In the second part of ZAM's "League of Legends: Twisted Treeline" coverage, we jump in-game to offer a hands-on preview of the new 3v3 map, and we also have a laugh at Riot's April Fools "Urf" promo.
Yesterday in our Q&A with Richard Hough, Associate Technical Director at Riot Games, ZAM learned about League of Legends' new map, "Twisted Treeline." Hough explained Riot's motivation for introducing the new 3v3 map; it's a faster-paced, action-oriented map with less emphasis on distinct "laning" than the original 5v5 map. In today's second part of our Twisted Treeline feature, ZAM offers a first-hand preview of the new map, which just moved out of "Practice"-only mode to "Matchmaking" mode a few days ago.
We also take a quick look at some of the popular promotions that Riot Games has launched recently, like the "Riot Girl Tristana" Facebook promo, which attracted 20,000 fans in about 24 hours. Although League of Legends is free-to-play game that relies on micro-transactions to generate revenue, the Riot team is pretty liberal with its promos and other contests, which award in-game Champions, new Skins and other perks to its player base. Click past the jump to learn more about these promos, following our Twisted Treeline preview.
[Note: If you missed it yesterday, the first part of our Twisted Treeline feature—a Q&A with Riot Games' Richard Hough—can be found at this link.]
"The Twisted Treeline" is League of Legend's second map, following the original "Summoner's Rift" map that launched with the game. As to be expected, the first League of Legends map is standard fare in the DotA genre; Summoner's Rift has a 5v5 layout with familiar creep spawn points and distinct lanes. It's accessible and recognizable to the MOBA community, but after a few months of playing just one map, the community was itching for more. As a result, Riot released the substantially different Twisted Treeline, a 3v3 map with narrower lane setups and a tighter terrain layout. Riot's official map description explains:
"Twisted Treeline is one of the few remaining forests near Zaun that has not been exploited for natural resources; a mere cursory glance at the geography of the arena quickly explains why. The misuse of magic—mainly from Zaun but also from the numerous battles fought here during the various Rune Wars—has warped the verdant environs of the Twisted Treeline terrain into a bizarre, alien-like visage."
Not only is the map significantly smaller than Summoner's Rift, the thick forest terrain forms a labyrinth of tight corners and busy intersections that offer less reprieve from pursuing enemies. The smaller 3v3 team setup provides a quicker match with less "farming" downtime as well; even though you're only facing three Champions instead of five, the clustered sub-lanes and unique tower layout reward aggressive tactics.
"It's very gank heavy," said Requiem191 , a veteran LoL player. "You can either go for ganks and jump ahead of your opponents or you can push and try to get an easy tower kill in the beginning."
The "ganking" aspect of Twisted Treeline is something players currently love or hate, depending on their Champion and play style. Performing a quick escape is quite a bit tougher because of the map layout; even Champions with escape-oriented skills might encounter more difficulty if they have to run, especially when they're jumped by two players.
On the other hand, the tight walls and forest terrain can provide an advantage to some ranged Champions who have skills that allow them to shoot over/through obstacles. Our friend Requiem191 demonstrated this tactic quite effectively when he slaughtered ZAM's Master Yi with a barrage of ranged attacks from the opposite side of a wall, where we couldn't touch him. [Watch out, Requiem…payback is on the way. –Ed.]
Overall, we had a lot of fun playing Twisted Treeline. Not only does it provide that vital change-of-pace that only a new map can offer, it's well-designed for quicker matches with faster-paced action. The smaller 3v3 team composition also means that each player has more potential to influence the tide of battle, simply by destroying a single tower or killing an enemy Champion at the right time. For more details about the new map, as well as answers to some of today's most commonly-asked questions from the player community, check out yesterday's Q&A with Richard Hough, Associate Technical Director at Riot Games.
As we mentioned earlier, Riot Games is known for its frequent promos and contests, which usually include new Champions, Skins or Riot Points (one type of League of Legends' in-game currency). As a testament to the popularity of these promotions, Riot recently announced that more than 20,000 players had befriended League of Legends' Facebook page to get a free "Riot Girl Tristana" Skin. For more information, you can check out the official announcement here (although it's really just as simple as clicking the link to become a "fan" of the League of Legends Facebook page).
Riot Games also joined the blogosphere's April-Foolery today when it announced its "Developer Diary: The Development of Urf, the Manatee" post. Throughout the past week, Riot has been posting lore background and other information about "Urf," a manatee Champion that was originally tossed around by the developers as a joke back in 2009, while League of Legends was still in beta. This year the team took the running gag to a whole new level by announcing Urf's unfortunate demise while "swimming along, dutifully guarding the river in the Summoner's Rift," according to the latest post. On a brighter note, players can purchase an actual Urf Champion skin for only 50 Riot Points this week, which is 99 percent off the normal price of 5000 RP. The price will rise to 500 RP next week, and finally up to 5000 the week after that.
If you're looking for a good place to find out about all of Riot's new promotions and contests at they're announced, the official League of Legends blog is a good place to start. You can also visit ZAM's League of Legends portal site for more news and information, including our past previews and other in-game coverage.