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Howling Abyss

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"This is more than just a bridge, you know. Maybe it was once a simple thing of stone and mortar, but now it bears the weight of the entire Freljord on its back. The fate of this land was decided here, ages ago, in a long and brutal battle. Just look around and listen, that noise is more than the wind - it is the cry of the vanquished, thrown howling into the abyss!"


"Everybody's forgotten who built this bridge and why. Everybody's forgotten the war that gave this place it's scars. Everyone, but me. I was there! I saw the battle! I died here, and I never left this place! I was bound here to stand guard and sound my war horn when our enemies come back. And now, now the howling grows louder, and I sense something evil stirring in the abyss, my hand reaches for my war horn. This place will soon see a battle again. One that will shape the Freljord for all time. And if the Freljord falls, so too will the rest of the world. Yes, this is more than just a bridge."
Greyor
Howling Abyss
The Howling Abyss is a Field of Justice specifically designed for the ARAM game mode. It has replaced the Proving Grounds in the custom and tutorial versions.

Announcement

Announced by Brackhar:[1]

Hey Gang,

It's been a while since I first talked to you guys about making ARAM an official gameplay mode, and today I've got something awesome to share with you. For the past few months I've been working with an exceptional team of artists to create a space that's an appropriate setting for both the epic battles that occur in ARAM and within the world of Runeterra at large. As a result, we’ve completely reworked the Proving Grounds and, in effect, created something entirely new.

Now, instead of fighting on a random bridge over a black void, you'll be fighting on the Howling Abyss, an ancient landmark in Freljord where the Iceborn finally overthrew their oppressors and sent them tumbling into the chasm below. As you might have guessed from these mysterious journals, there’s more (a lot more!) our story team would love to tell you Freljord – but for now, you'll have to wait.

Anyway, work is still ongoing on the map, and it’s yet a few patches away from release but we just wanted to invite you guys in a bit earlier than normal to get your thoughts as we begin to polish it up. The environment team will be actively reading the forum and looking for your feedback, so please let us know what you think!

Additionally I wanted to let you guys know that we are actively working on an official matchmaking queue for ARAM and plan to launch it with the map when it's ready. The queue isn't currently enabled on PBE as there's still a good bit of tech work that needs to be resolved to handle the number of players on the environment, but we're fully committed to giving you guys the best experience that we can. So with that, check out the map and explore what we've created; who knows, maybe you'll even find some surprises!

New features to ARAM

Rerolls

Announced by Brackhar[2]

Hey gang,

A few weeks ago, I let you know we were working on a matchmaking queue for Howling Abyss, but it wasn’t quite ready for testing. Well, with today’s PBE patch that’s changed! Once PBE comes back up you can try out our new queue and help us test out a new ARAM feature we’ve added especially for this queue: rerolls.

While the random element is a really fun part of Howling Abyss, we also understand there are times you simply don’t want to play a particular champion. That’s why we created the reroll feature specifically for this queue. When you’re really not in the mood to play your particular champion on Murder Bridge, you can reroll and get a different random character instead.

Here’s how it works. As you play matchmade games on Howling Abyss, win or lose, you’ll earn points you can save up to purchase a reroll in champion select. You’ll earn a base number of points every match, along with some bonus points based on the number of champions you own. While there is a cap on the number of points you can store up, you’ll be able to reroll multiple times in a single champion select if you’ve got the points.

And don’t worry about wasting your hard-earned points on queue dodgers. If someone leaves your match at champion select, everyone in the game gets a refund except the player who dodged.

This is the first time we’ve added a queue-specific feature like this to champion select, so be sure to give us your feedback. We look forward to reading your comments!

Shopkeepers

The Viking, Greyor, and the Hermit, Lyte, (ie. the shopkeepers) enforce "limited shopping", preventing champions from purchasing items after they have left the fountain, until after they have been slain in combat. The point when the shop becomes inaccessible to them is represented by a unique animation - Greyor appears to fade back into his frozen corpse behind him and Lyte waves goodbye before retiring into his tent.

