. Other days he may have accepted, even been grateful, but he needed no reminder of his age today. As the bus rolled away, he was left standing in the unusual autumn heat. He mopped his brow, readjusted his hat, and began walking. The stop was close to the cemetery, and he nodded to the gate attendant as he made his way in.

Walking by the large headstones and empty plots, the old man wondered how long he had before he took his place here. He came to an area of largely empty plots. A notepad he pulled from his coat pocket told him where he needed to go. A moments searching lead him to the headstone bearing a familiar name.
“I haven’t seen you in years…” he said to the grave in front of him, “you’ve really let yourself go.” A fit of laughter hit him, and he braced himself against the large headstone next to him. He wiped a tear from his eye, and unwrapped the package. He chuckled again as he saw the headstone was the perfect size for it, and sat it on top. Fiddling around again in his coat pockets he found his phone, and plugged it in.
“I’ve waited years for this, I’m damn well going to enjoy it.” he muttered to himself. He span the volume knob up as loud as he could, and hit play. Sound filled the cemetery, echoing off of the tombstones and monuments, and oh how he danced.

2014 WC

World Championship Finals: Melbourne Viewing Parties

Without a doubt, the League of Legends scene in Melbourne is one of the strongest in Australia, playing host to regular LAN events and the Oceanic Regional finals at PAX Aus. Up until recently, however, we’ve suffered from a lack of gatherings to watch big events in all their glory.
That is no more, as for the first time in memory, Melbourne is spoilt for choice with viewing events for the League of Legends World Championship Grand Final. This begs the question, which event is best? What one works for me? This article aims to give a bit more information on the 3 major events in Melbourne to make your decision that much easier.

Ministry of Gaming:
When it comes to major viewing events in Melbourne, Ministry of Gaming are old hands. Having seen how sorely Melbourne was lacking large-scale viewing events, they took it upon themselves to deliver a high quality experience for the fans.

“The e-sports scene in Australia was moving very slow, and close to no viewing events existed for DOTA2 or LoL in Melbourne. The quality and experience offered by the ones that did exist was not up to our standard. So we formed MOG, aiming to provide high quality viewing experiences for the community.” – Win Meng and the MOG team

This Worlds viewing event is far from the first they’ve hosted, having previously organised “Pubstomps” and viewing events for other large-scale tournaments, including 2 premium events for DOTA2s’ “The International” 3 and 4.

Located in Lagerfield at Crown Casino, MoG have heaps of activities and competitions, complete with Riot swag for prizes. Guests from across the Oceanic LoL scene will also be present, including members of professional teams Legacy Esports and The Chiefs. Gaming stations will be available to smash out some League on, and maybe challenge others to a true display of skill.
There are 3 separate ticket types, with a private viewing area and tables available.
This is event caters to the mature crowd, and is for over 18s only, meaning younger summoners will not be able to attend.
For more information, including ticketing, check out the Facebook event over here: https://www.facebook.com/events/289435034593923/?ref=22

Aiona Entertainment:
This Worlds is the first foray into viewing parties for Aiona Entertainment, but don’t let that discourage you. With a strong passion for gaming, and League of Legends in particular, Aiona have set out to create an event with a strong community focus.

“We are aiming to create an experience that’s not just a chance to sit in a big room and watch games on a screen. Instead, we want a complete social event with a focus on community interaction, meeting new people with similar interests, socializing, and above all just having fun.” – AE

In the hope of growing the scene locally and abroad, Aiona are pitching their event to all gamers, from casual to the die-hard fans, and everyone in between.

“Our audience isn’t just the die-hard League/eSports fans like myself that tune in to watch games every week. We want all kinds of gamers and people in general to be able to come and have a good time.” – AE

For Aiona, this is the first step towards a long-term investment in eSports, expect to hear more big events from these guys in the future.

Their Worlds event is located in the inner Eastern suburb of Toorak, an easy commute from the CBD. The venue has a huge main screen, plus heaps of smaller ones to make sure you never miss any plays, and plenty of space to move around and meet other like-minded League fans.
There will of course be giveaways and activities to keep everyone entertained during breaks. This event is also 18+, with both regular and VIP tickets available.
Further information, including ticketing, can be found at the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1493659640871998/

Oceanic League Events
Next in line in the viewing party game is Oceanic League Events (OLE). OLE are about as familiar with the League scene in Melbourne as you can get, having run both League tournaments and viewing parties in the past. In their own words:

“Oceanic League Events is run under AusCons Incorporated, a not for profit organisation with a community focus. We’ve held LoL tournaments in the past with Mid City Internet, and viewing parties with RMIT LoL Club, and plan on organising a few more events through the year. We enjoy hosting these events, and aim to provide the community with a fun and enjoyable experience to remember.”
Regards,
Jordan and the OLE Team.

