Greetings, Citizens of the Internet!
Yesterday, I played ARAM with 2 friends after a long time. Nothing too unusual on our comp, I rolled an Evelynn and the rest was Annie, Alistar, Nasus and someone I forgot. Not the best for ARAM, but it was a team that could stand on it own merits.
Then I saw the enemy team: Ashe, Nidalee, Katarina, Lux, Vayne. Poke City, folks. As you can imagine, we couldn't stand a chance and lost rather quickly. And I immediately deduced that the enemy team might be a team of ARAM-twinks, secondary accounts that focuses on a small champion pool to optimize their performance for ARAM.
But it's not a whine-post. It's something based on my observations with Evelynn: As soon as the Inhibitor was down and they were in the base, I suddenly racked up kills and assists. Why? Because you have more space in the base, I could flank them and am guaranteed to kill one or two, especially when my ult is up.
That got my gears spinning about ARAM. And we need to get rid of these ARAM-twinks, because they are one of the more severe reasons why ARAM lost a good chunk of fun. Luckily, there are several options.
Let's achieve True Randomness
Two factors make All Random All Mid less random than it actually is: First, only champions you posess can be rolled. Second, champions who have been rolled cannot be rolled by others, even by those of the opposing team. So ARAM-Twinks do not only profit from having a small pool, said small pool also favors them in getting the champ they want because small pool-accounts are favoured for keeping the champ they want, because large pool-accounts have options. Thus, Joe Average will roll less desireable champs more often because Max Twinkhard only has a small pool, which is exactly the reason why Max always gets the champs he wants while Joe has suboptimal options.
How to tackle these two problems? First, let's drop the duplicator-block for the other team. The reason you don't get Nidalee should be because you didn't hit the 1:120-chance, not because the enemy team got lucky with a Nidalee. Duplicator-blocking should only occur in open drafts, where it makes more sense.
Second, open up the pool. Everyone has a chance to get any champ equally. This has the advantage that you can freely trade with everyone else on your team, optimizing your comp. The times of you rolling a champ you can't handle well, but being unable to trade with someone who actually could are over. And if True Randomness hurts your team currently... Just reroll like usual.
Of course, rerolling must get a new formula, since not having a champ is now not an excuse to not roll the champ. For this reason, I propose two types of rerolling: The usual reroll that still has the old formula, but also a new type of reroll that can only be used if you have a champ that you don't posess and isn't F2P. The formula here is that the more champs you don't posess (excluding F2P-champs), the faster you get your special rerolls back.
With that, ARAM-Twinks will be powerless. They have to roll for every single champ that is in LoL. And while they get their special rerolls back faster, they won't get their normal rerolls back as fast as someone with many bought champs (who, in turn, get their special rerolls back slower). It doesn't matter if you have a small or a large pool, you have the same chance for getting a full Poke City: A very small one, even with rerolls.
I'm aware that ARAM means All Random All Mid, hinting at duking it out on a single lane. Still, having only one path means that range and "Back-and-Forth"-type of mobility will have a greater weight than any other playstyle. How to tackle that on?
Here, I'm getting inspired by Smite. While it has an ARAM-style map with the same rules (single lane, random champs), it also has a map called "Joust" for 1v1 and 3v3. For those who don't know: It's a short, single lane, but with two minionless "sub-lanes" that each are connected to the main lane at three points: Between the single tower and the Phoenix (the inhibitor in Smite) on each side and exactly in the middle part. On both sub-lanes are three easy-to-reach monster camps with Red, Blue and Yellow (increases AS and MS) buff each.
We can derive some inspiration for that approach. Even having a single small lane that is curved and connected to the main lane can make a great difference for Melees and otherwise close-range champs with limited options for mobility. It may also have a buff camp, but for that case, we have to change our perspective. ARAM is short-lived, therefore the monster camp needs a small respawn timer. This also means that the buff in itself must be short-lived, too.
I personally would insert a general buff, like a small, percentual increase of Bonus AD and AP, combined with a aura. Maybe Tenacity or improved health regeneration similar to. That way, the bearer of the buff gains improved offensive value, making initiation stronger, while allowing his team to gain a slight edge. The question is if the buff should be transferable on death or not, since buff duration resets on transfer, making it possible that both teams can have the same buff several times due to the short respawn timer of the buff camp.
Yeah, that's pretty much it for now. Mind you, I don't dislike poke or hit 'n run-mobility in itself, but it's too powerful on ARAM and it doesn't take much to rig the champion roulette in your favor, dimishing the potential variety and crazy combinations that's part of the charm for ARAM. While I'm not sure if even one of my solutions can be a viable remedy for that, I'm pretty sure that it at least brings back life into a stale gamemode that has been abused to hell and back imho.
See you on the Field of Justice!