Hi Morello. Since you're in this thread, could you explain why you don't think supports are experiencing reverse power creep? Last time this came up, you said that the game is actually experiencing power creep since you add power into the game all the time, but I think you dodged the question. Yes, the game as a whole may very well be experiencing positive power creep, but I think the support champions are going in the opposite direction as the rest of the champion pool. This is leading DIRECTLY to the adoption of more nonstandard supports such as Blitz and Nunu (yes, they were nonstandard twelve months ago), as well as Zyra, Fiddles, etc. These nonstandard supports are staying constant in power while the core supports are getting weaker, making the alternatives relatively better support choices.
Now I think this is actually a good thing in that it indirectly widens the support champion pool, BUT, at the same time, you're making support players weaker and making them have a smaller impact on the game's outcome (which is the biggest perceived problem with the support role).
Long story short, I actually like the way you're making more supports viable, but I think you also need to look into a way of somehow increasing the impact of the role and the satisfaction derived from it. This does NOT need to come in the form of buffs to support champions. I think it would actually be better accomplished with masteries, runes, and items aimed at supports. That way it wouldn't push fringe supports out of viability (since they would benefit just as much as the mainstays), but it would make the support role more impactful and fun.
What do you think, Morello?
Support is typically a bit more of a niche (not super niche, but definitely not as popular as things that do DPS), they're a space that typically has a hard time to be made initially "satisfying" - that feeling that your actions have a real and impactful result at a glance. This is due to the unique design challenges on support - deferred effects, lack of "scoring kills," more nuanced resource-management focus, and so on.
Morello, you don't think supports are fun or satisfying?! I hate you. No, I'm saying that satisfaction is a thing that you try to make in game design, and has a lot of factors that go into it. To give an example, Ashe Arrow is probably one of the most satisfying spells in the game, not from a "what I find fun" but the design elements that make it satisfying. The mechanics, tension between shot fired and shot landed, the uncertainty, the sound, particle and impact of the hit - all these things make the skill satisfying objectively.
Now, compare this to something like a skill that grants AR/MR. That skill could be really strong, but it's unlikely to be satisfying because it lacks the levers to make it "feel good." We try to avoid these types of effects and only include them if they're needed for the character to be good.
Extrapolating this into supports, their design is fundamentally more difficult to make satisfying. Since the power is more nuanced, most playtests will get you a lot of feedback about the spell "feeling bad," and the natural answer to a skill without many levers is to simply make it strong until you notice it. The more deferred the effect, the more you need to pump power in to make something feel good. This is not only true in League, but many games, especially where supports are primary (WoW healers, TF2 medic) contributors.
So when we initially launched League, we had a lot of this - tons of power pumped into support characters because they felt poor without it (I would say Janna was an exception - she was just OP!). As a result, we had to rip a lot of this back down to make it right for the game, but that feels bad as it creates a pattern of nerfs (Vlad and Irelia players feel similarly marginalized even though both characters are good after repeated nerfs). Most supports are less powerful, but more relevant because their value goes up as player skill does. Kind of like the opposite of how assassins do better at lower elos.
So, have supports deflated in power? Yes. Has the game better understood how powerful supports are and how integral they are to a successful team? Absolutely.