Some theorycrafting for you:
About 5 months ago, after a large number of complaints from the community, received a good nerf by becoming charge based.
The whole strange this is before that, remained unchanged for a very long time, as far back as beta iirc. During that time, it was commonly considered a mediocre pickup on most heroes.
There have been different theories about WHY this item changed from mediocre to OP status. Some site the illusive "shift in the meta-game". They might be right. Who knows? The meta-game itself isn't easy to pin down.
Others say it's because some of the new S2 heroes benefit from it too much, such as pre-nerf and . But that doesn't explain why it became so good on other heroes like and , who remained unchanged for a very long time.
So I have this new, very simple theory about why became such a cry-worthy item. It's so simple, you might not even have noticed it: it's because they removed the secret shop 6 months before. Really, that's all there is to it. was never OP. It just became easier to build one.
I realized this recently when trying out that OTHER game, namely Dota 2, and tried to build a vanguard () on venomancer (). Vanguard does weigh in a bit lighter at 50 hp less than for the same price. But what I noticed was that building one was a TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS. You can get the ring of health () from the side shop or secret shop, but not from the main base. You can only get the vitality booster () at the secret shop. On top of this, you don't get a free courier in dota 2, so making your trek across the map to build this sucker takes a lot of time, especially in that critical early game when is so important. I do remember doing all this in before HoN, but I never actually remembered how much of a pain it was until doing it all again.
So there you have it. My theory for the day.
The good is that it can lead to planned ganks on someone expected going there (or at least killing enemy team courier which grants your whole team gold).
The midleground (both good and bad) is that you have to run somewhere outside your base (or send your courier) to spend your gold before dying to get an item you desire, however dota handles gold slightly differently than in HoN due to reliable and unreliable gold.
The bad is mostly in pubs where unless you got it yourself, you have no courier and have to spend time leaving your lane to go to get something rather than just buy it into your stash like in HoN.
I think the biggest "saving" point that still keeps the Secret Shop acceptable in dota is the reliable/unreliable gold mechanic. If most of your gold is acquired from reliable sources (structures, courier, kills, assists, bounty hunter etc) then you don't mind the secret shop so much really. Dota in general though has other "issues" that HoN doesn't, and of course HoN has a few that dota doesn't. And since the games have gone different routes in some aspects it's simply expected. Now if they could only fix so you can set wards where you want them in dota2, it may actually be more fun and worthwhile to play. Having forced locations where you can ward is full on retard.
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As strange as it sounds, I'm of the opinion that ease of access contributed to the HOTBL FIRST EVERY HERO thing as well... Seriously....
The problem with the old HotBL was if you got it early enough on certain heroes it was extremely strong. The EHP increase in those situations were too great. But I don't think nerfing it was needed, nor do I care that it was nerfed. I believe it was strong at the time because of the metagame.
Let's ignore that whole "well, it gives just as much EHP as Behemoth's Heart for 40% of the cost" thing.....yeah, it was the Secret Shop!
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Different metagames means that HoN is evolving in a different way to DotA/DotA 2. Therefore when we saw the rise in occurence of "tanky" heroes in HoN that contributed to a "tanky" metagame (that was in turn countered by a spell of high-damage/utility nukers) highlighted the strength of the old HotBL.
Often it's difficult to tell if someone is too strong or weak until you see it being used a lot.
EDIT: yeah the above poster put it a tad more succinctly.
Last edited by Gorb; 06-30-2012 at 10:32 PM.
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Tying up the courier for a little longer wasn't what stopped anyone from going Helm of the Black Legion.
Never feeled so relieved when I don't have to fly 5 more seconds with the flying courier to the secret shop and back to the lane.
If these extra 5 seconds you don't have to take anymore made HotBL op, then this game is screwed.
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Let's look at the way I play zephyr, as he went unchanged for a long time, until more recent nerfs.
When I USED to play zephyr, I'd usually do something like this (with secret shop):
1. Go to short lane
2. Try to farm up gold for life tube
3. Try to buy a life tube from the side shop IF the lane is pushed, but more likely to get ganked if it is. If not, run courier up to secret shop to get life tube. Hope we have a courier! Remember, free courier was added AFTER secret shop was removed. If it's walking, need to walk it back to base first so it doesn't die. Hope mid doesn't want that courier! Almost never had flying courier that early in pub games.
4. I'd usually go jungle at this point, but might stay if farm is good.
5. Use courier to bring boots.
6. Again, run courier up to secret shop to get beast heart, back down to base (if walking), and back to me. Hope mid doesn't want that courier!
7. Now I can kick ass with my HotBL!
- Note, if I happen to die, I have to walk/port myself or send courier to the secret shop to get lifetube and beast heart.
This is how I usually play zephyr NOW (no secret shop):
1. Go to short lane.
2. Try to farm up gold for life tube
3. Try to buy a life tube from the side shop IF the lane is pushed. If not, have the courier bring it to me. I can also have it deliver it to me when jungling close to base so it only makes a short trip.
4. I usually go jungle at this point, but might stay if farm is good.
5. Use courier to bring boots. Like #3, a short trip with the courier in the jungle.
6. Use courier to get beast heart. Like #3, a short trip with the courier in the jungle.
7. Now I can kick ass with my HotBL!
- Note, if I happen to die, I can just buy components in base.
I don't know about you, but I like version #2 a lot better. And remember, HotBL was an item that rocked when you got it EARLY, because it's physical deflection was such a large part of your enemy's auto attacks. Got it 3-5 minutes later and you were quite a bit less powerful.
Last edited by tyrantanic; 07-01-2012 at 12:32 AM.
That would make sense if everything that you needed the secret shop for got nerfed but they did not. Your theory has obvious holes.
The only other small items were mana-ring and sustainer. Mana-ring changed so many times that I can't remember the details of how it worked. Sustainer might be good early on, but most people saved buying the mana tube later on because it's percentage based, unlike the lifetube which is flat-point based.
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maybe Helm should remain 60% chance to block 20 damage when it has no charge
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