Coming out of obscurity

Sometimes things are forgotten. They’re used on the quiet, often only really toted by the pros who know the ins and outs or something. And then something will happen and suddenly said item becomes a popular murdering tool. Then people start complaining about said object. Suddenly, said weapon or whatever is suddenly hideously overpowered. Apparently.

Today I’m going to whinge on about two things – the Black Box and, because I wanted a reason to write about my second favourite League of Legends champion and thought this was somewhat related, Cho’Gath.

The Black Box has always been that ‘other’ rocket launcher. There’s Stock or the Direct Hit, then the Black Box. Then there was Stock, the Direct Hit, the Liberty Launcher and then the Black Box. It’s always skirted along the side of our minds, because it’s always been somewhat balanced. You sacrifice a rocket for 15 health if you hit anyone. 25% damage output for a small bit of health.

Cho’Gath on the other hand is a giant monster who stomps around causing the ground to rupture and his enemies to run away. He also has the nasty habit of eating people and growing in size. For the last two ‘seasons’ in League of Legends, Cho’Gath was never considered very good, because he’s big and slow and heavy and in a world of scary jumping teleporting assassins, a giant lump of flesh was never that useful.

Zoom forward to today. The Black Box is currently the Soldier weapon to complain about. Not because it’s changed, not at all. It’s because it’s been paired with other weapons, particularly the Concheror. Together, the two weapons make Soldier incredibly tanky and much harder to kill. And because the Concheror charges more quickly than the other banners, it gives Soldier an escape tool far more quickly.

Zoming forward to today also affects Cho’Gath. While he’s only had one minor change and one quality-of-life adjustment, the world has changed around him and gameplay now favours big fleshy monsters to absorb all the damage coming from those nasty assassins and protect those squishy little Carries. Most of this change stems from a single new item called Cinderhulk, which gives you a ton of health and some AOE damage when people are really close to you, (formerly) rewarding tanks for standing in the way of enemies and really getting right in there.

The paradoxical thing is that neither the Black Box nor Cho’Gath have really changed. Cho’Gath actually doesn’t make much use of the Cinderhulk item. He has his own tankiness, always had, but now that tanks are more valuable, he’s come back on his own. And the Black Box has remained unchanged for so long. It’s because the world around them has changed so much.

But at least the Black Box and Cho’Gath serve as nice, simple anchors in an increasingly complicated game world. They’re not changing constantly and always being somewhat overpowered, like the Loch N Load or Nidalee.

Seriously, damn that stupid cat girl. And screw that damn grenade launcher. Who thought huge, spammy, high-damage projectiles were a good idea?

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