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Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

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Senior Member


Oh, yeah, I did a bunch of economic theory work, battle formation analysis, etc. I think some is still influential.

- Zileas

i saw a quote about you, saying that it was like Shuttles shooting Scarabs :O

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VP of Game Design


i saw a quote about you, saying that it was like Shuttles shooting Scarabs :O

Yeah, a lot of this was covered here.... I was an even bigger dork at 19.

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Senior Member


Yeah, a lot of this was covered here.... I was an even bigger dork at 19.

I love how now when we think of ubergamers we think of guys sitting behind supercomputers with flashing lights then I see the picture of you and imagine you destroying kids on that rig.

I can't remember the last time I used non-laser mouse.

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Senior Member


Zileas, have you ever talked with brian kibler about the games competitive play?

Since you are the guy who likes to model things off mtg.
i thought i would ask.

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Senior Member


Really good and interesting read. The common sense aspect of fun game design is always there but this pointed out the flaws in a really clear manner.

Never had anyone to play D&D with so never got that into it, but Tomb of Horrors sounds intense.

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Mr Zafrada

Senior Member


Zileas, I'll never forget your reaver-popping thing.

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Senior Member


All Right, I have somewhat built a reputation for myself and hopefully Riot Team has taken notice of The Rookie List (http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=582114) which is easily the most successful Champion collection posts, and if you guys actually read it clearly the most helpful thing EVER to be posted in Champion Feedback.

All Champions that are pre LeBlanc had their abilities basic effects picked from a box, then their secondary effects picked from another box.

If you are going to post something like this, please don't contradict Riot.

i.e. Master Yi.... where do I begin

Q - Fine, This suits a Swordsman.

W - What the ****, yes I get that he is supposed to be Oriental, this does not mean he has to meditate! It is completely out of place amidst his other abilities, this would suit better on a caster or a tank.

E - Boring and simple, but it suits his theme.

R - You talk about "anti-patterns" Giving a Champion the ability to run at an unslowable massive movement speed, packed by his immense damage means he will be able to kill most champions 1v1 if they aren't a tank. Heck, I've seen a Master Yi kill 1v3 with his ultimate active the entire time and then simply have it ready to use again after doing so, whilst the other 2 on the team attempt to get to him he sits there and meditates back to full and then kills the other 2. (HE WAS NOT FED AT ALL)

That is an Anti-Pattern, and IMO very poor Champion Design.

I would prefer the aura, if a player wasn't ******ed at maths they would obviously accept the aura.
You could even go the 1 step further and combine the 2.

@ Sona comment, that is the dumbest thing I have ever read, it made me want to rip my eyes out and eat them! People would appreciate them far more if they had a greater effect (i.e. Lets Bring Sona into a team fight, so we all essentially have Baron Buffs rather then slight increases that really make no difference)
Yes, giving a Champ the ability to passively buff nearby allies to the extent of Baron buff would be poor design, however stating that PLAYERS prefer less of a buff then a greater one is just ******ed...

@Rupture Comment, In all honesty I am starting to loose faith in Riot's Design Team the further on I read.

1. Playing against a Bloodseeker obviously opens you up to the fact that at any point you are close to him, he is likely to cast Rupture. What makes a player good is knowing what enemy champs and allied champs are capable of doing and when.

2. When you get hit by rupture, it is very obvious that you have been hit. This can be seen by the large amount of blood gushing from your champion. If you cannot see this and keep running you deserve to die.

3. Buff/Debuffs.... They are there for a reason to give a HUD on what is currently affecting your champion for better or worse!

4. Burden of Knowledge promotes team talk. This is essential to winning a game, the more communication of players that are aware of what can happen and even asking... wtf happened is what helps you learn, and hopefully it will only take you 1-3 times to realise how to avoid it. THIS IS WHY ALL NEW CHAMPS GET COMPLAINED ABOUT BEING OP IN THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF RELEASE, BECAUSE EVERYONE IS BURDENED WITH LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

Unclear Optimization
- Yes and no, for example Irelia will forever have an unclear optimization because it can only ever do one of the two effects per cast.
- @Proudmoore comment you are so, SO wrong.
- Not every ability in a game will be optimized to its maximum potential, however if you cast this and it results in your team scoring a kill without anyone dying, that it has been optimized whether or not it buffed your allies or not.

