There will be a tl;dr at the end, I just urge everyone to read and hopefully for a red to see this.
Hello everyone, I'm EvilTrout, I have been playing since about the release of Trundle/Cass (I forget the exact date but anyway) I've only recently started actually posting on the forums, but I've been creeping and lurking them since the beginning, just to stay up-to-date with the qualms, changes, and ideas that both the community and Riot talk about on a day-to-day basis.
In this text I'll be making references to many actual red posts I've seen, but unfortunately I haven't really saved them or anything, so I'm asking you just to take my word when I bring up certain examples, however there is no need to worry because this is not a QQ thread.
The main idea of this thread is to question (as a community, our biggest duty and and also right, is to question) the process and mentality that Riot puts through not only their champions, but to items and the like. To question the buff/nerfs, or lack thereof, to certain champions. To question why certain champions are simply better at others, and why the term "tier" even exists. The 'why' of the 'why'.
A small introduction
About a few months ago, a fellow summoner had raised one of those typical (but nonetheless legitimate) "Why is the game so unbalanced" threads. He wasn't complaining or being rude, but simply questioning certain things and backed up his arguments with statistics and etc. A well thought-out thread.
Shortly after, a red had responded by saying that their goal is NOT to perfectly balance the game, but rather, to make it perfectly unbalanced.
He gave a link to a video describing this idea of perfect imbalance, and to me, it made perfect sense. (I sure wish I had the link to this video..)
A perfectly balanced game rarely exists, chess comes to mind. Anyway I'm not going to talk about the video but if you manage to find it, it brings up some rather interesting points. After watching this video I simply kinda said: "Oh Riot is right, we should stop questioning the game's balance, but rather appreciate its perfect unbalance."
Keep what I just said in mind, I'll come back to that point later on.
Now, having said the above, I'd like to bring back up a concern made by a fellow summoner the other day. This summoner was worried about the situation of Syndra. Now as most of you may know, Syndra is not in a great position, her win rates are among the lowest (the lowest if I am not mistaken) and the community generally just sees her as being UP or trash/troll pick. Now personally I adore playing Syndra, her lore, her playstyle, her ult, her voice-over... It's just all pretty cool to me. She strikes me as being one of those high skillcap AP mids a la Orianna, except that she truly is underpowered at the moment.
A Rioter had responded by saying that Syndra was in line to receive some improvements after the finals. These changes would mostly be bug-fixes related to her E and usability (QoL) issues, but, and this is the part I must stress the most, would not be receiving any buffs to her numbers for fear of her suddenly considered as OP like in the situation of Rengar. Now everyone had seemed satisfied with this answer.
But I, being a deeply critical thinker, am simply dissatisfied and find there to be a fundamental problem with this way of thinking. Blatantly refusing to even slightly improve some of her numbers for fear of her win rate sky rocketing.
But more on Syndra later.
Now let me give a few examples of cases where numbers could be easily improved without causing a rengar-like explosion (40%-60% win rate after a buff)
- Taric's passive. Often seen as useless, from a support's perspective since you aren't building ad and you aren't supposed to be hitting any/many minions. Although sometimes I like playing taric as a top dps bruiser (for fun) and if this passive would be boosted from 7.5% mana sap on AA to 10%, or even 12.5%, would that REALLY make him EXPLODE into OP-ness like Rengar? Really? Think about it. Think about how low his base ad is in the first place. Buffing this overlooked passive could potentially open up a fun new way to play taric.
-Karma. Need I say more? Instead of completely remaking her (which is taking an eternity by the way) Why not just give her an extra mantra charge? Or a Attack speed debuff/buff on a mantra'd spirit bond + increase the move speed modifier it already provides? Or Make mantra'd soul shield knock back enemies? Would any of these changes, or combination of changes, make her EXPLODE into top tier support, whether it be in low elo or high elo play? Really? Think about it.
- Giving Sivir the same AA range as Graves, for the love of god. What is the thought process behind giving Sivir the shortest AA range?
-Making Heimerdinger being able to pick up turret parts and move them. This would solve his nest-egg problem without having to waste hours and hours on a huge rework. Making the turret's HP scale with his own. Why do you feel afraid to make these kind of changes? Do you really think that poor little never-played heimy would suddenly burst into the scene and have a 60% win rate?
- While Orianna was controversial, and I like where she is PERFECTLY right now, why not give her passive and Q a slight ad ratio? I may be going a little too far on this one, but wouldn't it open more doors for the players to experiment and have fun?
The list could go on for pages...
And now back on Syndra, why not make her ultimate apply a brief silence? Improve the numbers on her passive so as to give an actual choice when maxing her skills? Make her orbs last ONE seconds longer? Make them grant vision? This would open up support Syndra as a possible pick.
My point is, it just seem that WAY too much time it given to the so-called "top tier" champions that fit a little metagame, while there is ENORMOUS potential for all the current "lower tier" champions that currently only fit into one role, poorly. Why not just make one champion per month instead, and focus more on truly putting a "perfect imbalance" to the game. YES, of course that some champions will always be a little better than others, and will be picked and win more games, but the sad fact of the matter is, some champions are A LOT better than others. Way WAY better than others. And some others could so easily have changes to allow them to play different roles than the same old boring stuff we see and do, day in and day out.
I'm not demanding and begging for all the suggested changes to be done. I'm simply saying that DOING SO would not require a huge effort on Riot's effort, and would not completely throw the game's balance out of whack.
tl;dr: Riot tends to avoid applying even small buffs to underplayed champions because they fear they will suddenly become UBER OP. They also enforce one-roled champions by not potentially giving them multi-role utilities.
EDIT: My goal isn't to see every champion have a 50% win rate. Again, the notion of perfect imbalance comes to mind, what I'm saying is that if we can give all the 40% and below champions a slight 5% boost, what's the harm? And IF you make a mistake and it turns out to be SUPER OP, just nerf it next patch? Was there really any harm in trying?