@Zileas - Counter Play

  • Zileas, why would you fail to mention that your ideas were the focus of this week's Extra Credits? Doing cool things and not even telling us? That's just not right.
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    Originally Posted by JackalHalfdragon View Post
    So, hypothetically, how would you measure counterplay?
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    Gradually, and often subjectively

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    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Well, for a given ability, wouldnt you need to break it down into how much fun it is to use, versus how much opportunity to punish someone who tries to use it poorly? </td></tr></table>
    We often apply mental frameworks around this. For example, we ask, "What are the valid responses you can make?", and then in testing, "are they properly effective?" and make changes. Sometimes, you can do a very simple shift to enhance the strategic depth of the ability by adding a limitation, or adding a success condition. For example, Dark Binding is BETTER for having the minion collision case.


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    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> And the infamus Invoker, who in his original form had no less than 27 spells (he's been since nerfed to "only" 9 or so, I think) but a good player only ever uses the 2-3 most overpowered of them. "Burden of Knowlege" is the opponent's need to learn counterplay for 9 different spells just to play against them- Xypherous has said much on this topic.
    But the ability for a champion with that many options to have an answer for everything itself reduces counterplay, because he has an answer to your answer, and an answer to anything you would try next- a less obvous but no less real example of False Choice, where there is no right answers. </td></tr></table>
    Burden of knowledge is mostly about the idea that by improving how we sell what is going, we can improve the ability of people to begin to act strategically and really master the nuances of the game.

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    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> It's champs like Darious, where the fun of killstealing a penta outweigh the counterplay (ooh, I popped Barrier! your ult is on cooldown! ...oh wait I died) that we get "toxic" gameplay. </td></tr></table>
    Yeah, there are definitely some issues there.

    One additional thing I'd add is that a lot of extreme implementations of play balance often end up gutting counterplay. For example, I'd argue that the BKB in dota is necessary for DOTA to be balanced, but comes at the cost of shredding a lot of the existing counter-play that can exist around a carry (and some additonal 'counter-counter-play') (as it implicitly counters something like 70% of abilities, many of which are CCs that you'd use to shut down an exponentially scaling character).

    At a glance, it itself APPEARS to be counter-play, but it actually reduces the level of nuance and counters occurring by it's existence.

    We've run into this a lot. For example, Vlad's pool runs perilously close to this at times, and very long CCs or generally very OP stuff in general can end up in this territory. Optimizing this stuff is tough, and it's a lot of give and take, and we have to ask ourselves very seriously -- does this intended counterplay work? Is this mechanic good for the game? Where does it actually make the game less interesting? Is there a better way? We want to optimize how nuanced, how deep and how competitive the game is.

    Sometimes by adding a strong ability, or a strong counter, you reduce the total field of counters available, or the richness of the counters that do exist. It's scary and challenging
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    Originally Posted by Claw of Time View Post
    ?
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    ?
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    Originally Posted by SavageMinnow View Post
    Oh wow. I watched all that earlier today and totally missed that it was Zileas who come up with it. I even thought at the time "Wasn't there a Rioter on the forums saying a lot of stuff like this?" I think it might have been Morello that I'd be thinking of at the time, though, not sure. I imagine the idea is part of the staff's decision making process, not just one guy's idea.

    In any case, way to go Zileas.
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    Thanks, though really, Portnoy and his team did an awesome job building this out.

    I'm hoping I can speak on this soon.
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    Originally Posted by ObscureClockwork View Post
    wait, so darius's ult, vlad pool, and BKB remove nuances and counterplay innately?
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    Not entirely.

    Darius ult actually has some amount of counterplay because you can outrange it. There is some problem that in that in some situations, it lacks counterplay. I would agree that IN GENERAL it has poor counterplay -- but not NO counterplay. The larger issue is that it lacks subtlety in use in many situations -- in some situations, you just spam through your targets. Kinda a no brainer. Compare to feast where it's a little closer range, and you only get to do it once. And you have tension earlier about building up stacks and using your ult CD on NPCs. That plays a lot better.

    Vlad Pool I would say on net reduces counterplay in the game more than it adds nuance in play. It's OK if a mechanic is super nuanced and fun for the guy using it, and only a slight hit on the other side, but Vlad probably holistically has issues. There's not a lot of weaknesses to exploit, and pool reduces nuance to a limited extent in it's present incarnation. Nerfs have helped a lot, but there are still some issues. I don't know that we will be remaking it.

    BKB has a much larger impact, as it's an item, not a character. DOTA is balanced around the existence of this item, and in some sense, it's a binary counter after a basic level of skill (if you have BKB, hard counter certain character sets), not a nuanced one. It's much better to have a highly nuanced counter.

