A Post about Duality, Overwatch and Karma

[](https://i.ytimg.com/vi/G3gQt1IgpuA/maxresdefault.jpg) Hey folks ~~this is Rhykker~~, this is gonna be a long one again. If you don't like long reads, please move along. For everyone else; There will be parts about game design, about Karma and a rework suggestion in the end. Skip (to) any part you like. _**TL;DR at the bottom.**_ https://meromtzion.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/transcending-duality.jpg > # What Is Duality I think everyone has a rough idea of duality. _"It's, like, when stuff has two sides, you know?"_ Arguably there is more to it though, and I will try to show you the differences between the different ideas about duality. To do this in a not-so-boring way, I will use hero designs from Overwatch to explain. If you don't know what Overwatch is ~~what kind of rock have you been living under, mate?~~, it's basically a _TeamFortress 2_ clone done by _BLIZZARD_. But with _shiny butts_ instead of _sparkling hats_. You could also imagine it as a lovechild of TF2 & LoL; a fun objective based shooter with class based abilities, weapons and ultimates. As such, there are some hero designs in Overwatch that we can study and borrow ideas from. For the purpose of _Duality_ we will take a look at Zenyatta, Zarya and the most recent hero: Ana. https://overwatch-a.akamaihd.net/img/logos/overwatch-share-3d5a268515283007bdf3452e877adac466d579f4b44abbd05aa0a98aba582eeaebc4541f1154e57ec5a43693345bebda953381a7b75b58adbd29d3f3eb439ad2.jpg > # What Is Duality in Overwatch Blizzard had an interesting and ingenious approach to the support classes in Overwatch. Instead of making them the usual boring utility bots, they gave every single one of them playmaking abilities and ways to deal damage. This includes melee attacks - that every hero in the game has - and a hero specific weapon. Even the most pure ~~healslut~~ healer in Overwatch, **Mercy**, can switch to a simple blaster and start.... well... _blasting_ baddies. Occasionally, this leads to unexpected, but very satisfying kills. As you can see, there is some _killer_ in every _healer_ in Overwatch. Two sides. Two opposites. Healing and hurting. Duality. But Mercy has maybe one of the weakest forms of it. Let's look at Zenyatta. http://images.mein-mmo.de/magazin/medien/2016/06/Overwatch-Zenyatta-Posing-970x500.jpg **ZENYATTA** Zenyatta is a robot-monk that is all about peace & harmony and wields some metal balls that he will willingly wack into the face of anyone who doesn't like all the peace he is spreading. Not only is he the (off)healer with one of the highest damage potential, he also has two abilities _"Orb of Harmony"_ and _"Orb of Discord"_. The first one is a HoT (Healing over Time) that he can place on any ally, the second increases the damage taken by an unlucky foe. In a way Zenyatta is similar to champions like Lux or Morgana. He has clearly defensive abilities in his kits, that need to be used to full potential (shields) and some abilities that are mainly there for offense/damage purposes. To master those characters, you need to use both parts to their fullest potential. You might argue that this is already very dualistic, and technically that would be true. However, when playing them you don't feel like actually making choices between offense and defense, and understanding the offensive value of a good defensive spell (and vice versa) seems to not be highlighted. And in terms of duality, I think we can go a step further. Let's look at Ana. http://cdn.blizzardwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/header_ana_amari_rifle.jpg **ANA** Ana is a sniper, but a weird sniper. Her shots will hurt hit enemies (duh) and heal hit allies (wat?). In contrast to Mercy she doesn't have to switch weapons, she has both damage and heal available to her all the time. However, she still has to decide, who to hit; when it's better to heal and when damage is more needed (cuz dead heroes deal no damage, which sometimes prevents more damage than you could heal). Clear duality, again. But this time, with a dash of exclusiveness. Like in, they _exclude_ each other. However, the most interesting part about Ana is just about to be revealed ###### and compared to most other Overwatch heroes, it's not an oversexualised body part. Yay! Her healing grenade. Yeah, okay, we kind of left the borders of reason here (when nailing your friends with 5mm syringes to _"heal"_ them wasn't already pushing it, there's _"healing"_ grenades. Coz exploding antibiotics in someone's face is clearly benign), but it makes sense in terms of gameplay. So this grenade does a lot of things. First of all, it heals hit allies (okay), it hurts hit enemies (reasonable), it