Welcome to the Forum Archive!

Years of conversation fill a ton of digital pages, and we've kept all of it accessible to browse or copy over. Whether you're looking for reveal articles for older champions, or the first time that Rammus rolled into an "OK" thread, or anything in between, you can find it here. When you're finished, check out the boards to join in the latest League of Legends discussions.

GO TO BOARDS


Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Dreamcleaver

Senior Member

10-17-2010

So Zileas what do you think about a mechanic like the hex spell Empathy from Guild Wars?

http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Empathy

Is this too un-fun or needs a lot of additional information to figure out?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Rajik

Recruiter

10-17-2010

Quote:
Zileas:
We tested that and no one liked it. Oh well.

Going to try moving it to a boot next... Zileas' Slippers of Majesty

Basic boots + ~1200g = movement 2 + once every 3 or 4 mins, flash active

give or take


Can you give some more insight on how this will be an advantageous change? To me, it seems like the problem with flash is more of it's usability in almost any situation, with little drawback or prerequisite.

This change doesn't solve that problem, or, is there another issue with it? You previously said that it causes too much uncertainty or causes an environment of "unfun" because you never know if it is up or down. How ill the boots solve this? It just seems like it will be the same thing, just in a slightly different form and you will gain an extra summoner spell.

While making it so that it is unusable when hit for X seconds may be "kludgy", there must be some other options to improve the ability.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

SuzumeStjohn

Senior Member

10-17-2010

Quote:
Rajik:
Can you give some more insight on how this will be an advantageous change? To me, it seems like the problem with flash is more of it's usability in almost any situation, with little drawback or prerequisite.

This change doesn't solve that problem, or, is there another issue with it? You previously said that it causes too much uncertainty or causes an environment of "unfun" because you never know if it is up or down. How ill the boots solve this? It just seems like it will be the same thing, just in a slightly different form and you will gain an extra summoner spell.

While making it so that it is unusable when hit for X seconds may be "kludgy", there must be some other options to improve the ability.


Could maybe have a useless buff on when it is available. Sorta like the 'Yarr I'm a mighty pirate' one. Have it say what summoner spells they have available. Lore wise would explain it as it should be quite simple to see what the summoner standing across from you still has available. Just an idea.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Rajik

Recruiter

10-17-2010

Quote:
SuzumeStjohn:
Could maybe have a useless buff on when it is available. Sorta like the 'Yarr I'm a mighty pirate' one. Have it say what summoner spells they have available. Lore wise would explain it as it should be quite simple to see what the summoner standing across from you still has available. Just an idea.


Would this not be just as easy to do with the boots versus the summoner spell?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Brad

Senior Member

10-17-2010

Way to miss page 50 :P


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

SuzumeStjohn

Senior Member

10-17-2010

Quote:
Rajik:
Would this not be just as easy to do with the boots versus the summoner spell?


Probably I could see it actually being more like the scurvy buff now that I think about it. With the remove scurvy getting rid of it. Have it be 'Flash Ready', and once you flash it is removed until the cool-down is up.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Natures Blitz

Member

10-17-2010

Great thread overall Zileas, and really appreciate the insight you give onto the mechanics behind LOL. I kind of consider my self a bit of theorycrafter and interested in Game Design (though doubt that could ever hit professional).

In any case my biggest question is what is your opinion on supression. I've felt since it's inception it's been a bandage fix (akin to resilience in wow) very few champions have it and the ones that do it is used as essentially an unblockable. I feel as a mechanic it is very Anti-Fun kind of a you know your screwed (like when being held by urgot for 2 seconds, then getting swapped, or malz holding you there while a turrent is beating you in the face) and that there's nothing you can do etc. While right now it's not to much of a problem due to the unpopularity of the champions except warwick (and warwick having the shortest duration makes it not to big of a deal). I fear however with such a powerful tool it could potentially be a problem down the line.

Second one is would I be correct in assuming that Galio's Ult is a burden of Knowledge issue? In that if you have mercury treads, you can actually escape the ult and the dmg before it hits?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Harbin

Senior Member

10-17-2010

So why is Jax such an Anti-combo and Unreliable character?

He needs dodge in order to dodge hits, but the only dodge items you can get don't give things to synergize with your passive, and he's severely limited by RNG. It seems like he's made to be a carry type character who can utilize survivability, but he can't do that because stacking damage to use his passive doesn't let him use his dodge chance. And in order to use his stun, he needs to first get focused, and he can't survive that well because he's just HP.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Tyrald Grimnod

Senior Member

10-18-2010

Quote:
Mylon:
Just out of curiosity, but what are your thoughts on the early game phase of last hitting?

It's a difficult to understand concept that is not immediately obvious (Burden of Knowledge), plus it's also a matter of conflicted purpose as the goal is to destroy the enemy base, but it's very unwise to work towards that goal early on. And indeed, it's not really clear when that transition takes place.
Good point, man! Whenever I encouraged my friends to play I always had trouble with teaching them to lasthit.
I propose the following solution: let the damage dealt to a minion contribute to earning gold. For example: I took away half of cannon minion hp, so I get half of gold I would normally be awarded for that. That'd totally reduce importance of lasthitting, since all those guys would get, like, 5% of gold.
I don't say this doesn't have fatal flaws...
First is: laning phase would be awfully slow at the beginning and terribly fast at the end.
Second one is Mordekaiser. The rest is silence.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Trueuniquename

Senior Member

10-18-2010

Quote:
Zileas:
***EDIT: Added a bunch of new patterns.****

I've been asked a few times, "Why don't you do stuff like Rupture (from DOTA Bloodseeker) in LoL?"

