This has been discussed before, but since nothing has been made or done to change the situation, I fear the discussion has to be updated and brought back to the front scene.
Here are some numbers and facts that will be needed for the discussion:
+10 Attack speed
+75% Mana regen
Ignores 2 / 4 / 6 magic armor
Also passively lowers the cooldown of skills by a low %
2575 Gold for the basic item (2 ignore), 3575 for the advanced item (4 ignore) and 4575 for the upgraded item (6 ignore).
Follow is a link to the spellshard FAQ. What is important to note is that no matter how much magic armor ignore you have, you will not go below 0. Moreover, if you get harkon blade, the penalty will only apply BEFORE the ignore counts in.
Here is a list of items that counter spell casters and their cost:
- 400 gold for magic vestment
- 2050 gold for shaman's headdress
- 3653 gold for a barrier idol
- 3900 gold for shrunken head
- 4725 gold for hellflower
- 4850 gold for nullstone
Bonus: 4600 gold for a fully upgraded shieldbreaker
Armor ignore is weaker than armor penalty. Yet, shieldbreaker fully maxed costs only 25 gold more than a fully maxed spellshard. Shieldbreaker is to be compared to harkon blade, yes, and harkon is definately a much better item in many cases (yet a bit more expensive). What I cannot understand however is why spellshard is so expensive for the little limited benefit it offers. Why does a penalty item, arguably the best of its kind, cost only a few 25 gold more than an item that gives a much weaker benefit.
It could be argued that magic armor is much more efficient than physical armor, and so having more (stacking) items that reduces physical armor over items that reduce magic armor is a good and logical thing. This would be a fine way to approach and defend the weakness of spellshard. HOWEVER, if magic armor is so much more efficient, why is it that magic vestment, an item that shields you against the advanced spellshard's effect (3575 gold) costs only 400 gold? Why is it that for 1100 gold lesser than a fully upgraded spellshard you can have +10 magic armor, versus the -6 magic armor IGNORE than the spellshard gives? Or that for 600 gold less, you can go around with a shrunken head that makes you completely immune to spells for as long as its effect is activated?
Spellshard as it stands is only useful on (maybe) 2 or 3 heroes in the roster, not against any opponent (aracna gives herself something like 34 magic armor from her carapace.....), and is very often less effective and useful than (say) going hellflower, which is about 200 gold more expensive only, but gives much stronger benefit, against all types of damage types, on top of silencing them.
Many solutions can be proposed, and here are few of them
- Change the cost of all the items listed above (this would be a bad solution, but still one)
- Lower the cost of spellshard by a lot (this would be effective, fair, and efficient)
- Make it so the ignore applies BEFORE the penalty kicks in (this would also be effective, fair, and efficient, but would indirectly buff many characters as well as Harkon)
- Change the item's effect for something else (increased magic damage maybe? a chance to dispel buffs on cast? a chance to stun on cast? (magic savage mace?))
- Change the item's effect so that it becomes an aura/dome that affects all enemy heroes self-damage as well (with increased range on the aura per evolution. This would then work wonder against a character like devourer)
Any other suggestions? Anything to bring to the discussion?
Last edited by MushidoZ; 08-05-2012 at 08:10 PM.
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The issue you are bringing up is indeed a very real one, and stems from many different things, some of which you brought up. I think a serious discussion on this topic is clearly needed and as such the level of discussion should be kept thus, serious, with the forum rules in mind.
Any deviations from this will yield consequences.
Last edited by Ekamo; 08-08-2012 at 08:08 AM.
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Only barrier idol, shrunken head, and HF are true counter to magic and casters. Magic damage (from spells, harkons, or attack modifiers) scale incredibly well into late game. unlike physical armor, there is a limit on most heroes, how high their magic armor can be. Your mystic vestments argument is somewhat flawed. Yes, for 400 gold it does ignore the armor penetration effects of spellshards 2. It isn't possible to stack 2-3 vestments and start walking around with ~40% magic damage reduction. By stacking spellshards, it is incredibly easy for a magic user to deal true damage with all of his/her spells.
