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Mega 12-24-2012 03:22 PM

Xypherous Talks about Force of Nature's Removal and in S3 Itemization
Surrender at 20: Xypherous Talks about Force of Nature's Removal and in S3 Itemization


Xypherous, one of head developers behind the S3 item update, has taken to the forums to respond to persisting summoner complaints about the removal of Force of Nature, an old item offering Movement speed, high magic resist, and ample health regeneration.
Continue reading for a quite lengthy discussion on Force of Nature and the S3 item changes.

Before we start, here is a recap of what the old Force of Nature item offered before it's removal in the Preaseason 3 patch:
Force of Nature
2610 gold
  • +40 Health per 5 seconds
  • +76 Magic Resist
  • +8% Movement Speed
  • Unique passive: You regenerate 1.75% of your maximum health every 5 seconds.

The initial post that started things off was a summoner disappointed with the current Magic Resist item games and questioning if the removal of Force of Nature, which was removed in the S3 update, was a mistake or not. Xypherous jumped in and gave a run down of the MR items, how they would each be used, and why FoN was problematic from multiple angles.
"Sure - I can take a stab at this.

The magic resistance option for tanks currently are:

Runic Bulwark
Spirit Visage
Banshee's Veil
Mikael's Crucible

AP Tanks also have: Abyssal Scepter, Twin Shadows

Roughly half of the items in this pool build out of a Negatron Cloak (Abyssal / Visage / Veil) while the other half build out of Null Magic (Runic, Crucible, Shadows)

There isn't quite a concept as AD Tank as anyone with this classification turns out to be a fighter more often than not.

The movement speed options for tanks currently are the same as most other characters in the game, by intent:

Wraith Collar
Alacrity Enchantment

Jungle Tanks additional get two additional options, due to the fact that Golem Soul grants Tenacity and can thus sub out Mercury Treads for additional options:

Swiftness Boots
Mobility Boots

As for HP/5 - that statistic has been admittedly unsupported as a late-game statistic - mostly because we raised Strength of Spirit a tier up - This change hasn't been as effective as I'd actually liked it to have been for support end-game HP/5 without mid-game HP/5 and it's something that I'd want to take a look at in the future.

The reason for removing FoN are as follows - here are the typical cases you'd purchase FoN:

1. You need MR - and you need it now.

However - why are you paying 1900 for an additional Null-Magic Mantle's worth of MR over Negatron Cloak? This meant that the best MR option was to go double Negatron Cloak or Aegis + Negatron Cloak. Considering that Aegis was cost-efficient by itself in terms of statistic strength and that the lone Negatron Cloak could always be upgraded to Abyssals - this meant that optimal MR was always going to include Negatron Cloak sitting in your inventory without a build.

2. You need movement speed somehow on your tank character

However, again, why are you paying 1900 for a bunch of HP/5 and Magic Resistance when you need something for *speed* in a current game. This simply impacts casters negatively - because if tanks are balanced around always having an additional 76 MR for their movement speed options - almost every source of magic damage needs to be absurd (or conversely, there cannot be other movement speed options)

Speed being attached to a primary resistance counter-item is always going to be awkward - if you need movement speed ubiquitously - unless you fight the perfect composition, you are always basically screwing yourself if this is your primary movement speed source.

3. You prize HP/5 as a statistic.

This is really where the crux of the main argument lies. If you are a player who thinks highly of HP/5 as a statistic - then Force of Nature made sense because that is the primary function Force of Nature did well - otherwise, if you were actually optimizing MR - you built twin Aegis and a Negatron Cloak (which would turn into Abyssal).

However, HP/5 is a very *poor* statistic coupled with burst mitigation and movement speed. One is a set of statistics for primary initiators - the other is a set of statistics for dedicated siegers - Force of Nature was suboptimal unless broken with additional sources of Health (such as Warmog's Armor, for example) - However, this particular pairing is (as many people have pointed out in terms of what champion they miss Force of Nature on) a dedicated Bruiser/Fighter path - one that we don't really particularly need / want to support given how durability focused those characters can get."
To touch on the subject of Tank optimization, being that something like Force of Nature would be an end game item but the new options are mostly mid game items, Xypherous commented:
"No doubt - but we chose to favor the path that most tanks would have moderate income streams rather assume they would have high income streams due to the nature of the tank role. We basically optimized their items around flexible mid-tier items rather than assume a high gold baseline and that they would hit 6 items. We figured that, in the vast majority of games, tanks should be building piecemeal to react to their situation - not merely opting for a static build-path that discounts who / what the enemy is. This meant favoring smaller items rather than slot-efficiency for the most part, because you have to factor in what the opponent is rushing.