I usually respond -- Rupture contains several basic design 'anti-patterns'. I thought I'd post for the benefit of those who are interested what strong anti-patterns I am aware of.

So... Here are a few that come to mind.... Note that you can find an example of each of these somewhere in our game at some intensity level. Sometimes this is just bad design. Sometimes this is because we got something else in exchange. Design is an optimization -- but these anti-patterns are of negative design value, so you should only do them if you get something good in return.

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. In general, other players don't value the aura you give them very much, and you don't value it much either. But mechanically, it is very strong. Suppose we gave a +15 damage aura... Really powerful, not that appreciated. 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. The problem with using this anti-pattern is that you tend to have to 'over-buff' the mechanic and create a game balance problem before people appreciate it. As a result, we tend to keep Auras weak, and/or avoid them altogether, and/or pair them on an active/passive where the active is very strong and satisfying, so that the passive is more strategic around character choice.

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.

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. 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. On the other hand, with Ashe's skill shot, if you hit the guy who was weak and running, you know you did it right... You also know you did it right if you slowed their entire team... Ditto on Ezreal's skill shot.

Use Pattern Mis-matches Surrounding Gameplay
I won't go into too much detail on this, but the simple example is giving a melee DPS ability to a ranged DPS character -- the use pattern on that is to force move to melee, then use. This does not feel good, and should be avoided. I'm sure you are all thinking -- but WoW mages are ranged, and they have all these melee abilities! Well... Frost Nova is an escape, and the various AEs are fit around a _comprehensive_ different mage playstyle that no longer is truly 'ranged' and is mechanically supported across the board by Blizzard -- so the rules don't apply there ;p

Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-Fun
This is where the 'anti-fun' created on your opponents by your use of a mechanic is greater than your fun in using the mechanic. Dark Binding is VERY favorable on this measurement, because opponents get clutch dodges just like you get clutch hits. 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. This is important because the goal of the game is for players to have fun, so designers should seek abilities that result in a net increase of fun in the game. Basic design theory, yes?

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. At 50%, this is a strong combat initiation disable... but at 500 damage it's a great finisher on someone who is running... but you also want to use it early to get the disable -- even though you won't have it avail by the end of combat usually to finish. This makes players queasy about using the ability much like in the optimization case, but it's a slightly different problem. If the ability exists for too many different purposes on an explicit basis, it becomes confusing. this is different from something like blink which can be used for many purposes, but has a clear basic purpose -- in that place, players tend to just feel creative instead.

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!

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. 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.

False Choice -- Ineffective Choice
Similar to above, except when you give what appears to be an interesting choice that is then completely unrewarding, or ineffective at the promised action. An older version of Swain's lazer bird had this failing... Because the slow was so large, you could never run away in time to de-leash and break the spell and reduce damage, and in cases you did, you'd just dodge 20% of the damage at a big cost of movement and DPS -- so running was just an ineffective choice.

Or We Could **** the Player!!1111oneoneone
This is where you straight up screw over the player, usually with dramatic flair, or maybe just try to make the player feel crappy in a way that isn't contributing to the fun of the game. These range in severity, but examples usually are spawned because the designer is a pretentious wanker who likes to show what a smart dude he is and how stupid the player is. I do not respect designers who engage in this pattern intentionally, and encourage any design lead out there to immediately fire any of your staff that does. I do understand that it can happen inadvertently. So, I love you WoW team despite the 'playing vs' experience of Rogue and Warlock, as you DO have the best classes of any MMO, and they look even better in Cataclysm.... But, on Bayonetta, what were you guys on Team Little Angels thinking? I know you guys likely do not care about my opinion, but really, did you think the stone award was a good idea?

Very Severe: The original tomb of horrors D&D module is the worst in existence. Good examples are the orb of annihilation that doesnt look like one and instakills you and all your gear if you touch it, and the three treasure chests where each has no loot and deadly traps and no clues that this is the case.

Severe: There's a popular wc3 map in China where you enter a bonus round, and have a 2% chance of just straight up dying rather than getting cool loot.

Situationally Moderate:Horrify + fear kiting from a competent warlock who outgears you in WoW. Guess what? You die before getting to react.

Mild: Stone award in Bayonetta. So... you barely get through the level for the first time, then get laughed at by the game with a lame statue of the comic relief character, and a mocking laugh. Please -- maybe a bronze award and a 500 pt bonus might be more appropriate? The player might have worked VERY hard to get through the level, espec on normal and higher difficulties. Maybe I'm unable to understand because I'm a Gaijin.

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. We'd have to make it a LOT stronger to make it 'good enough' because you could not rely upon it... and it would be a lot less fun. Random abilities have this problem on reliability -- they tend to be a lot less satisfying, so you have to overpower them a lot more. Small amounts of randomness can add excitement and drama, but it has a lot of downsides. There are other examples of non-reliability, but randomness is the most obvious one. Abilities that require peculiar situations to do their jobs tend to run into the same problems, such as Tryndamere's shout that only slows when targets are facing away from him.



At least second post from Zileas(the first one was explanation about Swains Torment rework) where he clearly declares that LoL is for r-e-t-a-rds.