With that said, I am wondering why you left out the fact that spellshards lower the cooldowns of spells AND ITEMS by a significant amount and that you left out that multiple spellshards can be stacked for bonus stats and armor penetration (not sure about cooldown yet).
Unlike SB, I don't think spellshards are meant to be splashable on every hero. It was meant for heroes that has damage sources that primarily come from magic. If spellshards were buffed, it might be too broken for the heroes they currently work well for the cost of it making it more useful to a larger hero pool.
On top of that, its not the fact that spellshards are a poor item. Its just that there are often better items choices for the given hero. Items like SOR, Insanitarious, and riftshards are fairly balanced but not every hero can use the item to its maximum potential.
My verdict? Leave it the way it is for now, change it if needed if a new hero/item/mechanic puts this item in the dumpster.
I did not include the cooldown because I wanted to make sure I had the right numbers when typing the item stats in and it doesn't say on the "item page" http://www.heroesofnewerth.com/items.php
I simply forgot to add it in because it actually is so low that it doesn't really make a difference in the end. As to the fact it stacks..
1) I didn't know
2) The cost is simply ridiculous to ever want to get more than one (or to even get one!), and there are way better items to get than that.
3) Shrunken head.
That item is pretty much already in the dumpster by the way..
Last edited by MushidoZ; 08-05-2012 at 08:16 PM.
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Physical resistance and damage is always going to have the upper hand over magic. This is because armor scales on heroes naturally through agility gain and physical reductions can scale with attack damage. Magic armour/damage is purely item dependent whether you’ve purchased a vestments, spell shards of SotM it’s the only way to increase magic abilities (with the exception of some heroes passive ability to increase magic damage e.g thunder bringer, damp etc)
Shaman’s headress cost 2k provides 10+armour. While we could argue cost and the stats it provides, I think this item is somewhat good for what it is purely because there a few heroes that will pick it up and these are typical strength heroes. If you’re picking up Shamans you do it for one reason only and that’s to tank magic damage. You’d never see a Valk or Witchslayer get these items to counter magic nukers, the pickup would be vestments.
Agi heroes and intel heroes are more likely to opt for shrunken head as it provides some HP and provides full immunity which is perfect for a glacius or tempest to channel an ulti without dying instantly to stuns etc, or even heroes such as TDL who need full immunity for 10secs or less without dying in the aoe of the fight.
With that in mind I think the main issue is vestments being so god damn cheap!!!!! I think if this cost more e.g 600g it would make it less of a simple side-shop pick up and allow spell casting gankers to keep their lane dominance for longer.
I personally like the spellshards build-up and I think it’s one of HoN’s best idea’s, yes it is somewhat expensive but the buildup of it is really easy and perfect for any intel hero that may buy it, please also keep in mind the items other benefits such as cooldown reductions.. Perhaps an decrease in recipe cost from 1k to 900 or 800 would make it more appropriate, or perhaps even increasing the other benefits of the item such as its damage or mana regen may make it more appealing for other heroes such as DR or SoulStealer.
Also on a side note can anyone confirm is spell shards stack? E.g buying x2 level 3 spell shards would double all benefits including cd reduction?
Harkons is a very strong item but is more suited to some heroes mostly heroes that are able to pump some out decent physical and magic damage, heroes like puppet, madman, dr, hag come to mind. Casters such as TB, Artesia generally don’t get this item as they never get the change to attack. I don’t want to say too much as I feel harkons is only countered by Shrunken head and is a separate balance issue to spell shards, magic armour and spell casters.
I was under the impression that Spellshards was made intentionally weak so that early game magic damage heroes wouldn't completely take over every game, but have an option to extend the time that they have their advantage. Spellshards also only takes the stats of Great Arcana and doesn't improve with upgrades.
I've recently been building Spell shards on hag, I build her with a nullstone, spell shards and a frost plate then split push the lanes keeping the pressure on there base. Do you know how annoying it is to kill a tank with a 5 second blink?
I'm no pro-player but it works for me and spellshards play a major factor in this working for me.
Most conventional hags would go for hellflower frost wolf amiright?
I don't see how Spellshards would be part of that brilliant piece of strategy, a hag would much more likely be better off with another item such as Hellflower, Sheepstick, Harkon's or even FWS, Savage Mace, Shieldbreaker and other "DPS" items that late into the game.
