In the twinkling of an eye, the globally popular competitive game League of Legends (LOL for short) has been introduced and operated in China for four years. Currently, this game owns tens of millions of players around the world as a relatively mature product.
However, the game market is rapidly changing due to fierce competition. No matter how hot a game now is, especially in the segment market of MOBA game, it may be surpassed and replaced by some new creation overnight, like a preceding wave dies on beach due to the push by a subsequent one. In that case, 17173.com compiled the discussions on how to improve LOL made by some cyberdears at zhihu.com in order to help the developer team achieve a longer game product life.
Cyberdear BBKinG’s view: LOL should undergo a subtraction operation
In my opinion, game design should undergo a subtraction operation when it has been done to some extent. Instead of immediate cut of some things or complete cut of all things at one time, the term “subtraction” here emphasizes a simplification trend and degree acceptable by the players that depend on individual judgments.
Many game designers often make an unwitting mistake to increasingly complicate a game and uplift its newbie threshold in order to reflect its so-called high-end quality.
As a result, new games seize the opportunity and soon dominate the market, while the high-end ones are deadly pushed onto shore. Such cases are huge in quantity, commonly seen in web games and mobile games. Here I take some competitive games for example.
In StarCraft, battles usually happen in 3 or 4 battlefields at the same time due to the allowed huge population of 200 military units. In this case, a player has to be very busy with various operations such as face-to-face combat at the front, air drops at the rear and careful attention to possible sneak attacks of own bases from opponent. If you stand behind a professional player, you can always see his frequent switching from one screen to another; in such a match, he has to send out more than 300 instructions in a minute to be able to barely handle it.
If the game designer of StarCraft could have realized how many players can play the game in a leisurely way that requires such an enormous amount of fine operations, StarCraft 2 would have been born the same way?
The same mistake happened to Blizzard’s another product—Warcraft 3, which allows a player to control 3 heroes and up to 100 military units comprising air and ground forces mostly having distinct abilities. Although the operations required and units are much less than StarCraft, the gameplay complexity is no simpler. After the game has been popular for all these years, its developer team still has no intention to give it a subtraction operation.
So, one day, someone came forward and complained why we have to operate so many heroes and minions, and can’t we control only one hero? DotA rose.
Many years later, someone complained why we have to give up last hit to every minion as the weak side and why the abilities of each champion cannot be assigned to unified keys? LOL appeared.
Since some other cyberdears mentioned FPS, I’d like to talk about its evolution. In the age of Quake, the role you played shot enemies while jumping, and missiles had their trajectory, so you had to calculate missile lead lag while jumping.
Why did we have to play an FPS game this way? CounterStrike (CS for short) was born and became hot thanks to its more emphasis on teamwork.
When its version came to 1.6, CS began to seek death too. In addition to relatively reasonable removal of the continuous jump feature, the worse design was addition of shield and lag of opening sighting telescope of sniper rifle.
Why must the upgrade be so ball-aching?
Cross Fire (CF for short) smartly avoided the stupid designs of CS 1.6 and learned from the widely accepted ones of CS 1.5 as CF’s developer team thought 1.6 had became harder to play. Instead of adding sighting telescope opening lag to the game, the team increased CF’s headshot probability, which narrowed down the gap between veteran players and noob ones.
When the history evolved to the age of Call of Duty (COD for short) and Call of Duty Online (CODOL for short), gun’s recoil could be nearly ignored and even the aim-curbing technique required in CS and CF was not needed anymore so that killing became much easier. For example, an enemy could be killed by one stab with a dagger, and successful completion of multiple kill awarded you bombing and armed helicopter as assistant.
Someday in the future, possibly someone might complain why we have to …? Then, next hot competitive game appears.
Why does a subtraction operation have to be carried out after new competitor emerges? Why cannot the recreation mode and the competition mode be designed with different skill requirements for players? Why cannot a screen be freely expanded? Why cannot the game provide a respawning countdown timer for jungle monsters and free us from memorizing relevant times by typing? Why cannot a player just focus on what he’s doing while guarding against ganks without observing minimap frequently? Why cannot the buff icons be put at the middle instead of the left side? Why do we have to distract ourselves by being forced to move our eyes around the screen constantly?
If you miss thinking of any flaws needing to improve, your potential competitors will think of them for you someday. If not necessary, the substantiality will not be added.