Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

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

Zileas

VP of Game Design

07-13-2011
246 of 282 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogonk View Post
This is why you don't see anything like the innovation you used to in the industry. This, right here, is the mission statement of the new wave of game designers who think that paternalism and oversimplification are virtues, who do everything they can to shut down emergent gameplay and dumb down mechanics in the name of making them more "intuitive". I prefer not to have my games spoon-fed to me, thanks.

Warren Spector would be ashamed of you.

As for why I play LoL, I play because in spite of yourself and your screwed up ideas you have made an entertaining game.
Yeah so, this sort of thing has worked on a lot of really popular games that get hailed as innovative, so I don't really see a reason to not use them on that basis ;p


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Worstcase

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

Senior Member

07-13-2011

I demand more. MOAR I SAY.

Why? Because it's actually a very interesting read.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Uccisore

Senior Member

07-13-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Yeah so, this sort of thing has worked on a lot of really popular games that get hailed as innovative, so I don't really see a reason to not use them on that basis ;p
People just need to learn that every game doesn't have to fill the same niche. One of my favorite video games is Demon's Souls, and it succeeds because it ignores a lot of your patterns, or seems to.

But...it's a single player action-RPG, the entire point of which is to be extremely difficult in order to create a sense of catharsis and exhilaration when you make progress.

I also play LoL. The games couldn't be more different...and that's fine.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Bog Darking

Member

07-13-2011

I love reads like this. I'd like to bring up one point

Quote:
Anti-Combo
This one is bad. This is essentially when one ability you have diminishes the effectiveness of another in a frustrating manner. Some examples:
- Giving a character a 'break-on-damage' CC with a DOT (yes, warlocks have this, but they tuned it to make it not anti-combo much at all)
- With Warriors in WoW -- they need to get rage by taking damage so that they can use abilities and gain threat -- but parry and dodge, which are key to staying alive, make them lose out on critical early fight rage. So, by gearing as a better tank, you become a worse tank in another dimension -- anti combo!
- With old warrior talent trees in WoW, revenge would give you a stun -- but stunned enemies cannot hit you and cause rage gain... So this talent actually reduced your tanking capability a lot in some sense! Anti-combo!
Managing effectiveness of skills and techniques is what I feel a vital part of player technique and strategy. Having to decide which skills to use, even if a skill may have unforeseen ramifications, strikes me as part of the job. I very often play tanks when I queue up in League of Legends, and often play tanks and characters like them in many games. I value the ability crowd control gives me in managing a fight. For instance, in the example of the Revenge mechanic of WoW, the stun is something of a double-edged sword, you earn yourself a period of time to avoid being hit, while in exchange starving yourself of a resource being hit will generate. Without Revenge's stun it is more of a spammy DPS move and not like a tank crowd control mechanic.

I feel a good way to illustrate what I mean more clearly, even in LoL's setting is with Thornmail and Frozen Heart. Two items I often pick up on tanks. Thornmail is something of a counter for hard AD carries to who will right click to do damage. Thornmail applies damage back to these characters in a percentage. Frozen Heart slows down the attack speed of enemies in the vicinity. Carrying both Thornmail and Frozen Heart present a new risk: With more armor there is a reduction in damage. The AD carry shooting you takes less damage because they are doing less damage. They also shoot -slower- and can better gauge the damage you pump out to them with these items. Sometimes I'd like to speed up the enemy carry for a brief time, just to hurt them far more than they can withstand, and sometimes I'd like to prevent their speed from ever stacking up so they deal little to no damage to anybody.

I like being able to make these decisions as part of my playstyle. I value those decisions as the greatest features of playing the tank.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

IS1d6d3ffc5d25bf1bdf6f0

Senior Member

07-13-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Yeah so, this sort of thing has worked on a lot of really popular games that get hailed as innovative, so I don't really see a reason to not use them on that basis ;p
Burden of Knowledge and Unclear Optimization are not negative things though.

In the case of the former, it's just getting to know the game, and by avoiding it as a rule you're essentially reducing the amount of intricacy you can put on ability usage and interactions because it might take someone a few games to figure out the details. Though you guys have apparently been moving away from this doctrine recently ( the ward changes that causes wards to reveal themselves when an allied player interacts with them is something that'll seem fairly strange and counterintuitive to a new player )

Unclear Optimization is pretty much just a negative way of describing a move that's multipurpose.

Power without Gameplay can definitely be perceived as a negative, at least relatively to power with gameplay, but I disagree with your assessment on auras. There's definitely a gameplay component to them, particularly if they're very much range sensitive ones. It makes positioning for the auramancer particularly important and manipulating that position an effective soft-counter for the opposing team.

