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Thread: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

  1. #21

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    Quote Originally Posted by hyde View Post
    This just in... Banshees in WC3 cannot mind control heroes.
    This just in... WC3 is a gimmickfest of a game, and, all its deserved accolades notwithstanding, is rightfully reviled for this reason by many fans of solid RTS design.

    Mountain Giants. They're tanks because they FORCE enemy units to attack them when you press a button. Do I really need to say more?

    (hint: there's a reason giving Ultralisks or Thors 'Taunt' was never on the table.)

    i.e. The force field example, the roach/infestor issue is just a wide blanketing thing...All ground units. It was obviously made as a design choice to offer protoss players some tactical ability on ramps.
    Offer Protoss players some tactical ability on ramps?

    Protoss players have nothing BUT tactical ability on ramps. Where have you been? They've had FF since forever, and have been abusing it to hell and back, ESPECIALLY vs. Zerg, since day 1. They decidedly did not need 'more.'

    You get more traction with the "blanket" argument, but not by much. "All ground units." Need I remind you of the existence of Massive units, which run contrary to this claim?

    So it's already "all ground non-Massive units. Unless they're Hallucinated, then it's OK!" Ground units and burrowed units being as different as they are on top of that, there's no blanket here to speak of.

    The ultralisk issue is a bit gimmicky, but they are trying to balance a unit and it just sucked ass last game.
    I understand that most of these are based on balance concerns. I said as much in the OP. That doesn't mean I can't (or we shouldn't) point them out as shoddy game design. It's not like this game was announced last week.

    Your argument that nukes are purchased and are therefore units is a horrible and unsound argument. I stopped reading when I saw that.
    I didn't say that nukes ARE units, I said they're "like units in at least some senses." As in, they are not a cut and dried ability, which gives them plenty of leeway as far as game mechanics are concerned. Which mechanics apply to them could have gone either way -- Reavers dealt damage with magic missiles too, but those magic missiles took armor into account.

    Jesus if you want consistency, go back to WarCraft 1. Look obviously some of the things are not consistent and that's poor design from the get go, but then we'd be left with a blanket of vanilla units.
    If you'd read more closely, you'd know that I don't want identical copy paste units. I want consistent mechanics. There's a difference. If the game says "Massive units destroy Force Fields" -- FINE! But if it then says, "Except Thors," that's not fine. The game gives us no reason to think Thors are in any way special and should be treated differently in regard to Force Fields.

    That's the level of inelegance I'm arguing against here.



    From a panel hosted by Blizz, where they went on about the greatness that is intuitiveness in gaming. There's nothing intuitive about a Thor not breaking Force Fields when all other massive units do.

    Like others have said, Marauders don't slow massive units. Vikings can shoot at Collussi in Flight mode. The Sun will rise up tommorow, except in Japan and that part of the hemisphere.
    I don't know how it is you could know what others said and not know my response to them saying it! Quoting myself here: "As a rule I think that a mechanic/trait works much better if it is a trait of that UNIT, and not a "counter-trait" of whatever should be affecting that unit. Colossus being hit by AtA attacks because it is Tall is fine. Fungal Growth (fake example) working on everything BUT Thors, for no reason other than that's what it reads on the tooltip, is NOT fine."

    Colossus being hit by air units is a characteristic of the unit. It's (fairly) intuitive, it makes visual sense. Most of all, it actually feels like game design is PROGRESSING because we've come up with the idea of new unit types (ones that can be hit by both ground and air attacks) that didn't exist before. Colossus and only Colossus not being affected by Random Ability X due to balance reasons is not the same. It is a regression in terms of game design.

    Quote Originally Posted by MulletBen View Post
    First of all, forcefields. Burrowed units couldn't move under buildings, and now they can't move under forcefields. As mentioned before, same restrictions as ground units. If you want to argue practicality, you might want to argue the Supply Depot case first. :P
    As I replied to hyde, I don't think that the 'total blanket' argument holds up because of the fact that Massive units already laugh in the face of this mechanic. That said, you're absolutely right to bring up units' inability to burrow move underneath buildings. I think the main problem here is visual soup.

    If you order units underneath an above-ground building like the Command Center, you won't be able to (easily) see/select them afterwards, and that's bad. Likewise, if you order units to pass under a submerged Supply Depot... well, first of all, they're tunneling through the Depot? Second, how would that look? The Depot is unharmed, yet there's spines moving on the top of it?

    In the same way as air units cannot fly high enough into orbit so that they can't be attacked due to obvious complications that would ensue (space combat off-screen??), burrowed units being unable to pass under buildings is simply an accepted limitation. As long as it's consistent.