buffs hit allies (well then) and it debuffs hit enemies (....really?). The buff is a 100% heal increase for a few seconds and the debuff is a 100% heal REDUCTION for a few seconds. Ideally, you want this to hit _everyone_ in the entire game, all the time, always. There isn't anyone you DONT want to hit. It's your selfheal, buffs your healing on your tanks, annoys/counters enemy healers and finishes off enemies around corners. What's not to like? But here comes the kicker; as you obviously want to hit _anyone_ you also have to realize you CAN'T possibly hit _everyone_. You have to constantly decide when and how to use this valuable cooldown. Any target hit means 11 possible targets _NOT_ hit. I think this makes the ability fun, gives it creativity, depth and with a certain simplicity it features a high skillceiling. https://blzgdapipro-a.akamaihd.net/media/screenshot/zarya-screenshot-001.jpg **ZARYA** So what is our beloved bear-wrestling, weightlifting, totally-not-tumblr-using, russian bae doing here? Officially she is not a _"support"_ class, but a tank. However, she sometimes plays a lot like one; she has two shields, one for herself and one for some random ally. Absorbing damage with those shields increases Zarya's damage output, allowing her to bully and zone enemies, forcing them to focus her, gaining more charge and dealing more damage in the process, drawing more fire (away from her allies) to herself again. While this isn't necessarily straight up _"duality"_, she still has _protection & people pounding_ built into her kit. Also, the more damage she absorbs the more damage she deals. Interestingly, this is both a nice way to check someone's skill, as well as providing a ~~karmatic~~ karmic feel to her. You could even say she has a playstyle very fitting for a battle-enchanter. Keep that in mind, we will be using that idea later in the post. https://signup.euw.leagueoflegends.com/theme/signup_new_theme/img/logo-lol-smaller.png > # Duality in League of Legends So after looking closely at Overwatch, what can we find in our favourite MOBA? Clearly the games are different. There are no, lanes, levels and items in Overwatch, so champions can't be "underfarmed" at any point. As such, the power of supports In Overwatch is closer to the power a **Midlane Sona** can offer in LoL. Or compare it to what supports can buckle in ARAM games, if you ever had the joy of getting blown away by an 700 AP Janna ~~for only 2.99 a minute~~, you will know what I mean. Champions like Sona and Soraka offer both damage and heals in lane, however, as a reality, their damage becomes insignificant as the game progresses. A true duality champion should probably have both parts equally relevant to them for the whole game. A champion that gets brought up frequently when talking about duality is {{champion:117}} Lulu. Most of her abilities have two applications, one for allies, one for enemies. One buff or one debuff. This could remind you of Ana's sniper rifle; it offers constant decision making in whether to be helpful or hurtful, but it's.... JUST exclusive. It can never be both. But there are healgrenade-y abilities in LoL! Abilities that - in a perfect world - will always hit everyone on both teams. They are featured on Ezreal, Orianna and Nami: {{champion:81}} Ezreal's W speeds up allies and damages enemies. Ideally you buff your team and burst the opposing one with a single use. You might even be surprised to ~~hear~~ read, that Ezreal used to _HEAL_ allies with his ability. Crazy, right? Anyways, this wouldn't make sense on any AD caster today, so there might be a good reason for why it was removed. {{champion:61}} Orianna's W is probably the closest to Ana's healgrenade. It both speeds and slows, while dealing damage. Personally, I consider it a very healthy and useful ability in the game, so I can see a room for them in LoL. Especially on Support Mages, i.e. mages that are at home in midlane, but offer utility & decent damage, instead of pure teamwiping damage. {{champion:267}} Nami, for some reason, is rarely considered, but has the highest amount of _"dualistic"_ abilities; her W clearly wants you to hit an enemy target to gain an extra heal, or the other way around. This feels somewhat like Ana's healgrenade, but also more fixed, less flexible and weirdly missplaced on a utility based support. There's also her Q and R. Both feature strong CC to disrupt enemy movement, but - if you didn't know - hitting allies with them will trigger her passive and INCREASE their movement. They are just kind of.... favourably put on enemies, rather than teammates, so if you ever have to decide, it's usually a no-brainer. Oh, yeah, and the most important one: