Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

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

Gandalftheegrey

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

Recruiter

08-09-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorMcPain View Post
You're absolutely wrong... I don't wanna be rude but did you ever play DOTA? Nothing is tuned to 11 in DOTA, the game is a LOT more balanced than League and you rarely see people complain about overpowered heroes because you're actually picking mechanics instead of numbers and it's all up to how well you can make use of those mechanics. Surely if you read heros' skills you will see that their effects are more powerful, but most of those skills don't scale, they have limiting mana costs, and they're in general harder to use. It's League of Legends that's tuned to 11, believe me or not.

As I said, you guys are just driven by fanaticism and you just don't want to reason about things. You could have a better game if you just stopped sucking up to Riot blindly. Did you watch the video in my post? What do you think about it? That stuff happens a lot in DOTA, I'll quote it back so yuo won't have to read my post (I know you didn't read it when you downvoted).
The only thing I disagree with you on is the fact that unless I agree with you on what I find fun and balanced, I'm automatically wrong. There is no discussion there. And I upvoted you before I wrote my response.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

DoctorMcPain

Senior Member

08-09-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by superj2015 View Post
The only thing I disagree with you on is the fact that unless I agree with you on what I find fun and balanced, I'm automatically wrong. There is no discussion there. And I upvoted you before I wrote my response.
Did you watch the video? Answer yes or no.

Also imagine the same scenario occurring in League. Low health teammate gets grabbed by a Blitzcrank across a ledge, she has no Flash.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Gandalftheegrey

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

Recruiter

08-09-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorMcPain View Post
Did you watch the video? Answer yes or no.

Also imagine the same scenario occurring in League. Low health teammate gets grabbed by a Blitzcrank across a ledge, she has no Flash.
Yes I did, and I also find that very interesting spell combo. And I think that a teammate grab would work very well in league of legends, even if it is possible to be a bit "troll-y'. But I also find backing very nice in league that I would love to have in DoTA or mage scaling. But the companies that make both of those games have decided that they do not want that in their game, and while I may disagree with that, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad and realize that there might not be one perfect game for everyone.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Siryulian

Senior Member

08-09-2012

" a +10 damage aura to a skill that every 10 seconds gives flaming weapons that make +30 damage to all teammates next attack (with fire and explosions!)"


Riot pls


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

EnderForHegemon

Senior Member

08-13-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
It wont be as much in the mid-december patch. We are reducing global XP rewards in general, and giving solo laners an XP penalty (no effect on junglers). We feel this will make double duo lane viable, or closer to it anyway.
your jedi instincts need a recalibration


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

DiamondHost

Senior Member

08-13-2012

just finished reading all the red posts...


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

KSHarrison

Senior Member

09-02-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by noobxslayer View Post
just finished reading all the red posts...
me too. Too bad so many of them were in response to people not governed by developed reasoning abilities.

I kept wondering what Zileas meant by a pseudo-random ability. From what I could infer from his posts, it seems to reduce the chance that an RNG ability occurs in succession. It still wouldn't fix the damage that getting a crit twice over a period of 2 minutes in a lane could do. I sometimes wonder if the game would have been better off with no RNG elements; if crit were abolished altogether or perhaps replaced by some other bonus such as: increases damage by 10% (corresponding to a 10% CrC).

Crit is such a traditional feature in RPGs that people feel like every RPG should have it, when really I think its continued existence is somewhat questionable. If anything, the message sent by Zileas's OP is that game designers have in the past decade moved towards a perception that sensible game design/fun > maintaining tradition just for the sake of doing so.

In terms of LoL, Riot could easily replace crit chance with a flat percentage damage increase. They could even leave the name critical hit for the mechanic. The only issue that then arises is CrD runes would need to be removed, and the IE's unique passive would need to be translated into a % damage bonus number. Of course, the removal of CrD is unimportant. The runes themselves are rather underpowered, so no one would miss them. I believe a full set of CrD runes becomes useful once you have ~65% CrC from items. I have the number calculated somewhere.

People would complain for a while about it, but looking at this thread, people always seem to complain when they don't get the mechanics they expect, even though their inner justification (subconscious or not) for maintaining these mechanics is based on their own feelings and are thus arbitrary, rather than any logical reason for the mechanic's existence. In terms with consistency with the Zileas's design philosophy, I find a mechanic that has a flat damage percentage increase far more intuitive, with more easily understood game play ramifications, than a critical hit factor based on probability. I believe other players would feel the same way, especially ones who don't have years of experience with critical hit probability from other RPGs to have developed a gut feeling for its efficacy, although even this gut feeling is probably in many instances inaccurate in its judgment of crit's impact on the game. The more I write and think on this, the more I realize: what an unnecessarily complex and cumbersome mechanic.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Slivyrr

Senior Member

09-02-2012

Speaking of fun and anti-fun.
Why does the tanky-DPS design still exist? Nobody likes it and it only hurts the gameplay experience.

