For all the years that I’m on this forum topics like “Hero X needs a buff/nerf” appear regularly. Recent hot discussions about balancing heroes show that a situation when a hero of a group of heroes need some power changes is not rare.
We also know about a power creep effect when new heroes are stronger and have more skills than old ones. This is understandable, for new heroes must be more attractive. On the other hand, old heroes become less useful, which is not pleasant for people who spent money and resources on those heroes.
In a current design the game doesn’t have a mechanism of balancing. Every time some changes in hero power is requires it is a hard coded game change. Direct hero stats changing or introduction of costumes and emblems.
It doesn’t look flexible to me.
Moreover, people are always unhappy with nerfed heroes. IN another thread was a motto: “Buff, don’t nerf.”, which, actually, expresses players’ expectation.
The idea is to introduce a mechanism of artifacts. Artifacts will improve hero’s stats and/or give a hero some abilities like extra defense against red attack or immunity to mana reduction or something else.
Each hero should be able to carry a limited number of artifacts as their equipment. So, if there is a need for boosting a hero, an artifact can be issued.
The general idea is to implement “Buff, don’t nerf” approach. Instead of hitting better heroes into their head, kick weaker heroes into their… rear, so that they can catch up with newer ones.
In order to avoid a situation like with emblems that all the heroes can equally benefit from them and stronger heroes just become even more powerful, artifacts can be applicable to particular groups of heroes only. Say, Season 1 red or Sand Empire yellow. This way they can’t be overused.
In a cause of time even with some artifacts a hero may become weaker than majority of others. For that Alchemy lab should be able to combine one or several older artifacts into one new and more powerful one.
So, the system of artifacts gives a flexible mechanism of boosting older heroes without nerfing new onces.
I’d avoid introducing randomness into this artifact system. Players and heroes who are the primary consumers of those artifacts had already enough of randomness while obtaining and maxing their heroes. Let the game have some loyalty to them and provide reliable content.