Thoughts on Proposed EXP Changes for Season 10

So far as I understand, when preseason was last live on PBE: - JG overall gets less gold and exp (specifically, Gromp gives more gold and exp, Krugs give significantly less, raptors and wolves overall give less) - Botlane generally gets less exp and solo laners more, such that if the game state is otherwise even, bot lane is expected to be level 4 when solo lanes hit 6 Now, I absolutely love everything happening to the rift itself in Season 10. The new drakes with new effects, the dragon soul, changing rift, double Shelly, new Elder are all extremely interesting, force teams to care more about neutral objectives and allow for significantly more variety in gameflow game-to-game. That said, the exp changes felt absolutely awful to play, and very unrewarding for everyone who was not a solo laner (and sometimes for them too). I'll share why I felt that way, and I'm happy to be shown what I'm missing if I'm seeing something in the wrong way: a. As a jungler, counter jungling, invading, power farming all felt quite pointless because of how much more powerful the solo laners are and how little exp being in the jg provides. Just ganking over and over again, barely stopping to do a camp in the meantime, getting takedowns and leeching lane exp and minions feel far more powerful gold-wise and exp-wise than actually jungling. This will inevitably turn the jg meta into early game jg'ers being the only viable ones or engage frontliners who can provide utility because of their kit and independent of their gold, even more so than in the end of season 9. b. Getting invaded by solo laners feels much worse now because of the exp diff. As a solo laner, getting spam ganked because it was simply a better strategy than ever farming did not feel good. Warding camps, jg routes, etc. felt quite pointless, because it was almost a given that the jungler would be ganking somewhere. I understand Riot's desire to not want junglers to have as much impact on the map as they're known for having, especially not on a rift dominated by drake and herald control, but forcing junglers to turn into glorified roaming supports is not the way to do it. c. Losing gromp is absolutely backbreaking now. Anyone coming in to take just that one camp puts a massive dent in a jungler's income/exp, disproportionately so. Krugs had this sort of effect prior to preseason but are significantly harder and more time consuming to kill. Making junglers prioritise one or two specific camps while ganking nonstop and ignoring the rest of their jungle is very unlikely to lend itself to healthy play patterns. d. As a bot laner, it feels horrible to have the opposing level 6 midlaner show up when we're only level 4 or just hit 5. While it is understandable that botlane should somehow not be given complete sway over how the game will go by dictating dragon control, turning botlaners into solo laner's punching bags is not the way to do it. This would potentially also make lane swapping a terrifying threat to a botlane, which even 2 v 1 may not be able to match a solo laner around 2 levels ahead. While drakes are squishier and thus easier for lower level champions to handle, this way of doing things basically means it feels like solo lanes are playing a different game compared to the other players, with built in bonuses. Here are a few thoughts on how some of these issues may be overcome: 1. Don't punish junglers for farming. Decreasing overall exp does precisely that, incentivising aggression and snowbally games where the better ganker wins. This will end up making junglers have even more of an early game impact, and game results will literally be measured in number of successful early ganks. Because farming is also so weak in the jg, catchup mechanisms for the jg'er who falls behind are nonexistent. This has already been a problem for the latter half of season 9, with tank junglers who rely on farm and want to provide midgame-lategame frontlines/cc being almost completely pushed out of the meta, even in pro play. A jungler who does a full first clear now gets less than the jungler who only cleared one side of their jungle, but ganked twice, once successfully, once unsuccessfully, but leeched exp and some gold both times. Bring back the counterplay of losing out on levels and exp for ganking, give junglers a reason to stay in their jungle, and their overall early game map presence will decrease. Catchup exp being slowed down for a full level difference would make repeated failed ganks provide enough of a disadvantage to incentivise junglers to path well and farm efficiently, instead of spam gank. 2. Make dragons and Shelly much harder to kill early or solo. Providing more exp to junglers should not mean they can take over the game by themselves by quietly doing all the neutral objectives. Let's avoid League of Warwick/Nunu/Xin Zhao/Lee Sin/Olaf. If powerful early game level 5 junglers struggle to kill neutrals by themselves, junglers will be forced to coordinate plays with their laners in order to efficiently take objectives. The above suggestion in combination with this one should make it so that junglers are still a vital part of the game, have more options available to them for how to go about impacting the game, but can be punished much harder for making poor choices and are easier to counterplay for laners (since junglers who try to spam force ganks will find themselves falling behind in levels fast, and be much less threatening until they farm for a while). 3. Another way of containing jungler's notorious map impact could be by making the jungle just harder to kill in general. If junglers have to consistently be concerned about maintaining a healthy life total before ganking lanes, they can't just blitz through their camps and show up everywhere on the map. But this must happen in conjunction with maintaining appropriate exp rewards for farming the jungle; otherwise the same issues of "oh, jg too hard to farm, just gank instead" will result. Forcing junglers to face the prospect of losing significant exp when not farming and trying to force spam ganks will create meaningful and diverse pathing choices with clear counterplay by the opposing laners and jungler. 4. Making dragons harder to kill early should stop bot lane from deciding the game before 10 minutes. Turning two champions on either team into potential loot pinatas for solo laners is not fun for solo laners, who shouldn't want to play against a low level robot, and certainly not for the bot laners being used as aforementioned pinatas. Increasing solo lane exp without decreasing bot lane exp, so that there is consistently a full level difference (no more, no less) between solo laners and bot laners until about baron spawns, should make it so that bot lane has enough defensive tools to not just get run over by advanced beings, without making them oppressive to deal with immediately after laning phase for everyone else.
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