Why do Game Developers think they know what the players want? What games failed you?

First Riot Post
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Cyrad

Senior Member

02-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
This is one of the more interesting ideas I've heard on the subject. Care to elaborate?
The Smash Bros team wanted to create more casual appeal, but they used a means that alienated competitive players. They incorporated many elements utilizing chance (tripping, items that randomly fail, stages with lethal unpredictable hazards, etc). However, it doesn't quite work with the genre since action games like the fighting genre are typically seen as games of skill. While I commend the team for trying to create casual appeal, I feel this wasn't an appropriate way to achieve that.

I think better alternatives would be to add toggle-able features that can mix things up. Items do a great job of that. Tripping, however, was integral to the game system and served no purpose other than add a bit of randomness. Plus, even casual players admitted that it's never fun to have the game randomly hinder you.


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ItemsGuy

Senior Member

02-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
Hehe point taken - I mean between multiple products.
>: D

(Alright, enough cheekiness from me!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bow Of Havoc View Post
Runescape, it was never broken but the developers decided to fix something that was never broken.
Usually "fixing what isn't broken" can also mean "improving upon something that isn't the best it can be"--and improvement isn't always linear!

I'm not quite sure what happened with RS (haven't played since gradeschool), but what it sounds like, is that they may have tried to take something in a new direction but took a misstep. I wouldn't blame it on "trying to fix something that was never broken" (this sort of mindset is incredibly toxic to positive growth)--they just took a chance at changing something, and weren't successful with it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosBloodterfly View Post
Brawl: 10 million sales.
Melee: 7 million sales.

Totally ruined right there.

Nintendo real sad there. The head designer for SSB has stated that he does not give two ****s about the competitive scene.
And they don't need to--SSB isn't even a fighting game, by their definitions, but a multiplayer party/action game. Which is a shame--just from a design standpoint, SSB's approach at combat is much more 1:1 and accessible than most "actual" Fighting-genre games (generally falling down to thinking on your feet and constantly adapting to your foe--you don't have to be able to memorize and regurgitate complicated combo strings, since every button press/directional button press is an action, so you don't have to deal with clutter or middle-men; Fighting as a genre in general isn't in the best spot, due to that sort of clutter, much like how most RTSs are in a bad spot because they prioritize micromanaging over a more engaging level of 1:1 competitive play).

But god damn it, I think the biggest mistake Brawl made would have to be the lack of an option to turn tripping off--I can deal with the slower pace and lack of ATs (which I could never really get a hold of--and it annoyed me quite a bit that I had to learn to abuse in-game glitches in order to get ahead competitively instead of using the tools granted to me by the game itself), but that sort of persistent RNG gets under my skin a bit. Also the roster isn't exactly balanced but that's one of the drawbacks of not really having an open beta stage or being an evolving game like LoL!

EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrad View Post
The Smash Bros team wanted to create more casual appeal, but they used a means that alienated competitive players. They incorporated many elements utilizing chance (tripping, items that randomly fail, stages with lethal unpredictable hazards, etc). However, it doesn't quite work with the genre since action games like the fighting genre are typically seen as games of skill. While I commend the team for trying to create casual appeal, I feel this wasn't an appropriate way to achieve that.

I think better alternatives would be to add toggle-able features that can mix things up. Items do a great job of that. Tripping, however, was integral to the game system and served no purpose other than add a bit of randomness. Plus, even casual players admitted that it's never fun to have the game randomly hinder you.
Like I've said--I really appreciate that SSB has always been the most accessible pseudo-Fighting game (I think it was actually what really got me hooked on video games, way back before I even had an N64), but I don't really think that they need to do much to appeal to casual audiences simply due to the nature of the game. As a game with competitive potential, being accessible is one of the greater aspects one could have because that keeps fresh blood constantly flowing into the system, which only means a larger and more vibrant competitive scene--which is good! I think that's what LoL touches on, and with some work, what it can truly exemplify with flying colors.


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Pokeprof

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Senior Member

02-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
This is one of the more interesting ideas I've heard on the subject. Care to elaborate?
I think in the case of Super Smash Brothers Brawl, it wasn't so much that they decided 'Oh, let's make sure that those new to the game are capable of doing this' more as they said 'Well, let's remove some of the things that separated the elite from the new' as well as adding in things that would take any and all skill out of the game.