    The reason we're not seeing completely eye-to-eye is that while you're approaching burrowed movement as "ground movement that happens to be cloaked," when I wrote the OP I approached it as "special movement, parallel to ground and flying but different from each." I THINK Blizz is leaning toward my interpretation... an older interview states:

    We are also discussing the possibility of having some type of visual that may imply an Infestor is moving while burrowed nearby, similar to how cloaked/stealth units currently move above ground.
    I'm not sure if that's happened or not yet, but in either case, it shows that Burrow-move is not directly analogous to ground units Cloaking in Blizz's eyes. So with that in mind, I prefer to approach it not as "ground movement with benefits" but rather a different form of transportation altogether, sharing some similarities with ground movement. And from that perspective, a previously existing blanket has, indeed, been disturbed!

    As for Ultras, it makes more sense if you consider it an effect of the Ultra, rather than the effect of a spell. Is there any way to justify that X ability works on all Y units, except Z? Yes, when Z has Q ability that stops all X-type abilities from working on it.
    Of course, that's probably opening up a whole new can of worms, since Ultras, I believe, can still be stopped by fungal growth, so I reluctantly have to agree with you, since there seems to be little consistency as to what exactly constitutes a X-type ability.
    Actually they can't be stopped by Fungal Growth. And I totally agree with your approach here, as long as we look at things from the Ultra's POV -- ie, the Ultra is the ultimate battering ram, the Zerg version of the Juggernaut, unable to be stopped or moved... well, sure! But then what about the fact that it can't be affected by Neural Parasite? Where did THAT come from?!

    Now, for Infested Terran, I am going to fully and whole-heartedly disagree with you. Just like Ultras (though that is very fuzzy and not well defined), you have to consider it from the opposite angle. Rather than "Infestors can only cast Infested Terran while burrowed," think of it "Infested Terran can be cast while burrowed." What's the difference? Nothing but the language. It is the same result. Just like in the Dark Swarm example, you could list the units that are not effected, or you could point out what sets them apart. It is a little fuzzier, since you don't have a group of units to point out what is being set apart. But think of it, not as an exception by the Infestor, but as a function of the ability. If you look at it from the opposite angle, it becomes a little clearer.
    Well, you have to understand that even as I say this, I am simultaneously EXCITED that the Zerg have got more harassment options opened up to them other than the predictable, stale Muta. It's not that I don't want Infested Terrans (or Infestors) to be awesome, it's that I want them to be awesome in a way that is also as elegant as possible.

    This just ain't it! I'm not saying that it's better that we take away their ability to cast IT from underground... what I AM saying is that Blizzard still haven't hit the sweet spot and need to keep looking and looking. This is a better hold over than what we had, but we're not out of the woods.
    Last edited by pure.Wasted; 07-12-2010 at 12:54 AM.
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  2. #22
    Pandonetho's Avatar SC:L Addict
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    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    I agree that impending burrowed movement now from forcefield is lame.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    As the game nears release, we've seen an influx of more and more gimmick design decisions taking over the game.
    I think your term "gimmick design decisions" is somewhat inaccurate. I think a more accurate term would be "Obvious Rule Patch." If for no other reason than the fact that I wrote that trope

    For example, "So, you're a game developer, and it's two weeks from shipping your next great game. Then one of your testers comes to you with a horrifically game-breaking scenario, a way for a player to game the rules so that their powers spiral out of control and automatically win without a fight. And the rule interaction is very complicated; you can't just tweak a few things to bring this back into balance. In order to truly fix the problem, you would need to rebuild a number of rules, test those rules and so forth... and miss your ship deadline. What do you do?"

    In essence, this is what Blizzard has now. Take the whole Brood Lord shots aren't intercepted by the Defense Drone. If you allow BLs to be intercepted, then you effectively make the Terrans almost effectively immune to BLs. Defense drones also intercept Corruptor and Mutalisk shots, which makes it somewhat difficult for Zerg air to deal with this. Add the Viking range to that, and you have a potential game breaking problem.

    At the same time, Defense Drone is reasonably strong but not imbalanced against other kinds of attacks.

    If you want to avoid the Obvious Rule Patch, you only have 2 choices:

    1: Remove Defense Drone.

    2: Accept the potential game-breaker.

    The ORP gives you a viable third option: make an exception, just in this case.

    Essentially, what has happened is that Blizzard is at the point where they must take the path of least resistance. They don't have the time anymore to be careful and subtle. They have to ship, and ship soon. They can't do things that will affect dozens of other units (like change Viking range). So when a balance problem comes up, the only means they have to fix the problem is to make the smallest possible change that fixes that particular problem without affecting other things.

    In any case, there are a small number of things on your list that don't quite fit:

    Force Fields only impede ground movement... except Burrowed Roaches and Infestors. (why not stop air units from flying overhead, while we're at it?)
    There are only two kinds of movement: ground and air. "Burrowed" movement is simply no different than cloaked ground unit movement.

