Morello is the antiDOTA

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Morello

Lead Designer

08-08-2013
1 of 4 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by orghak 3 View Post
Poppy's wall slam is like Alistars old Headbutt or Vaynes Condemn.
Zac's jump is just a channeled gapcloser like Vi's
Thresh lantern is unique
Nami's heal is nothing special whatsoever
Counterstrike comes from DOTA
Lulu's polymorph is just a silence, the visual effect has nothing to do with it.


Overall your examples are pretty garbage. The worst part is that you missed the point. I'm complaining that Morello claims that only the unique aspects of a champion are toxic. He's shown through his conversations that he would remove the unique aspects of a champion through a rework.

whoosh
Design tank incoming! This is a long post, and probablt about 1/50th the explanation of these ideals that I'd like to deliver.

(In actuality, it's funny because I'm one of the design voices that needs to be "toned down" when it comes to crazy stuff. There's nuance to this, but I'd be more likely to break than fix if I made the decisions personally. The better critique about my style is that I'm willing to sacrifice experiences that have low counter-play, even if they're fun to use).

I think there's a real discussion here, and I'm ignoring any of the unproductive stuff to engage in that conversation - so unreasonable haters to the left.

Essentially, there are two extreme ideals that are both incorrect:

* Anything that's new/novel/unqiue is good because it's different - and that difference makes it a positive addition.

and

* Anything that might disrupt perfect balance is a problem to be fixed, and anything that compromises that must be aggressively addressed.

Both of these ideas are bad for League of Legends (and I feel game design in general). While I think some games can use these philosophies, they give you different results.

One of our tenets is that there's important things that fundamentally differentiate and attract people to League. In fact, several games do try to offer similar gamestyles to MOBAs (whether League or DotA), but there's not always a good understanding of what types of experiences they offer - and importantly, how and why they differ.

So, then, what do we care about, and what drives our decisions? I'm word-smithing some of this for greater digestion, but this should capture the idea.

1) League is a game that's more about interaction with enemies than planning before you interact.

One of the biggest and continuous arguments that exists is what skill is valid, and how things are countered. This is not a binary set of design such as "is/isn't counterable" or "all planning is bad" - it's a series of cost/benefit analysis.

Basically, some decisions being about planning and strategy is good. But when those planning decisions come at the cost of good in-fight, interactive experiences, that's where tough calls need to get made. Let's talk about why 2v1 (as a basic, core strategy instead of a gambit strategy) is a problem in League, or why tri-lanes have never been supported; this will show an example of our game design values.

2v1, as a core strategy, is a clever discovery of capitalizing on using global gold to snowball into a fast midgame. On its own, that's fine an interesting - it's a strategy that causes some different and interesting setups to occur. So far, no problem.

However, 2v1 as a primary method to be optimally efficient, basically skips the laning phase of that game. The laning phase is one of the biggest focal points of personal action, dueling and personal agency that players can feel. This is important to why League is different, and one of the big things that makes it uniquely fun. The laning phase focuses on tons of small, incremental advantages that result in someone beating their opponent, sometimes with help and sometimes without it. Something that entirely removes the laning phase violates something that actually does make League of Legends special.

In lane, this is your time to dominate an opponent. This is emotionally, mechanically and strategically very important. That's not an opinion, that's much of why League of Legends isn't a DotA clone. People might not even recognize it consciously, but it exists - and if we weren't different, then why the Hell would we even be a game?

Now, that doesn't mean things can't effect the laning phase - some characters have worse matchups, junglers change the dynamic of the lane, starting items, etc. Those things are not only acceptable, but if done smartly, make the laning phase more varied and interesting - but not without removing your ability to participate in it meaningfully. This is a key distinction in League.

This value is why we disallow hard-counters and "wins at champion select." Tactical skill and mechanical skill is more important than being the best at hatching a plan. This doesn't mean League has no strategy or that we dislike it (or that other MOBA don't have execution and in-fight gameplay), but it shows which one weighs more on design.

2) Counter-play within the game is a core value, and it's more important than many other values within "fun."

We've talked a lot about counter-play. The things I actually rail on are things that violate counter-play, or have shallow decision trees.

Let's talk about the "better nerf Irelia" meme (without this derailing into the state of fighters - valid, but different discussion).

Irelia's design represents both a shallow decision tree and low counter-play. It's not that we actually hate the character, or think people don't have fun with her, or she's imbalanced (in fact, I think having low counter-play is MORE fun for the person playing it in the moment because ****ting on PEOPLE IS FUN! ), it's that "what decisions outside of normal League of Legends skills, do you need when doing this?" When those answers are few (and this was the problem with Darius too), then there's probably an issue with skill differential and counter-play.