OLE are driving home that community focus through a mixture of competitions (including a Best Draven Impersonation) and interaction with local Pros and Cosplayers.
The OLE party is smack bang in the middle of the CBD, in a well equipped function room. Younger summoners are in luck here, as this event is open to all ages, but under 18s will have to leave at 11pm.
For more information, including ticketing and guests, check out their Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/771869102879011/

Each of these 3 events is awesome in its own right, offering all sorts of fun additions to supplement your World’s experience. Ultimately though, I’ve always found that as long as you’re with friends, these events will be a blast. Which ever one you choose, make sure you enjoy it!

This article has been produced with the intent to inform fans of League of Legends about events in Melbourne. Effort has been made to ensure that it is free of bias, instead placing all 3 major events on an equal footing for you the reader to decide which is best for you. The author received no incentives for the production of this article. Thanks to Wei for the idea, and all 3 hosts for being so cooperative.

Patch 4.6 goes Under the Hammer.

Welcome to the first patch note breakdown here at Under The Hammer. I’ll be trying to do one of these for every patch, and will be giving you my opinions on the big changes hitting the Rift. If you have any comments/questions or opinions of your own, feel free to leave them below! The official Riot patch notes can be found here.

Now, with All-Stars so close, Riots aim for this patch is to ensure that any minor bugs are patched out, and that recently reworked champions are still viable picks.

Firstly, we see the bug on Aatroxs W, Blood Thirst, being fixed. This was the that bug caused some controversy in the EU LCS a few weeks back when it triggered for Darien in the top lane, giving him a heal every 2 auto-attacks, rather than every 3. Gambit went on to win the first game, but the match was later replayed, with SK taking the victory in the replay.

Gragas is getting some loving to ensure that he can fit the role Riot wants for him. Removing the self-imposed slow when using Drunken Rage and lowering the cooldown of Body Slam to 12 seconds at all ranks should help Gragas do his job mid-fight.

Kassadin is getting buffed this patch too, after his recent rework left him feeling a little worse for wear. As much as we were all happy to say goodbye to Kassadin, nerfing a champion out of existence is not something Riot likes to do, and as such a few happy buffs are coming Kass’s way. Getting a base movement speed buff and a mana-per-level buff will help Kass match the mobility based hit and run play style of an anti-mage. The shield on Null Sphere will now have a far greater size, with higher base shield and better AP scaling, giving Kassadin better incentive to follow-up on the poke from his Q. Nether Blade will also see a buff, both flat damage and AP scaling, to help Kassadin once he has committed to an engage.

The recent rework to Rengar also seems to have hit him a bit harsh, and as such Riot are tweaking his abilities to make him feel more like a powerful predator than a kitten with a switch blade. Savagery and Empowered Savagery have both had their attack animations sped up with this patch. Just after the rework was released, many former Rengar players were complaining about how clunky the rework felt, with several mentioning his Q in particular. Speeding up the animation should leave the spell feeling more responsive, with the bonus damage also being buffed a little to ensure usability. Rengars ultimate, Thrill of the Hunt, has also had a change. When the rework went live, Rengar could use his ult for the stealth and still be detected by an enemy champion, even if he was hiding in a bush or otherwise out of sight range. This patch sees that fixed to be more logical, with enemy champions only being alerted to Rengars presence if they could see him  when he wasn’t stealthed.

With this patch, Riot said that they’re looking at ways to break the current Top Lane meta into something more interesting. The current meta is essentially an island where 2 champions go to farm and occasionally harass each other. To set about fixing this, Riot are looking at buffing champions who have what they call “healthy, team fight oriented” gameplay, with champions like Malphite and Jarvan IV named as potential benefactors of future buffs.

