So I don't really have much to say about this but I thought that a concept had to be explained. Unfortunately this concept doesn't really fill out many paragraphs so this is going to be far shorter than my usual posts. HOWEVER, I do feel like a lot of people are missing a key component of supports in Season 3 that Riot implemented to make them a lot more fun to play and less... bad to play. Basically, this concept is the idea that supports will always progress forwards in items. They will never stagnate out or get to the point where they stop increasing in gold worth.
So because this is a shorter post I figured I can take a little more time to go in to it in a lot more detail. As such, here is a lot of detail!
Your gold worth.
Now a lot of people just don't get this one. Lets say I play a support. I buy an oracles and 5 wards. I just spent 775 gold but my gold worth didn't increase at all. I don't have a single item that will remain on me, I'm not tougher or stronger or anything. The same concept applies to elixers. Despite spending all this gold none of it will stick around and in 10 minutes I'll be 775 poorer than my doppelganger that didn't buy oracles and wards.
Basically your gold worth is the total golds worth of real items you have on your champion. A support character after earning 2000 gold might have 350 worth of gold on their character, while a ranged carry might have 2000 gold of real items.
The idea of stagnating gold worth.
The problem with supports is they get less gold, and they funnel that gold in to things that won't increase their gold worth. I get very little gold, and I use all that gold to buy wards and oracles. That means going from 10 minutes in the game to 30 minutes the only real change might be that I bought an Aegis of the Legion (a mid tier item.) In that time other champions might have bought multiple 3000+ gold items. The support keeps buying more and more items that don't increase his worth (because they're expendable and go away eventually) and then gets less gold in addition to that, and it can lead to where they simply don't increase their gold worth.
The greatest example of this I've seen is when CLG.EU played in the Season 2 championship. When they sat on Baron clearing wards for 30 minutes the opposing support was chugging down wards the entire time. In over 30 minutes they had not bought a SINGLE real item. They completely stagnated out in gold worth and didn't in 30 minutes even slightly increase their gold worth.
The new items in season 3 and supports' gold worth.
The new items in season 3, flask and sightstone, were intended to decrease gold worth stagnation. Now Flask was intended for EVERYONE to have less gold worth stagnation, but sightstone was pretty much aimed directly down on supports. The idea of buying a flask and a sightstone then never (or with a significantly decreased amount) having to buy consumables allows supports to progress. Because supports no longer have to spend 375 gold on wards every back then place them then repeat it again they are free to actually buy real items. SLOWLY buy real items mind you, but actually do it nonetheless. Flask allows them to buy less potions over the course of the game and frees up more gold that way.
Basically, the idea was that you could pay more now for consumables, but never have to buy them again.
Season 2 gave supports no progression.
Buy oracles, buy wards. Team fight, buy wards. Team fight, buy wards. Team fight, die. Buy oracles buy wards. All your gold got sucked in to this and you never actually increased your gold worth. You barely ever had the resources to buy new items, and it almost all went to sustaining the wards and oracles strategy. As mentioned above you could go 20 minutes and MAYBE buy a single mid tier item. If you were on the losing team? You never bought anything.
Imagine it like a mathematical formula. You gained 13 GP10 in season 2. You gained an additional 10 GP10 in items. You had to spend 23 gold per second sustaining the oracles and wards strategy. What's 23 minus 23? 0. You'd get 0 gold a second to spend on real items. Most of your spare money came from either being the support that didn't ward, or from global objectives. (A losing support that warded never bought items.)
What do the changes and additions mean for supports?
This means that when you go back to base your sightstone refills (for free) and you can buy 375 gold in real items. Items that will increase your gold worth. In other words: You can actually progress as a support now. Instead of your entire early game being buying wards and potions, you now buy a sightstone and start with flask. Instead of your late game being buying and re-buying oracles and ward stacks you... well you don't. With oracles being more niche (use it at critical moments rather than have it at all times) and wards being free once you have your sightstone you don't have to do that black hole strategy anymore.
And it really was a black hole strategy. All your gold got sucked in to it.
So the end result?
Well you're still a support, the support strategy is still "wait, I don't need much or any gold to be good, so I'll let you take all my farm" so there's clearly the intention of supports not having much gold. The difference here is that they can progress. Support players might complain that they don't get as much gold but that's intended. That's why supports exist. That's the strategy that came around. It wasn't a strategy put in the game by Riot, it was put in the game by players.
Riot has tried to take the player strategy and make it less evil to the player made to play support. They've said "okay clearly you're just buying pure consumables and never progressing so what can we do?" Well, they made consumables a real item. An item you can buy, then never have to buy again. That math formula? It's now 16 GP10 base, 5 GP10 from items, and you lose 0 GP10 on spam buying consumables. That's 21 GP10 you actually gain now. While that's really nothing compared to people who farm, it's still (factually) infinitely better than what you used to have. So if you're having infinitely more gold than you used to have you have to stop and think to yourselves "maybe I should thank Riot for this!"
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