Sure, Spellshards might be a tad underrated, but they don't offer much that is gamebreaking, even less so on Hag despite the hero having multiple AoE abilities (two, or three with FFP). Cooldown reduction is of course never bad, but you have to realize that Hag has no major cooldowns on her abilities anyway. Because the hero has a ranged attack and a blink it is more desirable to abuse this fact and get some good damage dealing items on her, because she'll be hard to kill without proper disable rotation and she can enter and exit fights with relative ease meaning that she will get many good chances of dealing considerable auto attack damage.
How is Spellshards even part of a split-pushing strategy? Even more curious why it is a major factor of split-pushing as Hag. You won't push anything down much faster with Spellshards compared to a normal DPS item. Even SotM would probably achieve more, considering that item also reduces the cooldown of the ultimate.
Spellshards is most valuable I would say on heroes like Behemoth, Magmus and mayhaps Bomb/TB/Ellonia/Engineer (heroes that are not mobile and/or won't deal much damage with auto attacks and still has most of their power in their AoE damage) as luxury items at best, and this is often when the opponents are starting to throw away Mystic vestments on their important targets (the supports are of course important too, but they are probably the least likely to throw this item away unless they are a Barrier/Shaman's Headress-going hero. By that time most would still say that a 2.5 or 4 seconds disable is better and more useful, or simply more sustained damage with normal attacks. Point being, while Spellshards do have beneficial effects it is seldom the most beneficial item to get.
I can't say how I would fix this issue though, price can be a cheap way of solving it (huehue), but it seems inelegant. I would rather change some mechanic of it, perhaps tweak around with the core characteristics. There are probably some SotM effects even are better for both damage amplifications AND cooldown reductions than what Spellshards offer, even if it is only the ultimate that is affected by SotM. A numbers buff also seems inelegant, and if such a change is going through I'd actually rather see a buff to the cooldown reduction rather than MA-ignore amount, because the amount of MA ignored is actually decent enough as I see it.
While I agree on that simply copy-pasting what competitors do is not a good way of learning how to play versatile and think outside the box, or even to show if a hero/item is super bad or not, I simply can't agree with that this item is 'very viable'. It might be a decent pickup but for that price there will in most situations always be something better to get (depending on what the situation demands).
Stats are like women in bikinis, they are interesting to look at however they don't show you everything.
Physical damage dealers.
Spellshards really made the difference it really made scream sting.
The point of it was to blink in cast and take damage, draw as much attention as possible so my team could rax or push another lane.
Anyway the point of it isn’t to discuss strategy but please don’t under estimate the power of spellshards on hag.
Creeps have 0 magic armor, so spellshards doesn't help anyone push lanes any faster. Well, to be exact, the -9% cooldown reduction helps a small number of heroes a little bit.
Last edited by Antimodus; 08-05-2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Last edited by Skinsword; 08-05-2012 at 09:42 PM.
The item is not really amazing but there are definitely a few heros that it's still worth buying, particularity those that are mostly magic based, have HIGH mana dependency and have the potential for a lot of AOE damage (like artesia, tb, ellonia). Why? Because most of the time other single target/autoattack casters are better off with hellflowers and alike. I still think the item is a little too expensive for what it does, it would be nice to see a small recipe price reduction to maybe 800 or 900g but it's not really useless, just very situational.
The combination of Hellflower + Spellshards gives said casters very high damage even lategame if you bother trying it.
Okay, here goes nothing.
Physical Armour vs. Magic Armour:
A lot of this is obviously rooted in the ported DotA mechanics (a lot of which are solid enough; Magic/Physical/Chaos (True) and the corresponding Armour) - Physical Armour (PA) scales with Agility and PA additions. Magic Armour (MA) only scales with MA additions. There are more items that grant PA than items that grant MA.
Ergo, PA is always going to be more prevalant that MA. For that reason, comparing Shieldbreaker (SB) to Spellshards is something of a misnomer because if Spellshards were as effective as a leveled SB you'd have a greater percentage of impact (considering the lower average value(s) of MA on heroes compared to PA). That's not even touching on the cost-effectiveness of SB and the aspects of that item that make it an unequivocally strong item pick in a vast majority of situations.
