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This particular idea reduces down to:
Punish players for finishing an item early - by making it so that the earlier you finish the item, the weaker this is and the more gold-inefficient it is.
To be perfectly fair, it is a path that works on certain statistics, particularly late-game statistics like % penetration - in which the disincentive is to gently guide people into realizing when the item is truly good.
However, this is a case where you are taking an item that is already not cost-efficient for raw health - punishing players that finish it early by making it even less cost-efficient thereby merely making anyone who finishes Warmog's armor before the health-break even point into an ineffective build. The problem is compounded by that fact that it is Health that you are gating so the most desirable early game statistic is not available by finishing the item - thus what is most likely going to happen is that players will merely stack Giant's Belts to get around your attempted fix.
While this will nerf the item, most definitely - it does so merely by making it a foolish option to upgrade the item until the numbers pan out. Did you buy Warmogs before level 15 to 18? Congratulations, you made a mistake. You should have bought another Giant's Belt because you have tricked players into buying an item with negative gold efficiency until you deem it to be "correct."
Players should be rewarded for finishing items that they want to buy - That is intrinsically the point of items - This change effectively "solves" rushed Warmogs by giving rushed Warmogs negative reward - punishing players who are doing well rather than solve the gameplay that a rushed Warmogs presents. Don't get me wrong, this tactic is certainly valid in some games - if you want to be really heavy handed about it - but at a certain point, you should just say "Warmog's Armor - Level Requirement: 15" and be done with it. It's a much cleaner way of accomplishing what you want innately. It's no real surprise that most RPGs do use the idea of level restrictions for this very purpose.
However, level restricting an item doesn't really fit into what we want for itemization.
Stats +1000 health
Unique Passive: You gain health regeneration equal to (0.1% * Level) of your maximum health every 5 seconds.
It suffers from a similar problem to the original one in terms of punishing you for statistics that you don't want to see early - but since the magnitude isn't as big, it's not *as* bad.
However, structurally - it follows the same pattern - just on a much much smaller order of magnitude.
Why DID they get rid of that?
It's mostly due to the fact that this particular mechanic only opens up Warmog's as a good defensive option if you are already winning.
Let's say Warmog's was the best option to win games - by putting a farm and stack mechanic on it - you effectively negate the ability of the opponent to stabilize the game by buying the same item. Intuitively, if you have the same build as your opponent - you should be able to fight them to a stalemate.
Cool. So basically you want people rushing warmogs because health is fun, right?
The ideal goal that we're tweaking towards is to make items more fluid. Frozen Heart or Randuin's Omen, for example, is an excellent counter to the version of BoRK that is going up now. Which are in turn destroyed by Black Cleaver and Last Whisper. Which are in turn are destroyed by Warmog's Armor - which in turn is destroyed by Torment/BoRK.
The problem is that currently, the cycle is "stuck" on Warmog's Armor - so clearly the wheel needs further grouping so that it flows more continuously. You should feel fine sticking to your preferred item build of choice defensively - but your 2nd or 3rd item will prove much more effective if you react to your opponent's build and if, in turn, they react to yours.
Obviously, it's not quite there yet - but we're going to keep grinding until it is.
Just make it out of combat regen only?
I tried this before - What I discovered was that it makes matchups incredibly swingy. For a default item to cause wildly varying swings in matchups was rather odd.
That is, champions who could farm from afar and stay safe benefits from the item the most - while characters that need to be active in lane are punished. You worsen some of the worse cases (Cho'Gath, for example) while weakening some of the ideal cases - A heavy trade champion like Lee-Sin.
Unfortunate - Kind of hoped it would work.
It's still a "stronger mechanic" than Rod of Ages, which uses "hard time" rather than a "soft time" like level.
The key difference is: Rod of Ages rewards you for rushing it, because you get the stats earlier the earlier you rush it.
This version punishes you for rushing it, because rushing it only gives you negative stat valuation.
