How I would Fix Zoe

{{champion:142}} Zoe is one of League’s newest and most despised champions for several reasons, but she is one of my personal favorites and probably my favorite midlane champion. Her unique set of abilities and mechanics as well as strong trickster themes make her a blast to play. However, I understand that she is simply frustrating to play against even if the Zoe player is bad, enough that the devs are currently working on adjusting her. If I were in charge of Zoe’s gameplay, my goals would be the following: 1. Reduce the impact that Spell Thief random drops have on her laning phase, but smooth out the usefulness and consistency of it to make them worth picking up without straight-up winning her lane for her. 2. Significantly reduce the damage she can deal after missing every ability, while maintaining her power if she can land them. 3. Reward Zoe for landing abilities and autos with her enemy in sustained trades. 4. Solidify her place in the role of a roaming control mage. Something like this: **More Sparkles!** * Damage reduced to **10 - 93 (based on level) (+ 15% AP)** from 10 - 124 (based on level) (+20% AP) bonus magic damage. However, this empowered attack gains an additional 50 range. * **Even More Sparkles!** - If Zoe hits an enemy champion with an ability, the duration is refreshed and the bonus damage is doubled. Hitting an enemy champion with the Even More Sparkles! empowered attack increases Zoe’s movement speed by 30%, decaying over 1 second. *Comments: These changes are intended to reward Zoe for landing abilities as well as weaving in auto attacks, enhancing the feel of her being a playful trickster with the ability to kite. The damage is much lower if Zoe fails to hit a champion with her ability, but the increased range lets her last-hit more safely. If she does land an ability on a champion, the damage is enhanced, and hitting a champion with that empowered attack lets her move away from them or chase/reposition for the next spell.* **Spell Thief** * Damage per orb reduced to **10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 (+10% AP)** from 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 (+13.3% AP) * If all three orbs hit an enemy champion, Zoe’s next ability within 10 seconds (except Spell Thief) costs no mana. * The **Wheeeee** passive now triggers off of Zoe’s own active items. * In combat, the bonus movement speed from **Wheeeee** is equal to **+50% / +55% / +60% / +65% / +70%**, and lasts for **1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2** seconds. * Out of combat, the bonus movement speed is reduced to **+20% / +22.5% / +25% / +27.5% /+30%**, but the duration is 10 seconds. * The balloons carried by minions no longer contain Summoner Spells or active item effects. Instead, they have a unique Spell Shard specific to the type of minion. * Melee minions carry *Minor Heal*, healing Zoe for 7.5 HP every half second for 5 seconds (75 HP) * Caster minions carry *Minor Clarity*, restoring 7.5 mana every half second for 5 seconds (75 mana) * Siege minions and super minions carry *Trickster’s Sight*, letting Zoe see (note: not reveal) enemy wards within 1500 range of her for 10 seconds. As long as a ward is seen in this way and for 5 seconds after being seen in this way, Zoe gains its vision as though it were her ward. * Every second minion wave (starting with the second wave) ***will*** have a minion with a balloon, in a predictable pattern. * For the first 20 minutes of the game, the pattern is: * Caster -> Melee -> Cannon * After 20 minutes, the pattern is: * Caster -> Cannon -> Melee -> Cannon * After 35 minutes, *only* cannon minions and super minions will carry balloons. * If one of Zoe’s allies last-hits a minion that Zoe has damaged in the last 10 seconds, it will still drop the Spell Shard. *Comments: This may seem complicated, but it’s actually rather straightforward. These changes remove the RNG power spike from Spell Thief minion drops, lowers the point-and-click damage of the orbs, and lets the movement speed of Spell Thief be more useful depending on the situation.* *One of the most frustrating things about laning against Zoe is that even if you’re smart and conserve your Summoners to prevent her from using them against you, she may pick one up off a minion and use it to bully you out of lane or kill you anyway. These changes make the Spell Shards dropped by minions a bit more tame, but still reward Zoe for staying in lane and claiming those shards. Melees and Casters give Zoe extra sustain, while cannons give Zoe vision control, giving her more power to avoid ganks or roam if she successfully claims both a cannon and its shard. The goal is to add consistency to what Zoe has access to in the laning phase, so both her and her opponents understand exactly what’s at stake when contesting a balloon last-hit. In the late game, Zoe will be getting mostly the vision shard from minions, but that’s when the flat healing and mana from the other shards has started to fall off, anyway.* *The damage of the orbs has also been decreased, but they offer Zoe more utility, giving her a free spell so that she can stay in lane longer, push the wave without sacrificing mana, or make sure she can put an enemy jungler to sleep if she gets ganked on low mana. It puts emphasis on Zoe landing her abilities to deal damage, instead of depending on the orbs themselves to do it for her.* *The change to the movement speed bonus makes it more versatile. If she uses it while in combat, she gets a burst of movement speed that is useful for dodging a skillshot, escaping a gank, or extending the reach of Paddle Star. Out of combat, it gives her sustained movement speed for rotating around the map or getting back to lane faster. If her combat state changes, the movement speed and duration adjusts. For example, if she uses it at Rank 5 out of combat, she would gain 30% additional movement speed for up to 10 seconds. If she enters combat with 5 seconds remaining, the movement speed would increase to 70%, but would only last an additional 1 second.* *There's also some quality-of-life changes to encourage Zoe’s build diversity and make it less frustrating when your jungler comes to gank and squashes the minion that had a balloon. If Zoe wants to build items like {{item:3030}} , {{item:3157}} , or {{item:3040}} , she can get her Spell Thief trigger off of them just as well as an enemy using them, and prevents her allies from accidentally (or purposefully) denying her Spell Thief triggers.* **Sleepy Trouble Bubble** * The trap formed no longer applies the sleep to the first enemy who walks into it. * Instead, enemies inside the circle are slowed, scaling up to the maximum slow over 1.4 seconds. Whenever Zoe deals magic damage to an enemy within the circle, they take additional true damage equal to the post-mitigation damage dealt, up to **12 / 20 / 28 / 38 / 44 (+8% AP)**. *Comments: These changes make Sleepy Trouble Bubble much less forgiving. If Zoe misses, enemies won’t be hit by the full sleep after it splats on the ground next to them. Instead, Zoe gets a form of zone control and enhanced waveclear. She can drop the trap at a choke point to slow the enemy’s engage or escape, or cleverly drop it in front of a minion wave to amplify her damage against it. This lets her shove waves into towers faster and control space in late-game teamfights. The damage is not very high and the zone is not very big, so it’s usually more optimal to put someone to sleep and chunk them, but this version has much more utility at all stages of the game than the previous one without being as frustrating for her opponents.* Overall, Zoe’s kit would be more focused on actually landing skillshots and dancing out of range of your enemy, like a playful trickster who is always one step ahead of the opposition. She has enhanced movement speed and stronger lane sustain, but only if she actively fights her enemy, contesting last-hits on balloon-toting minions and landing her spells and autos on enemy champions. Her ability to roam and gank has also been improved with the out-of-combat movement speed granted by Spell Thief, but she has to depend on her ability to outtrade and outskill the enemy midlaner in order to get the opportunity to roam, instead of getting a free Summoner off the minion wave and winning lane for free.
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