@Riot: Why the Support Role is Broken... and How to Easily Fix It.

  • Hello, My name is Luceid7. I'm a Div I Gold support player and I feel the current state of supports is broken. I will try to make this post as concise as possible, no long long winded "history" or ranting sections. Just four sections, "What's Wrong?", "What Riot Has Tried So Far", "My Solution", and finally "Why Does This Work?" If you play support often, and are intimately familiar with their plight, then feel free to skip to the third section. The first two sections will have TLDRs. However if you're the type of reader who needs a TLDR, you probably didn't read that sentence. Irony. Here goes.

    What's Wrong?

    A lot of players will tell you the support role is boring. But why is this? Early in the game, the support role is often one of the most engaging and fun roles you can play. You don't have to be bothered with last hitting, you spend all your time fighting your lane opponents, and protecting your carry. A good support controls the lane, and sets up kills for the carry.

    Some players will complain about having to buy wards. We can safely ignore this group of players, because they frankly have no clue what they are talking about. The inclusion of the Sightstone has largely solved this complaint, and every member of a good team should be buying their own wards.

    So if the problem isn't in gameplay, nor is it in being "forced" to buy wards, where does the problem stem from? The answer is the one place support players are still sorely lacking options: gold income.

    Gold earnings after a typical 30 minute game in season 3 will look like this.
    ADC, Top, Mid: 12K
    Jungle: 10K
    Support: 6K

    This is usually enough for the support to buy boots, Sightstone, Philostone, and an Aegis. There's no room for unusual builds or counterplay. This is what you will be able to afford in 90% of games as a support. THIS is what makes playing support boring.

    TLDR: The problem with supports is that they just don't have enough gold to make interesting build choices, and to feel more useful late game.

    What Riot Has Tried So Far

    The inclusion of GP10 items was originally meant to help support characters out. They used to be powerful and the gold passive was not unique. Take a look at WAY back pre-nerfs philo stone:

    Cost: 800 gold
    22.5 HP regen/5 seconds
    10 MP regen/5 seconds
    5 GP10

    Salivating yet? The GP10 items were repeatedly nerfed because non support characters were abusing them. Support everywhere suffered.

    Then Riot did nothing for a long time when at last season 3 rolls around and they decide to try and throw the support role a few bones. Global gold gain was slightly increased, and minion values were slightly decreased. In addition, Sightstone and Ruby Sightstone were added to the great rejoicing of support players.

    Let's take a look at the global gold gain increase first. Global gold gain went from 13 GP10 to 16 GP10 for all players. For all non-support characters who farm minions, this changes virtually nothing. Support players in an average 30 minute game got:

    3 GP10 over 30 minutes
    18 gold per minute
    540 extra gold compared to before.

    Gee thanks riot, I can buy another ruby crystal. That change was pretty small, though not unwelcome. The best change was clearly the almighty Sightstone and Ruby Sightstone. Theoretically, these were meant to replace Heart of Gold. In practice, they ended up being far superior. Sightstone is my first or second purchase in every single game. It's that awesome.

    Again though, non supports start ruining the party (screw you Lee Sin). Sightstone and Ruby Sightstone took a cost nerf to reduce their effectiveness on certain overpowered junglers. Thankfully their health/cost ratio was actually improved, making it still a worthwhile purchase.

    TLDR: Time and time again, Riot has added powerful cost efficient items for support players, only to nerf these items to the ground because they become abused on non support champions.

    My Solution

    So clearly, we have a problem and a solution that is never going to work.
    The problem: Supports don't get enough gold to make interesting and fun build decisions.
    Failed Solution: Making cost efficient powerful items designed for supports, continues to fail because non support characters will continue to abuse them.

    So I propose we just give the support player more gold! Here's how:

    The player with the lowest gold total on the team will receive 6% of the team's total gold income as bonus gold.

    Let's take a look at my previous typical example of a 30 minute game.

    ADC, Top, Mid: 12K
    Jungle: 10K
    Support: 6K
    Total: 52K
    6% of 52K is 3120 gold

    Now the support player has roughly 9K gold to work with, just under the jungler. If the game goes on longer, the support player will easily be able to afford a (fun) 3-4 item build!

    Why does this work?
    Barring massive changes to the Summoner's Rift map, there will only ever be enough gold income for 4 players to get enough of their build to have a satisfying game. The support role as we know it today may shift out of the meta someday. I personally doubt it will, but I could be wrong. But the fact remains, there will always be a 5th player that gets screwed on gold income. Always. This change makes sense because no matter what player is forced into having less gold income, all players will enjoy the benefits of having a full build.