Frankly, picking up Dota 2 felt like a breath of fresh air because people actually die in that game and garbage play/strategy isn't cushioned by an "Oh it's okay since you built extra HP and defense."


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

KSHarrison

Senior Member

09-02-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerShadowX View Post
Speaking of fun and anti-fun.
Why does the tanky-DPS design still exist? Nobody likes it and it only hurts the gameplay experience.

Frankly, picking up Dota 2 felt like a breath of fresh air because people actually die in that game and garbage play/strategy isn't cushioned by an "Oh it's okay since you built extra HP and defense."
Why is tanky-DPS design bad? I appreciate that there is a defensive factor in this game. It opens up more options for play and counterplay. Defense, in particular tanky DPS, is countered by overwhelming offense by an AD carry who scales harder.

If tanky DPS were OP, competitive teams would fill their team with tanky DPS. Instead, it is limited to one or two spots on a team, and sometimes is disregarded altogether. To me, that suggests balance rather than being OP. For comparison, an AP carry is *always* 1 or 2 spots on a team and is never disregarded. An AD carry is *always* 1 spot, and infrequently 2 spots (Kayle/Corki/Graves top) and is never disregarded. Support is *always* 1 spot, sometimes two (I consider Yorick to eventually become more support like), and is never disregarded. Tanky DPS is arguably one of the least necessary roles in the game, because teams can actually be made without a tanky DPS on it. I certainly wouldn't describe it as any more prominent than the other archetypes.

And, anyways, I find it fun. Your post is reminiscent of so many other posts in this thread that Zileas patiently answered, where you apply your subjective definition of fun to every single player in this game. Don't you see the logical fallacy in that?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Raptamei

Senior Member

09-06-2012

I don't agree with most of these. I have some experience designing and balancing content in a similar genre and while PvP is a different beast, even I can tell you're way off the mark about Dota2.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Power Without Gameplay
This is when we give a big benefit in a way that players don't find satisfying or don't notice. The classic example of this is team benefit Auras.
This is because the auras are somewhat hidden, either as a passive on an item that is already loaded with stats or on an ability that does something else as an active ability. You get the auras "for free" and therefore don't particularly care about them.

It doesn't help that the auras are incredibly weak as well. Sona's Q aura adds about +10% damage (more like +5% for casters) while Vengeful Spirit in Dota 2 has an aura that adds +36% damage.

Also, a ton of abilities in League provide power without gameplay - except they are not passive so it looks like you're doing things while in reality your actions require no decisions. Hecarim is a prime example: neither his Q (the sweep attack) nor his W (the aoe dot aura) are tactical choices and there is no reason not to mindlessly mash QWQQQQQ in every fight because it increases your dps and has no downside. Many other bruiser abilities suffer from this issue as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Burden of Knowledge
This is a VERY common pattern amongst hardcore novice game designers. This pattern is when you do a complex mechanic that creates gameplay -- ONLY IF the victim understands what is going on. Rupture is a great example -- with Rupture in DOTA, you receive a DOT that triggers if you, the victim, choose to move. However, you have no way of knowing this is happening unless someone tells you or unless you read up on it online... So the initial response is extreme frustration.
This can easily be fixed through proper visual design. How do you visually explain Rupture? Simple: a debuff that creates small spikes on the ground that fade in as you approach and fade out behind you. It should be obvious that walking over spikes does damage.

Your Black Shield counter-example is poorly chosen because Black Shield does not clearly communicate that unlike every other shield in the game, it stops CC. It even looks identical to Udyr's turtle shield despite doing something completely different.

The Invoker diss you posted elsewhere is hilarious. You claim Invoker has a high burden of knowledge for the player fighting against him because he has 10 abilities? But each of these 10 abilities is blatantly obvious: when he casts a tornado at you, now you know that 1/ Invoker can cast tornadoes and 2/ you should dodge those tornadoes. Eventually you figure out his spells are colour coded to his orbs so you can make a ballpark guess as to what he'll be coming at you with.