This is a big distinction - few games focus on this, and no other MOBA does. The cost of poor counterplay is punishing (not hard - hard is fine- see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea6UuRTjkKs for a complete conversation on this difference) gameplay, lack of clarity (which LIMITS how much depth you can add) and the game making enemy skill invisible. Zileas has mentioned a lot about how Dark Binding is a good skill because it adds fun to both the user and the victim in how the spell works. That often is a result of good counterplay, and we care about that enough to focus on it. TF2's combat actually focus on this much more than other FPS's, for example (rockets/jumping vs hitscan and high lethality. Arcade shooters are more counter-play focused than tac shooters, which are more strategically-focused).

3) We agree improvement can be made on unique abilities.

This, however, is error as opposed to intent. My conversation during Aatrox's release should paint the picture clearly in design mishaps. Thresh is a great counter-example - the work we want to do on updates to Darius also shows this. And again, it's not binary. Just because we don't think that Meepo is a character we're likely to do in LoL doesn't mean we don't value the kind of presence and weight a really distinct character brings to the game. We do need to do better on new releases with this, at least from a consistency standpoint.

What I really think is that we make some missteps, and there's a valid and real desire to have more Thresh-style characters, or more Lee-Sin style emergence. We agree here.

What I do resist is that everything is good, and variety is the highest value. No. We value specific game design fundamentals that define League, and that those elements purposefully and specifically differ from that in other MOBAs. Just like I feel like DotA does (and should) embrace it's more planning-weighted focus and making characters have insane stuff that feels good, we embrace our focus on a good, interactive experience that result in-combat decisions mattering more. That should result in a game we want to be fair and balanced, but balance is a result of that, not a goal to avoid things.

This is not our complete thoughts on these subjects, but they are what I can muster at 4:30am. I'll try to follow up on this, but it's bedtime for now.


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SUPERIOR SK1LL

Senior Member

08-08-2013

I'm worried about the fact that by making every champion 'fun' and balanced by removing special aspects of their kit you turn every champion into a homogenuous mass of moderate fun.

An example would be resets. I know its pretty lame to be on the receiving end of but being on the winning side occasionaly makes up for it.

Sometimes I would like nothing better than to remove Leesin's kicks, kb and dash because i hate that mofo getting away with no counterplay. But then i want Leblancs burst lowered, Singed's speed lowered and Rammus's tankiness, Ashe's slow reduced and so on... Then i realise that would make LoL a extremely boring game.

By removing the 'downs' in Lol you also removed the 'ups' as well...

I remember when Lol started Ashe's Q arrows had much longer range than today but she wasnt brokenly OP because everyone else had an extremely special+unique trick up their sleeve. Now we just have champions with less identity and lots of gap closers.

TLDR: Y u no balance game by making everything OP? I wouldn't mind facing champs with little counterplay if i also have some 0 counterplay torture fun to punish my opponents with.

TTLLDDRR: Share the pain for more fun.


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Mechanikatt

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Senior Member

08-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
long post
Massive respect for facechecking this thread and posting a response. I'll read everything and reply soon

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanikatt View Post
My response


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exec3

Senior Member

08-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
Design tank incoming! This is a long post, and probablt about 1/50th the explanation of these ideals that I'd like to deliver.
I NEED MORE! *drools*

Whatever happened to the blog you guys were gonna start doing?


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Raincall

Senior Member

08-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SUPERIOR SK1LL View Post
I'm worried about the fact that by making every champion 'fun' and balanced by removing special aspects of their kit you turn every champion into a homogenuous mass or moderate fun.

An example would be resets. I know its pretty lame to be on the receiving end of but being on the winning side occasionaly makes up for it

By removing the downs in Lol you also removed the 'ups' as well...
That's what I think. They have a very precise and narrow idea of what is 'fun' and they don't want anything to slightly deviate from that. What is worse they tend to approach problems in a excessively theoretical fashion. They don't let players interact with new mechanics, they just assume they are anti-fun or test them for a ridiculously short period. They think they already see all the universe of actions those mechanics will give birth to. Maybe they should be more humble.


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Morello Nerf Bat

Senior Member

08-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
Design tank incoming!




Let's talk about the "better nerf Irelia" meme (without this derailing into the state of fighters - valid, but different discussion).

Irelia's design represents both a shallow decision tree and low counter-play. It's not that we actually hate the character, or think people don't have fun with her, or she's imbalanced (in fact, I think having low counter-play is MORE fun for the person playing it in the moment because ****ting on PEOPLE IS FUN! ), it's that "what decisions outside of normal League of Legends skills, do you need when doing this?" When those answers are few (and this was the problem with Darius too), then there's probably an issue with skill differential and counter-play.
Irelia nerfs confirmed


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Morello

Lead Designer

08-08-2013
2 of 4 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by SUPERIOR SK1LL View Post
I'm worried about the fact that by making every champion 'fun' and balanced by removing special aspects of their kit you turn every champion into a homogenuous mass of moderate fun.

An example would be resets. I know its pretty lame to be on the receiving end of but being on the winning side occasionaly makes up for it.

