Tuesday, April 10, 2012

League of Legends: Farm Ownership

League of Legends is a game with a primary goal of killing the opposing base but with secondary goals along the way that allow you to achieve the primary goal. Some of those secondary goals are to gain levels, to buy equipment, and to try to keep the opposing team from gaining levels and buying gear. It's the buying equipment part that has had me thinking recently... A large chunk of the incoming money comes from killing the AI controlled minions which spawn in each lane every 30 seconds. There are 3 such lanes and 5 players on a team. How do you split those minion kills? How should you split those minion kills?

The first thing to note is there's actually a 4th reasonable source of cash: the neutral monsters in the jungle. At one point the number of champions that could kill efficiently in the jungle was fairly limited but they redid the structure of the jungle to allow most champions to work reasonably there. Practically every team has a jungler now. That's 4 income sources for 5 people... There's a lot of distance between lanes so it seems logically like you either have two people split one source or have one person get nothing at all.

Back in the day you'd have two people trying to split a single lane. This had plenty of issues. (As a point of information you only get money for getting the killing blow on a minion.) First of all with two people trying to get the last hit in on minions you tend to end up with more damage done overall. This pushes your lane compared to the other team which can be good but is generally bad. (If you're pushed forward it's more likely you can kill a turret but you're also more vulnerable to getting ganked.) Having two people attacking the minions also messes with the timing of last hits. You can predict how the AI units will attack each other and time out your hits. Throw another human in there and it becomes a lot harder. If you're really out of sync you can even end up with less money combined than an individual would have earned alone!

Currently the game plan for most teams is to take one of their five players and have them commit to earning nothing at all from minion kills. They still hang out in a lane to get experience and try to keep their ally alive and bother the enemy duo in the same lane. Generally the other person in that lane will be a weaker early game character (who needs a buddy keeping them alive) but who scales very well with gear (and hence they want to focus on all the creep kills in their lane). This is a pretty good plan but there are some corner cases where reality seems to conflict with the same logic...

One of the items you can buy (and the supporting dude often does) is an invisible ward that provides vision in an area. It can protect you from getting ganked by the enemy team. It can let you spy on particular neutral monsters so you can interrupt the other team. It can let you harass the opposing duo lane. It's pretty good! You can pay 75G for one of these wards. Or you can pay 125G for a nearly identical item. The only difference is it reveals invisible units as well. Like other wards. Kill an opposing ward revealed in this way and you make 25G.

Who should kill these wards? Current conventional wisdom is the person who paid to reveal the ward gets the 25G. Typically this will be the supporting dude. The one who isn't allowed to kill enemy minions which are worth around 25G themselves. My contention is this is flawed logic! The whole concept of having a support revolves around the idea that they don't need to get 25G chunks and it's better to give that money to the carry. Most people accept the whole idea that the support lets the carry have all the money from minions. Why should the money from a ward be any different? Would a support really be unable to afford the revealy ward if they couldn't get that 25G?

Often the carry is nowhere near the ward and clearly the support should kill it to get rid of it ASAP. But if the carry is nearby why not let them have it instead?

What about opening jungle monsters? Normally the carry has minions in lane to kill off themselves so it wouldn't make any sense for them to try to last hit the jungle monsters. But lately the jungler has been starting by killing 3 wolves before the lane minions are around. The jungler gets people to help kill them but tends to be very adamant that they get the last hits for the gold. Why? If the carry is helping kill them why shouldn't they get the money? Does the jungler need more money than the carry? If so, why doesn't the jungler kill a bunch of minions in lane after a gank?

1 comment:

Monoboob aka DarthCoconut said...

The jungler does need more money than the carry at the beginning of the game. He needs to get some essential items so that he can clear the jungle in a timely fashion and be able to gank well.