    Counterplay is as much about having a response of X to Y, as it is about a general philosophy that as you add mechanics, you need to consider their impact on the game holistically -- does it make the game more interesting, competitive, nuanced, fun IN GENERAL, not just in the local situation the mechanic will be used.
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    Originally Posted by ObscureClockwork View Post
    i think i get what you are saying now

    on another issue. similarly, how BKB balances dota, could flash be said the same as well?
    burst mobility like that is rather hard to counter, because, well, i happens so fast. there is flash as a counter, but is that not similar to your carry using BKB?

    and what does subtlety in use mean?
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    Well, flash is a generally-must-have in LoL, but you should consider the net impact --

    1) How nuanced is it to use? How fun is it to use?
    2) How do opponents respond to it? How nuanced, competitive, skill differentiated, interesting, fun are these responses?
    3) Of the above, does your ability to utilize this ability or the counters to it improve dramatically as you gain experience with the game?

    I feel like flash evaluates pretty well on those dimensions. BKB on the other hand takes a bunch of partial counters to your carry (various ccs and nukes), and negates them, leaving a much narrower field of responses available. The ACT of BKB is satisfying, and it presents a 'counter' to the things that would counter the carry using it, but I would argue that a rich network of soft counters is more interesting than coming to a head of 'hard counter vs hard counter'.

    We've tried to balance LoL as a network of rich partial counters. Granted, we still have some hard counters in some situations, but it's what we strive to do, and we've been very cautious on itemization and summoner spells in particular because of their potential to end up in every situation.

    - Zileas
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    Originally Posted by ObscureClockwork View Post

    and what does subtlety in use mean?
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    Subtlety in use meaning -- is there a big difference between the capability a 1800 player uses it vs a 2000 vs a 1600 vs a 1400. Do small improvements in how well you use it result in significant game reward? Do small improvements in how well you respond to it result in significant game reward? (e.g. tracking flash cooldowns, thinking about positioning, timing stuff like twisted advance, etc)
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    Originally Posted by JackalHalfdragon View Post
    It's champs like Darious, where the fun of killstealing a penta outweigh the counterplay (ooh, I popped Barrier! your ult is on cooldown! ...oh wait I died) that we get "toxic" gameplay.
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    This is a great counter-example, because in making him more fun for the Darius user, we removed a lot of counter-play - and this is why Darius sticks out like a sore thumb in League and is frustrating. It's also the reason I think Vlad and Irelia are poorer designs. Their kits limit counter-play, or another word, interesting interactivity between players.

    Originally, for example, Darius had to get 10 stacks - something almost impossible, before his ult did anything crazy. When we got feedback about people not enjoying that, we overtuned the stack reliance back and made things less interactive, and ultimately weakening Darius' design. I'd like to go back and make it more like this when we have the time.
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    Originally Posted by A Swarm of Koala View Post
    Hi Zileas.
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    I bet a swarm of Koala bears would have counterplay.
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    Originally Posted by Fox P McCloud View Post
    I'd point out though that the very lack of existence of BKB also completely negates and screws over an entire category and archetype of characters in LoL--the melee carry--In its current state the melee carry (in LoL) is the easiest thing to counter, in the game--see him in champ select? Just pick one more exhaust and he's done (I realize exhaust's potential has been cut down a bit, but at the same time too,it now has an added AS debuff on it, so I'm not sure it's really any better...not to mention just the MS slow is often enough to negate you).

    There's also just plain hard CC and their ultra-susceptibility to burst and/or AoE damage, which makes it night impossible in even semi-organized play for them to go in and do their job at all.

    I really doubt Mercurial scimitar will really address this, either---it does give some survivability against this AoE and provides a nice negation of one point of CC, but you still have the problem of (1) the next CC (2) Ranged carry vs melee carry.

    The Ranged carry will build IE+PD and be completely fine because they're...well, ranged and stay safe. The melee carry has better base damage, usually, and steroids---the problem is, crit is just so strong that PD+IE will still out-damage PD+Scimitar, even with melee carries increased base damage.

    So even with scimitar and the exhaust changes, I don't see anything changing for this class---why should I pick a melee carry over ranged (or at all) when ranged has vastly superior survivability and still has superior DPS?

    Furthermore, there's going to be vastly more kiting items in S3 (Shard of True Ice, Frozen Fist, Blade of the Ruined King) and more AoE damage from bruisers/ranged carries (Hydra/Tiamat and Shiv/Hurricane) that this hurts their ability to "get in there" even more and gets them burnt down even faster.

    I just think it's kinda sad that this entire archetype is completely unviable and absent from LoL and totally neglected; it's extremely frustrating. =/
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    Agreed, but that solution isn't worth making a class of characters viable, and it's not the only solution. At any rate, cost/benefit analysis of solutions is really important, and Tryndamere being in tournaments isn't worth the sheer amount of option removal BKB would bring for League.