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League of Legends patch to fiddle with items and support roles ahead of Season 4

Inferno Nasus.

League of Legends champion Nasus has a new Inferno skin, and it’s temporarily made him the most powerful character in the business of laning. When casting his ultimate, the Egyptian dog-god now makes like the Ancient Greeks and sprouts two extra heads, before, um, crashing the game.

That wasn’t quite how it was supposed to go, and Riot have plucked him from the public tester server for the time being. Elsewhere, though, players have spotted incoming changes to items, jungling and support roles in the run-up to Season 4, as well as some tweaks to game flow and that controversial Nasus voiceover switch.

You can see the freezing effect of that ult here:

And here’s the new Nasus, re-cast in lieu of his former voice actor, the much-missed Gene McDaniels:

The upcoming patch will see tweaks to nearly 30 items, and the introduction of 14 new ones – primarily with the aim of making vision wards more viable as a shared team burden.

“With this preseason we want to diffuse the responsibility of vision from being a single player burden to a team-wide job,” explained Riot. “Additionally, we want to infuse more gameplay into the vision game with additional functionality and the addition of trinkets.”

Riot are providing unique item options dedicated to vision on Summoner’s Rift, in an attempt to force players to consider sharing the load. The developers have also found that the superiority of Vision Wards to their Sight equivalents has created some “weird escalation cases”.

In these cases, wrote Riot, “there is simply an unending cycle of ‘Pink’ Ward destruction. By positioning Vision Wards as having different strengths and trade-offs, we hope to create a better defined role for both Sight and Vision Wards.”

The changes come as part of a wider shake-up to Wards in general, which Riot think will help lighten the responsibility of support players.

“Because they could place as many ward as they could afford, this meant all of the support income was best spent on warding,” said the dev team. “We want all players on the team to participate in warding and providing vision to their team.”

As they did in the last preseason period, Riot are also re-examining the role of junglers ahead of Season 4.

“We’re looking to create more options and possibilities for junglers of all kinds in this preseason,” they explained. “The gold income for a primary jungler wasn’t scaling appropriately for dedicated jungle farmers. Similarly, the jungle difficulty was out of line with what we thought was appropriate.”

As such, difficulty and rewards for junglers will now be linked to monster level. What’s more, Riot have adding new gold generation patterns to their items to compensate for junglers’ comparative uselessness past the laning phase. All jungle monsters have been retuned to better fit the patch’s new items.

Finally, Riot have pledged to rejig the overall flow of each match.

“We’re basically looking to clarify the benefits of each individual objective throughout the game,” said the developers. “Additionally we want to tackle snowballing with our changes to alleviate some snowballing cases in the early and late game.”

To that end, they’re shaving a few seconds from “punishing” early game death timers, and changing up Dragon so that it offers global gold and local XP based on its current level – reducing the snowball effect and creating “mid-game comeback value”.

There’ll likely be even more worth mentioning once the official patch notes emerge – Riot tend to take advantage of preseason time to make their most dramatic edits to the shape of the game. What’s the biggest deal here for you?

Thanks, Reign of Gaming.