Why Karma Is a HORRIBLE Rework

[](https://www.mobafire.com/images/champion/skins/portrait/karma-traditional.jpg) _EDIT: For clarity's sake, I am talking about her 3.5 "relaunch" and I am NOT a proponent of going back to her old self. Quite the contrary. I want Karma to move forward in a more slick and less controversial style than she did back then. I simply use the failures from 5 years ago to reflect upon what makes a good rework and what doesn't. And how Riot improved since then. If you disagree, by all means, please let me know in the comments!_ I am not claiming that she is a bad champion. Nor am I going to pretend her old self was perfect. But _as a rework_, she failed. Let's have a look at what went wrong and is done better today! However, **Lead Champion Designer Meddler**, agreeing with her shortcomings, announced that Karma will get some love, probably start of next year (see [HERE)](https://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/developer-corner/Laod6v1G-quick-gameplay-thoughts-august-18?comment=00190000). I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on Karma and the chances that were missed, and what it can teach us for her upcoming update. > # What Even IS a GOOD Rework? Personally, I expect a GOOD rework to achieve the following: * Retain a champion's visual and gameplay identity * Build upon existing mechanics and smoothen/improve them * Make the champion fun to play and play against (and watch?) I will argue, that Riot failed on at least 2 of them. Hard. But first things first: > # Why The Rework Was Doomed Simply put; back then, there was no _**Champ Up Team**_. Karma was the prototype for the VGUs that we learned to ~~ask for~~ love and enjoy on a regular basis. And Karma was a _great_ candidate. She had a horrible winrate (37%) AND playrate and most people only knew her for the _"Karma... who?"_ joke. Basically, barely anybody would care if something went wrong, but the sky was the limit for her. Or so they presumably thought. The rework was badly funded, with both (wo)manpower and time. There was no way Karma's rework could've been great. Eventually, the update even got leaked and they rushed to finish it, with a lot left to desire (like a shielding animation and a dance that's not just half of Shen's dance). However, those were the first babysteps that Riot did at reworking and we all know that _the first time_ usually doesn't go as smooth as one imagines. https://images8.alphacoders.com/587/thumb-350-587015.png However, in the last 4.5 years, they got a lot better: > # Karma in the Mirror Preserving Identity is one of the many things that Riot has learned since then. Both visually and in terms of gameplay. These days, Riot is very keen in investigating beforehand what people love about a champion before going to work. But back then... It was a mess. I am not going to pretend I know a lot about visual identity, but I remember how pissed people were. They changed her skincolor, dress, color identity and completely replaced her weapons. The awesome fanweapons got replaced with.... green blobs. I am personally not opposed to the changing of visual identity, but to my understanding the recent Galio had a similar issue. With Galio too, the mains had troubles recognizing their favourite champion after the rework. But I am not gonna ramble on about something [OTHERS HAVE SAID WAY BETTER ](https://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/story-art/EggZFKf2-which-is-the-thematically-less-succesfull-rework-riot-has-made-i-have-a-postulant) already. I know a lot more about Game Design, so I'd rather talk about her kit. > # Replacing Instead of Building Upon Again, it's a mess. Her gameplay was not respected and she changed completely. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/8/87/Inner_Flame_old.png/revision/latest?cb=20160725213759 **PASSIVE** https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/6/68/Gathering_Fire.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122919 This got changed from a bait/comeback passive to simple CD reduction. While more healthy and a decent skillcheck, it failed on the thematic front. And it didn't preserve anything. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/a/a3/Heavenly_Wave.png/revision/latest?cb=20160725213825 **Q - DAMAGE** https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/a/ad/Inner_Flame.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122920 This changed from a damage cone that could potentially heal to a generic skillshot. Again, better for skillchecks, but worse in thematics & flavour. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/2/2f/Spirit_Bond.png/revision/latest?cb=20160725213843 **W - TETHER** https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/0/0c/Focused_Resolve.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122918 Turned from a unique tether touch mechanic to a budget LeBlanc W. If Q was unimaginantive already, this takes the cake. Bonus points for trying to retain her bait nature (I could talk hours why it failed though). https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/0/0c/Soul_Shield.png/revision/latest?cb=20160725213912 **E - SHIELD** https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/c/c4/Inspire.