    So what do you think GD? Could this finally solve the support problem?
    Singed if you agree, or otherwise tell me why I'm wrong!


    Good Questions and Counterpoints

    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Originally Posted by 2pudge1cup
    i really dont like the idea of giving something for nothing. that might be the only way to do it, but it kind of rubs the wrong way conceptually.

    and when would this extra income kick in? at what point of the game? how often would it do total gold checks and adjust accordingly?

    also in lower level games where there's no jungler who does this bonus go to? </td></tr></table>
    Good stuff, let me address your points.

    First its not something for nothing, giving the player with the least total gold an additional 20 GP10 would be something for nothing. This bonus gold is just like Gangplank's Q. It's bonus gold targeted at a specific player. Because it is always based upon a percentage of your team's total gold, it is never coming from nowhere, so to speak.

    As for the second point, it would be dynamic just like all gold gain currently is. Your gp10 item doesn't do checks every 10 seconds. It gives you extra gold dynamically every second. As players earn gold, 6% gets dynamically added to the player's gold total who has the least.

    This change is aimed at balancing higher level games, I'm not so concerned with lower level games honestly. But in the case where two players are tied for lowest gold (for example your jungle is having a really bad game) it gets split between them.

    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Originally Posted by Pikmin264
    I like the idea as well but i feel like that if one team gets a head to much they snowball to fast to the point that the other team doesn't even have a chance. </td></tr></table>
    This is a good point to address.
    Let's say team A is doing really well and has 60K gold and team B is doing badly and has 50K.

    6% of 60K is 3600 gold
    6% of 50K is 3000 gold.
    I hardly consider an extra 600 gold game breaking.
    Let's also consider that this is going to the player with the least gold on the team, not the carry. This isn't game breaking at all.

    If you think about it, this change is anti snowball in nature. It naturally helps those who are doing the worst in game. So if your top lane is doing absolutely terrible and your bot lane duo is doing amazing, the top lane will receive some assistance via extra gold.

    This is a beneficial (if unintended) consequence of this change.

    Originally Posted by PeachyMann
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> This is pretty interesting; it's literally a Tax. As the team earns gold, you give up some of your income to support the team as a whole. Doing so, you can still be successful and wealthy on your own, but you also help ensure that your allies don't fall too far behind. </td></tr></table>
    THIS IS NOT A TAX. This gold is considered bonus gold. I don't want to take away gold earned from any player.

    Originally Posted by Fishquack
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> I am not sure if this has been mentioned before. I know this is a very nasty thing to say but, what about if you get a AFK or D/C on your team? The other support is getting fed extra gold and YOU are suffering a very heavy gold decrease on your team. Sorry to be the bear of bad news, but you will never be able to win 4v5s ever again with this =/ </td></tr></table>
    If some one leaves or DCs, then the game would detect that and give the gold to some one else. If some one on your team is intentionally afking because they are raging, then yes this makes that situation even worse. However I'd like to add that these situations are somewhat rare and you probably weren't going to win in the first place.

    Originally Posted by Basically Everyone

    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Won't this make double bruiser bot lane, or ADC+ AP carry bot lane better than a traditional ADC+support bot lane? Because those roles scale better with gold than traditional supports. </td></tr></table>
    I think it's important to note that most bruisers already scale really well with very little gold. The double bruiser bot lane has been tried and fails most of the time for reasons other than gold. It's because they get bullied out of lane early by ranged harass. If the double bruiser or ADC + AP carry bot lane did become popular with my suggestion enacted, it would only point to how overnerfed most support champions are.

    Originally Posted by Macaroni
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Make it (the gp10) be the final mastery point in the support tree, and make the final offensive tree talent be more compelling. </td></tr></table>
    Let's take a look mathematically at why this is a bad idea. If you look at my example in the main post, the support players gets around 3K free gold over a 30 minute game. How much GP10 would be required to make that much in a mastery?
    3000G over 30 Minutes=
    100 gold per minute=
    roughly 17 GP10

    I don't know anyone in their right mind that wouldn't take that for every single role in the game. Every single viable build would be 0/9/21 or 9/0/21.
  • Thank you for making a well crafted argument where you state the situation, why you think it's a problem, and your proposed solutions, as well as trying to address concerns.

    I wish all game balance/fixing suggestions were presented as composed as this one.