Wall of Text about Alternative Resource Pools and Uniqueness

Posted on at 8:02 PM by Moobeat

Here is an interesting response by Xypherous to a post by WhiteGoblin. In said post, our fellow summoner comments how he doesn't feel that champions with alternative resource systems, a la Renekthon's rage mechanic and Rumble's Overheat, are that unique and they feel too similar to other champions. Xypherous replies with a well written post detailing his opinions on the matter.
Fundamentally, it is true for the most part that a different type of resource mechanic doesn't really add uniqueness until it is tied into an ability of some type.

For example, paying with life and paying with mana in magic isn't really *terribly* different overall in terms of costs. There's some pacing issues, but if, for example, we made all of Annie's spells cost life instead of mana, she really doesn't change much.

That said, I don't fundamentally believe unique complexity equates to better gameplay. Take the classic Invoker case. Invoker is undoubtedly unique and complex. However, when you boil the Invoker down to it's essence, the Invoker is terrible UI for accessing 9+ spells and 3 passives.

If you just had 9 spell buttons that they all had a shared cooldown, you would get nearly 100% of the invokers gameplay without all the tedious memorization and forced FAQ lookups that the Invoker made you memorize. These artificial limiters on being able to play a character and learn how to fight them in general server as artificial gateways to players being able to play a character. 

I understand that these artificial gateways are much loved in certain communities. (For example, fighting games that have 1 frame interrupts or cancels as staples of gameplay, etc.) but in my opinion, these aren't skills that we particularly want our players to be tested upon. These are great for fighting games and such, because of the muscle memory and rythym aspects of those games but our game is a fairly low APM strategy game and so it's a little bit of a mechanics mismatch.

Since unique complexity doesn't typically favor better gameplay overall, we tend to eschew complexity for things that play well. Most unique complex mechanics are things that encourage gimmicky gameplay rather than actual skill-testing gameplay. 

That said, I agree that we can always do better in the unique complexity point but we disagree fundamentally on having unique complexity be the highest priority. Gameplay is my highest priority. I would always in a heartbeat design a simple champion that has fun gameplay and enjoyed rather than something a little more convoluted and mechanics heavy but has less fun gameplay overall. 

I freely admit that this point is actually somewhat controversial, as many people play to be able to evocate their creativity in managing complex mechanics (and in fact, this is why combo-players exist in magic, to manage and pull off crazy things with complex mechanics) but in general, I would try to find those complex mechanics that also bring great gameplay, rather than sacrifice gameplay for complicated mechanics.

- Xypherous, Associate Technical Designer, via the official forums.


  1. it's hard to make a lot of unique units yet still keep them balanced!

  2. that must have taken awhile, good job!

  3. Agreed. Complexity dosnt equal gameplay

  4. I agree, Invoker was always a pain. Could never get Ghost Walk up when I needed it. The meteor was boss though, so was Sun Strike. Hell I loved playing Invoker anyway.