League of Legends theory crafting: an alternative to CS bounties

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

There have been a lot of complaints among the League of Legends community with regards to the shutdowns and bounties, so we have given a look to an alternative system.

Perhaps no system in League of Legends Season 9 has gotten more scrutiny than the new CS bounty and shutdown system. Many players have pointed out how odd or ridiculous it is to see players who are massively behind somehow have a bounty for farming well. The system even drew the wrath of pro players like Doublelift, who stated the system “ruins the point of outlaning someone.”

Riot stated that the goal of the new system was to encourage action and fighting, increasing the pace of League of Legends. However, players have also pointed out that by doing so Riot is encouraging more passive play because players who farm well and get a bounty are incentivized to not fight and give over that extra gold to the enemy.

I think both sides of this argument have merit, that Riot shouldn’t allow for players to passively farm and build up a massive bank account without some risk coming to them, but out-laning your opponent through CS and wave manipulation shouldn’t put a bounty on your head.  Neither side disputes the notion that bounties have their place in League of Legends, specifically when it comes to killstreaks. This makes sense, that killing an opponent who has been on a killing streak should be rewarded greater than normal.

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So let’s examine the killstreak bounties, and what the goal of these shutdown rewards are. For the player with the bounty, though, the bounty actually creates an incentive to change his behavior to play less aggressively. The system is essentially saying “hey you’ve done really well killing people, but if you keep trying to do that and die you’ll throw your lead.”

Now, for CS bounties, what is the incentive for the player with the bounty on his head? It’s basically also don’t die, but that won’t change his behavior since he got his lead by passively farming. Instead, Riot wants to encourage him to change his behavior to play more aggressively. The system just doesn’t do it well.

Instead, I’d propose that we do away with CS bounties and look instead to a system that is already in place to prevent massive advantages from accumulating through an uninteractive playstyle: funneling.

Recall that Riot has added a change to jungle items that will cause junglers to receive heavily reduced gold from all minions when they have the most gold on their team. Why not apply this same buff across all positions?

But instead of it applying to the players with the most gold, it would apply to the laner who has X CS more than their opponent. This would be independent of other bounties and make it so that if you are out-laning your opponent purely by CSing that you won’t be able to accelerate your lead by passively farming. Instead, you’ll be encouraged to get advantages more by denying your opponent the opportunity to farm by either killing them or getting kill pressure to deny them creeps.

Of course, there could be perverse incentives, like playing supports in solo lanes to sap the CS gains from the opponent’s farming. This could indirectly lead to a form of funnelling, so maybe it would be X gold from CSing above the game average or some variation. The point is, that this system wouldn’t punish players for CSing well, but force them to use their advantage in a different way.

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What do you think about this alternative to CS bounties? Let us know what issues you have with this theory in the comments!