Originally Posted by Xypherous
Resourceless is an advantage not only in extended engagements - but also removing opportunity cost from failed engagements. Basically resourceless characters can take advantage of many more opportunities because failed opportunities cost them far less.
I think we're speaking on the same page though - Like, my initial proposed changes for Garen's ultimate was 180/120/60 second cooldown or 160/100/40 second cooldown on his ultimate - but ultimately live balance decided to opt for something safer and less crazy.
It's not just his ultimate I'm referring to.
Say at levels 11 and 16, when you level his ult, it grants a passive that reduces the cooldown of all his other abilities by 1 or 2 seconds (or the like).
Now he can really feel like that fast moving linebreaker lategame, without any power increase earlygame.
As a side note, resource opportunity cost carries different weighting.
If you fail an engagement, having low mana is almost always secondary to having low health (sometimes fatally low health).
Ability-restricting resources are basically limiters only in cases where you can continually apply your abilities.
If doing so would kill you, and/or your abilities are not defensive, low mana isn't much of a problem.
(You're in "base-or-die" territory anyway.)
The case of you missing with your abilities is also present, but this is kit based.
Darius and Garen don't have to worry too much about missing.
Further, if the duration of field-presence is short, missing doesn't matter much as you are free to return to base.