Wavedashing was the thing removed, originally an abuse of the mechanics of the game, it's kinda what any and all Elite players used because it offered them an extreme advantage over those who didn't know about it. Truthfully this kind of removal I'm quite alright with, as Wavedashing was never intended.

The Tripping, on the other hand, was where a lot of complaints came to on them trying to make the game more causal by introducing a random element into the game that couldn't be controlled or stopped in any respect and, at high levels of play, cost entire matches. Other things that could be count in here would be the general floaty nature of the game, which combined with it's easier combo system made it so that characters could easily lock down others. There's also the added in flight mechanic that made it very hard to kill some of those flying characters.

And, for me personally, the addition of a 'Stamina' mechanic to Pokemon Trainer, meaning that you had to switch between your Pokemon, less you were doing weaker damage. This led you having to fight an enemy while stuck as a guy that didn't fit your play style or countered your current Pokemon easily.


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Morello

Lead Designer

02-08-2013
68 of 91 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrad View Post
The Smash Bros team wanted to create more casual appeal, but they used a means that alienated competitive players. They incorporated many elements utilizing chance (tripping, items that randomly fail, stages with lethal unpredictable hazards, etc). However, it doesn't quite work with the genre since action games like the fighting genre are typically seen as games of skill. While I commend the team for trying to create casual appeal, I feel this wasn't an appropriate way to achieve that.

I think better alternatives would be to add toggle-able features that can mix things up. Items do a great job of that. Tripping, however, was integral to the game system and served no purpose other than add a bit of randomness. Plus, even casual players admitted that it's never fun to have the game randomly hinder you.
Agreed on this front - I think Brawl's design is inferior, but the conversation is regularly couched in the competitive scene which adds a certain bias that fails to talk completely about the issues.


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Sageoffire

Senior Member

02-08-2013

I dont know if its been mentioned already, but RARE comes to mind as a developer that fell HARD from grace.

BattleToads
Golden Eye
Perfect Dark
StarFox
Jetforce Gemini
Donkey Kong 1, 2, 3 and DK64
Conkers Bad Fur Day
Banjo Kazooie, 1, 2, ...
...
...
...

and then ... Microsoft happened


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Shinkada

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Senior Member

02-08-2013

I think my favourite thing about Riot's balancing right now is that it all feels like it was done by the same group. You have general ideas about what you want to achieve with each champion and it all feels very co-minded. Occasionally you'll get a champion that doesn't quite fit - Syndra's need to micro-manage something over a long period of time (when this is a very fast-paced game) to get maximum damage comes to mind - but even on the rare chance that happens you err on the side of underpowered.

I'm mostly thinking of Street Fighter 4 when I say this, because you have NO idea how obvious it is that there are different teams working on that game. When reading the patch notes for v2012 for example I was totally overwhelmed with how blatant it was that the person who had worked on Rose - someone with a very cautious mindset who thought zoning was very powerful - was not the same person who worked on Akuma - someone with a very aggressive mindset who thought the game was all about rushdown. In the end those characters are tiers apart - and holy **** do tiers matter so much more in fighters than in League - and it really shows. I'm not sure how you guys avoid that trap but I think it's mostly the simple answer, and something you've been told many times before, that you guys keep your heads in the community.

And it's not just the average 'oh we talk to the community every so often,' it's about REALLY having your heads in it. You all play the game, you post very regularly, you reply with things that aren't just corporate copy-pastes. I think as long as you keep that down-to-earth aspect you'll never lose touch with how your game is going enough to just let dumb things happen.

Oh right, I also love that you don't just cave in to community beliefs. Not nerfing Darius after how much hate he got? Mad respect. It takes a lot of guts to say "No we've tested it and it's not op you guys just need to learn how to deal with it" to however many million people.

Even though you totally nerfed Kat into the ground and she loses pretty much every single matchup now. I'll let that slide because I know it was probably the right thing to do for all that mid-game dominance.

Maybe one day I'll even forgive you.


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Qeynos

Member

02-08-2013

Morello, I wonder if you would share with us why there is so much teenage *** fantasy going on in the character art. It has been documented before in the forums. The female characters are either ghoulish, demons, children, or blatantly sexual.

