Tuesday, November 13, 2012

League Analysis: (The Normalization of) Boots

Boots are something of a staple in League of Legends, if not most MOBA games. They all share the trait of increasing movement speed, with greater amounts making a difference between escaping, catching up to enemies, and avoiding attacks or failing to do so. While the first tier of boots is a standard flat movement speed increasing item, the tier two boots provide some additional bonus, whether it is more bonus movement speed or some sort of stat. This is all very sound design, excluding two specific instances which I will further explain shortly.

However, the pricing of tier two boot upgrades are all over the place, ranging from 500 gold to 850 gold (with total pricing, including the first tier boots, ranging from 850 to 1200). This is something that has bothered me for quite awhile, since the pricing slightly alters the early game progression based on lane opponents and overall team compositions, potentially slowing down or speeding up how fast items can be built in certain cases.

Normalize The Price Of Boots

The first step is to make the price of all tier two boots the same. The price point can be anything, preferably the range mentioned above since it seems to give a sense of progression of item builds the best. Personally, I would say 700 gold since it is double the amount of the tier one boots and is within the aforementioned price range to upgrade the boots. The drawback is it is a slight net increase in tier two boot upgrade pricing (since a good number fall below the 700 mark).

If anyone has a price point they think is a good idea to set, feel free to post it in a comment below. In addition, the secondary attributes of the boots may need to be adjusted to account for the price normalization.

Changing Mercury's Treads

When I discussed Tenacity items in my last article, I deliberately excluded the Mercury's Treads. This is because the issues with Mercury's Treads, while relevant, were left to this article because I wanted to discuss boots in general. With that said, I believe Mercury's Treads have the following problems:
  • The first one that comes to mind is that Mercury's Treads have Magic Resist and Tenacity together on one item. While magic damage dealing abilities may have some crowd controlling ability that would be reduced by Tenacity, there are also many physical damage dealing abilities that also have crowd controlling qualities. This makes the design standpoint for this item confused.
  • This is further thrown into doubt when considering its sister item, the Ninja Tabi. The Ninja Tabi is designed purely against physical damage dealers, giving it a definitive niche. However, the Mercury's Treads do not have this sort of niche. It helps negate magic damage a little bit and allows the champion to break out of crowd controls, making it almost seem too good for a tier two boot item.
I believe the Mercury's Treads should be "changed" in the following ways:
  • Remove Tenacity from the Mercury's Treads and instead add a new passive that reduces magic damage from abilities by 10%, putting it in line with the Ninja Tabi as an item targeted towards negating specific types of damage. The value can be changed to account for balance, though mechanically the passive should persist.
  • Add a new tier two boot, the Boots of Resilience, which is targeted towards giving a champion Tenacity. Since that attribute by itself seems a little weak for a tier 2 boot, make it built from Ruby Crystal and 225 gold (allowing it to total the normalized 700 gold price) and have the item grant 200 health and 35 Tenacity. This would allow the champion making the item to become a little tougher (since health effectively "gives resistance" to both physical and magical damage) while not biasing against a specific damage type.
    • This also adds an additional choice, primarily for tanks and bruisers, for what boots to build.
    • This suggest takes the suggestions of the previous article in mind. It would almost seem like pigeonholing players into the Boots of Resilience if there weren't plausible alternative Tenacity items, like the ones mentioned in the last article.
Changing Boots of Swiftness

Following a completely different type of logic, the Boots of Swiftness needs an overhaul in general. This is because despite being part of several champion's recommended items, it is suboptimal to build and is thus rarely used. While movement speed is important, the secondary attributes other tier two boots generally exceed the value of an additional base 20 movement speed. This article offers some insight on why this argument holds true.

With that said, I suggest one of the following changes for the Boots of Swiftness:
  • As mentioned in the article I linked (though to be honest the idea in general probably isn't original and has been thought of by many players) is to add an activated component that ignores unit collision. There may also be other forms of this suggestion, such as increased movement speed. I feel this may undermine the purpose of the Ghost summoner, however.
  • Increase the movement speed bonus even further (to stage 4, meaning 110 total bonus movement speed). Given how 20 movement speed is hardly worth the gold the boots cost right now (which is lower than my proposed normalized price point), this may be needed. However, I feel this may undermine the purpose of Boots of Mobility
  • Remove the boots. To be honest there isn't a niche the item can fall into, especially given the fact Boots of Mobility already essentially accomplish the task better.
    • Merge the effects of Boots of Swiftness and Boots of Mobility. Both seem to be rather ineffective cost-wise (though Boots of Mobility are built on certain champions, specifically junglers and champions that like to roam a lot).
Final Words

With the pre-season (for Season 3) patch coming out within a matter of hours and itemization changes being posted (for instance here), I felt I should cover one particular design that hasn't been discussed in this regard in the hopes that boots, which are a core item on every champion, are polished. The current system isn't bad, but I feel it is flawed and have done my best to alleviate the flaws I discovered.

Here's to hoping the folks at Riot had some boot reworks planned (or possibly came/will come across the numerous articles and posts discussing ideas to improve boots).

No comments:

Post a Comment