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MOBA Game Analysis: Differences in core design logic between LOL and DOTA

Author: bowser
Tencent Interactive Entertainment Game Planning

Editor’s note Why are MOBA games fun? What is special about its design? The author of this article will explain the correlation between different module designs in MOBA by giving examples of mainstream MOBA games in the market.

Excellent games have interesting designs to attract a large number of players. But in the process of many game design, the real difficulty is often not how unique and novel core gameplay can be figured out from the beginning, but how to gradually transform the original intention into interrelated design modules and show the core gameplay to the players. Only when the design logic is clear can the module be gradually improved without being deflected by the ideas that appear to flash on the way. This article explains how the various module designs in MOBA relate to each other by giving examples of mainstream MOBA games in the market. In this process, on the one hand, the author hopes to summarize and summarize the recent thinking; on the other hand, by analyzing the logic behind these well-known design differences, it shows the importance of this thinking on the final impact of the product.

GDC ghost crab shares the core principles of LOL design

This article does not emphasize a specific design point, but focuses on exploring how each module affects each other. Like in normal work, we will discuss a certain game mechanism separately, but combined with other modules to think as a whole, we may get a more comprehensive conclusion.

In order to further illustrate the above points, the following will focus on “LOL” and “DOTA” analysis examples. The reason for comparing these two games is that they are representative of mainstream MOBA games for everyone. More interestingly, from the perspective of the structure of each module in a single game, the two are relatively similar, but the historical evolution of public opinion and user groups proves the huge difference between them.

In order to facilitate reading, the following main modules are listed below:

1. What are the differences in the design of the two game line mechanics and why?

2. What are the differences and reasons for the design of the two game items?

3. What are the differences in the skill design of the two games and why?

4. Is there a connection between the above three?

Readers can also simply think about answering some of these questions, such as why LOL cancels the counter-compensation mechanism, is the core purpose of lowering the threshold? Viewpoints like these will be mentioned in subsequent articles.

The next article will start from the first question, and gradually reverse the assumption that the core differences between the two games, and based on this to derive the remaining questions. In this process, this article attempts to analyze how the differences in the core design concepts of the two games affect and relate each module.

* Note: Although there are more comparisons in the design differences of mainstream MOBA games in the article, the three games mentioned in the article have a total of more than 10,000 hours of experience and I like them all. There is absolutely no discrimination against any one. At the same time, this article is only for the love of MOBA games, the data charts are from the network and personal testing, and the analysis views are also personal understanding. It is inevitable that there are errors. MOBA fans are welcome to criticize and correct, discuss and communicate.

First of all, we start with the most obvious difference between the line mechanism: counter-complement. From Table 1, it can be seen that the counter-submission in DOTA can obviously widen the gap between the two levels and the money. Considering that from the design point of view, the online period is a platform for players to verify their personal hard power, so it is necessary to provide a way to widen the gap between players of different levels. In the absence of anti-replenishment, LOL mainly uses frequent skill release accuracy and positioning to suppress the opponent’s blood volume and line of arms, and at the same time controls the supply and return costs of players to achieve the purpose of widening the level difference, thereby increasing Players improve their goal motivation.

Reverse the numerical gains of both parties

But what is often overlooked is the defense tower and hate mechanism, which is also an indispensable part of achieving the design purpose. Compared with DOTA, LOL mainly has the following differences:

1. The tower needs less attacks to kill creeps.

2. Minion hatred is not affected by the command to attack the hero.

3. Minions will not directly trigger hatred for being attacked, only when they are close enough.

4. When the defense tower is attacked, the hatred of the hero is lower than that of the minion.

Regardless of skill or general attack, attacks from a distance cannot attract the hatred of creeps

It is this difference in design. Compared with DOTA’s control line suppression, even after entering the opposite defense tower, the LOL soldier line can easily interfere with the opponent’s knife, so that it can significantly suppress the enemy by pushing the line.

The difference between the two when the soldier line enters the tower

But the problem is that after the early LOL advanced the line, it was not very powerful for destroying enemy defense towers. Compared with the mechanism of TP in DOTA, the loss of the defense tower means the loss of a large area of ​​maneuvering and control, which is relatively less important in LOL. Not only that, the early removal of the enemy’s defense towers will cause the troops to penetrate the enemy’s territory, which increases the danger of their own FARM and improves the security of the other party. Due to the high cost of LOL support, most of the responsibility for driving the online rhythm is given to the jungle (controlled by the refresh rate of the wild monsters). The heroes of the line do not want to leave easily, which has caused a dilemma for players to a certain extent. Therefore, by adding the coating mechanism of the defense tower, the fist subsequently strengthened the behavioral motivation of “destroying the defense tower”, and logically unified the goal of the previous team and the way of line suppression.

