With the release of the new Starguardian Invasion game mode, I got psyched. Not only was it something I adored, which was bullet hell, but it also had a reward that I was excited to get, and that was a permanent champion. I booted up the game and chose Miss Fortune, after playing through the "normal" (Which may as well be a tutorial) I was excited. Finally, a PvE game mode done right. Or so I thought.
After having my first Starlight Token, I realised something. I only have to do three more missions. Alright. I can do this. Three more missions and then I have a CHANCE (And this is important, the CHANCE part) to get a 6300 champion (Hell, I could end up with just a 1350 champion). So I click to the missions tab and I look at the missions. Two of which requires me to play with a premade of five. A premade of five? I barely have five people playing League at the same time on my NA account, and I doubt I can get them all to grind through five wins with me. I put the thought to the back of my mind and I shrug, thinking I'll just get the first mission done and over with. Maybe there would be new missions after I do the first one (Which by the way, there is. It is entirely possible to get four tokens as a solo and without entering premades, I'll touch onto this later.)
So I get into a game of Onslaught, and for the first few rounds I'm satisfied, I could see this becoming tedious but eventually I'd get through it. And then it happens. One of the Vel'Koz missions. Now, it wasn't the escort one, that came later. But it eventually it we got wiped. After figuring out how to do it, we complete the round and we go onto the blasted Vel'Koz escort. This was more than just a bullet hell. This was actual hell. Upwards of 8 Vel'Koz's firing at you with half a second break all the while Rek'Sais zone you and Skarners pull you out. This broke me. We got through it eventually, but that was the only time I got through it. I've played this upwards of six times now, only getting to the end on my fourth.
So, how do we make this better?
The game mode already has a lot of promising points, it's on the right track to being a PvE event done right, and some say it could be it's own game (Which I disagree with). I'll go through the step by steps.
Before I talk about the rewards itself, I believe we have 7-8 missions to play with and as such we can get 7-8 mission credits.
The rewards are piss poor. We have two rewards. A unique ward and a permanent champion.
The Ward, whilst it is unique to the event, it is at the end of the day, just a reward. And it isn't even a flashy one like the God Fist or Pulsefire Wards. It's just gold, white and pink. With the pink and white barely showing compared to the gold. For the grinding that needs to be done, the ward could have been better.
The Champion Coin. This is where things get pissy. This whole event has been segmenting people off. First we've had three missions (Two being starter missions) dedicated to pre-made groups, then we have the rewards. You only have ONE valid reward if you've spent some time (or money) on League Of Legends and have all of the champions, which there is a surprising amount of people who do. The negatives to the coin doesn't even end there. If, for some reason, you haven't bought all the 450 IP Champs, you have a solid chance of getting one of those. And like wise, you also have a solid chance to get a 1350 champion for a minimum of 9 victories. This is outrageous. I'm thinking on it now and I'm just trying to picture how pissed off I'd be if I ended up winning 9 of these games by some miracle and I come out of it with a Ryze, Garen or Mordekaiser to show.
So, how do we make the rewards better? Obviously, it would be too late to go and update the Ward, so how about we make it cheaper? Down the price to two or three tokens instead of four. Because that's still 9 wins for a few pixels.
How about the Champion Coin? You have two ways to make this worth it. Downgrade the price to TWO or make it so you are BOUND to get a champion that's either 4800 or above.
There's also the possibility to add more rewards, for example just an IP conversion, or summoner icons or like the arcade mission and do skin shards. Hell, I'd be ecstatic if I got one of the new skins from a skin shard from a mission. Just make it so everyone can feel like they're getting something out of the grind.
As I said, there is a total of 7-8 missions, however I can only see four right now.
You have three pre-made missions and four-five solo missions.
The BEST and EASIEST way to update these and make them better for the players is to change the order which they come in. Make all the solo missions appear first and then the pre-made missions appear last. That way you can progress to two missions at once whilst you're not a premade.
However, there are more problems rooted inside of the missions. And that's how hard they are. Firstly, requiring 3 victories for one mission completion is ridiculous for a game mode this hard. Other than that, A Star's Refinement is a solid mission. It encourages people to go outside of their norms instead of just farming victories with Jinx and it does encourage a wider variety on teams.
