I like some things about this solution, but what we don't want to do is make the trees class-focused only (something we're working to change in S3). So an AP going 21 in Utility should have viability, or a tank going 21 in offense. This transcends lane assignment, which occasionally changes with meta. We do have a new utility mastery that should help support, and is part of a "thousand cuts" approach - a number of small changes that add up to a larger result.
Morello, bro, we've been past the Mastery thing for months now. The consensus is that it would be better as a basic mechanic or as an item passive.
Morello also references the "nobody would play trad supports anymore" argument: if you could have an Annie with 40% farm instead of a Sona, you would take the Annie every time. It's only at 0% farm that Sona is competitive. If that's so, that's a problem, and Supports should be buffed until they can compete at 40% farm with a half-starved Annie.
Here's my proposal:
(1) Add a fifth goldtream with, say, 40% of normal farm.
(2) For each traditional Support, either
(a) buff them up so that their power level is somewhere in between a 40% farm Annie and a 100% farm Annie, in other words giving them less snowball potential in exchange for less risk
(b) make them scale harder, so that they suck about as bad as Annie at 0% farm and are almost as useful at 100% farm. Put ratios on their buffs/debuffs/CC, for instance.
Finally, I don't think it would be bad if Annie were sometimes viable as a Synergy champion. Maybe the player sucks at Support. Maybe your team isn't going for big teamfights, and so doesn't really need a Support champion. Maybe the player is just really good at Annie.
EDIT: Wow. I had no expectation at all that this would receive so much ... support. ^.^
EDIT2: Unfortunately, I'm sort of stuck with the "Mastery" title. I think this would be better as a basic mechanic or an item.
TL;DR: Make a new mechanic (a basic mechanic, a Mastery, an item passive, whatever) that gives champions gold when a nearby allied champion last-hits a minion. (It's a bonus; it doesn't take away from what the last-hitter receives.) It would, in effect, create a 5th goldstream for the 5th Champion. Synergy, whether as a Mastery or just a default game mechanic, furthers two main goals:
(1) $ FOR SUPPORTS. Give Supports some ability to itemize and make item decisions beyond the same old Philo Stone, HoG, Shurelya's, game over. Also remove the "starvation stigma" that Supports now suffer. ("The four of us get gold to buy items. You don't." + "u lastpick u support".) Right now, even with gp10s, Supports are several thousand gold behind (more if you don't count the gp10 costs as "spent gold") by the time you hit early-mid-game teamfights that can decide the game. It really sucks trying to teamfight with basic shoes and a philo stone while everybody else has their first legendary-tier item and upgraded shoes. Supports level well ... but not THAT well.
(2) MORE FLEXIBILITY IN LANE ASSIGNMENTS. Make alternate lane compositions viable. Right now, 4 zero-sum goldstreams for 5 champions has lanecomp locked up: 1-1-2+J, with the "2" being almost always a Carry and a Support. People should play Supports because they want to or because of the unique advantages Supports bring to a team, not because the economy demands it.
There are two keystone facts that lock in the static meta:
- Currently, you must have a Jungler, or else you have only 3 goldstreams for 5 champions (even worse than 4 for 5). Synergy lets a champion who would otherwise have to jungle instead gain "half of a goldstream" by laning with someone else.
- Currently, the only viable duo laner is a Support, because choosing to back someone up in lane currently means 0 farm revenue. Synergy makes duo-laning viable for a much wider range of Champions, such as tanks and bruisers.
I propose something along these lines:
Synergy: When a nearby allied Champion slays a minion, gain a bonus equal to 40% of the minion's value. (For example: if Warwick kills a 20-gold minion, Warwick gets the full 20g but a nearby Veigar will also get 8g.)
If more than one allied Champion is in range of a last-hit, split this bonus evenly among them. (Example: WW kills a 20-gold minion, with Veigar and Ashe both nearby. Warwick gets 20g, Veigar gets 4g, Ashe gets 4g.) (Acknowledgement: Cocaco and others suggested using a percentage.)
Whoa! Wait a minute! You crazy cupcake, are you proposing even more gold for farming carries?
--> I am not! If you're a farming Champion, this mechanic would have ZERO* impact on your lanefarm revenue.
--> I do also want to point out that getting Synergy gold is always worse than getting solo farm. Packing 3 people into a lane to max out Synergy does NOT help your team's total gold generation.
--> However, I agree that we might want to tweak it to avoid making every backed-up minion glut a mini-dragon. See the red text below!
*: Possible, limited exception: if your lanemate sees you about to miss a CS, they can last-hit it and give you 40% of the minion's value. I like that! It feels cooperative and ... teamly.
Wait, so what IS it? A Mastery? What?
--> I've created a separate thread for discussing implementation options (item, runes, mastery, etc.):
- I originally posted it as a Mastery (to be honest) to make it seem less radical. The Mastery version still has its adherents. There is debate about whether it would be deep in the Utility tree or right at the top.
- My current view is that this should just be a basic mechanic, like XP-sharing.
- Drahal and others have suggested it might be an item that costs about 600g and has a VERY low resale value. It might upgrade into some sort of nice Support item. This would prevent everyone from buying it for the occasional late-game wave-clear. My second-favorite option after basic mechanic.
- Some have suggested runes: personally, I think it would be wrong to make IP *that* powerful, or *that* necessary for playing Support.
What about jungle creeps?
