Do some people like Loki?
In SMITE Loki is a community meme. Everywhere you go, from the SMITE Reddit to smitefire.com, you’ll see some acknowledgement that Loki is terrible. Nobody likes Loki.
Except the Loki mains, the Loki apologists and maybe SMITE hipsters. OK, some people like Loki. But, why?
There are many reasons why people hate Loki. There are also reasons why people like Loki. Today we’re going to find out what they are. Here’s Four reasons why some people like Loki…and Four reasons why people loath Loki.
Like Reason One: DAMAGE
Among assassins in SMITE Loki can do some of the highest, quickest burst damage around. Loki boasts super high scaling on all of his abilities, with 100 percent on his three normal abilities and 120 percent on his ultimate. Loki’s passive, Behind You, gives him 20 percent additional damage on his basic attacks when he hits enemies in their back. When Loki correctly combos together his Vanish, Aimed Strike and Assassinate he will delete any squishy target in seconds. So to do his damage, all Loki needs to do is buy items with lots of physical power.
Loath Reason One: No Items, No Damage
Loki relies on buying items with high power to do his damage. He does not perform basic attacks efficiently enough to use crit items. His base damage without power scaling is unimpressive. Loki needs to build power and penetration, exclusively, to do what he does best. So, that means he doesn’t have the flexibility some other assassins can have. For example, Ratatoskr or Serqet can be glass-cannons or build a little tanky and still be effective. Because Loki relies so much on raw power, he doesn’t have those options.
Like Reason Two: He’s Unique
In SMITE Loki is special. He has a kit of abilities that encourages you to be sneaky. There is no other God in the game that has stealth as strong as Loki’s. Loki’s Decoy ability plays with the AI of minions, Jungle bosses, and towers. Because the Decoy distracts things nothing else can, Loki can do many things by himself. Normally, SMITE is all about teamwork. But, if you’re careful and clever, Loki can operate by himself. That provides players who use him a unique game experience.
Loath Reason Two: He’s A Loner
Loki’s unique kit makes players who use him want to operate by themselves. Loki players proxy minions, split push towers, and steal jungle camps. These aren’t bad in and of themselves, but oftentimes your team will get into a big fight and cry: where’s Loki? Why is he on the other side of the map?
Because Loki’s Decoy only affects NPCs, its only purpose in a teamfight is as a second-rate zoning tool. Loki’s other abilities are all strictly single-target attacks, and if he saves his invisibility or his ultimate to escape a fight then he forgoes a large amount of his damage. If Loki commits with his whole kit, then he almost certainly dies. Therefore, most Loki players prefer to circle team fights rather than directly engage in them. This loner mentality can be really frustrating for teammates who always feel outnumbered.
Like Reason Three: He’s Easy To Use
Using the basic Loki ability rotation is simple. Even a fairly new player will understand that going invisible gives them an easy way to close distance to a target. After that, they can assassinate their target with ult>Aimed Strike>basic attack, which doesn’t require very much mechanical skill and deals lots of damage. It feels intuitive to put the skills together in this order, and it usually gets results.
More advanced Loki players know that there are different ways to put his kit to use, but none of them are particularly difficult. Some know that if Loki has high Cooldown Reduction, he can use his Aimed Strike on the same opponent twice in a row with careful timing. Other players know that Assassinate is an ideal chase-down skill, and so they first initiate a target with Blink or Vanish. After Loki deals his damage, he waits as his target tries to run away, then Assassinates them to finish them off.
Loath Reason Three: He’s A One Trick Pony
Beginner and even intermediate players hate fighting against a Loki because his approach is predictable, yet indefensible. He’s going to sneak up behind you invisibly, dump everything he has into you while you’re helplessly stunned, and walk away. If Loki isn’t one-shotting you, he’s split pushing your towers and running away the second you try to stop him. It’s infuriating and not fun to play against.
Experienced players dislike Loki because his approach is predictable and defensible…as long as you have Purification Beads, maybe an Aegis or Sprint, stick together, and Ward carefully. Because all of Loki’s abilities are single-target, if your team is disciplined then he can’t find many chances to pick somebody off. He can’t initiate a fight, because he will get killed when everyone sees him try to Assassinate someone or Blink.
Like Reason Four: He’s Hard to Master
Playing with Loki and making him effective can feel like a Metal Gear Solid game. You have a small toolbox with tricky applications. You can use your Decoy to bodyblock an opponent running away, or use it as a time-bomb combined with Assassinate to force an enemy to stay in the explosion. Your can Vanish to sneak past the enemy Midlaner and steal their Red buff from right under their nose. You can zone enemies away by activating Aimed Strike out of eyeline, spooking them off with the telltale audio cue without ever actually attacking.
Loki is the Trickster God, and finding ways to use his tricks to play with the minds of your opponents can feel rewarding.
Loath Reason Four: He’s the WORST God in the Game
Ever been in these games before?
The enemy team is playing Loki solo. He proxies your Solo laner’s waves and steal the Blue buff until your Jungler rotates and kills him. Your Solo laner proceeds to beat the Loki’s face in 1v1 because she’s a Bellona with Warrior’s Blessing, and Loki is rushing Transcendence so he has no sustain at all. Bellona goes 3-0 by 12 minutes, and Loki disconnects.
You’re duo-queuing with your buddy and he decides on Loki Jungle. He gets out-rotated by the enemy Serqet because Loki has low movement speed and poor clear until he gets some Physical Power built. He finally hits level 5, and tries to gank Duo lane. He Assassinates the enemy Cupid at low-health, but the damage isn’t good enough and their Geb gets a Shield off to cleanse the stun. Loki’s forced to back early, falling farther behind.
The enemy team has Loki ADC. Loki’s wave clear and poke is terrible, so your Duo gets pressure quickly. Loki leaves lane to steal camps, leaving Xing Tian in a 2v1 under tower. The Loki never gets ahead, because while he steals camps you steal camps too. Later, after losing lane, the Loki is forced to split-push while your team forces 5v4 fights at important objectives. Eventually, you win the game, with the enemy Loki at your right Phoenix.
In the end, Loki is more of a liability for his own team than he is a threat to the enemy. He’s a trickster without enough tricks. His mind games don’t work on players who know what he’s capable of. Wards confound him. He has no team-fighting abilities at all. Loki can do three things: split-push, clean up enemies that are retreating from fights, or pick one target and die in the process.
People hate Loki because it’s a popular thing to do. People like Loki because doing so is counter-cultural, or provokes people. Arguably Loki is one of the best designed Gods in SMITE…for flavor. That’s because he evokes the same emotions in players today that he did in ancient Vikings thousands of years ago: amusement, annoyance, and fear. Loki is the Trickster, and if you don’t like his tricks, you don’t like Loki.
What did I miss? There’s many more reasons why people hate Loki, and maybe more reasons why people like him anyway. Tell us about them with a comment!
Images courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com.
By Sam Boyer, aka Thanatos1342. Find me on XBOX LIVE.