But then there's the A Guardian's Trial mission. This is horrendous. There are THREE heroes you need on the team in order to win the game.
Jinx - Jinx beats both Ezreal and Miss Fortune on utility and damage. Whilst Jinx doesn't compare to Miss Fortunes wave clearing ultimate ability, Miss Fortune will never be able to achieve as much damage as Jinx does through out the whole game.
Soraka - Soraka is self explanatory. She silences Vel'Koz's. She roots in a large area and she keeps the team alive. If you want to win you need a Soraka with Redemption, Locket of Solaria and Adent.
Poppy - Poppy is a must. She has no replacement like Jinx and Soraka does. She is the only tank and as such she is the most important. She does 16% Max Health Damage to the creeps and she displaces Vel'Koz's, stuns Cho'Gaths and prevents Kha'Zix, Skarner and the Herald from diving. You CAN NOT WIN without her.
So despite the importance of each of those three champions, we're suppose to win one game without an ADC (Good bye stable DPS). Without a mage (Okay, this is fine) and without a TANK AND SUSTAIN (Good bye meat shield, good bye dash protection, good bye sustain).
This mission is hideously constructed and it should be purged OR changed so you only have to do one of the requirements instead of all three (mage one ez).
I have no personal grape with the Guardians Origins mission, it's rather interesting though I do see the Burn Bright segment being a lot easier than the New Horizon.
And as a lot of others have said, and I've touched upon, no one wants to be forced to find a random five man premade on reddit or the forums. Just remove the premade requirements, please.
So for this section, just make the missions easier. Seeming a lot of these missions requires multiple victories, I would say restrict it down to (Let's use Guardians Origins as an example)
Beat the game with a team of Lux, Jinx, Poppy and Lulu OR Ahri, Syndra, Miss Fortune, Soraka and Ezreal. So you don't have to win multiple but just one to win the mission.
The Mode Itself:
I only have a few small problems with this mode and gameplay.
Too many monsters in one round. The game feels over-bearing, we have 20 Vel'Koz's firing Syndras balls at us. One-to-four super Vel'Koz's segmenting off the map and zoning you. Three Super Rek'Sais just smashing you all about in the little zone S Vel'Koz made. Several other Rek'Sais just being useless. Kha'Zix's jumping in and occasionally robbing you of your life and then Kog Maw's.
Kog Maw - I have little to no grapes with these ones. The only thing I'd say to change is make the zone in which they shoot at you smaller so melee champions have a chance and make them do less DPS. Sure, a simple argument is to just stay out of the zone and deal with everything else, but you can't do that when Rek'Sais CC you and they get close enough for your dignity to be robbed and for no more safe spaces to run back too.
Kha'Zix - Honestly, Rito. Good job with these guys. They're perfect. They're spooky, plentiful and damaging but not over-bearing.
Skarner - The same with Kha'Zix. Great job on these ones.
Standard Vel'Koz - CALM DOWN. There's too much. I'd say split the numbers down by a third or half. There should not be this much Vel'Koz in a game. If it was just Vel'Koz's on the "escort-isque mission" then it'd be fine. But you CAN NOT dodge the bullets and be zoned, cc'd and dragged by everything else at once. Only make one other enemy type spawn with these guys.
Super Vel'Koz - I'm fine with these guys once more. They do their job and they aren't over-used.
Rek'Sai and Super Rek'Sai - I don't have much of a problem with these ones, they're annoying but they only do damage if you have Vel'Koz's paired up with them.
Cho'Gath - Absolutely fine, no change.
Super Cho'Gath - These are also fine apart from one thing. When they eat you, for the love of god Riot, please make it an Insta-Kill or not guaranteed kill. Make it do 1000-1500 damage over time, not all of your health. These just completely counter Poppy.
Overall, with the Monsters, I would say cut down the amount that's spawned in a round by a quarter and make it so there's only ever two-three monster types spawned a round. Like Vel'Koz and Kha'Zix or Skarner and Kog Maw. It's too over-bearing and it gets impossible to do anything.