A lot of money was put on the coating of the defense tower

A lead of only 1000 economic hours in 15 minutes

After adding plating, the game rhythm speeds up

Recalling the previous article, we deduced the difference in the logic of the line period strategy between the two games from the design of the counter complement. But in fact, from a design point of view, the causal relationship between the two must be reversed, that is, the difference in strategy logic is first determined, and then the design goals that are to be achieved in advance are achieved by canceling a series of designs such as counter-compensation and hatred mechanism. Landing. So if you simply think that the cancellation of counter-subsidies is to lower the threshold, it may not be so accurate.

Design causality

Even so, the logic of the line-up strategy for the two games still follows a big rule: the multiplayer single-play game is mainly composed of individual ability plus (team) strategy, and the proportion of the two greatly affects the gameplay characteristics. The greater the impact of personal abilities, the stronger the motivation for players to pursue personal technological growth, but the stronger the frustration of a single game when the technology is disadvantaged (such as traditional shooting games). A high proportion of strategy means less frustration in a single game. However, compared to the traditional single-player RTS game (WAR3), if the strategy execution in MOBA is completely dependent on teamwork, and the players do not cooperate, then It is not possible to verify the effectiveness of your strategy during the game, nor to reflect on the improvement of the strategy after the game. Will fall into the situation of winning strangely, losing stupidly, and also greatly increase the player’s personal powerlessness (storm hero) in the game.

The proportion of different types of game behaviors is obviously different

As a derivative product of RTS to RPG, MOBA has stricter control over the proportion of individual abilities, strategies and tactics that affect a single game. In the case where the economic variance allowed by DOTA is much larger than LOL due to counter-complementary design, we can temporarily make a design assumption that the economic advantage of the unit in LOL affects the situation more than DOTA. That is, LOL pays more attention to the accumulation of small values, while DOTA pays more attention to mechanism timing.

I admit that although the above assumptions are made logically above, there is still a clear lack of support from other modules. So next, the article will analyze from the two aspects of props and skills to find that its design logic is consistent with the above assumptions.

2.1 Props section

There are three main differences between the two games in prop design:

1. DOTA props have more active releases than LOL props.

2. The price / attribute of LOL props before and after synthesis is approximately equal, while DOTA has obvious changes.

3. DOTA has more equipment with lower synthesis upper limit, and most of LOL’s basic equipment has high-level synthesis.

Comparing the two game props from Table 3, it can be seen that the props in LOL are similar to a penny and a penny, that is, the economic / attribute conversion is approximately linear. Most of DOTA’s key items such as the Force Staff / Ghost Scepter / Blinking Dagger / Blade Armor / Hidden Blade, etc., the player’s original intention is not the value of the equipment, but its special mechanism. This means that during this long synthesis process, the ratio of economic transformation power is changing significantly. At the same time, except for LOL, almost all small props can be synthesized with higher upper limit equipment, and the single price is only 1300. However, many props in DOTA can only be synthesized into hundreds of pre-equipment, and many high-cap equipment usually require expensive unit props to synthesize.

LOL almost linear money value conversion

In fact, such design logic is consistent with the assumptions made in this article. LOL is not easy to widen the numerical gap and focus on the accumulation of small values, so in the process of equipment synthesis, it is necessary to steadily convert numerical advantages into combat power. While DOTA focuses on the mechanism and timing, the active mechanism of props requires players to grasp the correct use timing, and the hero’s own skill mechanism can also form a confrontation strategy.

Confrontation framework combining prop mechanism with hero skills

Choose an opportunity to invest in the economy to make up for the weak period reasonably

The upper limit of item synthesis actually controls the value of items at different stages. Players can choose different strategies based on the characteristics of the fighting strength of the two lineups. You can choose to strengthen the early ability: 4 bracer dragon riding speed push; you can also focus on the long-term, sacrifice the early ability: naked glory ghost. Therefore, this design requires players to grasp the tactical timing in a longer single game: how to grasp the timing of the enemy’s economic / competitive power conversion to choose their own props. In fact, the above analysis can also be used to explain the 311 shunting tactics in DOTA that sacrifices the team’s economy in order to ensure the early key benefits of specific heroes, and is not applicable in LOL.

2.2 Skills

In addition to the most obvious numerical bonus, the two games have three major differences in skill design: LOL and DOTA mainly have three differences:

1. Compared with DOTA, LOL strictly controls the vertigo effect.

2. LOL skills release is mainly based on pre-judgment, with less pointing skills, while DOTA has more pointing skills.

3. The skill design of LOL heroes is relatively strong, and DOTA is relatively weak.

The difference in skill design can also support our assumptions about the core differences between the two games. First of all, the essential difference between the stun effect and other debuffs is that its revenue will increase significantly with the increase of the hero’s output. Especially in the battlefield where there are a lot of stun effects, the variance is often very large, thus diluting the numerical advantages that the player has accumulated before. Therefore, LOL skills have strict triggering conditions for vertigo (strike flying), especially directional vertigo skills. Therefore, the LOL control is mainly replaced with a stabilization effect to ensure that the player can output even if they cannot move, thereby controlling the variance of the battle situation. So the battle of LOL is actually a process of value exchange.

