In League of Legends there's one role that gets less respect than the rest of the team, no matter how quality of a player they are. The Support role takes no last hits, takes no kills, and focuses their entire attention on ensuring their teammates play to the best of their ability without risk. Their reward? Virtually no income, what profit is made is spent on wards, and the added responsibility of invading dangerous territory to place wards. There is no greater hero than our nameless Supports.
Riot Games wants to change that with Season 4. This week designers are hitting the community up with their ideas on how to improve the game, with Xelnath taking point on Support changes. This breaks down to: What are the problems? What are our goals? How changes do we make to the game in order to reach our goals? Let's go through them one at a time.
State of the Support
- "Players who don’t last hit but share lane have minimal gold income"
- "Warding costs gold and warding power increases dramatically with additional wards placed"
- "Warding requires you to move away from your allies constantly"
- "Supportive champions want to be near teammates, protecting them"
Above are several points of "non-fun" design or contradictions inherent to the role. It's not fun to not make any gold; it's not fun to spend what gold I make on wards; it's not fun having a team be dependent on my warding; it's not fun being forced to abandon the key parts of Support gameplay in order to place wards (at great risk).
After recognizing the above issues, several goals come to mind almost immediately -- more gold, more experience, less influence on the vision meta:
- "Increasing the gold income for players who don’t last hit"
- "Introducing bonus XP in jungle and lane for players who fall significantly behind their teammates"
- "Capping possible expenditures on wards per player"
- "Giving players access to free vision items, known as Trinkets"
Naturally, the big ones are to increase gold income and experience gain for Support players, as well as Junglers who play a more support-oriented style. The other half is more of a counter-meta design, to both limit a support player's ability to control the vision war while also giving other players the tools to contribute themselves. No small task!
Let's get to the real story here and talk specifics. In what ways will Riot increase gold and experience gain for Support players? Riot's already talked about how they're planning on changing the vision meta in League of Legends, so that's taken care of. Let's talk masteries, items and general gameplay changes:
- Mastery Changes: "Masteries that grant bonus gold to players in a shared lane." It should be noted that 10 new mastery icons have been discovered in the most recent PBE patch. Specific details are yet unknown.
- Item Changes and Additions: "Improvements to our GP/5 items that reward effective support play"
- Philosopher’s Stone grants gold every 10 seconds. When a nearby ally kills a minion, you earn gold.
- Executioner’s Emblem executes minions below 200 health and grants gold to both you and the nearest ally when you last hit. Your ally gains a small gold bonus on top of this. This effect can happen up to twice a minute.
- Spellthief’s Blade makes it so that your spells and basic attacks against enemy champions grant you gold. It cannot affect the same target more than once every 10 seconds and last hitting an enemy disables this effect for 10 seconds.
- Gameplay Changes: "Increased assist rewards for players who get significantly more assists than kills."
- "We’re making it so that players who have significantly more assists than kills will get additional income per assist. If a player does secure a kill, the extra gold from the kill will offset their temporarily decreased gold gain from extra assists."
Wow. Those are some pretty crazy changes. The items in particular are certain to mix up the meta a little bit. Will Executioner's Emblem maybe make for a duo jungle? Hmm!
Riot has some more plans for League of Legends' Season 4 with regards to Support players, but they still need some hammering out. Xelnath also mentioned that due to these changes, a lot of the current strong support Champions will have to be changed in various ways. Currently they're all tuned to have very little income, so adjustments need to be made so they scale off of AP without becoming overpowered.
League of Legends' Season 4 is going to change everything. Everything! I'm not ready, but at least I'll be prepared!