This is a massive problem all across fantasy settings actually, Plate Mail with Boobs, Warriors in leather thongs and 99% of the skin exposed, etc. Riot seems very in touch with the gaming community as a whole, and yet you seem perfectly content just going along for the ride with this issue. And if you don't think it is an issue, count how many professional players are Female. From what I've seen of the Championships on Twitch TV, I count Zero.

Even the most “armored” girl in this game, Leona, is rockin’ the boobs on the armor. There is no purpose for this other than "eye candy" for 13 year olds.

I’m not trying to simply QQ and say that boobs are bad, but honestly, Leona wouldn’t build armor with boobs. She would strap those things down and not present a massive target right to her sternum.

And Sejuani? Really? A Leather Bikini in a frozen waste land? Sure. Let's ask the Summor's Showcase girl how long she would wear that in the snow.


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Shinkada

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Senior Member

02-08-2013

Why is every male champion so rugged, well built and attractive? Look at Draven's arms, they're the size of thighs! Don't even get me started on Garen's ridiculous non-human proportions, talk about enforcing an unhealthy body image. Even Gragas, the ugliest male champion in the League (and of COURSE the ugly champions are all male) is rocking a quite frankly majestic beard that a human could only have pitiful dreams of while they cry themselves to sleep.

Why aren't there any normal male characters, huh Riot? I demand a 5'10 chubby guy with glasses and a neckbeard. Otherwise I simply won't support your continued terrible representation of male body image.

Seriously though, Tryndamere is wearing just as little as Sejuani, Garen is actually wearing less armour than Leona so that makes even less sense, why is Graves built like a tank when he's just some guy with a gun, same goes for Jayce when he made a gunhammer to do all his dirty work, etc. The male champions are just as heroically unrealistic as the female ones.


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Malurth

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Senior Member

02-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
Agreed on this front - I think Brawl's design is inferior, but the conversation is regularly couched in the competitive scene which adds a certain bias that fails to talk completely about the issues.
I was thinking about this the other day.

Melee's competitive scene is rather...inaccessible. Due to Melee's mechanics, you have to be highly proficient at highly finicky controls to get the most out of your character, which is very difficult to do. If Brawl wanted to get more casual appeal, the first step would be to lower that "tech barrier," so to speak.

And they tried, but they did it in a kind of dumb way: chopping out all the techniques and replacing them with nothing, which made the game overall much slower paced in competitive/skilled play. For example, melee had L-canceling, which was pressing L or R just before you were about to land from an aerial; do that, and your aerial's landing lag was halved straight up. Brawl fixed this tech barrier by removing the feature, without compensating aerial lag whatsoever. Next thing you know, the game is slower.

And then they more or less took out comboing, which made sense; being batted around while mostly completely helpless is not fun, and certainly doesn't have much casual appeal. However, in Melee these combos were usually quite difficult to pull off, and directional influence allowed for some counter play. They were also very entertaining to watch.

Though I do think there is some merit to having an artificial tech barrier like Melee; it allows seasoned players to utilize these tricks to beat less skilled players with more certainty/reliability. However, I would posit there are better ways to achieve this than via arbitrary button skill. Melee's comboing was a better example, but that makes the game somewhat less accessible too.

idk I'm rambling.


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lceCar

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Senior Member

02-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
This is one of the more interesting ideas I've heard on the subject. Care to elaborate?
Wall of text inc.

Although I don't play competitive Brawl/Melee and only watch competitive players going at it (regularly watch competitive melee, some grand finals from brawl every now and then from big tournaments) this is what I think:

The pacing - As others have already said, Brawl plays WAY slower than Melee. It's not an exaggeration to say that Brawl is 2x slower than Melee. This is because of several reasons that I can think of.
Firstly, the "techniques" that you can pull off. In Melee, everyone says that "wavedashing" is the major thing, but it really isn't. Sure wavedashing is good for positioning, but the big thing is another technique called "shffl" which basically allows characters to move and use their moves faster in succession. This would be akin to cooldown reducing mechanics in league such as Skarner auto-ing people to reduce the cooldowns on his abilities or Ryze's passive. Essentially, in Melee, this allows you to chain attacks together to pull off a combo and feels pretty frickin' rewarding.
In Brawl, there are no such mechanics (as far as I know), or maybe just a few things that let you chain like 2-3 attacks (not really). So when you're hitting someone it really feels like you're just chipping at them bit by bit until you can kill them 1-2 minutes later. This is not to say that in Melee, you die the moment you're hit. There's still "footsies" in Melee where people test the waters against each other before committing to a fight and even the combos are escapable through another mechanic called directional influence (League counter-play anyone?). So combo-ing, and defending against combo's is still very much a skill based affair.
As a result, killing people in Melee makes you feel way more awesome than it does to kill someone in Brawl.

