Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

First Riot Post
Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Malah

Senior Member

05-04-2012

Absolutely fascinating read.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

DJANGO UNCHAINED

Senior Member

05-04-2012

Hello Zileas.

I would like to know your stance on AP Sion.

Do you think his base mana pool needs a buff, seeing that his recommended build is AP? Or would it be anti-fun? He is blue buff dependent.

His current mana pool scales off of an AD champion, which Sion is "supposed" to be played as.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

S H I T 3

Member

05-14-2012

To Zileas:

I am a bit confused over your idea of "burden of knowledge" and "optimal execution". You make a case against complexity, research and min-maxing, which is a term familiar to WoW players. In essence it means getting the most out of your character, which by nature requires great game knowledge.

I wish to use the game that you were a great player at, which is Broodwar. I am also something of a Broodwar expert, not so much because of playing, but because of watching many many Korean games. Broodwar has not had a balance patch for 10 years.

Broodwar is on paper a very simple game, with only a few units per side to read up on. Nevertheless, it was very complex because it had endless possibilities on how you could use them. I heard that you were very good at shuttle-reaver micro, which is an excellent feeling to have when you pull it off for massive damage.

Now think of the Terran player who is trying to defend against this. It is terribly unfun for the first few games. Personally, it was very frustrating. It seemed overpowered. The solution is obvious, to build turrets, but where and when to build them? That was not obvious. How do you know when he is going for reavers? What if he proxies the tech? How would you guess?

Today, many professional Terran players can fend off shuttle-reaver harass with ease. There are answers to all of my questions above which come down to very minute details, which include (mostly) timing of his tech that you can scout, gas timings, gas mined, and tank/turret positioning. What a huge burden of knowledge! These are things that people thought long and hard about, extrapolated scenarios, tested them in practice, and finally found an answer to. They first learned how to beat it, and then had to learn how to optimally execute their defense.

In short, average Joe would never figure these things out. Nevertheless, if it were a crappy protoss player trying to beat average Joe with shuttle reaver, then average Joe could probably blindly overcommit to turrets and still fend it off.

These complexities are what made BW such an enduring game, and no other competitive game would ever come close to BW's success. You can't have a deep game without a large burden of knowledge, or by restricting mechanics and trying to limit player creativity. And when you finally reach enlightenment, you gain a huge sense of satisfaction, which is far greater than if the game had been shallow.

That's my argument. So you see, having a spell like rupture is not a bad thing, especially with the upon-death notifications on why you died. Rupture creates a difficult choice for not just the victim but the bloodseeker as well. Does he silence himself to get extra damage, or does he silence the victim he wants to rupture? Does the victim run anyway, stop dead in his tracks, or try to CC the bloodseeker and move in short bursts?

Compare this to a simple slow, of which there are many in LoL. The victim will never want to stand still and auto unless the attacker is piss weak. You will beat him whether he slowed you or not. That's one less factor he has to think about. You will not take damage from kiting, so you will CC the enemy and run/kite him. There is very little cast animation (cast point??) in LoL, so turning around to CC him is nearly always the right thing to do.

Is this oversimplification good for the game? Think about it. If not...Dota 2 is free and coming soon.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Rickilicious

Senior Member

05-14-2012

Non-Reliability: Have you ever tried to grab Ezreal as Blitz? What about Tristana's jump? She can jump even after she's been cc'd for a daamn second If Urgot ults you can still flash at the right time and now Urgot goes about twice the range of his Reverser
Riven is still OP and Karma is still terrible, these are reliable


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Xpyder

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

05-14-2012

Use Pattern Mis-matches Surrounding Gameplay = Graves(Ahri in some cases, those random Fox-Fire and the easily avoided orb)
Conflicted Purpose = Thats not a real problem... a debuff should always be used at the start, and at 20sec cooldown ill suppose that not even an ult so, use it first!!! dont be a jerk and use it to ks at the possible cost of the lives of ur teammates!


