11 Feb 2011

So, Maokai.

This is my first post on this blog, and I must say Riot have given me ample topics to discuss. But a quick introduction is in order. Hi, welcome to my League of Legends blog, I will be posting frequent comments on the game and it's many great points and possibly even greater mistakes. Feel free to comment with whatever you want, be it flame or compliment.

Anyway, moving on. Today i'm going to talk about Riots choice in new content.

The new champion has been announced. Maokai, the twisted treant is set to be released next tuesday, keeping in with the bi-weekly deadline Riot uses to introduce new heroes. Despite this system being incredibly flawed, it's a refreshing way to keep players entertained by giving them a consistent guarantee of new content.

What stands out about Maokai, is the clear fact that he has been stolen from HoN, the other competitor to DotA and League of Legends. If you are a Riot obsessed lover, which you really shouldn't be because of their abysmal customer service, stick this in your pipe and smoke it.

Deadwood - Heroes of Newerth
Maokai - League of Legends

I mean, come on - this can't be coincidence. Whilst they look remarkably similar, the real question is: did Riot intentionally steal this design?

At a guess, I would say yes. One thing League of Legends has always retained is it's creativity, but with this new attempt at copying one of the two treant characters in HoN; makes me think they stole all their other ideas too. Now I'm not going to preach about originality in games, that's just incredibly stupid. I mean, look at World of Warcraft or Call of Duty for God's sake. They are the world's most popular games and they stink of copied and recycled concepts.

However, what I will preach about, is an obvious theft from the only rival competitor in the so-called "MOBA" game genre. Did Riot fall behind on their schedule and just take the easy way out? We'll have to wait and see. I think the skills of this new champion will reveal the answer. If they are similar to HoN, we'll know.

For those of you who never played HoN, here are the skills of Keeper of the Forest and Deadwood (from what I can remember):

-AOE snare with a delay
-Ability to run through the trees in the terrain and gain speed/damage
-A punch attack that arcs out in a cone shape, stunning and dealing massive damage
-Picks up a tree, can be used for more attack damage or to be thrown at the enemy

Keeper of the Forest
-A shield that can be placed on allies, granting health regeneration and armour
-Placeable ward that can be used on trees for map control
-AOE disable that can lock down the enemy team
-Invisibility that can be cast whilst next to trees

So summoners, make sure you watch out for skills that are closely related to these, because that means Riot are being lazy with their new investment money from Tencent. Well, more lazy than usual anyway.

Even though HoN has transferred characters over from DotA, they managed to tell the community their intentions prior to making the character. What annoys me about LoL, is it looks like they've tried to hide the fact they are using one of HoN's heroes as a template for their own. Either that or the forum mod team failed harder than usual.

If you managed to get this far, well done. The last thing I shall say is, despite my little rant about Maokai, I do think a lot of characters in LoL are original and fairly well executed, if not balanced. So good on you Riot, take it with a grain of salt, you bastards.

I have also found a list of beta skills that Maokai might use, sourced from PC gamer:

