Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

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

Knote

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursalgodon View Post
Why are you talking so much about WoW? I came to read about anti-patterns in LoL which had good content but then you got all soap-boxy regarding WoW. I understand your WoW examples but we both know many wont. Meh.
Was probably my fault for bringing up WoW examples.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Bianary

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
On the other hand, if you cast the aura and gave them flaming weapons, which on next hit burst for 100 damage, and we could do it once every 20 seconds, you'd get about the same power, and people would value the effect more.
This kinda scares me that you'd say it's comparable -- that next hit burst for 100 damage is way stronger than 15 every hit, assuming it is about the same power. One gives you incredible spike potential with your team, the rest just slightly increases your DPS.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Knote

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianary View Post
This kinda scares me that you'd say it's comparable -- that next hit burst for 100 damage is way stronger than 15 every hit, assuming it is about the same power. One gives you incredible spike potential with your team, the rest just slightly increases your DPS.
Reminds me of the Ere we Go spell from Warhammer Online. =p

Coordinated it can be scary spike dmg.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

IS1d69e2e5726f5f

Member

10-16-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
no

like this:
did Legal told you to take that down a couple months back?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Raptamei

Senior Member

10-16-2010

Thanks for replying to my post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Yes, but that's the whole point. If you communicate what is going on properly, then you have less burden of knowledge problems.
Actually... I gave 3 different suggestions on how to make it obvious for players how the original torment works. Riot never even tried, and instead eliminated the ability and turned it into a self-only hemoplague. This makes me sad.

You said you had better ideas. But a self-only hemoplague is not a better idea. Come on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
[Whether an ability does physical or magic i]s in death recap
Assuming it actually kills you. Then you have to die again to figure out that shunpo and/or death lotus are also magic damage. Repeat for other non-obvious abilities like infinite duress, Nidalee's cougar faceroll combo, spray and pray, heroic charge... I'd prefer to learn which items counter an opponent without feeding them first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
[AP factor on primordial burst, Crystal arrow and spear range factor, Shaco backstab] You don't respond differently even when you do know this
Which is actually a problem. Gameplay difficulty should not just be related to controlling your own hero effectively and managing your own team, but also to dealing with your opponent. It seems LoL emphasises the former and not the latter. Heroes like Anivia, Ezreal and Swain are fairly complex to use, but it is very straightforward to fight against them, compared to someone like Corrupted Disciple in HoN whose ult is only effective if there are no creeps around and whose nova is significantly less powerful at close range.

This may be why the idea of countering the other team doesn't seem to take off and it is more important to compile a team of OP heroes.

Quote:
I'm not even sure what the purpose of [Chakra] is.
It's basically Killer Instinct, except instead of giving you a buff, it makes one or more spells better. It seems strangely designed because it isn't clear whether the spell that triggers the chakra effect also benefits from it (see renew).

Also, it is a shining example of an issue I have started to notice in LoL as well, where abilities are designed to work with the engine instead of the other way round. By now it is pretty clear what the building blocks of abilities in LoL are and what the range of possible abilities is (and what kind of abilities are impossible).

This is why the abilities are starting to blend into each other, unfortunately. It is easier to piece an ability together out of existing parts than to create a new one by expanding the engine.

In this case the WoW designers realised they could chain buffs and procs together and ran with the idea.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Zileas

VP of Game Design

10-16-2010
72 of 282 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianary View Post
This kinda scares me that you'd say it's comparable -- that next hit burst for 100 damage is way stronger than 15 every hit, assuming it is about the same power. One gives you incredible spike potential with your team, the rest just slightly increases your DPS.
I would say 15 a hit is probably more valuable than every 20 sec, +100 damage

They are different use cases, but you could make a +x damage per hit that is equivalent in overall power to +N damage every X seconds...

Their overall mechanical power is valued differently by players relative to reality. In this example, of course you are more excited by 100. It's a) Bursty and b) visible, and c) you are probably thinking that +15 damage is for most characters a bit more sustained dps, but not likely to win a fight.. but you undervalue all the incidental lane advantage, last hit advantage, tower killing advantage it causes... And the fact that in a team fight, you are still bursting someone for 50 insetad of 100 with typical cases ;p That's exactly my point, 15 damage a hit is undervalued ;p


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

JohnPetrucci

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

Senior Member

10-16-2010

thanks so much for posting this! a lot of it is kinda stuff that floats in the back in the minds of gamers but never truly surfaces as a solid idea - its good to be able to actually speak those feelings into existence.

also, +1 for Tomb of Horrors reference.


edit: would you say Gangplank's ult suffers from the last point - reliability? I feel like that's its major flaw.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Gale

Senior Member

10-16-2010

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. 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. We believe that giving the victim counter gameplay is VERY fun -- but that we should not place a 'burden of knowledge' on them figuring out what that gameplay might be. That's why we like Dark Binding and Black Shield (both of which have bait and/or 'dodge' counter gameplay that is VERY obvious), but not Rupture, which is not obvious.