http://riot-web-static.s3.amazonaws.com/images/news/March_2013/03_19_2013_-_karma_ama/LOL.com.Banner.Article.KarmaRework.jpg > # Let's Talk Karma Karma is a midlaner with shields and damage. She is what we discussed in Zenyatta. The _"well, here you have some damage abilities and some protection abilities, off you go; just spam them"_ kind of duality. A good, but not perfectly satisfying kind of duality, like Ana's healing grenade would be. But as some people maybe already eagerly want to shout out: "Hey, SilverSquid, she _USED_ to have this tho! Her RQ used to be exactly like the healgrenade!" Yes. Yes, exactly. Her shield was also similar, as it challenged you to find someone that needed protection and could also be used to place your shieldbomb, to get the best of both worlds. Protection and a nuke. I don't really want to argue whether Karma needed an update and whether it made her better or worse; however, i find it weird that the "healgrenade duality" was removed back then from her, it was removed from Ezreal and it hasn't been introduced on a new champion yet. Why? This is what is interesting to me. I really enjoy this flexible, decision heavy part of duality and I would love to see it in League of Legends. I do enjoy it a lot in Overwatch currently, so I thought a long time about where it would fit in LoL or why it couldn't work. The answers I came up with: 1) On Karma 2) I don't know why not. So I wrote a rework concept, based on what I saw working on Overwatch. > # Karma's Design Before we do this though, some quick points. **Does Karma need a rework** As far as I've read in the last year or so, Karma _should_ get a rework, but doesn't _need_ one. Or put more clearly; she could really use one, just like a suprising lot of champions could use the work. The usual opinion seems to paint Karma as more bland than she **should be** and painfully less fleshed out than she **could be**. But NOT directly problematic. So.... too little for Riot to prioritize her in the next 1 or 2 years, but enough issues for me to work on. **What Should Karma Be** As discussed in [THIS thread](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/sA0ra4aX-is-karma-a-disruptive-bursty-battle-artillery-enchanter), Karma seems to have parts of too many identities. Her Q and RQ suggest her being an _artillery_ or _burst mage_, her RW gives her survivability akin to a _battlemage_, her AoE speedup and shielding are moves _enchanters_ should have, whereas her 3.25s root just screams _disruptor_. In the linked thread people overwhelmingly agreed that Karma should be a _**Battlemage/Enchanter**_ hybrid, and I tried respecting that. I attempted cutting her CC, range and burst, to move her away from artillery, burst and disrupting, and make room for more defined close combat abilities, both for offense and defense. Lastly, I made sure that all her abilities could profit her team in a certain way, to hammer down the enchanter part. **What About her Identity** I try to be very respectful to Old and New Karma fans alike. Whereas the loss for Old Karma fans should be heard and adressed, I don't think ignoring fans of the new and more shiny Karma is a good way either. I tried my best retaining the most liked parts of both worlds to create a champion both sides could like. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get back her fanweapons or the Twin Dragons people loved about [my latest rework](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/oxNbhh7j-a-detailed-post-on-karma-and-her-twin-dragons). If you fancy visual identity, you might prefer that rework of mine. Check it out if you have the time! http://file.thisisgame.com/upload/tboard/user/2013/03/19/20130319114213_7965.png > # Analyzing and Creating a Kit I'll try to highlight my thoughts on every ability before I present the finished project. ** Passive - Bringing Ionian Flair ** Since the passive of another crest-wearing Ionian got adressed [in a recent patch](http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/patch/patch-616-notes), I was eager to see whether I could borrow from it. I don't know whether the _"outnumbered"_ mechanic works well in the game and whether it will stick around, but I wanted to give it a shot. I like the idea of Irelia's and Karma's crest passives being related. I tried to not give Karma straight up power with this passive, but more opportunities instead. This should be more fit for a caster in the midst of battle. CDR instead of tenacity seemed both thematically and mechanically fitting. And just like the current passive it builds on and synergizes with Karma's core stat. **Q - Poking and Healing** Karma's Q is not mind blowingly unique, but unique nonetheless. I tried keeping it. However, as with all her abilities, I