Chemtech Drake – two simple words added to the pantheon of newly introduced features for League of Legends causing mixed feelings among players. Riot Games’ trend of adding new mechanics to refresh its billionaire baby is no stranger to controversy, but the chemtech Drake? Just go to Reddit to see how popular it is at the moment.
It’s so controversial right now that Riot announced it’s “observed a high level of frustration surrounding the chemtech soul,” and if it “continues to frustrate players, we’re very open to larger-scale changes, including overhauls.” so the latest Article on quick gameplay thoughts.
The LEC broadcast certainly had a field day with it recently. During the game SK Gaming vs MAD Lions Daniel “Drakos” Drakos and Marc Robert “Caedrel” Lamont even joked about how often the topic came up on the show.
“I think we talk more about chemtech than anything else [on LEC]’ said Drakos. “Hextech? Who cares? We will get there when we get there.”
He later humorously added, referring to MAD’s jungler Javier “Elyoya” Prades Batalla’s 3/0/0 kill/death/assist ratio while roaming through the rift
“It’s literally the John Cena Rift,” said Drakos. “Elyoya on Diana is John Cena to me.”
[Author’s note: Unlike John Cena, you can actually see this article. I hope.]
Chemtech Rift: Now you see me…
Caedral, meanwhile, had already explained his problems with the new mechanics before the release. He focused on the chemtech haze that consumes parts of Summoner’s Rift and uses an overly punishing camouflage that forces players to use unhealthy counter-strategies to deal with it. And for the record even Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng took a break from retirement to express his displeasure, calling this particular card “the worst experience to play by far”.
Similar to Doublelift, SK Gaming support Erik “Treatz” Wessén wasted no effort in sugarcoating his feelings about the new mechanic.
“I don’t like the Chemtech Rift or Soul to be honest,” Treatz said. “The map is just dark because it’s obviously a fog, and it’s difficult to get the view you want. I think they are both very boring and poorly designed and they should be revised.”
Astralis botlaner Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup also agreed with this assessment.
“From solo queue, I really don’t like the map. It’s just a whole different game, isn’t it?” Koebbe said. “There are those areas in the jungle where you’re cloaked and suddenly you can’t use the same wards. You have to think differently about the game. I mean, you could say it’s going to be a little more random and it’s just going to be very different.”
Despite the seemingly widespread dislike, there are pros on the other side of the argument. Team Vitality’s jungler, Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek, actually enjoys the Chemtech Rift in solo queue, although he admitted it’s detrimental as a concept to pro play.
“My specialty is assassins, so it’s my favorite dragon. But I think it’s super toxic for competitive LoL,” he said. “LoL is a game based on vision. You always fight for sight, you protect it and start fights around it. But this drake completely removes that element.”
He explained that Chemtech Fog makes it much harder for the losing team to get back in the game when a team wins because they can’t really know what to expect in their own jungle.
Rogue mid laner Emil “Larssen” Larsson mentioned that he didn’t have all that much experience with the Chemtech Drake overall, but based on what he’s seen he might be in the minority of people who like the mechanic.
“I’ve seen people complain, but I think it’s fun, it’s new and it’s quite game-changing,” Larssen said. “Variety is often good, and I think it’s at least fun to play. Some people may be inclined, but when there’s new changes, people won’t like it.”
Chemtech Soul: Zombies. zombies everywhere
Those thoughts don’t even make up the other half of the new mechanic that gives players free revives. And who doesn’t like that? It’s not a problem if you make a mistake and die. Heck, just get a guardian angel, feed Zilean and you’ll never die.
OK, this is an extreme example – but players weren’t happy that the Chemtech Soul granted the entire team what is essentially a Sion passive. While Riot messed it up again in the last 12.2 patch, it’s not clear if this will help lower community sentiment.
The concept itself for professional gaming has already sparked much debate, with the recent SK Gaming vs MAD Lions Week 1 game painting a chaotic portrait of all that could be possible if one team secures the Chemtech soul.
It was a frustrating experience for MAD Lions top laner İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek, who played the game himself.
“You only have two lives. Especially with our composition with Yasuo, Diana and Gwen, it’s really difficult when we engage,” he said. “It was really hard against this soul because after you kill someone you have to retreat so you don’t have to deal with the zombie. So now we practically have to 5v10.
IT WAS 5v10 not lying
— Irfan Tukek (@armutlol) January 15, 2022
“I have never met this soul before in my life. I just played against it so I hate it right now. It looks so strong.”
Kobbe agreed, adding that the concept of the chemtech soul represented too much of a departure from what the other five souls offer.
“What makes the game interesting is when you’re in a 5v5 fight and hitting the opponent’s carry with a shot changes the game. But then there are all these additional factors that you have to consider,” Kobbe said. “It feels overdone.”
Selfmade was much, much more direct.
“The soul is bull**t. It just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it. If you die, you should die, right? It’s just stupid — so simple,” he said.
Larssen maintained his other point of view. He said the Dragon Souls concept had to be strong. Otherwise, it’s pointless for teams to contest them.
“There are souls that I think are very, very useless, like Ocean and Cloud Soul, and if you get four drakes you should be rewarded because it’s quite an investment,” he said. “I honestly haven’t seen enough to give a good judgement, but it doesn’t appear to be overpowered, although it does appear to be quite strong. It seems good to me because I find it very bad when a soul is useless.”
How would professionals change that?
It’s easy to complain, but luckily I’m ranked Iron certified, so I can do as much as I want. Nobody will take what I think seriously. The pros, with all the respect that goes with their position, at least have some solutions to fix their problems.
Poverty suggested simply removing revive and adding extra base health.
“Hextech’s soul is for poke, so I’d have Chemtech give hitpoints to everyone on the team – five hundred base HP stats or something,” he said.
Treatz’s idea for the Rift was based on a suggestion he had seen elsewhere.
“I’ve seen a good suggestion where you change it from a stealth to a feature like Senna’s Black Mist Curse (E) where you can still see outlines of people walking around instead of being completely hidden,” he said.
As for Soul, he said Riot could go in any direction it wanted as long as it took away the revival.
Selfmade is also not completely opposed to the concept of the Chemtech Rift’s cloaking, instead proposing that it be carried over to the Dragon Soul itself.
“The soul could put an active on boots that would make you invisible or cloaked for a few seconds. I think that could be kinda cool,” Selfmade said. “Let’s face it though, this is most likely very strong as it would allow everyone to easily band together for surprise engagements. But it makes a lot more sense than resuscitation.”
Meanwhile, Kobbe went straight beyond the idea of fixing Chemtech Drakes and targeted the entire elemental Drake system itself. He said it’s awkward for teams to draft their team compositions without knowing what the game’s elemental divide will be.
“It’s been focused on Drake for so long that you can’t ignore it, and a lot of games eventually just become team fights around it,” Kobbe said. “That makes the game a lot more boring in my opinion because it removes elements of split-pushing or other creative strategies.”
Whether the recent nerfs to the Chemtech Rift and Soul in 12.2 will be enough for both the casual and pro communities to accept them remains to be seen. For now, prepare to continue seeing shambling zombies stalking the rift as the chemfog surges, stalking pros and casual gamers alike.