Ways of numerical exchange

But the process of pure numeric exchange is boring. Even the battle link of self-moving chess, deliberately added “variables” to maintain suspense. Part of the “variables” of LOL battles are carried by the precision of release and speed of reaction. Therefore, when designing the vast majority of skills, the space for avoidance is preserved through ballistics and the enemy’s visible warning area, and at the same time, the hero releases more skills to control the game round than DOTA.

LOL heroes can use skills more times than DOTA

However, a large number of DOTA skills have directivity and invisible areas. Compared with the difficulty of hitting, the designer expects the player’s energy to focus on the continuous formation pull and skill use timing to form a round game. Take the evil shadow fangling’s skill “Crown Crown” as an example: point to an enemy hero to release it, and after 5 seconds, trigger range stun with the hero as the center. This is a typical round game: when both sides are clear about the effect of the mechanism, how to make the greatest benefit to the party when it is triggered by operating within these 5 seconds.

Continuous rather than instantaneous skill game

Finally, in terms of the relationship between the hero’s own skills, LOL’s skills self-circulation is stronger, specifically as follows: if the A skill hits, the created environment or exclusive Buff / Debuff can provide stable B skill income. DOTA weakened on the basis of retaining the hero’s own combo cycle. For example, the C + E + G combo of Ancient Ice Soul, the designer intentionally weakened the hero ’s control ability, and only granted the debuff to slow down, ensuring that the hero himself has a certain combo ability (leaving space for the player to play his personal ability) The space where other heroes cooperate (the gain is greater when the stun is combined, and the effect is more stable).

Relatively strong self-circulation design of hero skills

The essence of this design difference is still: the characteristics of LOL heavy value, so that the scope of skills and mechanism effects are strictly limited, and the battle needs to be determined quickly. If a longer tug-of-war is allowed (lower blood power), players can easily get rid of the battlefield when their health is dangerous, and the number of battlefield kills is low. In a fast-paced environment, players will decide the outcome once they touch it. It is also suitable for a combo with a fast self-loop unit. You can rely on your own operation to maximize the value and output it in a short time. In contrast, the longer-lasting DOTA battlefield, the longer skill CD and the greater fluctuations in the mechanism’s income ensure that each skill’s income in the battle is maximized. It can be said that the LOL battlefield is like an instant battle, while the DOTA battlefield is relatively like a round battle.

It is worth mentioning that the above assumptions about LOL tug-of-war (low power-to-blood ratio) can refer to the combat environment of Storm Hero. In the case where the same skill range and control mechanism are strictly limited, the reason why Storm Hero can adapt to the long-term value exchange battle environment is that in addition to killing the target, the game sets a non-killing confrontation target to strengthen the conflict (you People ran and I took the mechanism), imagine how long the storm battle would be if there were no mechanism.

5V3 superiors have multiple options to pursue or return to seize the mechanism

In actual mobile game development, there are two points in skill design that are limited by the mobile terminal operation method. The first point is the casting method. The mainstream roulette operation method is more suitable for the LOL mainstream pre-judgement skill casting. And the directional operation of restoring the end game, such as ray pointing, avatar lock, click on the screen, etc., are restored to a certain extent. But besides that, how to restore extremely high APM operations such as LOL endgame in a short time is also worth looking forward to.

Solution to replace mouse click in mobile games

The second point is the information required for skill release. The mobile terminal occupies part of the screen due to the operation interface. Even though mainstream games use the mirror mapping method in the symmetric map to ensure that the key information is concentrated on the top of the screen, the space is still tight. At the same time, due to the double roulette operation, the game lens defaults to follow the player. As a result, players can only free their hands to drag the lens when looking at other places, and players cannot release skills during this process, such as the skills that cross the screen range in DOTA. If the method of simply raising the lens is simply adopted, it may be abused as a way to widen the field of view. Returning to the core gameplay, the problem that really hinders the design is that information-based strategies like DOTA lack a verification environment (the design of strong first-hand skills can ensure the importance of vision / anti-vision in the game).

A large number of long-range skills need to operate with the enemy as the focus of the screen

The core of this article is to illustrate the importance of design logic in MOBA games by example analysis. The article assumes the core design points of the two LOL / DOTA games from the design of the backfill. In order to further support the deduced hypothesis, the props and skills were analyzed, and the design logic relationship between each module was discovered. In this process, it has strengthened the rational support of the hypothetical point of view, and also showed how mainstream MOBA games reflect the logical connection in the design. The shortcoming is that due to the direction and length of the core point of view, detailed design analysis and guidance have not been specifically designed for a certain module, it seems that some of the content is not deep enough, and I hope the readers will understand.

Source: Tencent GWB Game Unbounded
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