Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

First Riot Post
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seththemighty

Member

08-23-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by grenadier42 View Post
Except that solving the "problem" in that matter would in fact be quite simple. If the button is toggled on for a certain player, act like said player doesn't exist for targeting purposes. Assuming Riot's codebase is -remotely- sane, that shouldn't be an issue. (If they aren't using a modular UI -already-, that's incredibly surprising.) They already have a full game running. Adding a button that sets a boolean to true isn't that hard.

Also it isn't just one ability. Assuming it were like HoN's, then the button would be to toggle on/off the ability to have potentially harmful abilities in general casted on you.

The fact is that "it's a potential griefing hazard" is a 100% bull**** excuse.
I'll tell you what's "bull****."

New User: "WTF is this random button next to my portrait?"
Veteran: "It's for toggling whether one single ability out of hundreds is able to 'friendly-fire' you."
New User: "..."

That's just clumsy design, in a lot of ways. Not only is that a UI feature that is worthless and distracting 99% of the time, if teammates can opt-out of your ability to avoid griefing, the ability might as well read "cannot affect allies in pub games."


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grenadier42

Senior Member

08-23-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by seththemighty View Post
New User: "WTF is this random button next to my portrait?"
Veteran: "Mouseover it, it tells you"
New User: "'Toggles whether allies can target you with potentially harmful abilities.' Oh, thanks!"
That's all I read.


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Ka0skrew

Member

08-23-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by grenadier42 View Post
I should add to this that one of the reasons Riot won't implement stuff like this is because you can grief people with skills like this. Such a ******ed reason. Just do what HoN does and put a button next to the other player's portraits for whether you want to be able to be tossed or not. PROBLEM SOLVED
People grief just fine without tiny.

I must say the two abilities I miss most from DOTA are Tiny's Toss and Earth shakers fissure. They are very unique and something I think LoL is missing sometimes. Skarner's ult is a good start.


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Bees

Senior Member

08-23-2011

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 -- ONLY 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.

Good particle work and sound -- good 'salesmanship' -- will reduce burden of knowledge (but not eliminate it). We still would not do Rupture as is in LoL ever, but I would say that the HON version of Rupture, with it's really distinct sound effect when you move, greatly reduces the burden of knowledge on it.

In summary, all mechanics have some burden of knowledge, and as game designers, we seek to design skills in a way that gives us a lot of gameplay, for not too much burden of knowledge. If we get a lot more gameplay from something, we are willing to take on more burden of knowledge -- but for a given mechanic, we want to have as little burden of knowledge as possible.



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.



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.
I love characters /w unique or new mechanics/rolls like teemo or nocturne. That's why I'm a little scared or confused about a couple of these "anti-patterns." I would really love to see new mechanics appear in the game, but a lot of the new champs feel like their abilities are a little too reused. It's something else if it is too much trouble to add new mechanics on a technical level, but the "Burden of Knowledge" anti-pattern sounds like you think the average LoL player isn't smart enough to understand new mechanics.

If this is the case it really saddens me. I can tell you when playing DOTA, having many different vendors selling many recipes, some of who were in the the unexplored jungle, that was a burden of knowledge for me as a novice. Rupture? not at all, blood squirted out of you and there were squirty sound effects. The mechanic for it can be explained by a fellow teammate in one sentence. If you are worried about your customers being too stupid to understand the mechanic, focus on it in the champion spotlight and how it's countered. In most games a teammate will have watched and will know what's going on. Personally I find the "Burden of Knowlege" anti-pattern being used as a reason not to implement a new mechanic on a champion to be insulting. New mechanics are where I'm looking for some fun, and I'd love to see a rupture or guardian mechanic (absorb half of incoming damage from a teamate for a period of time). I definitely agree about making the visuals obvious.


About the false choice- deceptive wrong choice, could you give another LoL example? It sounded like you had an idea about a new mechanic you dismissed because walking into the effect was always the wrong choice? Isn't that the case /w Karthus' wall and veigar's circle of stunning (abilities I find to be fun playing /w or against)? It's rarely a good choice to walk into an enemy's spell, but that doesn't make the spells badly designed (i.e. traps, lasting aoe effects, dodge-able skillshots) Abilities that are just deceptive, like shaco and wukongs clones, or baiting abilites, those are extremely fun and you have a lot of those in the game. I guess I'm a little confused about your "false choice - deceptive wrong choice" anti-pattern and how it fits into the LoL world, so I hope you might be willing to put a different example there.

Lastly the Non-Reliability anti-pattern. I can see a definitive downside to RNG mechanics (though some of them can be fun), but a lot of the funnest gameplay comes from situational mechanics. Jumping walls, pushing into towers saving a dead/dying champ etc. Having the chance to score a critical hit breaks some of the monotony of auto attacks, makes it less homogenous and more fun. While I don't think removing critical hits from the game would be a good choice, it kind of feels like it's in the same direction that a lot of the changes have been. I'm just saying that leveling things out too much and removing the peaks can remove fun and enjoyability rather than add it.


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grenadier42

Senior Member

08-23-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeve View Post
Personally I find the "Burden of Knowlege" anti-pattern being used as a reason not to implement a new mechanic on a champion to be insulting.
You've pretty much summed it up.


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ChangWu

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Senior Member

08-23-2011

bump


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Lyev

Senior Member

08-23-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka0skrew View Post
People grief just fine without tiny.

I must say the two abilities I miss most from DOTA are Tiny's Toss and Earth shakers fissure. They are very unique and something I think LoL is missing sometimes. Skarner's ult is a good start.
That's Batrider's ulti from DotA. So, that's also another thing from DotA....


