How does the Doran nerf feel so far?

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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.

Zileas explains the upcoming mana regen/survivability changes

Twisted Treeline lane.

If you’ve seen the latest patch preview or been to the forums lately, you’ve no doubt heard about the upcoming changes to mana regeneration and the mana runes. It’s a controversial subject, and it looks like the drama finally prompted Zileas to step into the forums to try to clear things up.

His post is fairly long, so I’ll leave you to read it at your leisure. As far as mana regen is concerned, the basic issue development is trying to address is the disparity between level 1 and level 30 players. Riot wants the two to be closer, not further apart, which at first seemed kinda weird to me. Why have the leveling system if it won’t make a difference? Isn’t the whole point of tier 1, 2, and 3 runes so that you can see some sort of progression as you level up and (hopefully) improve?

It is, which is probably why they’re only nerfing mana regen runes. Zileas says they feel necessary on some characters, and I totally agree. The whole point of a mana system is to limit your ability to deal burst damage, not necessarily to limit your spellcasting over time. For that reason, I think this is an okay thing. It’s pretty easy to burn through a mana bar right now without any kind of regen runes. The change will shift some of the regen from runes to base character stats, meaning runes will still be good, but every character should be better. That’s not a bad thing.

The other change is to the Doran’s items, which gets a little more complicated. Riot has said in the past that the laning phase is too passive. To address that, this patch will increase the cost of Doran’s items so it’s no longer possible to buy Doran’s and a potion at level 1. Health quints are also getting a nerf. The hope is for a more active lane phase because of less regeneration. I’m not sure that’s actually how it will play out.

For one, players are passive now because jungling makes it very risky to be in lane with less than 50 percent health. With jungling remaining prominent, it seems unlikely that a shift like this will do much to create a more active lane phase. Also, a nerf to regeneration could be an inadvertent buff to strong harass. Think about laning against Caitlyn when you can’t buy some early HP with a potion. There’s a difference between making things active and crippling melee lanes. This is one of those wide-reaching changes, the effects of which we probably won’t totally understand for a couple weeks.

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