PA penalties go beneath 0, as do MA penalties (a la Harkons). Spellshards merely negates MA above 0 - this is a design issue made so that combining various types of MA reduction (Rhapsody, Harkons, Spellshards) doesn't result in a horrific amount of negative MA which would result in an imbalanced ability to kill a target. However, this is because MA isn't as prevalant as PA. The reason why this design decision was made was probably because there is simply not as much MA in the game as there is PA.
What would removing MA negation/turning it into MA reduction achieve: A large buff to Rhapsody's utility, specifically (a niche issue that can be addressed separately which may not even need touching dependent on Rhap's competitive ability and game presence). A huge combination bonus between Harkons and Spellshards, in addition to a (major) buff to Spellshards utility.
Honestly, I think that'd fix a lot of the issues with Spellshards (suddenly, the price of the item is justified as a level 3 Spellshards will reduce the average MA of any hero below 0). No real change to the item required, merely a change to game mechanics. It removes confusion between MA reduction and MA negation as well which is, in my opinion, simply complexity for the sake of fixing design issues already present in the game (lack of MA compared to overabundance of PA, as outlined above).
But you mentioned an issue of combining MA reduction items to gain horrific Magic Damage potential: if someone can farm a Harkons and a Spellshards, then either they're winning comfortably or the other team should build Shrunken Head(s) and/or Barrier Idol. If the metagame shift causes Magic Damage-based gankers to gain too much prevalence then iterate another addition to the MA pool of items (which is, of course, incredibly limited at the moment). Why not revert the change? Because it fixes things. It fixes more, mechanically, than adding an additional MA item would break (in my opinion). I'm not suggesting something like another Vestments (cost over-effectiveness, I choose you!) or anything as silly as a Magic Platemail. Something that Vestments builds into that isn't Shaman's, as a limited example. But that's only if such an item would be needed.
Issues with Spellshards specifically (independent of Magic Armour reduction):
The cooldown reduction is superfluous. There, I said it.
It's a tacked-on addition that serves little-to-no purpose on the item. Yes, it's just shy of 10% at level 3 . . . but at that level of farm you could have a Hellflower which grants +225% mana regeneration (cooldown reduction doesn't help issues with a limited mana pool) and an amazing active ability (not to mention damage and base stats). You don't get Spellshards for the cooldown reduction. It offers no survivability - it is a directly offensive item (hence the comparison to Hellflower). You can get Hellflower for the mana regeneration, the attack speed and damage, and/or the stat bonuses.
You get Spellshards for the slight bonuses a Great Arcana gives (for the heroes that don't necessarily need much mana regeneration; see Pebbles) and the MA negation.
The second issue. For the recipe cost it doesn't provide decent benefits. Shieldbreaker scales your damage and PA penalty. Spellshards scales the MA negation and that's about it (unless you think a 3% increase in cooldown reduction is worth the pricetag).
But SB grants an Attack Modifier and Spellshards doesn't: yes, and this enables other heroes to benefit from the PA reduction. Only the user benefits from Spellshards.
So I'm arguing that not only is one part of the Spellshards utility relatively useless, but the recipe cost doesn't provide the benefits such a cost should provide. We've seen some suggested fixes to that - increase the cooldown reduction(s), lower the recipe cost. However, lowering the recipe cost increases the availability of the item and makes MA negation more prevalent (forcing opponents to stack MA or die to burst-based gankers). This isn't ideal. We want Spellshards to be more cost-effective for the heroes that currently afford it (amongst other items of a similar cost). We don't want to nerf the price as this would reduce the 'tier' of the item to a mid-game burst enhancement (that would tail off in effectiveness compared to other end game items in addition to increasing the snowball factor of successful burst-based gankers. That would have a bad impact on gameplay, in my opinion).
Making the cooldown reduction actually useful? I agree. Removing MA negation and replacing it with MA reduction? As it's something I thought of, naturally I like that as well.
