I've been seeing this a lot lately, that riot wants to make itemization better and blabla make people able to pick and choose throughout a game what they want. However, what Riot apparently doesn't realize is that their own items themselves are what limit choices. Having items that boost other items, or scale via other items FORCES you to build those items. DFG gives AP and scales off AP. So what are you going to do when you build DFG? Build more AP. Sunfire gives nothing, scales off nothing. What do you see with sunfire? Sometimes AD, sometimes AP, sometimes full tank, sometimes not. What I'm talking about here is items that force other items, stiffling item creativity
Basically certain factors chokehold the ability to build more than one real way and there's basically artificial policing to enforce that build basically cause everyone else is gonna beat you if you don't do it.
The old "If I've made something better, of course I'll use it."
Lets say you're playing an RTS. Starcraft even. But lets say Age of Empires because I'll be less likely to get raged at FOR GETTING IT WRONG BLA BLA SOME STRATS DO THIS AND I'M SO WRONG. Anyway lets use Age of Empires. If I upgrade fire arrows for my bowman am I not far more likely to now use catapults because it also sets their boulders on fire to increase their damage? And in addition to that, I'm more likely to get horseback archers because their arrows are also on fire and dealing more damage. By that notion I'm LESS likely to get swordmen because I just upgraded something that doesn't even help them. (Note I said LESS likely, not that there is no chance.) Unless something seriously gives me synergy with my bowmen I'm just gonna get more things effected by my upgrade.
Take Magic the Gathering. If I use blue mana I have islands. If I have islands I use more... blue. Blue -> more blue. What's the problem? Magic wants you to build 2+ color decks. What was their solution? They kinda just said screw it and gave out lands that give 2+ colors of mana. They realized the problem of splitting your mana pool made you weaker, and said okay we'll make it so you don't have to split as much. If I can easily get my red AND blue mana then I can play red and blue without giving much or anything else up. Think of this like old gunblade. My abilities AND auto attacks become better, and at the same pace as a real item, therefore I can use both of them. While a champion like Brand focuses on mostly spells and won't use his auto attacks unless he has legitimately nothing better to do, if he bought old Gunblade he'd be actively looking and trying to auto attack.
Basically if I have an AP item I'm FAR more likely to continue to build AP and get AP scaling items than I am to get an on-hit item. Nobody is going to build DFG then think "wit's end will be a great item too!" on TF. Nobody builds Lichbane then thinks "Malady will help so much!" Once I've made my AP good I'm only going to get more AP.
The old "If it makes what I'm already using better, of course I'll get it!"
Lets say I'm playing Age of Empires again. I got my bowman and am looking at what to get next. Clearly that fire arrows upgrade is the best. Why? Because it makes what I'm already using even better! Makes sense right? I mean, it's just common logic and everyone playing video games knows this. You don't upgrade melee damage if you're using ranged troops.
Lets say I went... uh... rod of ages. It's one of the only AP items that doesn't make AP better. What's next? Do I go with an phantom dancer? Well no I don't. Because I have AP it makes items like abyssal scepter better (And with my HP that MR will come in handy) because I'm reducing their magic resist on my already high magic damage attacks. I could also go DFG which will put that AP to use. Or Deathcap and increase the AP I've already bought.
Starting to get the idea? What I ALREADY OWN is becoming better with these other items. If I wanted to go AD when I already had an AP item that AD item would have to be VERYVERY strong to make it worth it. Compare this to sunfire for example. It does magic damage in an aura but you see Sunfire/abyssal, sunfire/RoA, sunfire/trinity, sunfire/wit's end. Sunfire doesn't make what you already own better (beyond resistances really) so it makes sense that Sunfire is one of the most diverse items so far as what item builds it goes in to.
And lastly, the old "it's better than everything else."
Deathcap/IE are better than everything else. So you get them. The end.
So what happens in league?
Well everyone complains about itemization, but is there really a choice? ADCs start with IE because it does the most damage. From there phantom dancer makes your damage go nuts. From there LW makes you unstoppable even to armor. There's no room to say "hey maybe I'll start brutalizer" because you'll be outgunned very quickly by IE. There's absolutely no room for even half-smart things like malady Varus because simply stacking items that scale with each other out guns any sort of creativity.
Now whenever I mention DotA a flame breathing dragon engulfs me, but I feel like League progressed TOO MUCH from DotA in this regard to where it regressed. They tried to streamline the items in league so much that they ended up being so linear and progressive in nature. In DotA yes there are items that most carries want and most supports want, but you can actually express yourself and not be a complete freakin troll for it. If you buy anything that's not IE, PD, LW, GA, QSS, or BT as a ranged carry you will be ridiculed for being a troll.
So what do I suggest?
Well, at this point in time we can't really go back. I really suggest we merely tone down IE which I think by this point everyone agrees on. IE does too much damage, PD has too much (Any) movement speed. Causes ranged carries to be ridiculously linear and even OP some might say. (Me, I said that.) Additionally I think we could use more items like Sunfire and Abyssal that despite aiding a certain build perhaps are more open and can be used for more than a single build path.
I think AD and AP have been for far too long basically forced in to certain builds because of how they work. Bruisers and tanks and supports are far more open to different item builds combining different items. For AD and AP it's basically spam the same crap every game because who cares. I'd really like to be able to play Xerath for example and have my build be noticeably different than say Morgana (And not just cause I build my hourglass after deathcap instead of before.) Or play Graves and focus more on direct physical damage where as Sivir would focus more on auto attacks.
A MAN CAN DREAM YOU KNOW. Then get shot for dreaming, but first the dreaming can happen!
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