tried to introduce some.... duality to it. A conditional one. One that encourages Karma to be close to enemies, one that sustains her allies in battle, one that can turn the tides in battle. A heal on top of it made sense, when thinking about her old ability. However, I made sure that Karma wouldn't offer free sustain, like Sona or Soraka do. She should be able to heal IN fights, not BETWEEN them. Battle enchanters heal in the midst of fighting, dummy, they don't take breaks. ** RQ - Teamfighting and Equity** Karma's mantras need to have different purposes and real choices that are useful in every role, not dominate each other based on builds. Karma also needs to somehow adress her equalizing identity. Consequently, I tried making this ability the one you wanna use to turn tides in battle, using both the healing and damaging component to... make the battlefield more equal. Whether it's a combat starter or a turnaround ability, it should find its place in static teamfights. **W - About the Tether** Reworking the tether is hard. Really. It gets overloaded so quickly. I hope I succeded in taking only the most essential parts; damage, touch mechanic and positioning as a duo. I tried making it an ability that would let you get INTO fights, but also reward clever positioning IN fights. And I made very sure it was neither as team-reliant as her old tether, nor as boring as the current one. RQ interaction for sololanes! **RW - Team Mobility** I would've loved to exclude this, but Karma needs the team mobility. It has become part of her identity. While the current iteration is wayyyyyyy too reliable, thus boring and oppressive, her old one was VERY unreliable. I hope I hit a sweetspot by combining Jace E and Rumble R. **E - Zarya's Input** The idea of _hurting those who try to hurt_ is very karmic and must find a place in her kit. I borrowed the idea from Zarya and tried to rework it into the shieldbomb mechanic. Alas I didn't give her free damage, but damage potential (Zarya has to block damage and then use the time window to retaliate). I tried to NOT make people WANT to attack Karma's prey. In exchange, I made the shield a lot shorter, so there is some downtime to it. Current Karma can shield forever, which becomes toxic quickly. **RE - Reliable damage** For teamfights, this offers single-target protection and damage. With some skill and planning this can do a lot of things. Without it it just deals slightly more damage than the other abilities, with way less impact overall. But it's extra damage, that can get a lot very quickly. Also it's Karma's.... staple ability, if you know what I mean? Shield+bomb=Karma, right? **R - The Mantra Charges Debate** I kept the relative power of Mantra down, I hope. I also tried increasing Mantra's power periodically; current Karma would be too strong with 2 charges at lvl1 and falls off hard at lvl6+. Like really, her winrate just plumets. My solution is; give her 2 charges after lvl6. Seems logical. I think. Also there is a forced CD in there to stop Karma from mantraing all her abilities all the time in teamfights. Shouldn't be broken, but could be. Testing only in my mind is hard. https://i.imgflip.com/1av29y.jpg > # FULL REWORK # http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/6/68/Gathering_Fire.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122919 P - Unbroken Resolve Karma gains bonus CDR when her team is outnumbered. This CDR can break the CDR limit by up to **5/10/15%** (@ lvl 1/7/14) * Karma’s team is stronger: **0% CDR** * Karma’s team is equal: **10% CDR** * Karma’s team is outnumbered: **20% CDR** # http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/a/ad/Inner_Flame.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122920&format=webp Q - Inner Flame ~~25% slow removed~~ Karma fires a burst of energy that detonates upon hitting an enemy, dealing **80/125/170/215/260 (+60% AP)** magic damage to all nearby enemies. Hitting enemy champions creates a spark of redemption that seeks out an allied champions near them. If it finds one it heals them by **10/20/35/55/80(+1/50AP)** increased by **3%** for every **1%** health the target is missing. # http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/4/45/Soulflare.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122923&format=webp RQ - Crest of Equity Karma's Inner Flame passes through all enemies hit (can't damage enemies more than once) until it reaches target location, where it creates a hovering Crest that she can tether to. Enemies around the Crest take **4/5/6/7% (+1%/100AP)** of their current health as magic damage every second. Allied champions around the Crest heal **4/5/6/7% (+1%/100AP)** of their missing health every second. The crest can't be walked through and lasts for **4s** (5 ticks). # http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/0/0c/Focused_Resolve.