Sometimes I would like nothing better than to remove Leesin's kicks, kb and dash because i hate that mofo getting away with no counterplay. But then i want Leblancs burst lowered, Singed's speed lowered and Rammus's tankiness, Ashe's slow reduced and so on... Then i realise that would make LoL a extremely boring game.

By removing the 'downs' in Lol you also removed the 'ups' as well...

I remember when Lol started Ashe's Q arrows had much longer range than today but she wasnt brokenly OP because everyone else had an extremely special+unique trick up their sleeve. Now we just have champions with less identity and lots of gap closers.

TLDR: Y u no balance game by making everything OP? I wouldn't mind facing champs with little counterplay if i also have some 0 counterplay torture fun to punish my opponents with.

TTLLDDRR: Share the pain for more fun.
We actually agree that's the wrong direction. Maybe my Yi post (which isn't the idea we're on right now, to be clear) freaked people out a bunch, but this pattern of balance hasn't existed since 2011 - which we moved away from when we saw that type of result.

Now, I ask you guys to also be objective with what actually provides identity. To use an example from a couple weeks ago, Janna's passive is not her identity. It doesn't ****ing matter to the fun and distinction of the character - and it's intellectually dishonest to say it is. However, if we instead made it so Draven's Axes were nerfed and he auto-caught them, then we'd be destroying the character's unique identity and emotional satisfaction.

This is messier with some characters, who don't get to interact - they just act. Many auto-train characters are this way, and leave you with no decisions in which to do anything. That's the place in where you do go fix things.

I don't mind if things are frustrating sometimes - but you should go "I could have done X better..." and be able to understand what it was and learn from it.


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Ralik098

Senior Member

08-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
Let's talk about the "better nerf Irelia" meme (without this derailing into the state of fighters - valid, but different discussion).

Irelia's design represents both a shallow decision tree and low counter-play. It's not that we actually hate the character, or think people don't have fun with her, or she's imbalanced (in fact, I think having low counter-play is MORE fun for the person playing it in the moment because ****ting on PEOPLE IS FUN! ), it's that "what decisions outside of normal League of Legends skills, do you need when doing this?" When those answers are few (and this was the problem with Darius too), then there's probably an issue with skill differential and counter-play.
Except Irelia does have counterplay. Her kit revolves around her W so much that when you learn to play around it as an opposing laner there is plenty you can do to counter her. Both in interactions and in counter building against her. Seriously, sit down and learn to play Jax or Irelia then find someone to play the other side of this matchup with you. The Jax vs Irelia matchup is one of the classic matchups of season two and it is the most fun matchup in the entire game imo. It is well balanced and one of the few matchups that truly comes down to player skill. It revolves around the interaction between Hiten Style and Counterstrike and whoever utilizes that skill the best will win the lane.

Interesting post though.


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SUPERIOR SK1LL

Senior Member

08-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
We actually agree that's the wrong direction. Maybe my Yi post (which isn't the idea we're on right now, to be clear) freaked people out a bunch, but this pattern of balance hasn't existed since 2011 - which we moved away from when we saw that type of result.

Now, I ask you guys to also be objective with what actually provides identity. To use an example from a couple weeks ago, Janna's passive is not her identity. It doesn't ****ing matter to the fun and distinction of the character - and it's intellectually dishonest to say it is. However, if we instead made it so Draven's Axes were nerfed and he auto-caught them, then we'd be destroying the character's unique identity and emotional satisfaction.

This is messier with some characters, who don't get to interact - they just act. Many auto-train characters are this way, and leave you with no decisions in which to do anything. That's the place in where you do go fix things.

I don't mind if things are frustrating sometimes - but you should go "I could have done X better..." and be able to understand what it was and learn from it.
I agree with the reasoning behind changing Draven's passive. It dosen't make him special in any way and was probably the least painful way to touch him with the old nerfbat.

But the new passive is even worse. You removed a bad passive but you gave him NOTHING at all.

And btw i do feel that Janna's passive is part of her identity, not because its been there forever and tradition blah blah but because as a teammate the bonus movespeed CAN be felt and makes the game THAT much more fun. Maybe i'm just imagining it but everytime i barely outrun a Singed i always thank god Janna is on my team.

and when i play Janna i can feel satisfied that even if i suck or is at base i am still contributing to the team.

Dont remove a Janna skill that gives players satisfaction by just being there.


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Morello

Lead Designer

08-08-2013
3 of 4 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by SUPERIOR SK1LL View Post
I agree with the reasoning behind changing Draven's passive. It dosen't make him special in any way and was probably the least painful way to touch him with the old nerfbat.

But the new passive is even worse. You removed a bad passive but you gave him NOTHING at all.

And btw i do feel that Janna's passive is part of her identity, not because its been there forever and tradition blah blah but because as a teammate the bonus movespeed CAN be felt and makes the game THAT much more fun. Maybe i'm just imagining it but everytime i barely outrun a Singed i always thank god Janna is on my team.
But then that comes into my point 1) about why that's a bad place to have power.