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TenseiSan

Senior Member

08-24-2011

I have played HoN for a long time and I've never encountered a Tiny (or Pebbles, as he's known in HoN) who griefed allies with his toss. Not saying it doesn't ever happen, but I think the whole griefing potential aspect is getting a bit exaggerated.

On another note, a few pages ago, someone mentioned how Annie can be considered anti-fun, and I'm inclined to agree. She has kind of a counterpart in DotA hero called Lina who has a very similar play style (Fire-based AoE burst caster that can take down enemies in a single combo), but has a few notable differences.

For one, Annie has no real skillshots outside of Incinerate, which has generous range and a near instant cast time, so it hardly counts. Her other skills are almost instant cast as well, so she's capable of bursting people down in a few seconds without them being able to do anything against it other than stacking magic resistance.

As was mentioned, Lina has a similar modus operandi, but what's notable is that her effectiveness is almost entirely dependent on the ability of the player to land her skillshot stun, Light Strike Array. Light Strike Array is a moderate damage medium duration AoE stun, but it has a very crippling cast time delay attached to it. It takes almost a second after getting cast to actually hit.

This IMO opens up a lot of potential for clutch dodges and predictions, and just makes for a lot more fun gameplay. If I die in a 1v1 situation against Lina, I never really feel that I just got screwed out of nowhere like with Annie, but more that I just got 'outpredicted' by a more skilled player.


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Bees

Senior Member

08-24-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Well, there's this game called Starcraft. and it's really easy to understand and avoids this anti-pattern heavily. And it has as much or possibly more strategic depth than DOTA... just saying... This is an optimization. All things being equal, less burden is better. "hard to learn" is only beneficial for a hardcore base that already plays the product to protect their elitism and feelings of superiority over less experienced playres, but you can give them the same mastery with simple to learn, hard to master mechanics, as starcraft accomplished, and make the game way more accessible.
Like I posted before I really hope we'll see new ability mechanics in future champions. I want to clarify that this isn't to make me feel elite (I'm a casual gamer), but because I want to experience new depth and fun with new champions.

I read through the entire thread in one sitting, so sorry if I missed anything, but there are a few points I didn't see you address. First, one thing you mention a lot is that you don't like the situation in which you can be taken from full health to zero while having no control over your character in WoW. One thing Blizzard did to diminish this was to implement diminishing returns on CC in Arenas. Do you like the diminishing returns on CC in WoW, and if so what are your thoughts on implementing them (to any degree) in LoL?

Second, if I understand your original post correctly, an ability like Jarvan's Ult has less anti-pattern than Sona's or Leona's because the targeted enemies still have control of their character and can fight and use their abilities (I think Jarvan's ult has more net fun anyway, maybe I'm wrong).

I want to encourage more unique/new mechanics like this, but since you don't like rupture, how about a similar "eye of the storm" mechanic? Imagine Swain's lazerbird, but as you get further from it, the beam gets wider and more scary looking (does more damage), and as you get closer to it it gets narrower and less threatening. This should have almost no "Burden of Knowledge" because you can see and learn the effect within the duration of one cast (rupture isn't as obvious because all movement has the same hurting effect, and hitting the "s" key isn't as normal as moving around during a fight). This should definitely have less Burden than someone experiencing a stun for the first time and wondering why the champion doesn't respond to any commands for a few seconds. If you don't like typical escape abilities like jump/flash having the ability to screw you over, you can have the tether point jump/flash with the targeted champion (or just make the beam not get wider during these abilities and resume function when the champion has landed). Ghost and other speed escapes shouldn't be a problem because while you can run to harm more quickly, you can also run towards the safer "eye of the storm" more quickly too.
I guess I'm just wondering: Wouldn't a single target "eye of the storm"-style ult have less anti-pattern than a single target suppression ult like Malzahar's? (I don't have a problem /w Malz's ult)

Anyway, are there are any problems /w this or other new mechanics keeping them from being considered? What about the guardian mechanic (take half of incoming damage to an ally onto yourself for a period of time)? Well I love the game but I hope to see something new that none of the other champions have yet. I love new, unique things like nocturnes sight limiting mechanic and if there are technical limitations I understand, but otherwise I hope you'll find a work around to implement truly new mechanics. If there's a specific anti-pattern to work around I bet the community would be more than willing to help you brainstorm.


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Lyev

Senior Member

08-24-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenseiSan View Post
I have played HoN for a long time and I've never encountered a Tiny (or Pebbles, as he's known in HoN) who griefed allies with his toss. Not saying it doesn't ever happen, but I think the whole griefing potential aspect is getting a bit exaggerated.

On another note, a few pages ago, someone mentioned how Annie can be considered anti-fun, and I'm inclined to agree. She has kind of a counterpart in DotA hero called Lina who has a very similar play style (Fire-based AoE burst caster that can take down enemies in a single combo), but has a few notable differences.

For one, Annie has no real skillshots outside of Incinerate, which has generous range and a near instant cast time, so it hardly counts. Her other skills are almost instant cast as well, so she's capable of bursting people down in a few seconds without them being able to do anything against it other than stacking magic resistance.

As was mentioned, Lina has a similar modus operandi, but what's notable is that her effectiveness is almost entirely dependent on the ability of the player to land her skillshot stun, Light Strike Array. Light Strike Array is a moderate damage medium duration AoE stun, but it has a very crippling cast time delay attached to it. It takes almost a second after getting cast to actually hit.

This IMO opens up a lot of potential for clutch dodges and predictions, and just makes for a lot more fun gameplay. If I die in a 1v1 situation against Lina, I never really feel that I just got screwed out of nowhere like with Annie, but more that I just got 'outpredicted' by a more skilled player.
Lina doesn't summon a giant flaming bear and is also a giant nuke though...