Riot games has announced a major preseason update to League of Legends (opens in new tab), dedicated specifically to making the art of jungling easier and more accessible.
Jungling (opens in new tab), for those out of the loop, is the act of killing neutral monsters in League's "jungle" area, which lies outside of the competitive lanes, in order to maximise resource collection throughout a match. One of a team's five players usually adopts the role of jungler. Alongside bashing monsters for loot, they can also act in a supporting role to teammates occupying specific lanes.
Jungling is an important job, but it's also a lot to handle, and generally only undertaken by experienced players. This latest update aims to change that, bringing several optimisations and alterations geared towards making the jungle a bit less foreboding.
The lynchpin of these changes involves making a wider range of champions viable for the role of jungler. There are multiple layers to this. First, Riot is adjusting the way camps leash, including their ranges and reset rules. Riot doesn't specify exactly what these changes are, but stated in a press release that "even for experienced players the rules are finicky and sometimes your champion feels useless because they can't abuse these rules as well as other champs."
Other tweaks include making the meta more flexible, and rewarding skills across the entire roster of champs, not just those that are already primed for clearing the jungle. Riot admits that "some amount of the skill expression" in clearing the jungle will be lost as a consequence, but that this means the studio can "move some of the jungle's complexity and skill away from clear optimization toward other places."
Communication is another area Riot is tinkering with to improve the jungling experience, with plans to give players "more tools" to facilitate communication with your team, helping them point their team to objectives and broadcast ganks to their teammates.
Finally, Riot is looking to make changes to some jungle items, and perhaps most notably of all, introduce pets. These friendly critters will help junglers perform tasks like clearing and fighting epic monsters. Pets can also be fed and raised over time, growing until they can reciprocally "empower" your champ.
Riot stresses that the final design of pets hasn't been locked in yet. But you can get an idea of what they might look like below:
The changes to the jungle, jungling, and anything else related to virtual tropical rainforests go out today. Check out the video at the top of the article for more details about Riot's plans for life outside the lanes.