An LoL example of Poor Optimization is the way you have designed and constructed Tryndamere.
- His Innate grants him more crit and crit damage the lower his HP is, and this synergizes like a peach with Undying Rage.
- Bloodlust however is Poorly optimized, as it not only counter effects your Innate, but it also removes the buffs you gain from it when used, essentially a player must decide when to use this and when it will be most effective, never really gaining full optimization from this ability!

Use Pattern Mis-matches Surrounding Gameplay

... So for example if a ranged champion had a melee ability that did KB to an opponent this would be a mis-match?
These abilities are necessary some times!

Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-Fun

AHAHAHAH That is rich coming from the design team that made it possible to get CC chained by the greater majority of Champion Lineups.

As this game was based of DotA, I should remind you that there are only 4 Vanilla CCs.
- Stun
- Freeze
- Snare
- Blind

And all of these were used to a limited extent. However in LoL there are maybe.... 10 Champions at the most that DO NOT have a CC, compared to the greater majority of champions in DotA.

If a Champion for example had a powerful manaburn that reduced it's target's mana by a huge chunk, and then upon re-cast or after X seconds that mana was sent back to the target dealing additional damage, this would be the ultimate fix for your "anti-fun" problem.

Conflicted Purpose
- Clearly an ability like this would be used first, only a noob or an ******* last hitter would save this for the kill.
- i.e. If you cast this on an opponent that had say 1.5k HP, (ignoring resistances) this would reduce them to 1k HP and slow them, allowing you to pop in more damage for the kill.
HOWEVER! If you used normal abilities against the same target, and were greedy enough to not open with a slow and big damage, and instead waited til you were certain this would get the last hit. It not only is unoptimized, but it wastes the full damage potential AND the slow.

- Just because a Warrior needs to be hit to gain rage does not mean they HAVE to be hit.
- There is a thing called Auto Attacks which majority of games have, so if you chain a stun in that gives you an immediate DPS advantage against the enemy, essentially still assisting in helping you win a conflict.

False Choice -- Deceptive Wrong Choice
- Wrong, there is a thing that I like to call the "Surprise Cockfags Effect" in which, the ability example you stated has multi-uses, even for enemies.
- i.e. If the champion casts this wall in the attempt to knock a weakened opponent towards you and the intended victim manages to avoid it, then along comes a full hp tanky DPS charging straight at your wall, willing to take the damage it deals in order to get all up in your grill. This is a prime example of SCE.
A room with three treasure chests, all of which have no treasure and lethal traps
Well yeah, but If you have a Good Rogue they can check first >.>

False Choice -- Ineffective Choice
- This is what makes a game fun ffs!
- If there were an ability that dealt higher damage the closer to the centre of it, but slowed target's hit by say 15%, but did less damage the further away they were from the centre but slowed by 50%.
- Abilities like this are what makes games fun, as they require quick decision making and premeditated tactics to ensure a kill against the target.

"Do you nuke them harder or do you slow them more??"

Questions like this are what add the competitive edge to gaming, and more of stuff like this is essential to a game!

Or We Could **** the Player!!1111oneoneone

- This happens all the time with Fiddles (Fear, Drain wait.... silence more drain Repeat.. >_&gt

In all honesty, the Riot Team has a fetish for pumping their champion's with CC's.
Enough is enough, as there are far too many in game already!

