why variants shouldn't be endgame content
so on the forums I have noticed a small but growing group of players who are dissatisfied with the level of difficulty in the game, particularly around variants. Whilst it is not exactly the same people every time the point is cropping up enough that think it's worthy of an essay. Since the whole debate around endgame and progressing content is so large I have decided to split it up into smaller chunks the first one on why variants should not be endgame content, enjoy more parts coming soon!
One of the points increasingly touted by veterans to express dissatisfaction with the game experience is the dirth of endgame content. With the releases of 7.1 and the beta for 7.2 it is clear that act 7 is headed to be easier than act 6 ever was. Variants additionally starting around v4 and up to the latest variant (at time of writing) variant 7 are becoming increasingly both easy and cheesy. (for reference I would define cheesiness as how far outside an A-typical fight an interaction sits, for example arena being the most vanilla as no nodes are present and nodes such as power reserve and madness as very cheesy as they enable a player to avoid some of the typical actions in a fight such as evading or parrying. Nodes such as Icarus sitting in the middle of this as they create tremendous benefits when combined with champions existing abilities but they require no changes to style of game-play to exploit.
However I would argue that variants are not and should not be endgame content, why you ask, because the rewards for variants are rank up gems which have most value for progressing players. Currently in mcoc their is a power cap of 6 star r3, no summoner has yet achieved a r4 champion so the max power for all endgame players is roughly equivalent sitting at a team consisting of multiple 6 star r3s and a few 5/65s. However endgame players are still gaining rank up resources from monthly EQ and side quests even if they have finished every piece of permanent content so they invest these in broadening as supposed to heightening their rosters. Most progressing players rosters appear as a pyramid with a lot of 3 and 3 star champions, fewer 4 stars and even fewer 5 stars ascending as power level and rarity increases. However endgame players have squatter rosters with higher concentrations 5/65 champions, the r3 cap for 6 stars ensures that rosters are broadening as their is no higher level of power level to strive for. All current rank up gems located in variant rewards are for 5 star champions and are optimal for later midgame players such as high uncollected or just over the line for cavalier, but for endgame players the difficulty level of variants is lacking. It designed for midgame with good reason your 15th 5/65 has much less impact than your 1st. Whilst I am not arguing that endgame players shouldn't wish for variants to be harder I am asking they bear in mind that designing variants as endgame content in line with act 6 100% or similar would widen the disparity between the endgame and midgame. It is safe to say that a player beginning the game even a year ago would struggle to catch up to where endgame players are now, by making new variants more endgame oriented with higher power enemies and more specific fights this would lock RUGs behind difficulty those who need them cannot complete and make them available only to those endgame players for whom they have less impact, I full accept endgame players need sufficiently challenging content but varinats is not the place for it.