In this patch, however, we see Rumble getting a buff to his abilities when he is in his “Danger Zone”. Scrap Shield will now give more movement speed and a larger shield when Rumble is hot-footing in the Danger Zone, while Electro Harpoon will do more damage and slow more. This change won’t have a dramatic effect immediately, as managing the heat build up in the Danger Zone is something that defines high level Rumble play, and takes some time to learn. In a few patches time when the other buffs and nerfs effecting Top Lane have come about, we may just see a return of Rumble to competitive play.

This patch sees a pretty minor nerf to Wriggle’s Lantern/Feral Flare. It now takes 5 more large monster kills to transform into the Feral Flare, and the cost of Wriggle’s Lantern is now slightly more. Let me state this now, I do not like this item. I think Riot have gone down the wrong path in attempting to bring offensive/attack speed junglers back into meta. To me this item promotes highly negative play, which is something Riot generally tries to avoid. To utilise this item to the best of it’s ability, a jungler needs to sit and farm camps for 20 minutes until the Feral Flare procs and suddenly he’s got a huge amount of damage. Ganking is a waste of time, because that just slows down how quickly you can hit the power spike that is Feral Flare, so smart junglers will just sit and farm until they get the upgrade. This leads to lanes being super careful, with nothing exciting happening to the jungler hits his glorious power spike. If a jungler does gank, slowing down his Feral Flare time, then he is stuck with a large gold investment in an average item. Now that Riot have increased the combine cost, junglers have to push to make Wriggle’s into a useful item, further cementing the negative aspects of the item. To make it even worse, Riot increased the amount of monsters which need to be killed, meaning junglers have to farm for longer, and are still super OP when it breaks. This item is a joke. A cruel cruel joke.

When the summoner spell Heal was buffed last patch, Riot removed the long-standing debuff of concurrent Heals only healing for 50% of the original amount. Having seen the error in their ways, Riot has reinstated the debuff on the new version of Heal, hopefully leading to less stacking of the spell in team comps.

Finally, the Twitch Visual Update goes live this patch. The update sees a new, far more eye-pleasing take on the plague rat. Twitch’s spells now have all new effects and particles to match his new look, and his ultimate has even seen a name change, R.I.P. Spray and Pray, we now have Rat-ta-tat-tat. Will the puns never cease.

So that’s my take on Patch 4.6, if you have opinions contrary to mine or even just something you want to say, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading!
– Hammer

Oceanic Champion Skin

So, with the Oceanic themed skin drawing nearer everyday, I thought I’d take a look at what challenges Riot potentially faced with the skin idea and throw some ideas out there of my own.

When choosing a skin to represent a server, Riot has to balance a cool idea with something that works in the game. Some ideas are either too ridiculous or too dull to bring the satisfaction of us, the Summoners. In the past Riot has drawn on the history of a country and put that into a skin, but that doesn’t quite work with the Oceanic region. Another problem is that there are certain champions with a multitude of skins, while there are others with virtually none. Creating a skin for a champion with a lot of skins already, will attract the ire of the community, while picking a champion who is too abstract will cause Summoners on other servers to be unlikely to buy the skin.

Australia has a relatively short history to call on when looking for a skin idea. Compared with other server launches, which took historically known figures and a champion who matched them, Australia has a few hundred years in which to find one. We don’t have famous warrior groups or anything like that, and to be frank our past is quite controversial.

Lacking any obvious go-to theme, we have to look past those and at the Australian identity as a whole. When we think of Australia, we like to think of that old “sunburnt country/flooding plains, home of things actively trying to kill you” idea. As an identity for a country, that’s pretty cool. We already have a few champions with skins close to this identity, such as Outback Renekton. To me, a champion like Leona would suit this theme as well.

Looking at the more “Pop Culture” side of the Australian identity, a Croc Hunter theme comes to mind. We all know Steve Irwin and, love him or hate him, he’s unquestionably a good example of the Australian identity. 2 champions that, to me at least, could fit this theme are Vi and Graves (and possibly Leona too).
Choosing a skin which represents a server would be hard work, to say the least. Picking a theme that can identify a country without insulting aspects of its history can be tough, but Riot seem to put a lot of effort into walking that fine line. I feel that no matter what skin they come out with for Oceania, opinions will be divided, but I trust that they’ll do right by our fine server.

It’s true that I’ve focused over much on the Australian side of the Oceanic region, I’d love to hear opinions on general Oceanic ideas!