Kalo's Love/Hate Relationship with Midas
Hey everyone, Kalo here. In this article, I’ll be going in-depth to explain why I believe Midas is definitely the superior gold generation item, and why the item will need either a severe nerf or complete removal from the game (as a purchasable item). I know these are drastic claims, so stick with me as we dive into a TDT match between Squirrel Posse & FeedMe for use as an example (feel free to tag along here if you want to).
Very briefly, for those that don’t know: Midas is the passive gold generation item in Breakaway. It costs 800 gold per tier (except the final, heroic one, which costs 2000), granting 200 gold per minute, scaling additively with each tier. In relative terms, these stats tell us a couple of things:
Because the final tier costs 2000 gold, it’s typically not worth buying unless you’re playing a buildable damage oriented build in which you can best make use of the “5% of all acquired gold is also given to your team” heroic perk because of the double gold dropped from buildable damages heroic perk.
It takes four minutes to “break even” with your initial gold investment, excluding all other income factors like kill participation, rounds ending, or in the case of Atlantis, gold buff. The exclusion of other factors is the highlight here, because what are the chances that you won’t participate in any other activity that’ll grant you gold?
Before I move on, I want to stress the importance of something I don’t see enough people doing: buying items mid round. Picked up a couple of kills in a fight for red buff but need to reset with your team before pushing? Head back to base and grab another item while you heal up. Obviously, you’ll need to be wary of when you do this as you don’t wanna get scored on with your shop up and your head down, but in a competitive setting some communication and timing should safeguard you easily enough.
More specifically, when going a gold generation route, buying the next tier of your item, whether it’s contract (bonus gold on kills and assists) or Midas, means you’ll be getting more gold, quicker. The difference here, and the beginning of why I believe the passive gold per minute is simply superior, is that with Midas, you’re getting instant and consistent value. Instead of 200 per minute, you get 400, whereas with contract, you’re getting 50 more gold per kill (and 25 per assist) than you were with the first tier, but you still have to get those eliminations to get value.
This is where the TDT match between Squirrel Posse & FeedMe comes into play -- let’s look at the first game of the match. GucciPants is known for his strong solo play and to complement it, his love of the contract. With his pick up of Black Knight, he’ll definitely be looking to secure some picks for his team. Not only that, but his teammate mPriest bought contract as well on Victor. Obviously they hope to get ahead early with some team fighting. Fast forward to the end of the round (SLIGHT SPOILERS BUT REALLY YOU SHOULD’VE SEEN THIS ALREADY C’MON GET WITH IT) and they are indeed ahead, mPriest at 3 kills and 1 assist (525 gold from contract), GucciPants at 1 kill, 2 assists (300 gold from contract). It sounds great, but here’s the problem: even Tier 1 Midas would’ve yielded more gold for both of them. Let’s do some math!
The round went to territory, meaning it lasted the full four minutes. However, GucciPants died twice, meaning he lost 25 seconds worth of gold (you don’t gain gold from Midas when you’re dead). That’s about 1/10 of the round, meaning he would’ve lost out on just under 100 gold (83 to be exact). We’re not done yet though: the contract costs 600 a tier, 200 less than Midas. So, simply subtract 200 gold from each player's “profit” and you get (800 - 83 - 200 =) 517 gold for GucciPants compared to the actual 300 he got from contract, and (800 - 200 =) 600 for mPriest, compared to his actual 525.
One could argue that the results here are an ideal example or something of the sort (although 3-4 kill participation seems pretty average to me, maybe even low for a territory round that’s as full of fighting as this one was), but this is where consistent value shows its strength. We’ve seen time and time again that when Breakaway matches are evenly skilled, they last longer. Whether it be because teams purposefully take less risks or if even matchups leave less room for punishment, the reason is irrelevant: you may not be able to guarantee eliminations on enemies, but you can definitely expect longer rounds or at the least play to make them so, and with that comes even more value for Midas.
Lastly, I want to talk about my mindset on Midas as a whole. I look at it as a sort of “ramp up” playstyle that pushes warriors past their mid game and into late, ideally before any other warrior (besides Rawlins, but that’s a whole other article) gets there. While I believe all warriors can benefit from this ramp, this is especially strong for those who benefit greatly from having their abilities up quicker like the casters Victor and Morgan. My typical gameplan is to get the 2nd or 3rd tier of Midas, depending on the pacing of the game.