In a sense, ALL abilities have some burden of knowledge, but some have _a lot more_ -- the ones that force the opponent to know about a specific interaction to 'enjoy' the gameplay have it worst.
I understand this one but I don't agree with it fully. I think the Burden of Knowledge is what makes a game more interesting, the only thing I dislike is when that Knowledge is hard/impossible to access. I would say that it's a Developers Role to make sure all Knowledge can be accessed in some way.

I've been on both ends of frustration when it comes to this one. For example I recently (a couple of months ago) played Demons Souls and I have to say that it had all the makings of an amazing game, but the fact that I had to look online to find out how 80% of the game ACTUALLY WORKS is one of the reasons it now falls into my "Games I want to praise but actually despise" category. (Also the fact that about 8/15 or so spells in the game were the exact same spell and melee combat had little variation pissed me off)

But that doesn't mean that interesting mechanics shouldn't be built into a game. LoL is a rapidly growing game and at some point you are going to have to introduce some more confusing mechanics into the game (unless you plan to re-use to many of the same mechanics). You took away Swain's initial E due to this and I think that it might have been a mistake. It is a strange spell and hard to understand. But I think it wouldn't be to hard to find some way to explain it. Such as integrating a new version of the "Learning Center" into the Launcher and having more detailed explanations of the workings of abilities.


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 shouldn'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. Anyhow, there's no reason to give players a choice that is just plain bad -- the Tomb of Horrors (original module) is defined by false choices -- like the room with three treasure chests, all of which have no treasure and lethal traps.
I think the only problem I have with this is that sticking to hard to this idea means that many interesting mechanics may be missed or scraped out of the game. The example you give I can agree with because something like that would be to overpowered, but a slight variation on it might be nice. Abilities like this are what I tend to think of as "Deterrent" Abilities, where the actual ability doesn't have to take effect in order to be effective. Something like this could be seen as effective as Anivia's Ice Wall. Except her Ice Wall FORCES people to take a new route or think of some other way to get out of the situation but something like this can be just as effective, laying it down means that the person has to choices:

A. Try to find a new route
B. Press Forward hoping things turn out alright.

In your case A would be the only choice, but if the wall gave a positive effect after the negative (such as after being moved back to the caster, the enemy then gets a 100% increase in speed for 3 seconds... think of it as the opposite of blitz overdrive. Instead of Positive Effect followed by Negative, Negative followed by Positive) then there is a reason to pick A or B. Someone that has ghost might then try to pick B, because they may be sent back to the caster but they now have a huge advantage for escape.

So yes you're right that there should be no mechanics in game where all choices are wrong, but there should be more mechanics that force you to pick between two evils.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Zileas

VP of Game Design

10-16-2010
73 of 282 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktree View Post
did Legal told you to take that down a couple months back?
?????


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Xypherous

Systems Designer

10-16-2010
74 of 282 Riot Posts

Quote:
So yes you're right that there should be no mechanics in game where all choices are wrong, but there should be more mechanics that force you to pick between two evils.
These mechanics never leave the opposing player feeling like they did the right thing. If the only choices are 'be screwed via A' and 'be screwed via B' at the end of the day, you're still screwed. Picking between two evils and picking between two wrong choices are equivalent statements. One is just a less severe version of the other.

Quote:
Burden of Knowledge
Given the choice between mechanics that encourage beating someone due to out-knowing some obscure detail and beating someone due to out-playing someone, I would choose out-playing because it is more interactive for the player in game. If at all possible, choose mechanics that encourage players to adapt, rather than memorize set move and reactions.

Games and Mechanics with essentially 'hidden rules' that aren't partially understandable in-game aren't terribly interesting because then what influences winning or losing isn't strategy or actions inside the game but whether or not players read an FAQ before they entered queue.

I'm sure there are tons of counter-examples but it's a lesson in compromise at the end. You can't do everything perfectly following all the rules, but you try to make sure you follow many more good patterns than bad ones.