League of Legends

Omnistone is a poorly designed keystone

LeagueofLegends12 - Omnistone is a poorly designed keystone
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TLDR: Omnistone's design flips the role of a keystone on its head, having the system dictate trades rather than the player. Keystones should enhance/augment a playstyle rather than making decisions for the person playing. I think Omnistone should be retooled to center around player decision-making in the same way that Unsealed Spellbook currently does, and I offer some (probably bad) suggestions about how that can happen.

With the recent talk of hybrid TF, I've been reminded of my distaste for Omnistone. Regardless of whether it is/isn't more balanceable than Kleptomancy, I think that this rune is "structurally" flawed. Why? I think keystones are meant to augment champions in ways that support their playstyle(s).

– Ryze takes Phase Rush because the added repositioning ability compensates for his low effective range, and his rapid spellcasting makes it easy to proc

– Nautilus takes Aftershock because the added tankiness helps keep him alive when doing Nautilus things; he also finds it very easy to proc with the hard CC in his kit

– Malphite has multiple rune setups. He can take Comet to have decent poke with Q max and whittle down opponents. He can also take Grasp, allowing him to take short melee-range trades vs. opponents and stack health in the process (there are more runes but I'll stop there).

All of these keystone choices help champions do better when it comes to their playstyle (or, in the case of multiple options, it can be multiple playstyles).

Omnistone doesn't do this! Instead of supporting how players choose to play out the game, this keystone says "I'm giving you , so you're going to like it and use it". If you get Lethal Tempo, you are going to play out the next 20 seconds of the lane very differently when compared to Grasp or Comet or just about anything else. The general reasoning I've heard is: "this rune is meant for champs that can trade frequently and use all of the keystones well". I find that ridiculous. Even if a champ can use all of the keystones well and trade frequently, different matchups necessitate different styles of play that would be better served by a consistent keystone (rather than risking an unlucky roll that could lose you the lane). Trading frequently isn't a playstyle in itself, just like infrequent trading isn't some sort of monolithic strategy. This is an untenable situation, and it needs change.

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It's not like the devs ignored this issue. Their solution, though, was the exact opposite of what I think is necessary. Rather than increasing player agency, they made the Omnistone system "smarter". You are more likely to get Predator when you can use it. You are more likely to get Dark Harvest when you can proc it. You are more likely to get Glacial Augment if your GLP/Twin Shadows actives are available. Omnistone is looking at what you should use, making it more likely to guess correctly and have you follow its lead. This makes Omnistone a legitimately strong rune on some champions, especially with the increased availability of Predator; I don't think that this makes it a healthy rune, though, in the context of the other keystone effects.

I'm not pretending to have great answers. I have put some thought into it, though, and my suggestion is to take cues from Omnistone's neighbor Unsealed Spellbook (my favorite rune in the game). I think Spellbook is an excellently designed keystone because it allows players to craft an adaptable set of gameplay boosts (from summoner spell switches) to fit playstyles in ways that regular keystones cannot. Ornn, Sion, Kennen, Ivern, Zoe, Twisted Fate, Orianna, Braum, Tahm Kench, and many more champions can all use Spellbook really effectively and in totally different ways. The benefits are completely player-directed rather than the system recommending what to switch; it hasn't been changed since the middle of Season 8 despite all of the craziness going on around it, and I think it's a huge success.

The problem is, how do we port this type of design over to keystone selection? There are a million different ways, and I'm not very creative so I'm sure somebody else could do a better job. One route would be to manually lock in 3 keystones in a sequence, allowing you to use them in succession (with static lockout timers to prevent multi-rune cheesing). Then, you would become unable to select those keystones again until after using others (just like Spellbook). This lets players craft trading sequences that fit the ways that they want to play out their laning phases, just like how they can plan out Spellbook summoner swaps in advance. You could do the same with 2-keystone sequences. You could manually select one keystone to use for a minute (with proper cooldown timers), and then get forced to rotate. The list goes on and on, and I think that there are a lot of viable options even if my ideas might not be among them.

I'm curious to know if people feel the same way (or if the community now accepts Omnistone). Again, I would like to emphasize that this is not a discussion of balance; I think it's pretty well-balanced in terms of performance, but I don't think it's good keystone design.

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