Meanwhile Lee Sin has 7 abilities interconnected in a non-obvious manner, graphics that don't communicate what is going on and debuffs that go away too fast to read, and is generally impossible to figure out without reading up on how he works. Not to mention Volibear's passive which seems to exist mostly to bait newbies who don't know about it yet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Unclear Optimization
This is a more subtle one. when players KNOW they've used a spell optimally, they feel really good. An example is disintegrate on Annie. When you kill a target and get the mana back, you know that you used it optimally, and this makes the game more fun.
Trying too hard to avoid this pattern leads to one dimensional spells with very narrow uses. When you make it too obvious how a spell should be used optimally, you discourage alternative uses.

The result: "rotation" champions like Talon and Diana who do not have four individual abilities, but one big combo that just happens to involve four buttons and there is very little reason to use individual abilities outside this combo (unless you just want to poke). For instance, Talon's bleed is almost useless as a standalone ability because it is a melee attack on a squishy champion and deals less damage if the target isn't slowed.

Instead of encouraging on-the-fly problem solving, this style of design encourages players to just use the predefined combo and feel good because it does a lot of damage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
On the other hand, some mechanics are so convoluted, or have so many contrary effects, that it is not possible to 'off the cuff' analyze if you played optimally, so you tend not to be satisfied. A good example of this is Proudmoore's ult in DOTA where he drops a ship. The ship hits the target a bit in the future, dealing a bunch of damage and some stun to enemies. Allies on the other hand get damage resistance and bonus move speed, but damage mitigated comes up later. Very complicated! And almost impossible to know if you have used it optimally -- do you really want your squishies getting into the AOE? Maybe! Maybe not... It's really hard to know that you've used this skill optimally and feel that you made a 'clutch' play, because it's so hard to tell, and there are so many considerations you have to make.
Or you just make sure you hit everyone on both teams and you'll have used it optimally.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-Fun
Anti-fun is the negative experience your opponents feel when you do something that prevents them from 'playing their game' or doing activities they consider fun. While everything useful you can do as a player is likely to cause SOME anti-fun in your opponents, it only becomes a design issue when the 'anti-fun' created on your use of a mechanic is greater than your fun in using the mechanic (...) On the other hand, a strong mana burn is NOT desirable -- if you drain someone to 0 you feel kinda good, and they feel TERRIBLE -- so the anti-fun is exceeded by the fun.
Mana burn does have counterplay: buy a wand, arcane boots, soul ring, the kind of items that give you an instant mana heal. Mana burn cannot drain you below zero mana, so you just use those items a moment before you intend to use your actual spells. The enemy with the mana burn can then attempt to beat you to it and burn your mana off again before you cast your spells, creating counterplay on both sides.

If mana burn had no counter and you just had to sit there and auto attack, it would be a pretty poor mechanic. But Icefrog did implement the above countermeasures and you can buy them and use skill to overcome and negate the mana burn.

Of course this is a more strategic approach than the tactical skillshot/dodge gameplay Riot wants to promote. The real issue is that the League playerbase is borderline mentally deficient and incapable of making strategic decisions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Conflicted Purpose
This one is not a super strong anti-pattern, but sometimes it's there. A good example of this would be a 500 damage nuke that slows enemy attack speed by 50% for 10 seconds (as opposed to say, 20%), on a 20 second cooldown.
If either function is viable, you created essentially two spells in one: a powerful dps reducer and a nuke. See also Orianna's E.

Also, your example is weird. Why would a heavy damage nuke not be used at the start of a fight? Dropping a carry to half health instantly may well scare him out of the fight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
False Choice -- Deceptive Wrong Choice
This is when you present the player with one or more choices that appear to be valid, but one of the choices is just flat wrong. An example of this is an ability we had in early stages recently. It was a wall like Karthus' wall, but if you ran into it, it did damage to you, and then knocked you towards the caster. In almost every case, this is a false choice -- because you just shoudln't go there ever. If it was possible for the character to do a knockback to send you into the wall, it wouldn't be as bad.
I don't agree that walking into the wall is always a wrong choice: if the wall remains for like 10 seconds you may well want to swallow the hit just so you can get through it (cfr Veigar's playpen).

Also, the point of this wall is not to place it on the ground and hope some idiot walks into it, but to cast it directly in front of a running enemy so he cannot stop in time. People do get zapped by Rattletrap's power cogs all the time. The enemy can then attempt to counter this by juking you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Non-Reliability
Skills are tools. Players count on them to do a job. When a skill is highly unreliable, we have to overpower it to make it 'satisfying enough'. (...) Random abilities have this problem on reliability -- they tend to be a lot less satisfying, so you have to overpower them a lot more.
Agreed on randomness being problematic. However, skillshots are also inherently unreliable and this may contribute to the lack of aggression in LoL because this generally only affects the attacker. Defensive skillshots are both much fewer in number and pretty easy to land when the enemy is coming to you.