Welcome To The [Reworked League Of Legends] Jungle

OCCUPADO!

Riot have been tinkering about with the League of Legends jungle for a while now. The point, as covered in the pre-Worlds press conference, is to make jungling less of a solved problem with only a few viable champions. “The jungle champion pool has been really narrow. We want to see a broader range of junglers in the mix and give those junglers more strategic choices”. The company now has a dev blog up explaining the work they’ve been doing in more depth.

The problem Riot are trying to solve isn’t actually just that there are a small number of reliably viable heroes. It’s that the games tend to play out very similarly for those heroes because the ways they can be built and played don’t vary much in the context of different matches.

As dev Fearless says:

“After a few dozen repetitions of the Lee Sin vs. Kha’zix match up, we as junglers have a very good idea of how the match up will play out, and the game is very likely to feel very similar to the games before and after.”

It’s a result which runs counter to the point of being a jungler. Junglers are the Champions who are free-est to move around the map and affect the balance of play when they do so. In limiting their viable playstyles you lose that strategic flexibility.

Instead of skewing heavily towards fast-clearing Champions, jungle camps are being reworked to reward mitigation-focused junglers. By this I mean that the camps have been given a base stat increase so champions who can take those down and still be healthy enough to deal with other camps afterwards will be appealing.

The camps will also offer a buff when Smite is used. (Smite being a summoner spell which deals true damage, not the Hi-Rez MOBA of the same name) By knowing which camps give which buffs you can adapt your focus to suit your actions on the map. For example, Gromp – the grump toad guy – gives you poison armour which deals magic damage over time to your attackers and makes you a less attractive target as a result.

A Scuttle Crab minion is also being added to the river as another incentive for champions to leave the jungle at various points. The fact that it runs away from its attackers means it can relocate skirmishes – could be interesting, could be crab MOBA Benny Hill. Possibly both.

Traumatic

Items are also being changed in order to support potentially more diverse playstyles. In addition to the reworked Hunter’s Machete there’s Stalker’s Blade (good for ganking and adding more snowball to snowball lanes), Poacher’s Knife (counter-jingling), Skirmisher’s Sabre (1v1 power) and Ranger’s Trailblazer (safer jungle farming). They’re being billed as role-agnostic so to make them more relevant to a particular character you need to add enchantments for particular stats gains.

The basic approach is being described by Fearless and fellow dev Axes as “more scalpels, less sledgehammers”. What that means is that lots of different aspects of the game which affect junglers can be tweaked in small ways. The intention is that Riot will be able to fine-tune without accidentally causing wild swings in the meta.

As per usual, these are changes which are being trialled in the public beta environment. As such they might not make it to the full game (or at least not in their exact current form).

11 Comments

  1. Zankman says:

    Happy with most of the Jungle changes talked about; I like that they are aiming for more strategic variety and depth.

    I don’t like, however, the fact that a lot of people (on Reddit at least) seem to be against the idea, citing increased complexity.

    • Horg says:

      You can please some people, some of the time, or no one all of the time. LoL really needed this change, practically every other DotA derivative in existence has a better jungle game.

      • Philomelle says:

        Third opinion:

        While I’m really glad that League is trying to develop a more diverse identity in terms of jungling, I kinda wish that identity wasn’t Riot basically saying “Yes, we really like Dawngate”.

        • Kitsunin says:

          What what what? Why? I don’t get it…

          If you’re suggesting that Dawngate has a diverse jungle, and League wants to copy that idea, that’s not true, Dawngate’s jungle has been like S4’s jungle since the beginning: Many champions (shapers) are capable of jungling, but there’s a small subset which actually should be jungling.

          • Philomelle says:

            They repurposed pretty much the entire mid-to-late game jungle into providing bonuses to lane-pushing. The red buff? Now gives structural damage. The twin golems? Give a buff that can be consumed to deal heavy damage to a structure. The Baron? Now gives you a Promote-style aura that empowers minions to push harder.

            Aside of the dragon buffs, huge chunks of the jungle game have been redesigned to enforce lane-pushing and thus shorter games. That’s exactly what Dawngate and Strife do, the first via Striders and the second via the super-death-monkey.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Well the red buff contributing structure damage seems like a common-sense change to me, why wouldn’t it? Likewise, it only makes sense for your end-game boss to contribute a lot of pushing power, since pushing is how you win the game. I imagine this change makes comebacks easier, since it should eliminate situations where a team which has fallen behind gets Baron, but can’t capitalize on it.

            Aside from those changes, I don’t see any jungle changes which contribute to pushing, where did you read the golems give you tower damage? Their smite buff gives you an execution vs. jungle monsters, that’s all I see.

          • Philomelle says:

            I suppose they reworked the golems, then? The first iteration of it was a damage buff that persisted up until you struck a tower, at which point it was consumed in exchange for dealing extra damage. It all added up into everything in the jungle being siege-based, which was the solution Dawngate and Strife came up with for making jungle matter in endgame.

            It’s definitely going to be a better jungle, but again. I’d love it if League did more things of its own, whereas the current changes mostly sacrifice any sort of identity for the sake of making it as mainstream as possible.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Huh, I thought I had been keeping up with preseason for a while, guess not quite.

            I think there are a lot of original ideas here. The jungle items altering your smite is thoroughly unique and should offer real choices, because of the enchantments keeping stats separate, probably even multiple ways to jungle with the same champion. Each camp giving a benefit is also completely unique, the crab in the river, stacking permanent dragon buffs…really the only thing here which isn’t completely unique is the change to Baron, but even that could easily be a logical fix for a problem rather than “oh, Dawngate did that better than us, we should copy them”.

            And in its current state, Dawngate’s late-game parasite buff really just sucks.

  2. stblr says:

    Are we starting to see Ghostcrawler’s influence on the game? I’ve played LoL just a handful of times, but I know from my experience with WoW that he was all about having a lot of levers to pull to affect balance in ways big and small.

  3. grom.5 says:

    Welcome to the jungle
    We’ve got fun and flames

    More about the subject, I’m quite excited for this change. More tactics seems always like a good idea in a game like this. It will, maybe, put less importance on the pick and ban and allow more strategies.

  4. Moraven says:

    Each year they try to rework the Jungle but it eventually falls back to a narrow set of specialists. They made them faster, they made it slower.

    Unless it becomes more dynamic, the same thing will happen again in 3 months.