I'm not a fan of snowball items - never was.
Initially, they were introduced into LoL with the intention of allowing good players to 'carry' their team by getting kills and assists without dying too much. It was often a concern that individual skill was not rewarded enough.
While i think that the notion for introducing these items were justified, I feel that they did more harm than not.
Ofcourse, I am talking about the general snowball effect that LoL has - it is already pretty high, and these items serve to reward a winning TEAM rather than the losing one with a good player. You see, often in high ELO if you're doing good, it probably means that you team is doing good.
I've actually come to prefer the term seesaw, because it better demonstrates how LoL works. Imagine two kids on a seesaw, who weigh the same amount. Each time your team (kid) gets a tower, dragon, neutrals or a kill the seesaw is tilted in favor of one of them. Everyone who has played on seesaws as a kid knows that there is a tilting point, or a point of no return where the bottom will force the top kid up, and the only way to get down is to jump off the seesaw(surrender) try to jump on it (outplay them against bad odds) or be allowed down by the other kid (they make a mistake).
Such is the nature of MOBA's. Earlygame lays out the foundation for the lategame, and the game favors the winning team. But is this really what we want?
It comes down to a dilemma: Do we want individual skill rewarded by items, or do we want less snowball mechanics. My suggestion is neither. Instead, i suggest two things:
- Make snowball items like Rod of ages - start weak, end strong. Then you have to make a choice of 'weathering the storm' or not, and the snowball items will not spin out of control on a winning team nor will they be worthless to the losing one. Alternatively, create a tempoary effect on kill or assist that will not create a permanent gap between the two factions.
- Reward individual skill by making new heroes, with high reward skillshots, that will enable good players to outshine an enemy by sheer skill, rather than a numerical increase in stats from items.
The items are also imbalanced individually. Mejais is a great early game item if you're doing good, as AP increases your killing potential, and AP is used on casters who inherintly have a good early game. SOToccult is bad, crit damage is by it's nature a lategame stat and getting early kills as a carry is not as easy as a caster. Leviathan is counterproductive in that you get a defensive item that does not help you accumulate the charges, although it does help keeping them.
We make the items grow stronger as time passes, like Rod of Ages does.
(note that the item's stat increase every minute like RoA does, but their *special ability is only achieved after 15 minutes exactly)
Amplifying Tome + 800 gold
Starts at 45 AP
After 15 mins: 90 AP, *on kill you steal 40% of the targets current mana and have 10% CDR
Sword of the Occult:
Longsword + 750 gold
Starts at 20 Damage, 0% crit chance, 0% crit dmg
After 15 mins: 40 damage, 10 crit chance, 15% crit dmg, *15% movespeed
Ruby Crystal + 800 gold
Starts at 250 hp
After 15 mins: 500 HP, *25% CC reduction and 25% less damage taken from AoE
Aoe is defined as a non-line projectile, non-bouncing spell that can hit 2 or more enemies simultanously.
We give these items some better overall starting stats, and rather than growing your hero stronger on a kill or an assist, they now create an instant effect such as mana stealing, life stealing, corpse explosion, novae, damage reduction or other various effects that can help you right here, right now in this fight, but will not permanently enhance your abilities. The best part is that both winning and losing teams can use them, AND they don't require you to get them early.
(using same items and price as before)
Mejai's Soulstealer: 70 AP - Soultheft: On kill, steals 40% of the targets current mana. On death, ressurects 10% faster for each enemy slaughtered before dying(duration: 10 seconds).
Sword of the Occult: 30 damage, 30% critical damage - Bloodberserk: On kill, explodes the body of the fallen dealing damage in a 500 AOE equal to 10% of the fallens maximum HP (400 maximum, will not set off a chainreaction)
Leviathan: 350 hp, 15% damage reduction - Stoutheart: On kill or assist: Heals you an amount equal to your Armor plus Magic resist, and refreshes all your cooldowns by 5 seconds.
So what do you think? Should seesaw items stay the way they are, should they be modified or changed completely?
And finally, I wish that Riot would create more heroes like Nidalee (frantic, has many skills) or Blitzcrank/Morgana (skillshots) but neither of these can really carry a game.
Feel free to vote on my poll.