I originally posted a comment on a thread, and that was the first time a Rioter responded to me! (I feel spoiled)
Here is the link (my original post is quoted by Morello, third from the bottom): http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...3#post34403123
One thing I notice about multi-player games is the ability to enter and exit a game freely, and not be inherently penalized for it. If we are playing a FPS and there are thirty people on each team, players come and go as they please, and if someone does bad its no big whoop.
However, League of Legends is fundamentally different from these other multi-player games in this respect. When we are matched up, we as the players are forced to stick with whoever we are randomly paired up with. We can leave at the character select screen, but there will be a waiting penalty to reenter a game. And in ranked we get penalized points now.
Unfortunately, there is a problem with this set up, because trolls have more power over the people who want to sincerely play the game. The very last ranked game I was put into, there were two friends who obviously que'd together and then trolled the entire team at the character select screen, and AFKed leaving us at a 3 v 5. I smelled them out as trolls right away even before the game began, but I didnt have a choice. I had to stay. Sure I reported them, but reporting is little satisfaction. I didnt deserve a loss, and instead of being mad at the trolls I want to turn my attention to the design of the match making process.
Its like at the olympics when one of the fencers lost her Gold medal, not because of her skill, but because the rules the Olympic committee were set up in such a way as to cause confusion. Or the ping pong players who took advantage of the match making set up, and throwing games so they can be placed in a more favorable match up . Certainly, throwing a game on purpose is not good sportsmanship, and shame on them, but its not the ping pong players fault for wanting to take advantage of poorly designed match making rules. The fault lied with the Olympic committee for not thinking things out, and they are more to blame than anyone else.
League of Legends is a great game, but ironically its not a game design issue that is causing problems. I personally feel its the match making process that is causing the greatest ire for the fan base. This is a game that requires a high level of teamwork, and to put 10 people randomly together in a game dosnt easily reflect the abilities of each individual. We feel lost as individuals.
Is there anything you can say or add to this?
It's interesting because you're right - the requirement to finish a game you start creates a lot more behavioral problems as a result. This design is important because it's a double-edged-sword; one thing it does do, and part of the unique appeal of MOBA (prediction: this will not be unique in 5 years) is the investment in success one gets when you can't leave.
I'm primarily an FPS player myself, and join and leave those as I please. I like to win, but the investment I have in trying to win (and the associated joy/sadness) is ramped up a ton in League - mostly because I'm committed to the game session. My actions will have consequences - something I find sorely lacking in modern AAA development.
League of Legends is designed to be fun, but first and foremost, it's designed to be engaging. Tradeoffs do have to occur to make that happen - but the fact that we take on player behavior as a problem for us to deal with gives us a unique freedom to do design like this.
Now, I have a Bachelor's in Philosophy, and Im not fully satisfied. I find the very last comments by Morello especially vague... So I responded to his response. This is what I said (which I'll copy and paste): http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...057653&page=86
First, thank you for replying!
I do want to level a complaint (not an angry complaint), but a concerned complaint. Im a fan of League, I really do like the company, and want to apply for a job with you guys in the future, so I dont want to be misunderstood with what Im about to say.
I just got out of a game that left me head scratching. Im at about 700 wins, and I got paired up with three people BELOW 100 wins, and another about 300 wins (or something like that). Two of those were lvl 29, and I think they were queued together.
Each enemy player had at least over 200 wins (on average, and Im low balling the average; I think they had more). So, the other team had at least 4 times as much experience as our team.
Im very, very confused about the match making process. How in the world did I get paired up with these players? Its not a complaint, Im (in spirit at least) happy to play with low level players. I even coached one player in that game who never played ADC... ever...and I went support. So, I explained in detail how we were to work together, and we did REALLY well. I was impressed! But wouldnt it be more appropriate to pair me up with players my own average level?
The fact is, we lost. And I think I have a legitimate case here that points blame at the match making process. Unfortunately, we (the ADC and I) got blamed for loosing that game by another teammate who was a sore looser.
Personally, I just move on, loosing dosnt bother me so much as having to work with a toxic player like that (in contrast to the ADC newbie who did really well who I enjoyed playing with. He was a pleasant player.) But, in the toxic player's case, I could really do without being placed with an inexperienced player who is going to tell me how bad I did, when I am (objectively speaking) the senior player on our team.
I had more experience in games than all my other teammates COMBINED. And the proof was being able to play really well with a newer player who graciously took my advice how to play bottom lane with me.
The thing is though, I've never been in a random solo game where everyone on both sides is above 600 wins. It never happens. I want to improve my own skills by playing against seasoned players like me. I want to enjoy the game without having to deal with rancid teammates.
I dont know if you have the data to back this claim, but I feel like anyone who is above 500 wins isnt as toxic as in the lower levels (there are still toxic players, but it dosnt seem to be so bad). And, they tend to have a better sense of how to play the game.