Removing the cooldown reduction entirely and adding another type of utility? Making the recipe upgrade the base stats of the item? All viable options that could be looked into.
I want to shy away from simply reducing the cost, though, and I just wanted to stress the difference between MA negation and MA reduction. I also wanted to hammer home how useless cooldown reduction is in it's current state.
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I agree when it boils down to the cooldown reduction. There was some outcry in the community when the feature was added and at the end of the day it is pretty useless at a mere 10% for the pricetag. The item is not all about cooldown reduction yet they brought it in to the game solely for this item (at the time) and since it's been side-benched. It is nothing more than a gimmick and should not be a part of the item for that reason.
Since the overall point of the spellshards is to deal damage, I agree that the replacement of MA negation for reduction is a good direction to head in (though I'm not sure it is a solution). Perhaps we should either make it worth the price tag and remove useless side effects, or we should change the focus of the item (make a new one? Split spellshards in two?) so that there is a point to the cooldown reduction and it would be at least a situational (for some heroes) CDR item. This will move it to a primary use of prologing the overall crowd control duration for heroes that rely on this however, and should be explored careful as it would shake the metagame. I, personally, would like CDR removed from HoN until a time that it fits into an item as a part of it instead of as a gimmick.
Cooldown reduction currently does actually matter on some heroes (Behe/Mag) that wants to cut maybe 20seconds off from their ultimates. While a buff to CD reduction would in essence be a buff to these heroes, I am not sure if it will be a big problem even so.
Stats are like women in bikinis, they are interesting to look at however they don't show you everything.
I belive that spellshard is an unbalancable item. Why ? Because S2 made countless number of op nukers who can flash farm. At the current state of the game bursting down enemy isnt any problem. Early game is just possesed by nuking heroes. Nukers in mid game still got great potential and are a lot more effective than many carries since they drop down enemy instantly before they can cast anything. Late game is the place where nukes lose their power and get outmatched by physical dmg carries, but thats just how it should be.
Another problem of spellshard is that it doesnt require any additional items. When comparing it to shieldbreaker we can notice the fact that shieldbreaker needs (in most cases) help of other carry items to become rly effective. Getting shieldbreaker effect on a hero with low AS and DMG doesnt increase your dmg that much and with no hp its very possible that you will get bursted down before you will have time to do some longer term dmg. Argument bout sb affecting team can be made but in most cases its not as big as many could think since early-mid game supports/gankers doesnt do substantial dmg. At the same time spellshard is an item requiring only lvls. You dont need additional items to increase your dmg, so -6 magic armor at lvl 10 gives uncomparably bigger bonuses to nuker than to a average carry hero with just a shieldbreaker. Im not trying to say that spellshard is an item superior to shieldbreaker but that its effectivness in a short period of time is a lot stronger and the high price is necessary drawback to not make it/burst heroes broken.
I belive that untill we get some serious look at how powerfull hon nukers are (flashfarm + nuke potential), there cant be made any change buffing spellshard without making him/nukers imba.
I don't think the item is bad so much as the heroes that really benefited from it have fallen out of favor in the pro scene - correct me if I'm wrong, but we don't see TB, Chipper, or Bombardier nearly as much anymore, and those three were the prime candidates for a Spellshards pickup. They were incredibly dominant in the early game and getting a Spellshards allowed them to extend their early dominance further into the game when they'd usually be dropping off due to Vestments pickups across the other team.
I personally feel like Spellshards needs to have some sort of remake done to it because straight up buffing it would cause some heroes to become problems. We've gotten more nukers added like Ellonia/Artesia who would break a buffed Spellshards. As to what it should be remade into, I can't say. Right now though it seems like a faux spellcaster item that is basic filler space. The cd reduction is pathetic and simply ignoring magic armor penalizes some heroes and some item combinations.
I agree with Gorb's analysis and would like to add that you can get two armor pieces and it would stack. However, getting 2 mystic vestments won't do you any good.
Therefore, I can see why Spellshards is made the way it is currently.
Also, it is not like magic damage dealers can't get physical damaging items to carry: FWS + Nullstone + Savage Mace Hag anyone?
Last edited by foxmindedguy; 08-07-2012 at 03:30 AM.
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