    Immortals drop all damage over 10 to 10... except from Nukes and Yamato Cannons.
    Hardened Shields is an armor-like effect. Armor does not work on "spells"; it never has.
    Last edited by Nicol Bolas; 07-12-2010 at 04:44 AM.
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  4. #24

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    Quote Originally Posted by pure.Wasted View Post
    Force Fields only impede ground movement... except Burrowed Roaches and Infestors. ([/i]why not stop air units from flying overhead, while we're at it?)

    Roaches no longer can move under Force Fields.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure.Wasted View Post
    Immortals drop all damage over 10 to 10... except from Nukes and Yamato Cannons.
    And Thor's 250-mm Cannons.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure.Wasted View Post
    Point Defense Drone blocks ranged attacks with visible projectiles... except the Brood Lord's. Oh, and doesn't stop ranged ABILITIES with visible projectiles, although that makes no sense either (Yamato Cannon different from laser how? EMP shot different from bullet how?)
    Yamato is a nuclear explosion.
    EMP will most likely explode receiving shot from PDD. Of course, the place of explosion will make huge difference.

    Anyway, I agree with you. Spell system in SC2 is probably it's biggest letdown. Don't know if it's really biggest, but it sure is LARGE.
    And energy upgrades, which instead of increasing overall limit of mana increase it's starting amount - just SUCKS.
    Last edited by Kknewkles; 07-12-2010 at 06:03 AM.
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  5. #25

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    ^
    Starting mana of spellcasters mattered more than having more mana in the case of StarCraft.
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  6. #26

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicol Bolas View Post
    I think your term "gimmick design decisions" is somewhat inaccurate. I think a more accurate term would be "Obvious Rule Patch." If for no other reason than the fact that I wrote that trope
    Sir, I am duly impressed. Obvious Rule Patch it is!

    There are only two kinds of movement: ground and air. "Burrowed" movement is simply no different than cloaked ground unit movement.
    I attempted to reason my way out of this one in my latest wall of text (jury's still out on whether I succeeded). Cloaked ground unit movement is one interpretation of Burrow move. However, Blizzard's decision not to immediately copy/paste all of the properties of cloak unto burrow move by default, when burrow move was originally unveiled, suggests to me that the two are not fundamentally identical -- in fact may not even be identical to this day, if there are still no indications of burrow moving units to the naked eye.

    Furthermore it simply seems likely and reasonable to expect burrow to factor more heavily into Zerg play as the franchise develops past SC2, and more differences between it and regular Cloak to crop up. In light of these factors, I did approach it as a unique mode of travel, rather than ground+cloak.

    It's good enough for me, but if that holds up for others is, I suppose, still up for grabs.
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  7. #27

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    Quote Originally Posted by flabortast View Post
    ^
    Starting mana of spellcasters mattered more than having more mana in the case of StarCraft.
    Sure of that? Counter-evidence - psi-storm. Overall amount of Storms possible to cast matters much more always.
    "Summer break.
    Nuff said
    Midnight lunch? Eh maybe"
    Noctis

    "The war's been fought off our shores for too long... now we shall bring the battle home!! xD"
    broodmywarcraft

  8. #28

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    Quote Originally Posted by Kknewkles View Post
    Sure of that? Counter-evidence - psi-storm. Overall amount of Storms possible to cast matters much more always.
    Because players don't make their templars wait to gain more energy. Their usage is mostly reinforcing armies. With the new upgrade, HTs are no longer useless off the gateway, They can cast a storm instantly, instantly turning a battle into their favor.
    Decepticons, transform and rise up!

  9. #29

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    Quote Originally Posted by flabortast View Post
    Because players don't make their templars wait to gain more energy. Their usage is mostly reinforcing armies. With the new upgrade, HTs are no longer useless off the gateway, They can cast a storm instantly, instantly turning a battle into their favor.
    Option to train some HT beforehand, which have 3 Storms is better than warping one HT for one Storm, even instant.
    First option defines much more strategical foresight than just warping additional HTs. And it may even be somewhat unbalanced, when your P opponent just summons a few HTs to his expo and rapes your army.
    Last edited by Kknewkles; 07-12-2010 at 06:13 AM.
    "Summer break.
    Nuff said
    Midnight lunch? Eh maybe"
    Noctis

    "The war's been fought off our shores for too long... now we shall bring the battle home!! xD"
    broodmywarcraft

  10. #30

    Default Re: Frustrated with Design Gimmicks

    With the fast pace of Starcraft, the latter will happen more often than the former. Didn't the new energy upgrade increase energy regeneration also?
    Decepticons, transform and rise up!

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