So as you say, its more ENGAGING when I play with people around my experience level. They can see Im coming in for a gank, or I see what they are doing and I offer assistance where its needed, and everyone knows their role, what to do, where to go, and it makes for a much more exciting ENGAGING match.
HOWEVER: In contrast to that, there have been games when I have teammates not quick on the uptake, because the simple fact they are still learning. Again, no big whoop. It took me a while to learn key strategic choices too.
BUT: Its very demoralizing for me as an individual (especially in ranked games where I feel the pressure). Loosing dosnt bother me, but the PROCESS of that loss can really put a sour taste in my mouth.
I dont play the blame game, I know Ive had my fair share of mistakes that lost the game for the team, but I can also say there have been times Ive played near perfect, but I still havnt been able to execute key strategic choices that make a difference in game, because my teammates arent at that level yet. When that happens, then League is no longer ENGAGING, but frustrating. And whether or not its true, I dont FEEL like my personal skill matters. Rather, it becomes the roll of the dice and dumb luck.
So, I dont necessarily accept your reply when you say: "League of Legends is designed to be fun, but first and foremost, it's designed to be engaging. Tradeoffs do have to occur to make that happen - but the fact that we take on player behavior as a problem for us to deal with gives us a unique freedom to do design like this."
What do you mean by, "We take on player behavior as a problem for us to deal with gives us a unique freedom to design like this." Design like what? What design choices are you talking about? What are the tradeoffs? Im going to ask these tough questions because the match making is a big, BIG issue to us, your fans, your players (and maybe even your future employes).
League of Legends is a great game in and of itself, any constructive criticism I have for the game content is beside the point, I want to look at THE MATCHMAKING SYSTEM. I truly believe that improvements can be made, and I want to encourage that in a positive way, and pitch this to you as the designers to think about this as a serious challenge to address.
These tradeoffs you mention can be mitigated, and the sting of a sour match up can be healed with some creative design choices, I know it can be, I actually do believe League will be a better experience for it.
The match making system is not an issue about game balance. From what I understand, youve agreed with me on this point that the match making system causes some unique challenges. But, what are you GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
How can you (you meaning not just your Morello, but Riot in general) keep me... as a player... from feeling LOST? How can you as a company keep me playing the game, and not feel like its just a roll of the dice as to whether I win or lose (even if this "Roll of the Dice" is just a psychological figment of my imagination)?
Also, you said that not being able to leave is a part of "the unique appeal to a MOBA game; the investment in success one gets when you can't leave." I have to respectfully disagree with that. In this case... arguably... its not appealing. And the reason its not appealing, is because of the earlier points: That trolls have more power over the sincere players. And the internet is toxic in general, but the way in which players are forced to commit actually detracts from the "fun value" the game provides, only because it amplifies that toxicity to an even greater level than normal.
The whole entire point of a video game is to have fun. We are here to have fun, not to "work". If a video game feels like work, then what is the point to playing that video game? And if us players have to "work around" our teammates in order to have fun, we have just defeated the whole point to a team work based video game. Even if League of Legends is the most "engaging" game in the world, all of that becomes moot.
Eventually, this becomes a serious question for us players: Is it worth it? Is it worth it to invest our time, money, and energy into a game that might frustrate us more than the value of fun we get out of it? You say "engagement" is more important than being "fun", and I qoute: "League of Legends is designed to be fun, but first and foremost, it's designed to be engaging. "
Im of the philosophy that its the other way around. I absolutely agree, making a game "engaging" is very, very important. However, Im of the opinion that a fun game is an engaging game. To me, speaking as a fellow game designer, "engagement" is the means to an end, that end being the "fun factor".
Obviously League is a huge success, and it seems to be more popular than ever, but I wouldnt take this popularity for granted. Like I said, Im a fan of Riot and League, but I am seriously concerned for the well being of the entire game and company. This is just a humble warning from a gadfly like myself. Ive seen people quit, and Ive gotten into serious arguments with friends because of ego clashing, and all of this can add up to someone quitting the game for good. Unfortunately, some of those friends I argued with did quit (fortunately, we're still friends. And that day I broke my arm rollerblading, go figure).
Were my friends toxic to the community? yeah... Am I sad they are gone? Marginally. But, thats not the point. From a businessman's perspective their quitting could have been prevented, and the reasons they quit were ultimately tied to their toxicity. If they felt no value in playing the game (even though I know they really still want to) they arent going to care if they act out of line. And this is an observation that shouldnt go ignored.
Again, I hope you understand this isnt the ramblings of a disillusioned player. Im being as sincere as possible.
I dont want this conversation to die. Im very passionate about this issue with the matchmaking system, and I want to see Riot as a business survive for years to come. So, please keep talking to me Morello.