I’m waiting for Scott to say “every time I hit a button a thing should happen”.
This goes back to what I was saying originally about the general designs of asymmetric games. How much should your choice of race, class, character, deck, have on victory? Too much, and it becomes rock, paper, scissors. Too little and that choice no longer matters, and only what you do in game matters.
Game designers keep aiming for some kind of middle. But even if you land right in the middle, the more skilled the players, the closer it leans towards the rock/paper/scissors end of the spectrum. As their decisions during play become nearly optimal, victory is determined by the margins of the original asymmetry.
Competitive players are going to choose whatever wins, and not care. You play rock? They play paper. Paper gets nerfed, they switch to rock. Whatever wins. These players only complain if there aren’t enough top-tier choices and the game becomes boring. As long as several options are competitively strong the game remains interesting enough for competitive players.
Non-competitive players identify with a particular choice. It’s the same way I always play green in board games. Imagine how bullshit it would be if in a particular game the green player started with less money. That’s how it is if you play a fighting game and your favorite character is low tier. You feel as if the game designers are insulting you and passing judgement on you. Why is the character and play style you personally like not strong enough to win? If it’s not strong enough to win, why is it even in the game to begin with?
I really want to see a competitive asymmetric game where your pre-game choices matter as little as possible. Choosing your character, class, deck, race, whatever should simply be a matter of self expression. You are choosing how you like to play both aesthetically but also mechanically. Yet, all the options are balanced as much as is humanly possible such that winning and losing is almost entirely determined by the choices made during actual play and not based on how a player likes to express themselves in game. This is extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible to do perfectly, but worth aiming for.
Wait no more. Every time I hit a button, something should happen. Fuck your unresponsive controls.
So every time I click a bullet should come out of my gun? A rocket? As fast as I click?
Old NES games have controls like that. The shittiest of NES games.
I disagree that character selection in Overwatch is a pre-game choice. It’s not like you’re stuck with it for the rest of the match. It’s not Street Fighter.
I like to express myself by not doing anything and just standing in spawn.
What if I pull the trigger on a real gun as fast as I can? On some guns the bullets might come out as fast as my finger, but not all. Some might jam. Some might just do nothing. What the fuck do I know about guns? Not much! The point is that no matter what actually happens, I still feel that trigger moving back and forth. I get some kind of feedback and response to my actions.
When you get frozen in a video game and buttons do nothing, that is upsetting. You don’t have to let me shoot and have a bullet come out. You just have to give me some kind of feedback so I feel like I am still in control. I have to feel like I’m still playing, have agency, and have some degree of meaningful input at all times. If I feel I have no control, even for a fraction of a second my hand subconsciously becomes a fist and travels through space and time to punch the game developer in the larynx.
It is true in Overwatch and other TF games you can change at any time, and that is a bit different. Yet, it could devolve into a situation where I throw paper, you switch to scissor, I switch to rock, you switch to paper, and so on. Then the choice of character will still matter more than the actual aiming, running, jumping, and shooting. It would be best if the aiming, running, jumping, and shooting mattered a lot more than the character choice.
Also, even though players have the ability to switch, they still want to play their favorite character. They don’t want to be forced to switch to a character they don’t identify with to win. I like green. If I’m forced to switch to orange to win, that doesn’t make me happy unless I only care about winning.
Yes, I agree that bad play should not win. Someone who say, doesn’t like jumping, well, too bad. This is a jumping game.
What I’m talking about is when an asymmetric game includes a specific thing, but that specific thing is not competitively viable in any way shape or form. A character is in a fighting game, but has a huge disadvantage against other characters when players have equivalent skill.
For example in Netrunner there were a bunch of cards all based around the concept of advancing ICE. They had ICE that could be advanced. ICE that got more powerful with more advancements. ICE that could be advanced face down to surprise people. Cards to help get free advancements on ICE. There was this huge suite of cards based around this concept.I like this concept. It was fun to think about and play. Other people I knew liked it way way more.
At the end of the day, nobody ever came up with an advancing ICE deck that was competitively viable. It was super super weak. No matter what, you were spending your resources advancing ICE, instead of spending them on scoring. None of the options gave you an efficient path towards an actual victory condition. Even a player with optimal play, and luck, with a finely tuned advancing ICE deck would probably lose to a player with an average strength deck as long as they didn’t make too many big mistakes.