Each shopkeeper has a collection of generic quotes as well as unique quotes for the Freljord, yordle and some Piltovian champions, as well as special exceptions for  Blitzcrank, Brolaf,  Nami, and  Zilean. They also talk when you have a lot of gold. Their extensive list of quotes can be found here.[3]

Exclusive Items

Gameplay

Howling Abyss Map
Map of the Howling Abyss.
The Howling Abyss is a single lane 5v5 map with the objective to destroy the enemy nexus. Two lane turrets stand in your way with one inhibitor positioned before two nexus turrets. There is a global aura that reduces healing, while boosting mana regen. A shop in either team's base allows champions to shop for items at the beginning of the map or after they have died, which then becomes locked to a player once they have passed a certain threshold (which is approximately just past the nexus turrets). The fountain does not restore health or mana and Recall is disabled, but 4 health relics spawn at 3:10 along the lane, respawning every 30 seconds.

Development

Howling Abyss Concept Art

The Viking and the Hermit

Viking Concept Hermit Concept

Trivia

Map Trivia

Poro
A Poro
  • Poros: The tiny, white furballs that are constantly seen hopping around in the Howling Abyss are called Poros. (Poro is singular)
    • You can feed them Poro-Snax.
    • Previously, you can kill them by herding them into the spawn.
    • You can also kill them with  Blitzcrank's  Static Field. The passive of its ultimate will damage and kill them.
  • Near the purple team's Nexus Obelisk, a silhouette resembling  Lissandra can be seen carved on the floor, a reference to her ties with the Watchers.
  • The horn seen strapped behind the Viking is the new item, Guardian's Horn.
  • As with the Proving Grounds, there is no health or mana regeneration from standing on your team's fountain.
  • The many statues of the Frozen Watchers that surround the bridge have a strong resemblance to  Vel'Koz, hinting that the Watchers could be Vel'Koz' void species.
    • Riot has recently confirmed however that Vel'Koz is not a Watcher, but that it isn't impossible a rift opened in Freljord before.

Quotes

  • Some of the viking's and hermit's quotes reveal a mutual hostility.

Viking Quotes

  • The origin of the Howling Abyss' name is revealed by one of the Viking's quotes; "In a mighty, final surge, we overran them! We lifted them from the ground! We tossed them, howling, into the abyss! That must have killed them. Nothing could survive that fall."
  • The Viking's quote; "We needed a guardian in case the Watchers came back. We needed someone who couldn't be killed, someone who could never leave. Hundreds volunteered, but Avarosa chose me," reveals that his purpose in the Howling Abyss is to keep watch for an eventual resurgence of the Watchers beneath the bridge.
    • Behind the Viking lies his frozen body. It is possible that he was ritualistically frozen to death to become the guardian spirit of the Howling Abyss.
  • The Viking's quote; "We served the Watchers willingly. The Seeker was their voice. She told us their desires, what to build, and who to kill," refers to  Lissandra, who was the only Iceborn loyal to the Watchers and served as the mediator between the two factions.
  • The viking's quote to  Sejuani; "You look like Serylda! That woman knew how to fight." may have been referring to one of the three legendary sisters. This is supported by a similar quote from the Hermit.
  • The viking shares a quote with  Lissandra; "I am Iceborn."
  • The viking's quote to  Nami; "Sorry, fresh out of moonstones," might indicate that moonstones originated from the Freljord or the the Howling Abyss itself.
  • The Viking's quote; "So you want to hear the story of this place? Of my glorious death? Stay a while and listen, I might tell you that and more," is probably a reference to Deckard Cain, a NPC from the Diablo series, who often says "Stay a while and listen," when spoken to.
  • The Viking's quote; "You're making me angry! You won't like me when I'm angry," is a reference to a memetic line from The Incredible Hulk, and is the same line from which  Nunu's taunt is derived.
  • The Viking's quote; "THIS! IS! FRELJORD!" is clearly a reference to the movie 300 and the famous, "THIS! IS! SPARTA!" line from its lead protagonist, King Leonidas.

