Riot Games has begun testing the League of Legends preseason 2023 changes on the PBE server, gathering a mountain of data and feedback in the process.

As always, these changes may or may not go into the final update for the preseason, and will ultimately depend on the game developer’s evaluation and direction.

One thing is for sure though — the jungle will look very different next year because Riot wants to make the role more accessible to players. In a dev blog update two months ago, they wrote that “wildly complex sets of strategies and game knowledge [are] required [for players] to be even slightly competent at the jungle,” which makes it much less popular than others.

As part of this campaign, Summoner Spell Smite will no longer heal the jungler when used, but will deal more damage overall, according to Spideraxe30’s PBE post on Twitter.

Smite changes and jungle pet details planned in League of Legends preseason 2023

Smite Summoner Spell in LoL in ONE Esports image
Credit: ONE Esports, Riot Games
  • No longer heals
  • Damage increased from 450 to 600
  • First upgrade now transforms it into Primal Smite and allows you to Smite champs and deal 20-160 true damage and slow by 20% for 2 seconds
  • Second upgrade transforms it into Avatar Smite with increased damage to 1,200 and deals 50% AoE damage to non champs plus pet effects

Currently, Smite only has one upgrade. The jungler buys Emberknife or Hailblade, which automatically turns into Challenging Smite and Chilling Smite respectively after it is used five times.

For the preseason, Primal Smite still retains the ability to damage champions and slow them, but its second upgrade is where the real juice is at. Dealing 1,200 damage and AoE to non champions plus pets, it allows junglers to better deal with enemy pets, as well as champions with ultimates that summon creatures, such as Annie’s Tibbers and Ivern’s Daisy.

In fact, it’s pretty similar to Season 5’s Ranger’s Trailblazer, which dealt 50% damage to all surrounding minions and monsters.

Primal Smite and Avatar Smite effects and details
Credit: Riot Games, spideraxe on Twitter

Replacing the staple starter jungle item are pets, which can be bought from the in-game shopkeeper. They help you clear camps, and evolve as you kill neutral monsters and enemy champions. You can feed them treats to make them stronger, and in turn, they’ll provide unique abilities in their final form.

Jungle pets details

  • Deals 25 + 4% bonus HP + 15% AP + 10% AD AoE true damage per attack against monsters
  • Heals for 100% of damage dealt
  • Retains gold and XP penalties from funneling
  • Still grants bonus XP for first large monster killed
  • Grants 15 gold and XP per treat

“The goal here is absolutely not to ‘dumb down’ the jungle or remove the ability to show off your jungle knowledge, but to make sure that jungle is complex in the right places,” Riot Games explained in their LoL Pls post.

“We’re currently exploring some changes like jungle pathing aids — think something similar to recommended items but instead it’s how to do your first clear, a stepping stone toward mastery of the role.”

READ MORE: Exclusive: Valorant esports will never be like LoL esports — and that’s a good thing