Another reason I think pacing is much slower in Brawl as opposed to Melee is its safety mechanics. In Super Smash, there's something called air-dodging and rolling which basically allows you to become invulnerable and move a bit in a certain direction while being invulnerable. In Melee, you could only air-dodge once in the air, and then pretty much couldn't do anything except strafe slightly left and right to psyche out the opponent who's trying to hit you. In Brawl, you lost the ability to influence your movement, but could air dodge an infinite amount of times until you hit the ground, with a slight delay in between each.
So in Melee, paired with the mechanics that allowed you to move faster, you could punish those who air-dodge and roll without abandon since they're really a last resort kind of move to get you out of sticky situations. Couple the safety of Brawl's mechanics and its slower pacing, it became much harder to punish those who spammed rolls or air-dodges (although still possible to do if they become too predictable, but doesn't really happen in competitive play as far as I've seen). So Brawl became more of a dodge fest (at casual play) as opposed to Melee where you had to think about your positioning and the moves you're putting out or you'll get punished (although competitive Brawl players don't spam dodges, due to slower mechanics it's still like a war of attrition).

Another reason I think there's such a huge gap is the "optimal" playstyle for certain characters in Brawl. Certain characters in Brawl (Falco, Diddy Kong, Olimar, Snake) have an unlimited supply of ranged weaponry. This along with Brawl's slower pacing, and the reliability of getting away, allows these characters to easily camp another character with no ranged tools to retaliate. What started as a fighting game is now a camp fest until the character with the ranged advantage is sure to kill the other character or catches them in a compromising position. Ever played Udyr vs pretty much any ranged champion in a matchup? Ya, it's not fun. But what about the characters who can deal with that without ranged tools? Then you get characters like in League, who have so many tools or who excel at what they're doing so much to combat the kiting, that they blow the rest who don't have such ridiculous tools out of viability (Metaknight in the case of Brawl who is incredibly quick, mobile, and has no bad matchups or counters).
Although this doesn't affect all characters and really only a few characters in Brawl, these mechanics have pushed them to be high tier characters and you regularly see them in tournaments, negating the viability of many other characters who can't deal with it. At a point this was such a problem that the Smash community actually considered universally banning Metaknight from every tournament because it wasn't uncommon to see the majority of players in a tournament pick him and no one else.

So what does this all do? Brawl, Melee's successor, became a MUCH slower paced game. Regular matches in competitive Melee have 4 lives, an 8 minute time limit in case no one dies (almost never happens), and regularly run 3-6 minutes long. Competitive Brawl matches (as far as I know) regularly run 4 minutes all the way to the 8th minute where the winner is the person who damaged the other most wins. Oh, and competitive Brawl only runs 3 lives (this is what I saw at the latest big tournament APEX 2013).
This would be like if League games still had the mechanic of denying, everyone having a free 3rd summoner fortify, as well as losing gold upon death to make the lengths of a match much longer.

Also, the creator of Smash has also stated that he basically doesn't care about the competitive Melee scene and only wishes Brawl to be casual, essentially ostracizing the Melee community. So Brawl is pretty much a casual game with little depth as opposed to Melee.
This is not to say skill plays no role in Brawl because it obviously does, but it is much less a factor than in Melee. Also, this is not to say casual Melee is not fun, it's still a blast and so is casual Brawl. Perhaps casual Brawl is even more so because of the larger roster, but there's nothing there in Brawl that Melee doesn't have for the competitive Melee players who've played and loved their game which is over a decade old.


Hope I didn't get too technical with the Smash terms, but it was difficult to explain if you have no knowledge of the game. Reading this again, I kinda went all over the place, but essentially I think Brawl is a much slower paced game that rewards defensive play/camping. This would make alot more sense to you Morello if you've played either game.