Monday, May 19, 2014

The Hidden Gold in Levels and Base Stats

You've got a lot of gold.
When teaching my friends who are new to MOBAs the basics of League of Legends, I always make sure to drill the importance of three things:
  1. Last hit.
  2. It's a strategy game. Have a motive for any action- don't wander aimlessly.
  3. Forcing someone to recall is often better than getting a kill and having to do the same.
My goals with these core concepts is to teach where power comes from- gold. These three things emphasize high gold income behaviors. The third bit is when the confusion starts to settle in. How can you get more gold by not getting a kill?

The answer is levels.

Heads up! There's going to be a bunch of numbers in this article that come seemingly out of nowhere. I recently totaled up the base stats, growths, and stat steroids for every champion and translated them into gold values. For the full rundown, click this banner:

If you watch professional level play, you'll occasionally hear the casters mention the value of levels. Specifically, the value of the stats that each champion gains when they level up. This is why when your lane opponent has 3 levels on you, they are so hard to kill- they've got HP, armor, attack damage and more that you don't. Because these stat gains are small compared to those provided by items, it's easy for players to trivialize them. No longer, I say!

Let's bring in an example lane match-up: Ashe vs. Miss Fortune.

Gold in Base Stats:
  • Ashe: 4514
  • Miss Fortune: 4836

Miss Fortune is typically regarded as a lane bully, and with this data it's clear to see why- she's got over 300 gold in base stats on Ashe. This is probably a fight Ashe should stay out of. But what happens if she levels up before Miss Fortune?

Gold in Stats Per Level:
  • Ashe: 628
  • Miss Fortune: 633

Ashe goes from having 300 less effective gold to having 300 more. Independent of gold from kills and last hits, Ashe can have more gold in stats than MF as long as she is at a higher level. With each level difference, that value gets bigger. Two level difference? 900 extra gold. A three level difference nets Ashe roughly 1500 gold in stats. 

Would you fight someone who is 1500 gold further into their build than you?

This is why forcing your opponent to recall out of lane (or killing them) is so powerful, especially in the early game when levels come very quickly. When your opponent is zoned out of XP range, you are rapidly earning base stat gold that they aren't. In a sense, the 300 gold that you may have earned for the kill can very rapidly look like pocket change compared to the effective gold you can earn by simply soaking up lane XP. Best yet, these are stats that are instantly applied. Unlike normal gold that only starts being useful once spent, base stat gold is applied the second you ding.

In short, don't get upset that you knocked someone out of lane but didn't quite land the kill. They'll just be that much easier to take out when they get back to lane (items bought with lane gold notwithstanding). Be patient. You'll probably get them next time.

Want more numbers?

I've got nothing but numbers. Let's talk steroids.

One of the things that is frequently brought up by casters is that Tristana gets "three recurve bows" when she activates max rank of her attack speed buff Rapid Fire. But how does that stack up to other champions? Here's a few fun facts. Assume max rank of these champions' respective abilities.

  • Tristana's Rapid Fire: 3,000 gold in attack speed
  • Want 1443 gold per auto attack? Be Jinx, and get 4333 gold with a fully charged minigun!
  • Elise and her spiders get 4,666 gold in attack speed during Skittering Frenzy.
  • Sion's ult provides him with 6,067 gold in lifesteal and attack speed.
  • Disregarding HP5 and MP5, Singed gets 4859 gold from his ultimate. Including HP5/MP5? 11,099.
  • Taric's ultimate provides him with 4,043 gold worth of AD and AP. Additionally, nearby allies receive 2,021 gold in stats. This means a full team of 5 receives 12,127 gold in stats by standing near to Taric.

As mentioned above, this and more in this spreadsheet.

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