Why did they print all those advancing ICE cards? Why did they design them? Why are they in the game if you can’t win with them? I like the idea and want to play with it, but can’t win with it. I like to be green, but I can’t win with it.
That’s how someone feels if their favorite Overwatch character isn’t top tier. If the character isn’t competitively viable, why are they in the game? They made this character, it should be possible to win the world championship with any character I choose if I’m good enough at aiming and jumping and shooting and all the other things that matter.
Every character in Overwatch is competitively viable at most levels of play. Some of them are just very difficult to be viable with.
More importantly, because it’s a team game, the primary reason a character is nonviable in a given game is the composition of the rest of that team. Not the enemy team. That team.
If I like shotguns in CS, fine. But if I refuse to use anything but a shotgun while the rest of the team is playing a different strat, I’ve made myself nonviable for that team and that match.
Well, that’s another problem entirely. If I only want to play healer, and I keep getting put on other teams with 4 other players who want to heal…
Maybe they should let you choose your character first, and then match you up afterwards if it’s non-competitive.
They do. It’s recent and it works great. People just don’t like to use that feature.
Why the fuck not?
Probably the same reason team builder failed in LoL: everyone wants to play the same two or three high-glory possitions, and it’s easier to make a rando team of five and bully everyone else into being the other roles than to say “I wanna do this” and wait.
I think people who dislike CC are generally people from the solo carry mentality.
I enjoyed Overwatch whenever I had people of similar capacity to play with regularly. We met in S1 & had a pretty decent comp, but as meta shifted, some people worked to expand their hero pool and tactical approach, and others didn’t (they were often the ones who would get quickly tilted and quit). We were significantly held back by indecision – without a designated shot caller and zero-hesitation execution – those extra few seconds would cost us whole fights. I was invited to start playing with another group with much better mechanics, but they were bros. So there’s that. It became a lot harder to find new friends after S1.
If I had a guild with a player pool large and close enough, or a little league team, with personal & political philosophies that matched mine, I would probably play regularly again. I think Blizzard is absolutely on the hook for not encouraging a team mentality, i.e. collective ownership of outcomes. Streamer-discords are knock-off guild LFGs, but imo don’t quite hit the mark. And it’s hard to find a group with commitment to being both friendly to queer woc AND mechanical improvement.
It’s a flaw in the game design if some positions on the team have more glory than others. All players should have equal opportunity for glory regardless of role.
It’s a flaw in the game that people are dumb?
I guess here are some examples of how it feels right now: (apologies in advance for the XQC clip!)
I know these probably feel cherry-picked, and they are somewhat extreme examples, but I watch a lot of OW players on Twitch and see this type of gameplay a fair amount - what made me think of sharing these was a player clip from earlier, I just didn’t figure out how to catch it in time.
That’s purely cultural. In American culture glory = frags.
Similar experience. The only difference is that I’ve been very willing to play random competitive these days and just be the shot caller unless someone else steps up. Sometimes it’s INSANELY FRUSTRATING, but I’ve also had some truly glorious games.
Granted, a male-sounding voice gets me further along here with less resistance thanks to the shitty state of the world.
It’s also teaching me how to play as a carry, which I haven’t done since the Quake 2 days. It’s a very different and strange game when you’re honestly better than everyone on your team thanks to the solo-queue rank hit.
But even I don’t have the energy for this every time I play. So ~60% of the time I just play mystery heroes or CTF. The former silently. The latter as the got-tier shot caller (thanks again Quake 2).
I always liked what they tried to do in old Quake 2 CTF games.
You got 1 point per frag for yourself and your team… every member of your team got 10 points if anyone captured the flag.
If your team put even a token effort into working together to actually capture the flag (insane in a 12v12 or 16v16 game), that was literally all that mattered. Frags were literally just the tiebreaker.
Yeah, as a tank-support main, I really ought to learn shot calling. But I legit can’t make words when A-D-A-D shoot jump shoot hide… as a Zen I would always Emongg & call heroes by made up names like “Fist dude”, “Cowboy”, “Air air rockets” etc. Don’t even START with places
In basketball you would think that only scoring and dunks gets you glory. But even in USA NBA culture Dikembe Mutombo made blocking shots glorious with his finger wag.
No reason you can’t make healing or other support roles equally glorious with great execution and a little flair.