  • Q: Maokai’s arms resemble Hellboy’s: one average sized, one large enough to knock out an elephant. Maokai’s Q makes him slam his trunk-arm into the ground, sending a shockwave rippling through the earth towards the enemy. The shockwave acts as a line nuke, similar to Ezreal’s Essence Flux (W) ability. Originally, the wave resembled Kassadin’s Force Pulse (E) and granted Maokai bonus armor, but the result was a messy spell that just didn’t fit.
  • W: His bread-and-butter initiating move. Maokai explodes into a multitude of arcane splinters, phasing out of existence for a brief moment in order to reform at the feet of an enemy champon, growing out of the ground underneath them to damage and root them in place for a few seconds. This ability is single-target (imagine if Master Yi’s Alpha Strike (Q) stunned a champion instead of jumping between enemies) and is not channeled, as Maokai ceases to exist during the spell, similar to Alpha Strike.
  • E: Like the Vulture’s spider mines from Starcraft. Maokai plants an acorn into the ground, which lies in wait for a unfriendly passerby. Once it’s found a target, the acorn will pop out of the ground and run to the enemy champion, exploding for light AoE damage when it gets there. This is great for traps, keeping an eye on enemy movements in the jungle and useful in team fights due to its small AoE damage. It can also be used as a scouting tool, similar to Teemo’s Noxious Trap (R), but Maokai will be much more limited in the number that he can place.
  • R (ultimate): Maokai’s ultimate ability fits right into the current meta-game, where teamfights often decide who wins or loses a match. Think of it as the defensive version of Anivia’s Ultimate. Maokai creates a placeable AoE that drains mana per second while active. Allied champions standing in the area will receive more and more Magic Resist as the spell absorbs damage. It can be maintained as long as Maokai has enough mana, but it’s costly, so we never had it on for more than 6 or so seconds. When the ability is toggled off, Maokai’s cooldowns will be reduced according to how much damage was absorbed during the spell. If you soak up enough spell damage, you can reach a threshold that will, in essence, allow you to double-cast your other abilities as magic flows back into Maokai.
  • Passive: Maokai’s passive gives him some decent staying power early on in the laning phase, when champions are casting spells to ensure last-hits and harassment. He gains increased health regeneration when champions near him (enemy or ally) cast spells.
Well, if Riot sticks to these then Maokai should be a fairly unique champion. He has a stun, a ward, and his ultimate may or may not be gamebreaking. We'll have to wait for the spotlight and see!

EDIT: Just to clarify for the fools out there: I know HoN weren't the first people to imagine a living tree. I don't know how you can summarise that from this article, because I never said such a thing. A simple explanation would be - Riot used the idea directly from HoN, regardless of whether the treant archetype came from lord of the rings or an old mythology.

How could anyone think that one of their devs stumbled across a musty tome with ancient talking tree lore and then decided it would be a good idea for their game. Of course they didn't jackasses, they stole it from HoN.


  1. never played this game. gonna have to give it a shot

  2. Never played it either. I'll get around to trying it.

  3. It's a good game, but I have to kind of agree with you on the Deadwood thing. It looks very stolen >_<

  4. wow its soo funny that this game came from a player made game from wc3 soo odd

  5. Haha, I never noticed how similar those things look.

  6. Awh I've been meaning to play this game. I'm going to get around to it eventually.

  7. It's almost like these games base their ideas on mythology and stuff. Living trees? WOW SOME NORSE MYTHOLOGY MENTIONED A TREE TALKING, STOLEN.


  8. I've been meaning to actually try DotA one of these days. I might just wait for DotA 2.

  9. Calling it a theft might be reaching for straws - the idea of treants isn't new, and the only major similarity I can see is that they're both bipedal tree people :S Which in itself isn't theft. It's a lazy design, but so is Deadwood.

  10. Anonymous, I've already addressed this issue in the post.

    It's at the bottom.

  11. Well, I can say that seems likely, but I thrust upon the table... Empath, Ashe with a staff

  12. ^ to above, StarryEagle:

    Except..that Empath and Ashe have completely different concepts.. Empath's just a stereotypical nude-ish female hero.. except she's support.
    She also reveals more skin than ashe.
    Who wields a bow and is a carry.

    Female human support vs female human carry.

    = your argument is invalid

  13. -sameanonymousasjustbefore

    If you wanna go that far, might as well say Ophelia vs Ashe as well.

    They have no similarities outside being female heroes. They have completely different concepts, while their art may be somewhat similar. But they're humans. You can't steal the idea of using humans.

    It's completely different when it comes to randomly "oh lets put a tree in now" when HoN's had 2 treant heroes for a while.

  14. The problem is that HoN wasn't original to begin with. SINCE BOTH concept could have came from WC3 not each other.


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