--> As written, it would not apply to them. However, I think it might be interesting if it applied to non-dragon, non-baron monsters. Double Jungle wouldn't be quite such a troll thing anymore, and Double Jungle is fun. It might lead to bot running to golems for splash gold ... which might be a problem and might be fine. Something to test! But as written, it would not apply.
I would be ecstatic if Riot would try this out in-house, and perhaps add it to the PBE to see what happens. Playtesting experience will probably lead to improvements on the numerical specifics, and it may need some new non-numerical details, but I think the basic idea is sound.
SOME IMPORTANT POINTS
- Has no effect on your own last-hits.
- Remember that Synergy is ALWAYS worse than last-hitting. Tri-lanes actually reduce total team gold generation: think of each champ as earning a paycheck for the team.
- I made Synergy gold drop off quite sharply after the "Ashe last-hits, Garen and Blitz gain Synergy gold" triple-lane point. I wanted tri-lanes to be costly but feasible, but I wanted to minimize the value of having the whole team around to farm massive minion waves late-game.
- Supports don't get the farm that other champs get, which means Support players can buy very few items.
- This is a problem because buying stuff is fun. (Support is fun as-is, but it would be more fun if we could also buy items.)
- More than that, adaptive item selection is a big part of gameplay, and itemization lets players take their own unique approaches to their champions.
- Right now, Support is mandatory. (So is Jungler.) This is also a problem. Support is strong, no question. Supports can turn teamfights around, boost AD Carries into snowball land, and otherwise win the game with their skillful play. But people who can't competently do any of these Support things end up playing Support all the time, because with 4 goldstreams and 5 champions someone has to starve. As players of the "Starvation Role", Supports are too often looked down on as the players who got stuck with the least-desired role. ("U LASTPICK U SUPPORT")
- A sign of how bad the situation has become: I used to think of the definition of "Support" as being about what a "Support" Champion could do. A Support, I thought, was someone who used heals, buffs, debuffs, repositions, and other such abilities. I didn't think of Supports as waterboys or cheerleaders, but more like military officers who organized their team and, through clever play, amplified their power and disrupted the enemy strategy. But it seems that now, the main definition of "Support", the sine qua non of being a "Support", is that you're not totally useless even when you're utterly starved from 0:00 onward. A fix to the starvation-support problem could mean that once again Supports are valued for what they can do, rather than what they can survive.
- More generally, the 4-goldstreams for 5-champions setup sets off a chain reaction that locks down the lanes. As-is, all too often you can't play the champ you want to play because lane mechanics require you to fill a role that your champ can't fill. That's unfortunate.
CAUSE OF PROBLEM:
- There are 4 goldstreams and 5 champions.
- In the early-mid game, Supports are several thousand gold behind. I've attached some graphs which show that even 15 minutes of lane-farm vastly outstrips all the gp10 in the game. The exact number is problematic to compute, because it depends on how much Supports "want" the stats (hp5, health, AP) that come with gp10 items. Even assuming you would pay full-price for all that health and hp5 and so on, though, Supports are about 3K behind at 17 minutes.
- Champions scale with gold at different rates. (I've attached some illustrative graphs, showing "bang for buck" on a Carry, a Mage, and a Support. I drew flat lines to represent Support CC, since they don't produce damage and don't currently scale. Carry and Mage DPS is empirically-generated: I simulated buying items and calculated DPS. They should each be an order higher, if you factor in ArPen/MPen. Carries are cubic, mages are quadratic.)
- And so the optimal strategy is to have one champion who does not scale well with gold dip as shallowly as possible into the goldstream.
- It's optimal, but not much fun. You build Philo Stone, Heart of Gold, Shurelya's ... maybe an Aegis. Game over. Also lots of wards.
- Zero-sum gold means only a Support can really duo-lane with someone. Dragon control means the 2-lane is almost always bot lane. You have a jungler because otherwise it'd be 3 goldstreams for 5 champions, on top of losing XP. Zero-sum gold locks up the lane meta. It also makes Support - a fine, respectable role - absolutely mandatory, which is not fun.
- Create a 5th goldstream in the form of this Mastery. (Or as a basic mechanic.)
- The Synergy stream will have about 40% as much gold as the other 4 streams in it. Synergy users will still be getting less gold than last-hitters, but it won't be zero farm. Projecting roughly, Synergy-users will be be 1-2K behind, instead of 3-4K behind.
- This is especially crucial for the early game, when everyone else is racking up farm (~ 4K gold in the first 15m) and your gp10s still haven't "paid for themselves". Although Supports may end up "only" a few thousand gold behind at the endgame screen, they miss out on that crucial early gold that lets players shape the early-mid game.
- This would also open up the meta. With Synergy, you could play a less-farmed-but-not-totally-trash non-Support. You could also skip a Jungler and, say, send 2 top. Foregoing the jungle would put your team behind on experience, and you'd have more trouble with buffs/ganks, but there are also advantages to 2v1. Right now, this would be impossible: the gold loss in top lane would just not be worth it. Synergy makes this a viable strategic choice with pros and cons, and gives players more freedom to play what they want.
MY NEXT POST CONTAINS A LIST OF COMMON CRITIQUES, WITH MY REPLIES. IF YOU HAVE A "BUT WHAT ABOUT-" THOUGHT, PLEASE CHECK THAT OUT AND SEE IF THE ISSUE IS ADDRESSED TO YOUR SATISFACTION THERE.