Finally, after months of waiting Riot has released an update which improves the “All Random All Mid” custom game by adding matchmaking, a new currency system, and an updated map. Riot confirmed that they were working on matchmaking for ARAM in the fall after a petition on their forums was signed by over 20,000 players. The new map called Howling Abyss is ice themed mirroring the theme of the patch. There were also a few cosmetic upgrades as well as updates to a few of their champions, all centered on the frigid lore of Freljord. Players can also swear allegiance to one of three in-game factions in order to win a few cosmetic goodies, a good way to get new people interested in the lore of this new patch.
The ARAM game mode has been around almost as long as the entire MOBA genre; both teams of five are given random champions to battle in one large 5v5 lane. It’s considered a kind of casually fun version of the game, removing much of the genre’s telltale farming, replacing it with an equally strategic team fighting game. While the old system was bogged down with delays and rerolls due to players repeatedly leaving the game to find a better champion, this new version has fully supported match making as well as a new currency system which allows players to earn re-rolls for completing games. All-in-all it looks like ARAM is finally considered legitimate enough to warrant support from Riot, and if the ten seconds queue times are any indicator, many are pretty psyched about it as well.
Micrsoft is showing off the latest in at-home entertainment immersion – The Illumiroom. Essentially it’s a projector that displays images of the game world around the television set, turning half of your living room into a screen for the device. It’s not just general explosions and colors either, players can see off-screen power-ups, enemies, checkpoints, it’s a digital recreation of peripheral vision for a player’s avatar. I really can’t tell if this is an awesome feature or an awesome gimmick. If it didn’t give me motion sickness and developers used it sparingly I could see this being an interesting edition to many first person games. However I could also see this becoming incredibly distracting after a while. Perhaps that price point will help me to make a better first impression.