Recall, the two items still have to be balanced by the end-game somewhat - RoA self-balances in the end-game, because it always has a time requirement - thus we can make RoA's base statistics crazy and still have it balanceable for end-game - because there's always an additional cost.
Then what is the logic behind Bloodthirster? Yes it's easier to stack, but at the same time it is much more probable that the person already winning will have it fully stacked and therefore has a much easier time preventing you from doing the same.
Bloodthirster is interesting because it only indirectly helps you out in terms of preserving the stacks. While the person winning is far more likely to have full stacks - they are quite frequently killable with only a Bloodthirster.
Seeker's and Bloodthirster also mitigate their snowball advantage by having a relatively small max stack cap - 30 minions is roughly 5 waves, which can be accumulated in 1 or 2 minutes, rather than 100 of the old. So, while the patterns are flawed in the same respect - the small stack caps make it a small flaw rather than a large one.
Finally, Seeker's has the release-valve of, the upgrade to the item essentially gives you maximum stacks - thus giving an alternate to needing to farm it out.
That said, there are so many options for other stats, but very few options to counter health stacking. % health damage isn't the only way to take out health, AD/AP are there however I personally think that there should at least be more options than Liandry/BoTRK.
DFG is also an option - as well as more indirect methods such as raw lifesteal tanking.
So you want to turn itemization into rock/paper/scissors style gameplay?
It's not exactly rock paper scissors - right? You start with Rock - but as the game goes on, you get like Rock Scissors. In the extreme extreme case, you probably have Papery Rocky Scissors of Paper.
However, the enemy starts with Scissors - Oops - but then he can get up to Rocky Scissors of Paper Scissors.
Punishing players for bad decisions is not always bad. And in this case, it is actually a buff from the 1.0% HP regen. By the time Warmog's is bought, the player usually reaches level 9-10 -- reaching approximately 1.0% HP regen. It scales past the previous Warmog after 15, and in this way we can have that late-game regen item.
The thing about the late-game regen item is that ideally, I would like it to exclusively be a tank late-game regen item, as I think tanks without sustain are the class of characters that a late-game sustain item should support.
For example, Leona, Amumu, Nautilus etc. - These are the characters that need a heavy late-game regeneration option - not Xin Zhao, Irelia, Jax.
It may be that it might be impossible to create one without it being supplanted by bruisers - unsure - but I know that, if we created a high regen item, we'd want it to be more tailored towards true tanks like Leona / Mummy rather than Fighters.
So I suppose my question is; is that where you want itemization to be? You want a cookie cutter build for certain roles that really only changes one, maybe two, items a game?
I suppose the answer to this is very champion specific. Some champions are going to have cookie-cutter builds. They have certain requirements that they *need* to have in order to function - and for the most part, that's kind of fine.
However, some champions should be able to build with far more flexibility - like supports or mages - because their jobs tend to be far more flexible. The carry should also be able to build with far more flexibility to his needs - because his needs tend to shift the most depending on the enemy compositions.
However - for fighters, their job/role doesn't change much. They are heavy divers that try to get to the backline. They don't have as much conditionals - and I don't really expect their items to diverge too much - as opposed to every other class who actually have shifting priorities. This may be a problem with the Fighter class as a whole, perhaps - but that's something we'll also have to solve on a more champion specific basis as well.
So, all i have to do is buy Spock and I win?
So, in your opinion, the current 'League of bruisers' is actually a problem and you are trying to balance the items to make their role not so... I'm tempted to say dominant, but their job IS to be dominant, so I'm going to say not so snowbally/beefy/unkillable if fed?
So, I'm not going to lie - the vast majority of champions that are crazy now are bruisers with free resistances or resistance shreds of their own. I kind of knew this going in - that shifting baseline itemization was going to cause a lot of the things we did in the past to bite us back.
Like for example, Kayle, Xin Zhao, Jarvan. Notice a trend? Shreds. A lot of free damage. A lot of free resistances. Why did they need it? Because they couldn't actually deal damage in S2 or live in S2 without a bunch of free statistics - but now that the classes are more balanced around each other - those free things that made them function are the same things that are making them crazy.
