Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sona Rework Part 2: Two PBE Games Played

Part two of my thoughts on Sona! I played two PBE games just now. Disclaimer on all of this is that both games were 5v4s in my favor, and so I didn't actually get to lane really.

THINGS THAT FELT FUN:

I actually liked the extra decision-making aspect: Do I cast Q now? Or wait until I can walk in range to get a shield on Caitlyn? That was pretty cool.

Having shields + % missing health means you can bait even better than you used to be able to.

Also the not-actually-an-aura thing felt very easy to understand ingame. But I really don't think it should be called an aura. Maybe a "zone of effect." Or just a zone.

THINGS THAT FELT SHITTY:

I felt OOM a lot more than I used to. I even rushed Chalice in the second game (sightstone -> chalice) because I had so many lane kills, and I felt like I was OOMing. The thing is, in lane you aren't casting on CD generally anyway, and now your spells cost more mana.

As expected, the CD increase feels AWFUL. I rushed 40% CDR (first game, CD boots -> Talisman -> Crucible -> Twin Shadows and sell CD boots; second game, Chalice -> Talisman -> Crucible -> Sorc Shoes because I was 6/1/8 and the game was over anyway), and it felt like ages between chords with the extra 1.8s.

My auto-attacks felt REALLY weak without the Q aura. Like really, really, really weak. But I think that's ok, it's just different. (But it actually just totally sucked. Power away from heal and towards autoattacks pls)

As has been noted by other people, I couldn't visually tell which power chord I was about to cast.

Her E still sucks in lane. Also, chasing people with that small an aura radius feels awful. People are generally not that scrunched up when chasing, and you want to get there to apply E-chord, so you don't want to slow down.

And Sona is a ferry in teamfights. By that I mean, she is there to walk from one ally to another, which is cool in that you get to move around the fight, but shitty in that ranged squishy champions very dependent on positioning is...well...shitty. (Also I just want to mention something dear to me: Why is Thresh a ranged champion?? He has the kit of a melee champ, he has the base HP of a melee champ, he builds like a melee (support) champ, but then he has a ranged AA! O.o)

THINGS THAT FELT UNNECESSARILY STRONG:

Power Chord --- Damage could be decreased for W / E chord. Take the damage that Q-chord has currently (in the current iteration of the rework) and halve it. Make that base Power Chord damage. Have Q-chord double damage again.

Aria of Perseverance ---  W is healing for way too much right now. Sona, when about to die, is able to heal herself for 240 + .4 AP health? And also gets a shield? Sona's already really good at baiting at low HP (because of Crescendo when people are stacked on her). And anyway, the last thing this game needs atm is more ways to save someone who's about to die (Crucible + Heal is already ridiculous).

I would suggest that at most, the heal be increased by 1% for each 2% of missing health. As for scaling up by 25 / level, even before her last W nerf, it was only +20/lvl. And I'm pretty sure that at +20/level, scaling W is actually beneficial over scaling Q, which is not how Sona should be played. So I'd like to see this scaling stay at +15/level. 25+15/level and then also the % health scaling would probably be fine; this would also be a pretty big nerf to her current power.

HOW TO SOLVE PRETTY MUCH EVERY ISSUE WITH CURRENT (REWORK) SONA*:

The inspiration for this came from Dawngate, where one of the base items is called Time. Time gives you additional movespeed and CDR. Now, passive CDR on a skill is the most boring thing ever. But active CDR is really cool! And could solve a LOT of Sona's cooldown issues!

Suggested new E (numbers subject to tons of change, I'm just doing qualitative stuff):

Initial cast REDUCES SONA'S PRIMARY SPELL COOLDOWNS BY TWO SECONDS (or, 1 scaling up to 2 seconds depending on spell level). Sona gets some movespeed. This decays down to the amount Sona grants to her allies.

Suddenly there's a reason to take E in lane! You get your spells up faster! But it still costs a ton of mana, so sometimes you won't take it early. But importantly, you still get your power chords up more quickly in fights!

If this change is done, I would like to see her base cooldowns remain 10s, so that with 40% CDR, it's down to 6s, subtract 2, 4s. 40% CDR Sona used to have 4.2s CD, so roughly the same. Sona becomes a slightly hyperscaling-with-CDR champion, but that's ok because you already wanted to build 40% CDR on her for Crescendo.

*This does not solve the Sona-is-a-ferry issue.

POSSIBLE WAY TO SOLVE THE SONA-IS-A-FERRY ISSUE:

Massively increase the "aura" radius (as stated before, I think 500-800 is best, and probably somewhere 600-750 would be ideal).

Instead of Sona affecting everyone instantly, she affects the next-closest ally that hasn't been affected yet, every half-second (closest ally is instantly affected). Affecting an ally increases the duration by .5s.

BENEFITS: Sona is no longer a ferry.

DOWNSIDES: This sounds way more complicated I think. And also it's another thing that you can't control aside from positioning, but it's more in line with Sona's already-existing controlling what you do based on positioning.

DISCLAIMER: PBE games are literally impossible to judge anything by. In the two games I played, it didn't matter that I had to position myself like that, and based on them I would say, oooooh cool, this is actually just 100% a good change to Sona. However, as mentioned above, both games were 5v4s in my favor (the 2nd of which was due to their ADC afk'ing after I FB'd him at level 1), and I was ridiculously fed in the second game.

So this might not be as big an issue as I think it is, because I still don't have experience playing a "real" game with "real" teamfights and being a ferry.

BUT SONA'S AURAS REALLY WEREN'T THAT BAD!

Ok, and finally, though I did think that it was an interesting gameplay thing to have these timing-"aura" decisions, I want to defend Sona's old auras.

First of all, a visual particle akin to the Fiddlesticks Dread particle could be added under ally champions when they enter the aura. That will get rid of a lot of the "invisibility."

Knowing that you get bonus AP and AD, sure it doesn't tell you exactly how much extra damage you'll be doing unless you have a ton of numbers memorized, but you get the idea that you'll be doing "more" damage. It's the same thing when you go back to base and buy a Blasting Wand. You don't really know exactly how much extra damage you're going to get, but you have a decent idea, and then you do more damage. Sona's auras are the same thing.

Instead of thinking of them as "invisible stats," think of Sona's Q aura as "A way to get my team to do slightly more damage when we initiate" and then her W as "a way to get my team to take slightly less damage after our initial CC has worn off." Yeah, the numbers aren't there in front of you, but you can still know you're stronger in this way than you would normally be.

I think that the new "aura" thing is a cool mechanic, but I would love to see it on a new future support champion, and leave Sona closer to how she already was.

7 comments:

  1. Good read and good insights on the rework glad you got some games in. Also laughed when I saw you made their adc afk after FB'd him at lvl 1, made me think back to PvS games against you. =P anyways thanks for the insights to your thoughts on the rework and hopefully they listen to you Rhein.

    sincerely, Cazcappy

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