It seems like we can’t go a week in League of Legends without some drastic change. This season, this pattern of change has sped up tenfold, and sometimes the biggest changes are dropped in any random patch, rather than exclusively the mid-season or preseason updates.
Buckle up, because there’s another one on the way, and it rivals the most extreme, nauseating changes you’ve had to go through this year already.
The change, introduced by lead gameplay designer Andrei “Meddler” van Roon on the official game forums, is meant to address gold funneling. The thing is, though, it’s almost definitely overkill.
The post outlines the need for a long-term solution to fix gold funneling. Meddler states that the strategy is unhealthy because it “creates lanes without much interaction” and because adding two income streams to one champion makes balancing very difficult. That being said, Riot believes the situation is too dire to wait for a healthy, long-term solution to be implemented. The design team will probably come up with something during the preseason, but according to this post, that’s too far away.
So, in the meantime, Riot’s going to blow it all up.
Now, as long as you have a tier-one or tier-two jungle item and have the most gold on your team, you’ll receive heavily-reduced gold from all minions.
Let’s break down why this is a bad idea.
For starters, it punishes you for playing the game well. If you’re a real jungler, not a gold funneler, and you’re nice and fed from proper jungle invades and well-timed ganks, there’s a good chance you’ll have the most gold on your team. Well after this change, whenever you hold a lane for a dead or recalling ally or tax a lane’s farm, you’ll essentially be wasting your time. Why? Because the minions will be borderline worthless.
There’s a second, slightly-less-extreme-but-still-pretty-bad effect of this change, too. If being ahead as a jungler will now effectively hurt your chances at winning the game, there isn’t ever going to be a good reason to play a jungler that can be in that position. And so the era of the tank and supportive jungler will return, which means yet another dramatic meta shift.
If this season will go down in history for anything, it’ll certainly be for how many wildly different metas we’ve gone through during the first seven months. Honestly, though, vacating marksmen from the bot lane will probably be memorable enough on its own.
As a compromise, we think Riot could easily half-implement this change to still have the desired effect. If gold income is reduced just for siege minions, which are worth around 100 gold by mid-game, that could be enough to stem the tide of gold funneling.
Isn’t something a little less extreme worth a shot before we jump into the deep end, anyway? Another option could be empowering and rewarding counter-jungling, perhaps with a buff to Poacher’s Dirk or, you know, a big fat nerf to the Scuttle Crab. After all, the Scuttle Crab is one of the key ingredients to the funnel strategy, and the jungle was doing just fine before it was super-buffed during the mid season.
The timeline for this Band-Aid is very short, as Riot wants to implement it with Patch 8.14 next week. Sure, funneling will probably die, but at a high cost.