In the end - I think we'll get there slowly, by either taking away offensive power and keeping the resistances, or taking away the resistances and keeping their power - but in many ways taking away a lot of the unnecessary tools they have now that they desperately needed in S2.
Uh oh, Xyph just suggested that Jarvan IV might be imbalanced. Everyone panic and freak out over nothing!
Well, right now there's that bug that makes his jungle speed crazy. Let's fix that first. XD
(Oh, apparently we got this already last patch. Well, Jarvan might be fine now.)
Perseverance: Garen's health regeneration is increased by 0.5% for each 1% of health he is missing.
We actually tested this exact passive on Garen's rework.
While the passive, on paper, looks amazing and feels like it solves everything - what it actually does is heavily discourage mid-level harass - because if you fail an all-in, he recovers much more health than he would have and, unless you were resourceless as well, you have wasted a ton of resources to amplify his health regeneration.
That is, unless you manage to kill Garen, you are burning your limited resources to diminish his resources temporarily - but amplify the rate at which he accumulates resources. So essentially, unless you killed Garen straight out (which, well, it's Garen.) - You are screwing yourself really really badly.
Therefore, the end result was that you have to save everything for an all-in - leaving you with even less incentive to interact with Garen.
Then just tweak his numbers. Reduce his base regen, so that only at <25% health it is at the current level. This would also provide an incentive to actively build health regen as a stat, in order for the passive to be useful late game.
As I pointed out - It's not a problem with numbers. It's a problem with the pattern. You waste your resources and cooldown to amplify Garen's resource accumulation.
Therefore, you have zero incentive to interact with Garen at all. That is the core flaw - You can move numbers around until his passive is irrelevant - which is fair, I suppose - or you could force Garen to build anti-synergistic stats to even stay in lane - which is also fair if you want to nerf him - but the overall gameplay pattern was worse overall.
Garen's passive is entirely in control of his opponents - and in many ways, that's kind of fine - because Garen has such control of his opponents.
That is, while I agree that the passive is in the hands of an opponent who knows what he's doing - Garen's opponent mostly has to obey the whims and calls of the Garen player, as he's a resourceless champ that has strong zone control (against melee, at the very least.)
That's essentially the dynamic here - While your analysis is correct - the larger pattern as a whole seems to handle pretty well - Garen is a raging bull that you have to manage carefully to overcome - while Garen, frequently, has to realize that sometimes, charging in *isn't* the best answer and to exert pressure without committing to too much, something that he can do because he's resourceless.
But doesn't this run counter to how a champion's abilities should be designed? I mean if I play a champ I want to be in control. I want my skill/ability to make the difference.
It depends. Skillshots are both in your control and the enemy's control. This makes skillshots more interesting, rather than less so. Your aiming matters as much as the enemy's dodge - and it makes skillshots great despite how basic they are.
Holistically, you can view this as the champions kit should be in your control and the enemy's control - That what creates the interaction between you and the opponent. While I'm not saying that Garen is the absolute pinnacle of design in this front - what's important to realize is that it should be a direct competition between your strength and how the enemy can counter your strength rather than having two characters that don't care about each others abilities but simply clash to see whose skillset has more numbers.
but only when he's dealing or taking damage
This actually rewards aggression simply for being aggressive. Essentially - if you have a pattern of 'Reward X for offense' you also have the pattern of 'If you win, you win harder. If you lose, your pattern fails.'
This creates really terrible gameplay overall - as it causes incremental mistakes to translate to massive power at no real input of the player.
It's a dangerous pattern and one that's really tricky to pull off well.
Renekton, for instance, is a terrific example of how this fails. When Renekton is ahead and can generate fury, he completely crushes your soul. When Renekton is behind and can't generate fury - he's a useless little crocodile.
Hi all, just a short update this time. We're currently investigating some options on the visual side of things and looking at how those tie in with gameplay. Stuff's still going on and we haven't forgotten this thread, nothing new and concrete to discuss yet though, will update when there is or again after a while.