Pattern mismatches are only bad if they don't mesh with the core of the character, arguably ( unless I'm reading it wrong ) Corki and Ezreal are good examples of characters with such mismatches and they're arguably more interesting because of it.

Anti Combos don't have to be entirely bad either, as long as they're not overly obtuse or punishing, they make optimizing the character's build a bit more interesting.

Though on the subject, any thoughts on Galio and his ult here? He's a tank, so he wants defensive stats, but some particularly strong tanking items for him otherwise, Randuin's and Frozen Heart, make his ultimate worse by using them. Relatively minor anti combo, but still.

Also I think in general ascribing too heavily to an anti-anti-fun doctrine can end up really muting the effectivness of characters, because one character being exceptionally good might make them annoying to fight against for people with tempers, and in the end the character is either left weaker or remade into something potentially less unique because of it. Obviously you don't want something that just ruins someone's day by playing against it, but I think going too far in the other direction is a potentially serious problem.

And let's face it, it's more an issue of creating anti-fun for as few people as possible than simply reducing it in general, because there's a tendency when adjusting something that makes other people upset to make things a lot worse for the person on the other end of things.( *cough*Evelynn, Pantheon, maybe Vladimir, but he's not in a particularly bad spot right now )


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Thinkaman

Senior Member

07-13-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alidfe View Post
Burden of Knowledge and Unclear Optimization are not negative things though.
No, knowledge and optimization are good things in games.

However, burdensome knowledge that monopolizes skill tests and unclear optimization that harshly punishes new players for intuitive mistakes are bad, which is what this thread is about.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

IS1d6d3ffc5d25bf1bdf6f0

Senior Member

07-13-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinkaman View Post
No, knowledge and optimization are good things in games.

However, burdensome knowledge that monopolizes skill tests and unclear optimization that harshly punishes new players for intuitive mistakes are bad, which is what this thread is about.
What's burdensome knowledge though? I'd argue that not knowing how to respond to something you've never seen before ( which is essentially the example given in the OP ) is simply natural, and trying to limit oneself to spells that are very straightforward in their interactions really shackles creative development.

For the second one, again turn back to the example in the OP. We're talking about a spell that's complex and has multiple levels of usage. It's not particularly unintuitive, it's just something that might require a few games to learn to handle well beacuse of its quirks. You might have to define intuitive mistake a little better though.

Basically, I think the combination of these design philosophies, while having good intentions, end up crippling a developer's ability to design unique features, because a feature or spell that's 'too' complex ( too complex is bad, I'm just arguing the threshold ) or outside the norm in function becomes frowned upon.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Rossa Auster

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

Senior Member

07-13-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogonk View Post
This is why you don't see anything like the innovation you used to in the industry. This, right here, is the mission statement of the new wave of game designers who think that paternalism and oversimplification are virtues, who do everything they can to shut down emergent gameplay and dumb down mechanics in the name of making them more "intuitive". I prefer not to have my games spoon-fed to me, thanks.

Warren Spector would be ashamed of you.

As for why I play LoL, I play because in spite of yourself and your screwed up ideas you have made an entertaining game.
This. It's also why Riot might also have trouble hiring people.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Munchlord

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

Senior Member

07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Yeah so, this sort of thing has worked on a lot of really popular games that get hailed as innovative, so I don't really see a reason to not use them on that basis ;p
Portal for instance?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Uccisore

Senior Member

07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alidfe View Post
What's burdensome knowledge though? I'd argue that not knowing how to respond to something you've never seen before ( which is essentially the example given in the OP ) is simply natural, and trying to limit oneself to spells that are very straightforward in their interactions really shackles creative development.

For the second one, again turn back to the example in the OP. We're talking about a spell that's complex and has multiple levels of usage. It's not particularly unintuitive, it's just something that might require a few games to learn to handle well beacuse of its quirks. You might have to define intuitive mistake a little better though.

Basically, I think the combination of these design philosophies, while having good intentions, end up crippling a developer's ability to design unique features, because a feature or spell that's 'too' complex ( too complex is bad, I'm just arguing the threshold ) or outside the norm in function becomes frowned upon.
The thing everybody seems to forget is that the anti-patterns are just bad things, not 'Thou Shalt Nots'. I don't know how many times the developers have explained to you guys that they use the anti-patterns when there's some great design thing to be gained from doing them.

Rupture as described in this thread isn't JUST bad because of the Burden of Knowledge, it's bad because that burden of knowledge is used to give you nothing but another single-target nuke that could be accomplished a thousand other ways.