Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

First Riot Post
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Malurth

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Senior Member

10-16-2010

Okay I have some questions and comments.

1. How do you feel about slippery slope mechanics? I mention this because LoL seems like slippery slope incarnate (down on kills, you're outleveled and outfarmed, making it easier to kill you, making it even harder, meaning they have map control so they get dragon all the time and it gets harder etc). Granted nearly every one of these has a cap, more or less (level 18, 6 item slots, inhibitors respawn, etc)...but I always figured it was more of a poor design choice.

2. How about chance? I get that entirely removing chance is largely unrealistic for any competitive game, but would that not also be an anti-pattern? The EU dude mentioned it but it was never commented upon. Like a year ago I wrote up a whole draft for a competitive game with specific mechanics and numbers and was sure to completely avoid chance mechanics as much as possible (with one very significant exception), though I'm sure the entirety is still likely terrible design like pretty much everything I do

3. I can't say I agree with removing Flash as a summoner spell, even if replacing with an item. Flash boots would be even better than merc treads, and any other item would ubernerf damage output late game due to the item slot cap. For characters that rely on Flash (my Karthus certainly does) this will hurt pretty badly, and nearly all of those "relies on it" characters are already pretty low-tier. I get the "it makes early game lame" but I would think a better remedy would just be to modulate the distance based on level (so a level 1 flash would be ubershort comparably). It would still be useful early level (getting even a teensy bit a of distance towards that tower helps due to early game tower damage, and ghost does this too) and would largely obviate the problem, I think. Not to mention a large portion of characters have pseudoflash skill anyway. But of course, I'm some random dude and you're experienced design pros, so I'll shut my mouth >.>

4. Trynd is hurting pretty badly in the Burden of Knowledge department. The only one that really clicks instantly is spinning slash, except for maybe the goes through walls thing. Bloodlust makes absolutely no god**** sense to someone who hasn't played him and it is important to know; my decisions would largely be changed if I didn't know he could heal himself if he has that redness around him. And I have no idea how he gets that unless I play him; knowing that you can deny that from denying his access to creeps is important to know. Mocking shout is incredibly bad in this aspect, with the facing him part. Undying rage is less so, but if you don't know he has it you're terriboned. You've said multiple times that "yes we make mistakes" so I'm sure you're aware of this and I'm not helping, but I felt the need to say it.


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Raptamei

Senior Member

10-16-2010

I like this thread. Some remarks:

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 -- IF the victim understands what is going on.

WRONG
WRONG
WRONG
WRONG
WRONG!!!!!

Bad designer should feel bad.

You just have to be more creative and display visually what is going on.

For instance, the original Torment you removed could be implemented as a cloud of gas around the target, call it "Flammable Vapors". Hitting the target with attacks would cause small explosions and a fire that grows bigger the more damage the target takes. This would communicate easily that the target is taking more dps and why.

If fire doesn't suit Swain, try placing an ice crystal above the target's head, and the more damage he takes the more splintered and sharper the crystal becomes and blood spurts start flying off.

Or whenever the target gets hit, a ghost sword graphic would pop up and attack the target for the duration of the curse. It should be obvious what the connection is between getting attacked, spawning swords that attack you, and taking more damage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
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.
Call it "Curse of Caltrops" and make a large spike shoot up from the ground every time the target takes a step. They'll figure it out soon enough.

By the way, how do you find out

  • That primordial burst does extra damage based on your AP?
  • That AoE can hit a falling Pantheon?
  • Which abilities are physical damage and which are magic? (Throwing a knife for no mana = magic damage?)
  • What will happen when you cast spell X at a veil or black shield?
  • That crystal arrow has a shorter stun duration and Nid's spear does less damage at point blank range?
  • That Shaco does more damage if he hits you in the back?

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'. Let me give you an example: Let's say Kayle's targeted invulnerability ult had a 95% chance of working, and a 5% chance of doing nothing when cast.
Oh, hey, actually Poppy's ult does this. Fix plz.


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VvlJbKLuRTmQ2kRT

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Burden of knowledge? This game is a friggin strategy where you have to think. You have to know your enemy. The only way to make this game more fun is to make interesting and original abilities. Your 'burden of knowledge' actually dumbs down the game.


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Takkles

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Well, this post showed us exactly why the skill cap in this game is so low compared to DotA/HoN. It also showed why this game will not surpass its competitors in the e-sport scene. Luckily for Riot(well, it's not luck, they earned it all and they'll get even better), they're very successful and they have a great game. So I don't think they're worried about failing in the e-sport scene, which is fine and just the way I like it(play this game when I don't feel like tryharding, play other games[HoN] for the competitive aspect).


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Knyaz

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Projected View Post
Burden of knowledge? This game is a friggin strategy where you have to think. You have to know your enemy. The only way to make this game more fun is to make interesting and original abilities. Your 'burden of knowledge' actually dumbs down the game.
I don't think the intent behind "Burden of Knowledge" was to suggest the game be dead simple. The way i read it , it sounds like he is suggesting that all mech's should be clear from the start. IF there was a rapture like effect it should be obvious that X action will cause Y effect.


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Indexus

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Wall of Text
Apart from few good points, you could just write that you want to simplify the game more for all those lazy people out there.
Everything should be obvious and simple, because a little bit advanced mechanic would mind blow some people.

Also, you make "fun=simple", which is wrong. If I get mana-drained to 0, I feel challenged. So many possibilities arise, which could mean my OR my enemy's downfall. I enjoy that.
Others might not. Don't neglect one of them and focus on the other group.

Don't take it personaly, but it's developers job to make his product enjoyable by everyone. Label it to be a simple MOBA game or stop writing excuses on forums looking for supporters.
It's pathetic.


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SuperStomper

Senior Member

10-16-2010

This list cries, CATER TO CASUALS.

Hardcore strategists want every mechanic that forces a reaction from your opponent stuffed into a game. Magic the Gathering has every single anti-fun element he mentioned, yet it's MASSIVELY POPULAR.


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Adelle

Senior Member

10-16-2010

The biggest thing for me is the magic/physical damage demarcation. In pokemon it's obvious, lasers and balls of energy are special. Punches, kicks, bites, tackles, slashes, are physical.

Why is Kat magic DPS? Why is Bullet time Magic DPS? I understand that it can make AD carries have a source of hybrid damage, which is good for them and all, but I personally think it's pretty stupid. Why is bloodrazor magic too?


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Raptamei

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
I don't think the intent behind "Burden of Knowledge" was to suggest the game be dead simple. The way i read it , it sounds like he is suggesting that all mech's should be clear from the start. IF there was a rapture like effect it should be obvious that X action will cause Y effect.
To me the "burden of knowledge" concept means that most of the learning curve should be about actually playing better and very little about learning how the game works and how to play it.

However Riot removed the old Torment outright instead of making its effect obvious by using a creative visual, but still think basically rolling dice to determine whether an ability will be physical or magic is a good idea. This demonstrates that their interpretation of "burden of knowledge" is not to make the game easy to understand but to make it easy to play (omg Torment might require some skill! We can't have that).

I used to like Riot's casual friendly approach, but this is the wrong kind of casual friendly. Total fail imo.


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brian95620

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Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
We think the game's appeal will be much broader if we take our current approach. It's a lot of why WoW is more popular than EQ2 for example.
I have to disagree, I loved the complexity of EQ1 but sony distroyed its rep with alot of players. When my guild learned about wow, we planned a guild move before it even came out. I would not play EQ2 if it was free.