In its ongoing attempts to repair the current contentious state of the jungle in League of Legends, Riot has taken a stab at an oft-criticized champion associated with the role: Nidalee.
Nidalee is one of those League characters who’s hard to look away from at the moment simply because she’s become so notorious. She’s frequently banned from individual games, according to the League-centric sites like Lolking that keep close track of that sort of information. And barely a day passes without a post bubbling up to the top of the game’s most popular forums, either imploring Riot to fix her, or decrying the players who keep picking her. To give one particularly colorful example:
What makes Nidalee such a terror for League players? In her current form, a few of her abilities and assets can make her a frighteningly formidable assassin character when placed in the right hands—one that can easily demolish opponents and survive on her own in the game’s jungle without too much of a hassle. Chief among these is her “javelin toss,” a special spear-throwing attack that removes huge chunks of an enemy’s health bar each time it connects with an unlucky target.
While Riot has started to change League’s jungle in tangible ways recently, meanwhile, most if not all of those tweaks have been made to the stuff around Nidalee, rather than to the character herself.
A new patch released today addressed ongoing concerns many League fans have had with Nidalee...by chipping away at her health, of all things. The champion’s base health was brought down by 30 hit points, and the amount of health she gains every time she levels up was reduced by 10 HP.
It’s a peculiarly incremental adjustment at first blush, given how Riot itself has started to talk about Nidalee. Here’s how the developer broached the topic in the patch notes immediately preceding the ones that came out today:
Let’s talk Nidalee.
Nid’s a polarizing champion where, when she succeeds, generates more hate posts on forums around the world than most other champions combined. That said, with tank junglers picking up steam, Nidalee’s got some very real challenges coming her way. Hard engage has traditionally been one of Nidalee’s big weaknesses - when she can’t dictate the pace of a fight by wearing down her opponents - so if big, beefy champs are constantly running at her face (and this becomes a trend), we want to see what that world looks like before taking action.
That was just two weeks ago, for the 5.6 patch. The current 5.7 patch is only just going into effect, so it’s not clear how, exactly, players will respond to the nerf to Nidalee’s health once they’ve had enough time to truly appreciate it. Already, however, some have begun to sound concerned about whether or not chipping away at the character’s health will actually get to the core of the issues that make her such a frustrating jungler to go against. A thread on the League of Legends boards, for instance, argues that the new nerf is only going to have noticeable consequences on Nidalee very early in games—i.e., before she picks up speed starts doing serious damage as a jungler by ambushing opponents and stuff like that:
Today’s Nidalee tweaks don’t preclude the champion from receiving any future alterations to her character make-up, mind you. Like anything else in League, its champions are always subject to change. But it’s interesting to see Riot take such an incremental approach to character adjustments, particularly for an oft-maligned character such as this one. Presumably, the developer doesn’t want to implement a character nerf so dramatic that it ends up ruining Nidalee entirely—something they’ve done in the past. The worst-case alternative, however, is doing something so minor that it ends up feeling like nothing at all.
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