Mastery balance discussion
Not providing a tl;dr, if a serious discussion about this isn't your cup of tea then it just isn't
I get the impression that the current mastery trees were designed for SR, with dominion as an afterthought. Some trees seem blatantly better than others, with some specific talents being especially useless. So either the trees could use a little rebalancing for us dominion players or I have a good bit to learn about them. Either way, it seems that some discussion is in order.
I'll go into more detail in a bit, but the main thing I've noticed is that Offense > Defense > Utility. This isn't true for every single character, but it does seem to be true for the vast majority. If you're not the tank chances are you want 21/9/0 or 21/0/9, the tank runs 21 down defense, and nobody at all ever goes deeper than 9 into utility.
While you could make the argument that mass Offense is the expected outcome for an aggressive, constant-combat mode where nobody lives long, I still think that the system could be improved. It's good that tanks are decently happy about going full defense tree, but I think they're still cherry-picking defense for the viable options and diversity within the tree could be improved. And while dominion lacks true supports, I feel like the utility tree could be a lot more appealing, at least for what I'd call the "kite caster" archetype (Ahri, Lux, Ori, Janna, Sona, Kennen), if not other classes as well.
Okay so lets take a look at the specifics of some of the trees, mostly skimming over offense, looking at defense a bit, and a lot at utility:
Mental Force: I know this isn't Dominion-specific, but I'd still like to take a moment to mention how terrible it is. AD costs roughly twice as much as AP to purchase, yet at the very base of the mastery tree Brute Force is sitting right next to it, providing 1 AD per point.
Demolitionist: I think it's pretty embarrassing that this does literally nothing in our mode. I'd like to propose an idea -- reduces your capture times by 1 second. Not enough to break the game for a back-capper, but just enough to be let you grab that neutralize a moment faster as the defenders show up. It wouldn't be as frustrating as Priscilla's, because it doesn't require a massive gold investment and also doesn't have as big of an impact on the capture time. Just a small useful thing that would make the talent not utterly pointless.
Tough Skin and Bladed Armor: Largely pointless, there's no jungle here and the lane creeps really don't warrant getting these. I have no idea how to fix it, honestly the value could probably be increased four or five-fold and they still wouldn't be very good.
Vigor: Does anyone get this at bot? It's 36 HP per minute, which doesn't seem very thrilling given the prevalence of health relics. Feel free to correct me if people have been getting good use out of this, but I'm very skeptical.
Siege Commander: Another embarrassment that doesn't have any effect on Dominion whatsoever. How about when you're near a point, its regen is slightly increased (similar to Garrison, but to a much smaller degree). Would be useful for tanks that like to chill on points and make them a pain to take.
Expanded Mind / Meditation: Dominion's free chalice and health packs make these pretty irrelevant unless you're Kassadin or Swain. Still, at least it's not terrible.
Scout: Another talent that doesn't even affect the mode..
Runic Affinity: One of the few redeeming features of the tree, at only nine points.
Transmutation: This would probably be nice if anything else made it feel viable to go up this high.
Greed / Wealth: The only build Wealth seems to open up is getting a Health Pot with your Tear + Boots and that's not really thrilling. 40g just isn't enough to allow anything decently better than normal (like Doran's + Pot on SR). The gp/10 of greed not only is overshadowed by dominion's massive income, but it's also diminished by the shorter game length.
Awareness / Sage: These don't seem to provide enough of a difference to matter. This isn't like SR where Annie vs LB in middle is a desperate fight to hit 6 before the opponent and every second matters. You'd need to have a full level on the enemy team for most of the game to make up for how you're deep in utility and won't have Executioner, Juggernaut or any of the other combat-related goodies. Even characters that desperately need early levels, like Akali and Kassadin, would end up sacrificing a lot of damage by going full utility.
Strength of Spirit: Unless you're a 4000 mana Ryze, this just isn't going to matter for the short breaks you get in between fights. Again maybe it's decent bot, but that's it.
Presence: Summoner CD is a lot more thrilling on rift, where having your Flash come up before your opponent's can make for easy kills. No matter how you slice it on dominion, you're not going to have them up for even close to every fight. Now it certainly as bad, as they do win fights, but the entire rest of the tree being mediocre makes it kinda hard to justify going this far down.
Anyways, people have any thoughts about this? Anybody a huge fan of utility tree and wants to speak up for it? Curious to get some discussion going about this.
First off I wouldn't call it a "Balance" issue. Its not like you have to spend RP to unlock the Offense Tree, or only certain champs have it... Everyone can use it at all times - so I wouldn't call it "unbalanced". If you want to try and talk about how its "boring" then you've got an argument.
That being said, Dominion is a more aggressive game style. So I would naturally assume that the more aggressive tree would be more appealing across the board. I mean in dom, you tend to see even support champs or tanks building very aggressive damage item builds. This is also true because of the "small fights" focus. A tank doesn't need to survive an attack from 5 players, and a support doesn't need to worry so much about longevity in a long 5-man fight. So it makes sense to me.
Mental Force: The bigger mystery here is why the option for a fourth point is here. You'd generally be pretty stupid not to take Summoner's Wrath on Dominion, so you have to go out of your way for 1 AP. They should just change it so you get 2 AP per point, and cut it off at 3 points.
Demolitionist: I like your suggestion but I think this would make it too much on a no-brainer pick for mages since Havoc is terrible, and there's no other choices. Giving it some sort of effect in Dominion would be nice though.
Havoc: Speaking of Havoc, this desperately needs to be increased to 1% per point instead of 0.5%. I really question doing 21 offence with mages because of how big a waste of 3 points this is.
Tough Skin and Bladed Armor - This one's harder to judge since they're weak masteries to most champions even on SR. They might as well be disabled if you don't have a jungler locked.
Vigor - You forgot the 20% healing debuff. There's no reason to ever take this in Dominion. It should be doubled or even tripled for Dominion.
Siege Commander: Your idea is in the wrong direction; this mastery is designed to ATTACK towers on SR. A more in-line change would be to give an aura that increases minion damage to towers.
Mercenary: You left this one; the Dominion penalty is not needed, and makes this a weak mastery when it could be a really good one.
Expanded Mind / Meditation : Meditation is pointless, but Expanded Mind is not. Ryze aside, energy champions get major benefit from this. Increasing the Meditation effect on Dominion would be a good idea.
Scout: Not sure what they can do with this one though.
Greed / Wealth: Wealth is frankly bad even on SR and needs to be re-evaluated. Greed needs its effect increased on Dominion.
Awareness / Sage: Sage is bad even with the full bonus; halved it is flat out ****. Awareness needs to be changed to a flat bonus amount instead of % based; the low XP from Dominion minions makes % nearly worthless.
Strength of Spirit: It's very niche but useful even on Dominion. The problem is it's deep in utility, and pretty much all the champion who would like this would rather be in defence. The funniest part is, even Ryze - pretty much the only high mana champion who could make a case for 21 utility - can't use this without giving up the magic pen from offence! He needs the 6% CDR, meaning you'd need 23 utility to max both out. Worse, most champions have to make this same choice meaing SoS is never getting picked over the CDR. Royal derp by Riot. I'd strongly suggest Riot swap it with Sage or Scout, then buff whatever was moved.
Anyway, the general opinion from the community I've heard - SR or Dominion - is that Utility is just weak now. Defence is probably the strongest tree now, with Offence being strong on carries and burst mages. Utility is technically better than before, but the buffs it got were very small compared to the massive overhaul Offence and Defence got. Fixing some of the masteries that are clearly useless on Dominion would be nice, but really the utility tree in general needs to be looked at.
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