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

R66Y

Senior Member

05-14-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by S H I T 3 View Post
To Zileas:

I am a bit confused over your idea of "burden of knowledge" and "optimal execution". You make a case against complexity, research and min-maxing, which is a term familiar to WoW players. In essence it means getting the most out of your character, which by nature requires great game knowledge.

I wish to use the game that you were a great player at, which is Broodwar. I am also something of a Broodwar expert, not so much because of playing, but because of watching many many Korean games. Broodwar has not had a balance patch for 10 years.

Broodwar is on paper a very simple game, with only a few units per side to read up on. Nevertheless, it was very complex because it had endless possibilities on how you could use them. I heard that you were very good at shuttle-reaver micro, which is an excellent feeling to have when you pull it off for massive damage.

Now think of the Terran player who is trying to defend against this. It is terribly unfun for the first few games. Personally, it was very frustrating. It seemed overpowered. The solution is obvious, to build turrets, but where and when to build them? That was not obvious. How do you know when he is going for reavers? What if he proxies the tech? How would you guess?

Today, many professional Terran players can fend off shuttle-reaver harass with ease. There are answers to all of my questions above which come down to very minute details, which include (mostly) timing of his tech that you can scout, gas timings, gas mined, and tank/turret positioning. What a huge burden of knowledge! These are things that people thought long and hard about, extrapolated scenarios, tested them in practice, and finally found an answer to. They first learned how to beat it, and then had to learn how to optimally execute their defense.

In short, average Joe would never figure these things out. Nevertheless, if it were a crappy protoss player trying to beat average Joe with shuttle reaver, then average Joe could probably blindly overcommit to turrets and still fend it off.

These complexities are what made BW such an enduring game, and no other competitive game would ever come close to BW's success. You can't have a deep game without a large burden of knowledge, or by restricting mechanics and trying to limit player creativity. And when you finally reach enlightenment, you gain a huge sense of satisfaction, which is far greater than if the game had been shallow.

That's my argument. So you see, having a spell like rupture is not a bad thing, especially with the upon-death notifications on why you died. Rupture creates a difficult choice for not just the victim but the bloodseeker as well. Does he silence himself to get extra damage, or does he silence the victim he wants to rupture? Does the victim run anyway, stop dead in his tracks, or try to CC the bloodseeker and move in short bursts?

Compare this to a simple slow, of which there are many in LoL. The victim will never want to stand still and auto unless the attacker is piss weak. You will beat him whether he slowed you or not. That's one less factor he has to think about. You will not take damage from kiting, so you will CC the enemy and run/kite him. There is very little cast animation (cast point??) in LoL, so turning around to CC him is nearly always the right thing to do.

Is this oversimplification good for the game? Think about it. If not...Dota 2 is free and coming soon.
That's not really what Zileas was referring to when he was talking about "burden of Knowledge". If I see reavers being shuttled in, the counter (i.e., build some air defense to stop the shuttles) is immediately obvious. Now, how to effectively employ that counter as part of my overarching strategy is the interesting bit, but strategy is not what I believe was being discussed above. The burden of knowledge issue is for abilities that DON"T have any immediate response or whose effects are not readily identifiable. If I die in a game, and have no idea how or why I was killed without having to look it up online, that is poor game design. Even if it tells me rupture killed me, if it doesn't tell me how the spell worked (and is not obvious while I am playing), all it does is lead to frustration for players.