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122918&format=webp W - Soul Link Karma creates a tether between herself and a target for **2s**. Karma and any ally she tethers to gain **40/45/50/55/60%** bonus movement speed as long as the tether persists. Any enemy touching the tether for the first time and a tethered enemy that doesn't break it for **2s** take **80/125/170/215/260 (+60% AP)** magic damage. # http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/2/2a/Renewal.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122922&format=webp RW - Ionia's Soul Karma creates a tether that hangs freely suspended in the air for **4s**, testing the souls of anyone passing. In addition to applying Soul Link's damage, passing enemies are slowed by **40/50/60/70%** for **1s**, while passing allies gain **40/50/60/70%** bonus movementspeed for **2s**. # http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/c/c4/Inspire.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122920&format=webp E - Soul Ward Karma shields target allied champion or herself for **2s** absorbing up to **50/80/110/150/190 (+50%AP)** damage. If the shield gets broken by damage, Karma's next Soul Ward will deal **50/80/110/150/190 (+50%AP)** magic damage in a small area around the target. Karma can target a minion, ward or her crest to apply this damage, but it will not shield them. # http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/4/40/Defiance.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122917&format=webp RE - Defiance Sould Ward overflows with energy, increasing the target's shield by **30/80/130/180 (+30%AP)** and the duration to **4s**. Additionally, **0.5s** after applying the shield it explodes dealing **60/120/200/300 (+60% AP)** magic damage in a big area, increased by Soul Ward's damage. # http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/leagueoflegends/images/7/76/Mantra.png/revision/latest?cb=20130929122921&format=webp R - Mantra **Charges:** 1/2/2/3 **Recharge:** 30s (scales with CDR) **Cooldown:** 8s after using Mantra (fixed) Karma empowers her next basic ability within **8s**. At lvl3 Karma can charge this ability faster by casting spells or hitting enemies. Shielding, healing or speeding up an ally gains Karma **1s** per ally (excluding herself). Dealing damage to enemy champions gains Karma 2s for spells and 1s for Basic Attacks. Karma can not gain more than **3s** per spell. > # Duality and This Rework So, Karma's Passive, E and RQ have this "equalizing" feeling to them. They are an incentive to turn around the battlefield. This might fit the "karma" theme more than the "duality" theme though. On the duality front, every basic ability should now feature it: **Q** can _hurt and heal_ (poke or duel?) and asks you to carefully consider when to use it. **W** can help _reposition_ or gets back at the enemy for their bad positioning. **E** can _protect and punish_, provided you have the reflexes and situational awareness. All of these can have one or both effects, but either way, they will reward wise judgement of the situation or understanding the offensive and defensive properties of any ability. Befitting of a champion, that is about wisdom, duality and karma. Unfortunately, and contrary to Old Karma, this iteration doesn't introduce the duality feeling with mantra (Q damage -> RQ damage & heal), but it otherwise doesn't work: Basic abilities that only do one thing are boring, outdated and kind or problematic. Having secondary effects AND adding duality effects with mantra makes the abilities overloaded. So I went with upgrading them to different teamfighting tools instead. I think it should work well enough. But I shouldn't be the judge of myself. Please, tell me what you think! Or share any thoughts on Overwatch, Duality or Karma! And thanks for sticking with me. I know reading all of this is quite some work. So have my thanks! > # TL;DR - Too Long; Didn't Read * Overwatch is like TF2 with butts and ultimates. * Supports in Overwatch always heal and hurt (can we copy some stuff?) * I discuss Mercy, Zenyatta, Ana and Zarya; Mercy is a healslu....a healer with a gun, Zenyatta is a metal-ball-throwing, peace loving robot monk, Ana is a support sniper that features duality and Zarya is a battlemage. * I discuss Lux, Morgana, Orianna, Lulu, Ezreal, Nami and finally Karma: Lux/Morgana are similar to Zenyatta, Orianna has Ana's healgrenade, Lulu/Ezreal/Nami have some duality and Karma could use it. * I create a kit and explain way too much.
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