Hermit Quotes

  • The Hermit's quote; "Sometimes, I see things down in the abyss. But I might just need new glasses," and "That howling noise is just the wind! ... isn't it?" refers to the Watchers trapped beneath the bridge.
  • The hermit's quote to  Lissandra; "Are you the sand witch I have heard so much about? Hmm... now I'm hungry..." may have been alluding to the tentative champion, Seth, whose abilities focus mainly on sand and dust. This also doubles as an auditory pun, as sand witch is indistinguishable from sandwich when spoken aloud.
  • The Hermit's quote to  Ezreal; "Is it true what I've heard about you and Miss Crownguard... hmm?" reveals that he suspects a relationship between  Ezreal and a person of Demacia's House Crownguard, likely  Luxanna Crownguard.
  • The Hermit's quote; "Its dangerous to go alone... take this!" is a reference to a memetic line from the first Legend of Zelda game, spoken by the hermit who first gives the main character their sword.
  • The Hermit's quote; "Have fun storming the bridge!" is a reference to the quote "Have fun storming the castle!" spoken by the alchemist hermit, Miracle Max, from the film The Princess Bride.
  • The Hermit's quote; "What are you buying... what are you selling?" is a reference to the infamous Merchant from Resident Evil 4 who sells, buys and upgrades the main character's equipment.
  • Lyte's quote to  Jayce, "Together, we could make a... a transforming robot!" might be a reference to the Transformers franchise.

Names

  • The viking's name was revealed in his quote; "I am Greyor, the eternal guardian of the Howling Abyss. Avarosa herself killed me, it was a great honor. She bound my spirit here, so I could sound the horn when the Watchers returned."
  • Lyte, the Hermit, is named after Jeffrey 'Lyte' Lin, the Lead Designer of Social Systems of League of Legends, and his flying robot, Geeves, is named after Kevin 'Geeves' O'Brien, a Game Designer of League of Legends.

Other Trivia

  • The Viking is voiced by Joshua Tomar, who also voices Trundle.
  • The Hermit cannot completely decide between  Ashe and  Sejuani upon who is the next queen of Freljord, due to him being senile.
  • The Hermit decided to sell his artifacts due to lack of budget.
  • The Hermit is  Ezreal's uncle.[4]
  • When the game starts, the announcer will occasionally say, "Welcome to the Murder Bridge!", instead of, "Welcome to the Howling Abyss!", referring to a popular fan nickname for the ARAM mode.
    • Lyte also references this in his quote: "So many people have died here, I should call this place Murder Bridge... no, no, the Howling Abyss is definitely cooler!"
  • When your team wins in the Howling Abyss, after 30 seconds,  Lissandra will say:
    • Play "The Howling Abyss. A bottomless crevasse surrounded by an ancient fortress carved into a glacier. No one remembers who built this place. No one knows its purpose. No one, but me.

      Long before  Ashe and  Sejuani, before magic shattered the broken peaks, before the desert swallowed Shurima, it was the time of The Three Sisters. We were so young back then; Avarosa, Serylda, and me, Lissandra.

      Back then the Frozen Watchers lived here. I do not know where they came from, but I know they were powerful. They gave us gifts, shared their magic, made us immortal. They named us, "Iceborn". In return, we gave them whatever they desired. This mighty fortress, a vast empire, our loyalty, these were a small price to pay. Avarosa did not see it that way. Like a spoiled child she cried out for freedom. She demanded choice. She sowed the seeds of rebellion and betrayal.

      This place is where it happened. On one side, the Frozen Watchers, on the other, Avarosa and her Iceborn horde. Many Iceborn died that day, but in the end, the Watchers fell. Avarosa drove them howling into the abyss. I never forgave her. . . I had my revenge — but that is another story."

Associated Champions

Champion Ties
 Anivia, the Cryophoenix Ancient ally of the Iceborn
 Ashe, the Frost Archer Direct descendant of Avarosa, queen of the Iceborn and Freljord
 Ezreal, the Prodigal Explorer Lyte's nephew
 Lissandra, the Ice Witch Former leader of the Iceborn; Seeker of the Watchers
 Sejuani, the Winter's Wrath Direct descendant of Serylda

References

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