I'm not expecting Riot to suddenly change anything because of my idea, but as a would-be game designer (I have the college degree but not the career yet) it would be really awesome to hear the professionals' opinions of my thoughts.
I've heard Morello's explanations about what was not working about Karma's old passive, and I understand his concerns, but I don't believe it's a lost cause. Karma's old passive does not have to be maintained in it's original state. And I have an idea that may be able to address the 'free power' and counter-play concerns of the old passive.
Consider a tried and true champion: Blitzcrank. Blitz has very amusing gameplay potential with the sudden sheild boost at low health. But it lasts for only a few seconds, just long enough to turn the situation around and then get out. And the only time I've heard anyone call this ability bad for the game is when they are crying in despair because the enemy blitz just got away again!
Imagine if Karma had an ability like that, When her health drops below a certain %, she gains a momentary power boost. It lasts just long enough to attempt turning the tides, and then it's gone, the ability goes on cooldown and Karma is back to normal. She still gets that Karmic 'get back at you' punch, but she can't just hang out in lane all day sporting a constant free chunk of AP. It rewards Karma players for taking risks while at high health, but does not encourage hanging around when already at low health, because unlike Blitz this ability won't prevent the damage.
And the power boost doesn't have to be AP, it could be an instant mantra or spell cooldown, or anything that gives her that brief moment of strength.
And this ability does provide counterplay. And opponent can harrass or burst the enemy Karma down til her 'Karma-power' activates, then back off a few seconds before going back in.
I believe this idea would not only please Karma fans, but could offer strategic options while maintaining a gamplay balance in similar fashion to Blitzcrank's passive.
Also compare to Anivia, Karthus and Zyra. There is a strong precedence for Mages successfully implementing low health based passives in interesting ways. I think it's fair to say Karma could too.
Am I on the right track? Does this begin to address the problems with the old passive?
And I do like the current new passive, And I don't think it should be removed, but I think it could be moved onto her R, while something like this idea fills the passive slot.
I'm not saying this idea is perfect, but I feel with some discussion with experienced designers there is something worth considering here.
Please Morello, I have always liked your perspective on gameplay design, and it would mean a lot if I could hear your opinions on my idea. Even if you totally disagree with me, I would like to better understand what you consider good gameplay.
Thanks for reading!