Updated as of v2.5.12
I constantly see Steamboots as a core pickup for many intelligence heroes, or strength/agi support heroes that rely on spells more than auto-attacks. The argument for Steamboots is that it gives "much needed survivability" on these otherwise squishy heroes. It seems, unfortunately, that most new players are conditioned to either use Striders or Steamboots when supporting.
The "Much Needed Survivability" Argument
Steamboots are generally recommended, and often preferred, because of the added +10 strength. It is a common misconception that this is an inexpensive way to boost the survival of support heroes, with an extra 10 movespeed to boot; not only will you have 190 more health you will also be slightly faster than the red boot alternative.
Those "Other" Boots
According to the item usage statistics, Plated Greaves are acquired 5.2% as often as Steamboots. That is not a typo; Steamboots are purchased nearly 20 times as often as Plated Greaves.
The Truth About Survival
HoN is filled with physical damage. Unlike another unnamed competing game, Heroes of Newerth contains many physical damage abilities. Steamboots may add 133 more health than Plated Greaves, but Plated Greaves adds 7.42 additional armor. If you run the numbers, that 7.42 armor provides more survival than 133 health for most mid to late game situations where physical damage becomes more prominent. In addition to better EHP, Plated Greaves (70 ms) are faster than Steamboots (60 ms), have an activateable that helps push enemy structures, and is less expensive to build.
Note: Striders, Ghost Marchers, or Post Haste may still be preferred if mobility is more important than survival.
Note: Players very skilled with stat manipulation for bottling may still want Steamboots.
EHP of Steamboots = (H+190)*(1+.06A)
EHP of Plated Greaves = (H+57)*(1+.06*(A+7.42))
For Plated Greaves to be more EHP than Steamboots,
(H+57)*(1+.06*(A+7.42)) > (H+190)*(1+.06A)
1.4452H+.06HA+82.3764+3.42A > H+.06HA+190+11.4A
7.98A < .4452H-107.6236
A < .05579H - 13.49
This line is plotted as follows:
As you can see, there are virtually zero situations where Steamboots provide more EHP than Plated Greaves.
Factoring in Magic Damage
"EHP is great and all, but there is magic damage in this game too. Additional health protects against magic, therefore Steamboots are still the better choice."
D = total incoming damage
X = percentage of incoming damage D that is magic damage
A = physical armor
M = magic armor
Plated Greaves and Steamboots give equal survival when...
[(1-X)D/(1.4452+.06A)+XD/(1+.06M)]/(H+57) = [(1-X)D/(1+.06A)+XD/(1+.06M)]/(H+190)
The solution to the above, solving for H in terms of D, X, A, and M is...
H = (0.119497(-450A²X + 450AMX - 450AM - 10839AX - 7500A + 6069MX - 6069M - 79500X - 101150))/((3M+50)(X-1))
The graph of that solution for fixed values of M and X is...
Even with heavy magic damage (50% of all incoming damage is magic), a hero with 1500 health and 15 armor will benefit more from Plated Greaves. This is a very common scenario as most support heroes tend to have low agility gain and generally neglect armor unless they have a Ring of the Teacher (only +3 armor), or intentions for Frostfield.
- Plated Greaves are 147 gold cheaper, enough to buy that one extra ward or almost enough for a courier upgrade
- Plated Greaves gives +59 health and +39 mana simultaneously (not much, but there nonetheless)
- Plated Greaves provides +10 movespeed over Steamboots
- Plated Greaves has an activate ability that buffs allied heroes, and significally buffs creeps and minions
Unless you need the attack speed, or are skilled at stat manipulation for bottling, heroes looking for survival should consider Plated Greaves over Steamboots.
Originally Posted by MacroHard