Now it's important to note. Characters are A LOT different from Summoners Rift to Invasion and that's because they're different game modes. When Riot comes up with characters, they keep in mind "What should they specialise in. Should they be hard hitting glass-cannons with high speed. Pokers. Controllers. Tanks or stable damage" (as a few examples) and "How well is their laning phase", "How well can they put up in a tight space such as Jungle" "How well are they in a five man team fight" "Can they hold their own" and finally "How well do they synergise with their team. Are they make or break". Not "AYY LMFAO CAN WE WAVE CLEAR ONE HUNDREAD MOBS IN TWO MINUTES". So from a character targeting five others at most to twenty is a massive difference.
In anycase, it's quick fire time.
Ezreal - Feels lack-luster, only really useful when it comes to getting to the end of the escort mission in a clutch. Unlike other ADC's he has no CC or Wave-Clear. He works "well" in standard games against a group of five but against a group of 20+ he is u s e l e s s.
Miss Fortune - She's fine but pales compared to Jinx.
Jinx - N E E D E D.
Ahri - She has a good control over Vel'Koz's and Cho'Gaths, with her kiss allowing to get hostile champs into melee range for those who are melee. However, she applies to what we mentioned earlier and she's similar to Ezreal. In Summoners Rift she isn't good for dealing with team fights. She controls the early-mid game by roaming with high mobility. She gets rid of back lines or acts as an engage for team fights. However, in a game mode where this is no engage nor is there a solid back line (Because the back line is four Vel'Koz's side by side) she doesn't shine as much as she does in normals.
Syndra - Honestly. Played six games now. Haven't seen her once. But I'll go off a limb and say that I guess her balls would be too hard to manage with the screen spam.
Lux - She's a solid champion. She has CC over Cho'Gaths, Skarners, Rek'Sais and Kha'Zix's alike but shouldn't be relied on to deal with Kog'Maw's and Vel'Koz. In a tight space when everything goes to hell with creep spam (Which it does) she has her Q to do massive damage. Her ult is rather lack-luster but it still does a decent job.
Poppy - N E E D E D. Can E Herald. Can E Vel'Koz. Can E anything. 16% Max Health Damage (Unsure if applies to Herald). Fuck Kha'Zix, Fuck Herald and fuck Rek'sai with her W.
LuLu - She's a gem in the rough. I have little problems with her. Good wave clearing, good utility for team mates and she can do saves.
Janna - Good CC and good ultimate. Little else to say.
Soraka - N E E D E D. With Lifesteal butchered, she's one of the only things that offers sustain (outside of redemption). She can also silence Vel'Koz for a good couple seconds which feels amazing.
We can't do much with the champions so I won't be suggesting any changes.
MONEY - The money is ridiculous. Three-Four items? Okay, so that's an IE and a Shiv for Jinx. That's a Warmogs, a Gargoyles and Suncape for Poppy. A Redemption, an Adent and Locket for LuLu, Janna and Raka. It's too sparse and I'd say it's probably one of the reasons why the boss is so hard to beat.
How does Riot fix it? If I'm right right now, the money recieved after each stage starts at 1000 but eventually goes up to 1500 as you progress. So you range from 6000 to 9000 money a match. Easiest way to fix it is increase the money to either 1500 to 2000 or 1500 to 2500.
Life Steal - So I'm unsure if anyones noticed. But Lifesteal has been cut down by half. Riot, to improve this just remove this stupid debuff. Let Jinx have sustain, come on.
Zoning - So, we have Zoning. Now Zoning is either done by the fat Vel'Koz's, the escort missions the "Hold your ground missions" or just Kog Maw's. Zoning is horrible as it effectively leaves several of the characters useless (See, Poppy, Janna or Soraka). I'd just calm down on the ability that mobs have to zone.
Rounds - The rounds have an RNG to it. It isn't always Round 1 is x map Round 2 is y Round 3 is z. It can be completely random which leaves little room to improve skill. Sometimes there might not even be a map included. This is bad because League Of Legends is a game where you have to constantly improve your skill. You can't come out of a game of invasion and say "Oh, okay, so we screwed this up on this map, I'll do this next time" because that map might not be used again. Best fix for this it to make things consistent.
That's basically it.
But two things before I leave.
RIOT YOU CAN NOT MAKE A BULLET HELL WITH HIT BOXES THE SIZE OF THE MOON
That's basically it.