With tanks being a little less than good to play lately, lets call it subpar, a key concept keeps showing up in every game that seems to defeat the purpose of tanks: %health damage. Riot has decided that stacking resistances forcing a LW/Void Staff on to people to continue to hurt you was a bad mechanic, so they OBLITERATED resistances and made them practically pointless to buy in mass. However, they made health so a little bit cheaper and far easier to buy in mass. (Hell, a lot easier to buy in mass. Like, a LOT easier.) Where as in Season 2 it was a good idea to have about 3000 HP and a heap of resistances, now it's a good idea to have 4000+ HP and a chunk of resistances.
So what changes from Season 2?
Resistances were devalued. A lot. Where as in Season 2 a single chain vest was enough to make most physical damage users cringe and be unable to fight you that same chain vest will do little to stop the pain train in Season 3. Frozen Heart used to be the go-to for anti-physical damage, and in Season 3 Frozen Heart will merely slow down Ranged Carries and do very little to AD casters. HOWEVER, total damage dealt went down. IE went to 70 damage, ranged crits only get 5% instead of 10% bonus damage through masteries, Deathcap lost some %AP and flat AP, Etc. In addition to THAT health got cheaper and much easier to find in large quantities.
So resistances are worth less, health is cheaper, and total damage is lower. Damage as a whole is HIGHER mind you, just the damage before resistances went down. Look at it as you used to do 10 damage reduced by 4 from resistances, and now you deal 8 damage reduced by 2 from resistances. So what's the natural end result? People stack health now. It used to be stacking health was a death sentence because the damage dealt before resistances was so crazy high it was a death sentence to not stack resistances. Now the damage is a bit lower but you can stack health and get defense against magic and physical damage easier. Now mind you you still must get some resistances so you don't get hit by true damage because EVERYONE just stacks flat pen now.
As an aside it's somewhat of a Myth that Health stacking got better because the items got better. Warmogs is worse than in Season 2, Randuins gained 250 health but lost 5% CDR, 25 HP10, and lost it's active slowing attack speed. So it's easier to "Get health" but only because everything that didn't give health got nerfed so badly.
And mind you, it's not like tanks are super tanky as is.
Nobody is running in to teams and tanking them all. There isn't some plague of tanks dominating the game. %health damage just takes a class that is generally hurting and just makes it impossible for them to do their job. Granted there are some tanks that are doing great, but as a whole tanks are not doing great. Additionally, Warmogs being a good item that everyone builds doesn't immediately make Rammus good.
So why is %health damage such an issue now? Why not Season 2?
Some people still might not get it, so lets put it in to perspective. Damage are doing less total flat damage, but having far more resistances. Put that together in your mind. %health damage is doing more damage than ever. Last Season I'd have 3000 HP, but I'd also have 150 MR and 250 armor. Now I'll have 4000 HP and maybe 150 armor 100 MR. What's the end result? %health damage is MASSSSSSIVE right now. Why do you think everyone and their mother is buying Liandry's Torment? You're fighting more HP that has less resistances. %health damage got nothing but a flat buff.
So ask yourself: "Why does %health damage even exist if tanks aren't even close to an issue?" Has anyone had issues killing tanks without %health damage? Is Ezreal going "damn, tanks are just impossible to kill!" Is Talon sitting there thinking "if only there was some way for me to fight tanks!" No, they aren't. Nobody has issues killing tanks. Most tanks are even building damage now because they realize the futility of building tanky. Nobody is playing Amumu and just going full tank, people are building Liandry's, sunfire, and abyssal on Amumu. That's a huge shift away from people building full tank, because full tank loses even without %health damage, and %health damage exists to boots.
As always, look at it on a case-by-case basis.
I'm not saying ALL %HEALTH DAMAGE IS OP AND CLEARLY NERFNERFNERF. I never say that about anything. YOU people say that. Generalizing is the key to stupidity. Liandry's torment likewise gives flat magic pen to kill squishies, but also gives %health damage to kill tanks? Why does DFG and Evelyn do %health damage if they're (burst casters) supposed to be countered by tanks? Why does Varus get %health damage if AD casters have always been the premiere tank killers anyway? So he would keep using his abilities late game? If that's really the problem then maybe Riot should look at his ability scaling versus auto attack scaling.
Counter Argument: %health damage exists so people don't stack health!
So where's my %AP damage? My %AD damage? Why is Veigar the only champion that punishes people for building AP? Why are defenses the only thing that gets punished for getting stacked? Lets take it a step further, I think DFG should be changed from 15% HP damage to do 100% of the opponent's AP + 150% of their AD as damage. Why not? Balancing something off of what your opponent does has always been a stupid concept. It gets even stupider however when you restrict it to only things your opponent does for survivability then put it on a whole bunch of different items and effects as free bonuses. Imagine for a second if Leblanc lost 10 damage on her Q, but in return she gains 50% of the target's AP damage as damage on her Q.
What if there was an item that reduced your attack speed to 0.7 no matter what your current attack speed was. Would that be fun for on-hit users and AD casters? Why would such an item need to exist? What about if Trundle's Q was changed to steal 30% of your total AD? These effects would not be desirable or fun to play against. The only reason we accept %health damage (and by extension %armor/MR shreds) is because they've been around for so long that we've just sort of gotten used to them. The problem now though is that the compensation for these effects has swung in to a fair level, where it isn't fair for people that don't have %health damage. Fair for those that do, unfair for those that don't. Doesn't that sound like the definition of bad balance?
If, for example, AD carries just became so ungodly OP that they could wade in and 1v5 teams would the natural approach to the situation be to include items that practically shut down AD carries single handedly? An item that hard capped your attack speed at a 0.7 rate before attack speed slows? No, that'd be a silly approach and it'd be totally unfun to face. Unfortunately that's very much a reality for health right now.
Players should not be punished for their choices, unless those choices show a real balance concern when done. Is health stacking dominating the game? Maybe it is. But shouldn't that be a concern with the health items themselves? Maybe it isn't, then why does %health damage exist? See this game, I call it the game of: Stop being lazy and balance properly.
In fact, let me say that in big paragraph letters: Players should not be punished for their choices unless those choices represent a real balance concern, a balance concern that only shows up when stacking/boating/spamming/etc. occurs.
If something isn't overpowered yet has a counter, it must be made overpowered to beat that counter. This is actually the main point of this article but it's such a short point to make.
Where am I going with this? A little health but not a lot was good in Season 2. %health damage kept it down pretty hard. In season 3 it got compensated. Like, grossly overcompensated. Why? Because %health damage exists in such large quantities! I won't actually make a big paragraph out of this because it's pretty apparent to anyone playing the game right now what happened.
And I think the end result is just too many effects exist out there to punish tanks which is a remnant of a better time for tanks.
The time when you could build full tank Nasus, wade in to the opposing team and once you withered the AD carry you would never die. That's done now. That's a myth. That doesn't happen anymore. Nobody does that anymore. The only people who think that happens anymore are Riot who for some reason have made balance mistake after balance mistake in regards to tanks until they finally went one step too far and ended most tanks overnight. Riot could always make mistakes because tank items like FH were just so damn good that tanks could take the hit. Now they can't anymore. The problem here is Riot has NEVER had to go back and actually do anything for tanks because they've always worked well.
So what will Riot do? Are we going to nerf health a lot and just end up saying "well I guess that's that!" or... well I know that's what we are going to do. I just wish we'de take more time to look at the game and go "okay yeah this clearly isn't working." I mean it's one thing to just chase around numbers with a nerf hammer, it's a less lazy and more surgical approach to actually get in there and fix problems.
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