Watching how the AP mid is doing and deciding what your primary mitigation path is going to be is tantamount. Bulwark, for example, is very effective against high AP characters - but pretty ineffective against mages who rushed penetration"
Continuing on to talk about FoN and how it relates to the new S3 items, Xypherousdrew a better example of why the new items, featuring heavy regen, MR, or Movement speed, are promote healthier itemization choices.
"Runic Bulwark can't exist in the same environment as Force of Nature.

Upgraded Spirit Visage can't exist in the same environment as Force of Nature.

And yes, Swiftness or Alacrity probably can't exist in the same environment as Force of Nature.

Since each of these items are meant to synergize and provide better build options and counter-build options against certain team comps - I would say that generally, outside of late game HP/5 - I'd rather live without it than have each of these three or four other item niches be unsupported. FoN strangled itemization because it lumps so many desirable qualities into an item that is only good on a niche audience because no one audience wanted every single statistic concurrently.

By taking a step back and breaking it piecemeal into other items - we've created many more options for supports/fighters/mages in terms of their itemization as well as had the space to create other tank/initiation itemization.

I will fully admit that we've missed the *late* game health regeneration for the tank class because of vastly over-estimating the effect that Strength of Spirit would have had, as I've said before."
To further press this point, he explained it as FoN was "strangling other itemization options", saying:
"It's more than that - it's about sacrificing entire tiers of other itemization that could exist - for the sake of a niche item that is good some of the time. FoN was strangling other itemization options that could exist because of how awkward and powerful the stats were on a single item.

Having a fallback "swiss-army" knife for tanks that got progressively more niche the higher ELO you got in exchange was not worth not being able to have or make additional MS/MR or a strong Spirit Visage / Anti-AoE item. Twin Shadows, Alacrity, Bulwark, upgraded Spirit Visage, etc - all could not exist in the same environment that Force of Nature would exist in - as the stacked potential of each one of these would have been assuredly abusive - and when toned down to prevent the abuse case - don't really serve any of their core purposes."
Talking more in general about S3 itemzation, Xypherous reiterated their goals with the massive item overhaul, saying:
"In general, we'd like builds to be much more dynamic in S3 than they are in S2. Static defense builds that are good versus any composition without regards to how well their enemy was doing or not is something we'd like to get away from in general - where itemizing based on the context of the game should be grow in importance as players get more skilled.

Many items in S3 were tuned around the fact that not finishing an item could be as powerful as rushing an item - but could still feel good in your inventory. That early zeal becomes a Statikk Shiv if you are far ahead, or a Phantom Dancer if you are behind. That Kage's Pick becomes a Twin Shadows if you need more initiating power - or a Shard of True Ice if you find that your team has enough initiate - but needs more in-fight presence - each with their own various strengths and tradeoffs."
Xypherous also mentioned the trouble with creating focused tank items,
"In general, tank itemization has been tricky because bruisers/fighters tend to steal it for themselves.

I think I might need to create two things: A high end-game regeneration item for tank sustain so they don't have to recall late game every other second (or retrofit warmog's or spirit visage into it) and some sort of stand-alone heavy resistance-based tenacity item that lets tanks get boots of swiftness/mobility with the alacrity enchant for additional speed if they need it.

Additionally on pure-tank itemization - there's a few mage/tank items that have too much AP and not enough tank stats. Liandry's Torment and Twin Shadows, for example - I think are both items that would be better fits for the game if the AP/Defense tilts were more towards the defensive side rather than the offensive side.

In the meantime - I'd actually suggest you try out an early boots of swiftness + alacrity enchantment and tell me how that goes and if it's actually good enough for your speed needs on Jungle Tanks."

Kenzor 12-24-2012 04:11 PM

Spirit Visage is still shit.
Alarcity is shunned by every other enchantment and even if someone did pick it tier 3 boots are usually built mid-late game, when +15 move speed is worthless.

Runic Bulwark however is annoying to play against especially if the enemy team has Soraka, that's a +46 MR aura right there.

I love Mikael's Crucible on supports, the combination of infinite mana, tanky stats and supportive cleanse is great.

james 12-24-2012 10:13 PM

There really just is no tank in LoL anymore.

Nihil679 12-25-2012 10:36 AM


Originally Posted by Jare (Post 1793548)
There really just is no tank in LoL anymore.


CountBlood 12-26-2012 07:42 PM

I just miss FoN on my Singed.

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