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122920 A strong shield that could deal AoE damage turned into a generic enchanter shield. The base spell objectively improved, but shieldbomb used to be the most iconic part of her kit. It stayed for a while (3.5 to 5.10) until it too got removed without proper explanation. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/e/e5/Mantra_old.png/revision/latest?cb=20160725213931 **R - MANTRA** https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/7/76/Mantra.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122921 This changed from a secondary ressource that granted OPPOSITE EFFECTS to spells, to pseudo-ult that could get you more of the same. A Heimer Ult copy. As you can see, her spell ideas & identities were nearly all binned. They exchanged flavour for functionality and killed nearly all of what _felt_ like her. Out goes baiting, duality, karmic feels, positioning demands and her **most iconic ability**. Even her playstyle changed from bruiser to glasscannon in midlane. http://memes.ucoz.com/_nw/13/29922471.jpg > # Gameplay, Scalings and Playstyle Karma used to be a battlemage. She would have a heal/shield and deal sustained damage with Q and shieldbomb, while having some low mobility. Her playstyle revolved around constant decision making; Do I spend mantra now or save it up to have two later on? Or spend ALL now and lose my flexiblity? Do I use base Q now or position to get the damage and heal out of it? Do I shieldbomb a minion to hit an enemy or wait till he approaches an ally to make use of the shield? Will he ever apporach though? The constant decision making at lightning speed was what made Karma feel _"wise"_ and _"enlightened"_ to play. However, today's Karma.... only uses Mantra to enhance a SINGLE spell every time. **W** for toplane **Q** for midlane **E** for botlane That's because Riot botched the scalings. W scales WAY too well with tank stats and poorly with mage stats E profits from support items while the other spells get nothing and Q is Karma's only option to compete with other AP carries in midlane. There is not much decision making anymore. Just choose a lane and mantra the same spell over and over again. That's not enticing. That's not fun to play, play against or watch. Karma lived off of mantra diversity and the rework killed it, instead of fixing it. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/b/b2/Karma_Rework3.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140618122220 > # Enhancing Strenghts and Highlighting Weaknesses Back then Riot tried to solve issues within a kit... in a simple way. If a champion has a glaring weakness: Remove it. Sounds reasonable, but it's all kinds of bad. Karma, for example, was widely critisized for having no hard CC, which made her fall off hard as a support. Remember this was back then when supports only bought boots and wards! Sooooo Riot just gave her CC. And group protection, group mobility, a reveal, long range (killing another weakness of hers) and.... this completely dilluded her kit. Champions NEED strenghts and weaknesses to be fun to play and play against. I know today Riot already thinks differently, but Karma suffered greatly from just pushing more and more into her kit, without any direction. She felt mushy. Undefined. By the way: This kind of thinking was also what pushed ALL enchanters into today's crisis: If _everybody_ gets _everything_ (CC, heal, shield, teamfight ult), only the OP champs are relevant. They fight for the same spot, instead of being tempting for their specific strengths and weaknesses... https://how2play.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/inspire.jpg > # The Worst Part By using completely generic skillchecks and spells that were already in game (CD recution, generic skillshot, LeBlanc Tether, Enchanter Shield, Heimer Ult), Karma was incredibly hard to make toxic. As such she was never worth Riot's time to adress, as they were busy fixing all the major problems within the game. Karma got shelfed for Riot's mistakes. I find it amazing, that the Karma fans never completely went away though. They were a dedicated bunch then and it's probably thanks to their great resolve, that they are still around and complaining. One could also argue, that the identity theft of Karma was too huge for them to ever forget. Note: Karma used to have **lvl6 abilities** {{champion:126}} , a **shieldbomb** {{champion:427}} and an **ally tether** {{champion:44}} > # The Final Countdown I am not here to blame Riot. Who am I to pretend I never made misstakes. I only ask that people learn from their mistakes. I am sure Riot did. Now please, let's do the same for Karma and do her right this time. When her time comes, in 4 or 5 months, I not only hope for Riot to be more skillfull and mindful, but I also hope for the Karma community to stand as one, to answer Riot's call, when they ask us what we love about Karma. So they can do their work properly. And both Karma fans and this board can finally get some rest. Hopefully. Let's get together and do this! Let's discuss in the comments, what we hope for Karma! Non-Karma-mains are especially welcome too! _Thank you for your time_
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