I know it has only been a day, and that’s probably not enough time to see just how the changes will play out, but that’s never stopped me before. So how do the Doran’s changes feel so far? Is it making your laning phase more active.
On the one hand, I think the Doran’s changes were good. Doran’s items were traditionally too good for the cost. They were too forgiving, providing too many stats for the low cost, particularly in the health department. I don’t think increasing the cost was the right way to go for an active lane, though. To me, an active lane phase is a laning phase during which there is a lot of back and forth. The lanes are dealing and receiving a lot of damage, and working to survive it through self heals and regeneration. This still allows for kills from bursting, either from Ignite/Exhaust, or from the appearance of a jungler.
The cost increase, at least this far, has only resulted in players taking Doran’s items without regen. That doesn’t make the lane phase more active for everyone, only for strong lane toons. A strong lane toon’s heavy harass now goes unmitigated by a weaker opponent, virtually guaranteeing the strong laner’s success. For everyone else, the change is overwhelmingly negative. Once you hit half HP, you better head back to base, and it’s not exactly like half HP is a hard target to hit. A Xin Zhao/Lux lane will put you to half HP without burning much mana at all.
The problem is that the cost increase did away with regen, and regen is actually the lane mechanic we want. Lower health with a focus on regen means that people are still susceptible to death, but they have a way to stay in lane over a period of time. The problem to this point hasn’t been the regen, it’s been regen combined with high health pools. The health pools mean you survive a lot of damage, and then regenerate back up to that level. If the health pool drops, you won’t always survive the burst, and that’s what makes a lane active – the threat of death with the potential to still stay in the lane. Without regen, strong lane toons dominate the game, and they decide the game against their opponents very early on.
This can be solved, in a way, if no one takes a Doran’s item. In that case, players will have less health and be taking potions – low health, more regen – an all around good thing. The problem is that some toons have enough regen to get away with taking Doran’s, while the softest champions need the regen badly enough that they’ll have to forego the extra health. Basically, the problem gets augmented with champions like Xin Zhao, Renekton, Mundo, or anyone else with high regen or a self heal. When you couple that with the fact that the best junglers tend to be fast moving (think Rammus, Udyr), and the worst laners in the game have suddenly been marginalized to the point of near unplayability.
I think the best case scenario goes one of two ways. First, the Doran’s get another cost increase, to 500g, and a slight buff to compensate. Then they occupy this space of being a ‘comeback’ item, something underfarmed players can buy to regain some lane presence around level 5-6. Second, they remove the Doran’s items from the game altogether. As it stands, I think they’re still too viable on some champions and too much of a noob trap, to borrow a phrase from Morello, for others.