This Creation of a Player ****ing is the only thing letting down LoL at the moment.
I Suggest instead of bringing out newer and newer champs, revisit the old ones and remake their abilities to suit the flow of abilities that these new champs exhibit.

i.e. Master Yi, one of the oldest needs a desperate remake. His abilities are very boring, this is offset however by the fact that he is stupidly powerful. Essentially, the way to win a game (of anything) is to Stack Crit, Attack Speed and Dodge (PA) and you have done the same thing to Yi!
- Q avoids damage and is a Blink
- W is a prime example of sitting in the middle of battle and essentially ignoring enemies during Lane phase!
- E just adds damage, and when activated adds some more (like ****, I've seen some bad champion suggestion abilities and Yi's takes the cake for boring)
- R adds MS..... Bleh >.>

Tryndamere's shout is not an example of this and here is why:
- If you use it and enemies are facing you, they have their damage reduced so you can comfortably fight them at melee range.
- If they are running, then this means they are facing away and the slow serves it's purpose.
- If this ability were to slow target's facing him, it would be unessential as he already has a very good escape ability and slowing a target's MS for an steady area fight accounts for nothing, seeing you need to be at melee range anyway, meaning they can hit you back.

Your approach at Champ Design IMO needs a big cup of coffee.

Players DO want exciting abilities!

Take a Look at the List I posted and run through the Rookie List section, pick a Champion and make them and I ensure that it will make over 9 million in RP sales >.>

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Junior Member


well, we are removing flash

omg why to remove flash...because when u are ganged its good to have it....also the flash can have the gang too...so if u flash the gangs flashes too....its a idiotic thing because when u make PvP like garen against katarina or kassadin u wouldt kill them because they use tier own spell to"flash",the blink one....Think seriosly about this!

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This thread is still around?

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Senior Member


I don't see what the point of these rules is. All they do is limit creativity and design without really any benefits.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I learned how Rupture worked the first time it killed me. You spray blood everywhere when you move.

What about someone playing against Leblanc and has no idea what her ultimate is? Aren't they going to pretty much going to die? "Hrm, she's hitting pretty hard, but she just hit me with her spell; it must be on cooldown! Even if she did have some ability that allows her to cast again or something, according to how much damage that last one did, I should live! Surely it doesn't add a ton of bonus damage or anything!" Yeah, right. That's really forgiving to a new player.

Also, the "Burden of Knowledge" is pretty much nullified by a mechanic you already have in your game, the Death Recap."What killed me? Oh, Rupture.. lets see here.. does damage while I move! I now know what to do when that happens next time!"

I see no problems there.

Unclear Optimization? Isn't user error in general basically unclear optimization? You can't limit how interesting the abilities can be just because some people can't understand simple concepts. Catering to dumbs is no way to promote a "competitive" game.

Use Pattern Mis-Matches Surrounding Gameplay? That's a silly argument. How can something be mis-matched if designed correctly? There's dozens of people on these forums that could make, say a range champion with melee abilities, or a melee caster, work in design. Check the champion suggestions forums.

Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-fun? It's a competitive game.. last time I checked, putting your opponent in unfavorable positions is how you win these kind of things. There's always going to be a winner and loser; this rule is nonsensical and shouldn't hinder the creation of interesting mechanics. You already have stuns; what else could you make that breaks this silly rule anymore than that does?

Conflicted Purpose? Come on now. So you don't want the players to make decisive moves using their abilities? This is silly.

Anti-Combo? Competent design can make something like that work. Also, you know, players not being absolutely ******ed. A DoT and a CC breakable on damage could easily work together in the same kit. That's the player's fault if they're that downright stupid.

False Choice -- Deceptive Wrong Choice? Another very silly rule. Wouldn't any skill-shot fall under this category? Come on now. Look at that exact ability you gave as an example; what about using the wall to get a free ride to the caster to kill him? What about using the wall to move yourself from potentially more dangerous targets on their team? This isn't a design rule, the ability just needed tweaking if it wasn't working right.

False Choice -- Ineffective Choice? Well, pretty sure you've already broken this one a dozen times already. Harassing or ganking Vladimir? I don't know about you, but Sanguine Pool pretty much makes you feel ineffective in that department. Harassing Mordekaiser? Yeah, pretty sure you're just wasting your breath majority of time. Does this stop the game from functioning? Absolutely not. They work alright, evidently.