As far as optimization, I think the main idea was that abilities that have conflicting uses are, in general, bad because they can be difficult for players to know if they used them properly. Again, it's not a matter unclear strategy being bad (if optimal strategy was immediately evident, each game would feature the same 5-10 champs and we would never see any deviation in strategies between playing populations), but that for a single player a skill whose use is never clear is bad from a design standpoint. Not that there will never be these types of skills, but when you never get a "****, that was a clutch shot right there" moment because, even if you hit your objective, you are never sure if it was actually an effective use for your skill or if you should have saved it, it just isn't as satisfying for the player.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

S H I T 3

Member

05-14-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by R66Y View Post
That's not really what Zileas was referring to when he was talking about "burden of Knowledge". If I see reavers being shuttled in, the counter (i.e., build some air defense to stop the shuttles) is immediately obvious.
It's obvious yes, but you also need great game knowledge to figure out how many, when and where to build them. If you start building them when the reavers are already being drop, it's game over. If you build them too early, that's being inefficient and the opponent may not be really going reavers. If you build them in wrong locations, then you need more of them than you really need. Furthermore, without tanks, turrets really do quite little.

All these may be potentially game changing mistakes. The counter isn't so clear cut. Same with Rupture. Nowadays the death screen also displays tips, and we can easily fit in "moving under rupture causes heavy damage". Impossible to miss. So why can't we have rupture?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

XElement

Senior Member

05-14-2012

That necro...


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Atlamantle

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

06-07-2012

is good post


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Tortferngatr

Senior Member

06-11-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by S H I T 3 View Post
It's obvious yes, but you also need great game knowledge to figure out how many, when and where to build them. If you start building them when the reavers are already being drop, it's game over. If you build them too early, that's being inefficient and the opponent may not be really going reavers. If you build them in wrong locations, then you need more of them than you really need. Furthermore, without tanks, turrets really do quite little.

All these may be potentially game changing mistakes. The counter isn't so clear cut. Same with Rupture. Nowadays the death screen also displays tips, and we can easily fit in "moving under rupture causes heavy damage". Impossible to miss. So why can't we have rupture?
Brood War as a whole can to some degree afford to have a higher burden of knowledge than standard MOBAs-there are only three playable races, and chances are you'll have played all three at some point. You're probably going to have to look things up anyway to play each race properly, allowing for a game that relies on complex interactions between each race for depth.

All champs are free on DotA-if you see a champion who seems to be kicking your ass, you can look up how to play them and see how they work, while learning to counter them at the same time. Additionally, keep in mind DotA was much of a player-dedicated game than LoL, and fans could generally afford to spend some time looking up how to play.

Now imagine Brood War with 99 different races and counting, with only ten free each week and the others needing to be bought, each with their own strategies and tactics. Even if they're all balanced, it would still be a nightmare to play such a game if there weren't ways to DRASTICALLY reduce the b.o.k. of each race without sacrificing fun.

Or DotA with LoL's marketing strategy and audience-casual players will generally not be hooked if they can't even start the game without getting their asses annihilated.

LoL, as a game, can't really afford to have a high burden of knowledge for each champion due to the sheer number of champions it contains and its overall casual audience.

Also note that the reaver+shuttle example is more a matter of player skill than a matter of burden of knowledge. It's a matter that generalized player skill (and general research one has to perform to play the entire game) helps counter-for example, proper scouting can reveal that "hey, this guy's building Reavers+Shuttles, better nab units that counter them or pressure (another player skill) him/her out of that build." Reavers+shuttles have average b.o.k. in terms of finding the counter, but player skill influences their ability to work against them and use that counter successfully.

Malzahar is a good example of a champion that has an average b.o.k. whose ability to succeed is related to player skill-players who are bad won't get QSS and/or Treads against him, letting Malz maul them. Meanwhile, players who have good knowledge of how to build properly, play Gangplank, run Cleanse, or just CC him if he's ulted a teammate, will typically end up mauling the Malz player instead. Malzahar players at higher levels will know to have someone bait the Sash/oranges before ulting, while enemy players at higher skill levels will be careful to avoid that trap.

LoL has several champs like Malzahar-Sion (through ult,) Katarina (through ult,) Evelynn (most infamously,) Nunu (through ult,) and Tryndamere (beaten with Grievous Wounds items/Ignite/DoT effects/Tristana, Kat, Varus, MF, etc...) all come to mind. Their b.o.k. is either low or average, but they demand player skill to properly beat them.