(It’s quite situational, some examples could include: our team is ahead in the early rounds economy-wise and the first round was longer = 3rd tier/a lot of fighting has been happening in the first round = 2nd tier/at the start of the second round, I have enough gold to buy the 3rd tier of Midas and another item = 3rd tier). Like I said, this is quite situational and it’s best for players to develop their own sense for gold managing.)
After Midas, I’ll go into my first major buy, usually aiming to complete it’s heroic tier before purchasing anything else. As FilthieRich advised me before my first TDT appearance, focusing on one item at a time grants that heroic perk quicker which, depending on the item, yields massive value. However, this can change in cases where I feel I’m being focused harshly, in which I might buy a first or second tier defensive item before continuing my initial buy. After completing your other items, selling the Midas for another item is important: however, in some cases I find myself waiting to sell Midas until it grants me enough gold to immediately buy the heroic tier of said item, simply to get the most continual value out of the Midas I’ve already purchased. Like how deciding between 2nd and 3rd tier at the beginning of a match is entirely situational, this is too, as you may need to pick up lower tiers of that 4th item early to get the added combat value needed to win fights immediately.
As much as I hate saying it, I fully believe Midas needs to be nerfed or even completely removed in its current capacity. The obvious counter to Midas buys is early fighting and trying to finish rounds quickly, but the first tier combat item stat increases simply aren’t enough to guarantee wins, and by the time the second round starts and greater combat advantages can be bought, Midas has already done its job. Dropping its initial rates from 200 a minute to something smaller might make it feel like more of a risky buy, but in my eyes it feels like such a fine line that it’ll either be too strong or too weak with no in between no matter the numbers. Another option would be to completely take it out of the item shop and to give all warriors a static, passive gold generation. This would open possibilities for other types of gold-based balance, most notably the Rawlins buildable damage bank build (which I believe should be changed to drop an extra gold nugget instead of double, or just changed completely)...I could go on, but I digress.
I’d love to see some in-depth playtesting done surrounding Midas, as I know it’s (unfortunately) not in the “meta” for the developers aside from the Char$ky Rawlin$. That being said, if you have any additions, criticisms, or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’d seriously love to continue this discussion as I think it’ll be prevalent in balance discussion come the next alpha/beta test. You can find me at my Twitch and Twitter -- and let me just say thank you so much for reading as well, I know I put a lot of words in my articles but I do try my best to condense all of the information as much as I can.
Stay safe and beautiful!
Nice long read as always.
I just wanted to start out saying that I think it might be a bit too soon to say whether or not this item needs nerfs/buffs, but I agree with you saying it'd be nice to see some in-depth testing around the item.
You hinted a few times at possibly removing the item from the game, but I disagree with that. The fact that both the philo stone and the contract exist leads me to believe that the devs wanted passive gold generation that rewards two completely different playstyles; offensive and defensive.
With that being said I automatically think that we can't view them in the same exact way. I think we might be looking at contract solely as a starting item (at least in this example). What if we had a game where a team aimed to counter the first-item philo stone with combat items and used their statistical advantages in the early game instead?
The offensive team could keep the philo stone carriers dead (therefore not generating money) while getting money from kills and being one step closer to their own heroic combat item, while the players who bought the philo stone are out 800 gold for an item they can't stay alive to fully (passively) use. This could potentially lead to an advantageous mid-game phase where the offensive team can press their advantage and get contracts (as a slightly later purchase) to snowball their way to victory while they are already one step ahead on their road to heroic gear. As you said, the faster you get heroic gear the better. If that 800 gold gamble doesn't pay off you might wish you had put your money toward the actual heroic item you want.
Sure that may be an ideal situation, but so is a 4 minute round for people who want to play defensive and passively generate gold. I think both items are a gamble with specific counters and they both have a time and a place for their use. Maybe you get philo stone when you're confident your control game will go really well and there's no real threat of dying. Maybe you get the contract when you're getting tons of kills and your team is an unstoppable killing machine. I think only time can tell.
Also I think we need to keep in mind that we haven't seen too much of the game just yet. We had one weekend to play the alpha, and aside from that we only get to see (mainly) 16 people play competitively on a regular basis at this point in time. I don't think that's a big enough sample size to propose nerfs/buffs. If time goes on and we start to see that there is just no risk involved with buying this item, then I would probably suggest they tone down the gold generation rate of this item or maybe look at buffing the contract. I wouldn't want to abandon the idea of rewarding passive gold generation to two completely different playstyles.
I'll be sure to keep an eye on the item though and let you know if I think of anything else.