Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Immerse

An Essay And Discussion On The Definition Of Skill

Recommended Posts

Introduction
 
Ah yes, what a lovely word. Skill. What is skill? What takes skill? Why do 14 year old Koreans always have more of it? 
 
For the purposes of this discussion I'll be defining and explaining 'Skill' as a combination of the following seven categories: APM, Accuracy, Reaction Time, Game Knowledge, Consistency, Spacial Awareness and Resource Management. After which, we'll discuss what mechanics are beneficial to create a competitive and skillful environment.
 

The Seven Measurements of Skill
 

APM (Actions Per Minute)
Notable examples of a game requiring high APM are GunZ, Starcraft and Osu. A game with a low entry APM and high competitive APM create a naturally exponential skill curve. If someone only needed 25 APM in order to be competitive the game wouldn't be very impressive to play (Unless of course it had one or more of the other categories). 
 
Accuracy
Overall, accuracy means hitting your opponent regardless of the context. In some games that means keeping your crosshair on/near the enemy, in others it means correctly timing your abilities so they aren't dodged, and sometimes it means accurately inputting key combos. Notable examples of games that require high accuracy are FPS' like Counter Strike and Quake, or fighting games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom.
 
Reaction Time
Reaction Time describes how fast you respond to any given situation in any context. Such a context could be a game with many corners or places to hide. A game with telegraphed animations for attacks would be another. Reaction Time goes hand in hand with Spacial Awareness and Accuracy. Shooters and fighting games comprise the majority of games that require the fastest reaction time.
 
Game Knowledge
This category comprises many different subcategories and is dependent on which game is being talked about. Things like stats, perks, tactics, strategies, environments and metagame are all a part of this category. Often times Game Knowledge is less about being skillful and more about having put a lot of time into the game. This is a good way to create the initial learning curve but should not be relied upon. Games like DOTA 2 or League of Legends have a very high amount of static information you need to learn.
 
Consistency
Consistency describes how consistent on average you have to play in order to win. Games with very low TTK (Time to Kill) are often more luck based. It is more impressive to have won several small parts of the fight that end with you winning the fight than it is to get a single hit in that leads to you instantly killing your opponent. Notable genres are often RTS' like Starcraft and most fighting games like Supersmash Brothers Melee.
 
Spacial Awareness
This category describes a game where there are many things happening on screen that you have to keep track of. While perhaps not as pretty to watch or play, a game where you have to keep track of an entire screens worth of projectiles or people is impressive. Notable games would be in the Bullethell/Shmup genre.
 
Resource Management
Resource Management is as it says, managing your resources. Anything from minerals or units in an RTS to a stamina or mana bar in an RPG. Limited resource pools force players to choose the best course of action and greatly help distinguish skilled players from unskilled ones. A good resource management system can be the difference between a janky game and a fluid experience. There are no specific genres or games for this concept as all games allow you to have control over resources in some aspect.
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
In order to theoretically make the most skillful game we need it to require high APM, high accuracy, fast reaction time, a large amount of game knowledge, consistent consistency, good spacial awareness and well planned resource management. As a reminder, of course you don't want the base game to require competitive level execution of those concepts at the entry level. Now with that all being said, what kinds of game systems detract from or add to the skill ceiling?
 
Concepts that benefit skill

Exponential Skill Curve
An exponential skill curve means that at the higher echelons of play it will be easy to differentiate yourself from other players. If all you needed to be good at a game was to have perfect Game Knowledge it most likely wouldn't be as skillful because Game Knowledge is almost always static knowledge. Conceptually this skill curve is created by utilizing all of the above concepts and applying them to your own game systems, whatever they may be.
 
The ability to interact with your opponents aggression
A very common (and very lazy) type of combat system has an opponent hit a button to cast a skill on you and once they've done that you get hit. Some games include LOS (Line of sight) so that you can disjoint the attack, but other than that there's nothing that you can actively do to defend against the attack. To counteract this games give you or an ally the ability to heal. While healing is fine (dedicated or otherwise), a combat system feels far more fluid and is more skillful if it requires you to interact with your opponents aggression. Simple ways to do this would be to allow some form of blocking, dodging and/or deflecting.
 
Balanced Time-To-Kill
This was briefly touched upon in the Consistency section and there's not much more to say. If you've ever played any Korean games you'll know you can die nearly instantly in one on one situations. In larger grouped PvP you can die even faster than nearly instantly which the english language doesn't have a word for yet. I've seen the argument made that an incredibly low TTK (Time to Kill) makes a game more skillful because if requires all parties to be playing 100% all the time in order to avoid dying. Ignoring the effect TTK has on group PvP for a moment, lets look at a one on one situation. In a low TTK situation, a single mistake can mean either death or a snowball so large there's no way you're going to win. While it's impressive that you didn't make a mistake before the opponent did, wouldn't it be more impressive if you made zero mistakes three times in a row and then beat your opponent? On the flipside of this, a game where people take too long to kill muddles the fluidity and responsiveness of the combat. If you had a 50 vs 50 PvP battle and the average TTK was over three minutes you'd be in some serious trouble.

 

Friendly Fire

This may be one of the single greatest way to distinguish a Tier A player from a Tier S player. In almost every game I can think of the solo man has no advantage when dealing with a larger group of people (Lets say over 5). I'm going to reference the game Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, a relatively niche game. Without going into too much depth about it, think of it just as a fencing game with swords. If you are fighting three other swordsman alone, the three enemy swordsmen need to be careful to not hit each other. The game also had guns, so anyone using a gun would have to be doubly careful not to hit any of their own swordsmen. This ideal created a very beautiful dance of each enemy attacking in waves when they saw an opening while the solo man had to defend everything. Lets say you're fighting twenty people in a normal MMO. Without friendly fire, you just instantly die or you instantly run away. If the game had friendly fire, a group of twenty would have to be extremely careful not to hit their own allies, so much so that having twenty people try and kill one person would be complete overkill and actually wouldn't give the attackers any benefit. The idea of diminishing returns isn't new to video games, but gankers/groupers having diminishing returns on their pack size certainly is.
 

What concepts detract from skill?
 
 
Gear or Level giving an advantage
This is pretty unavoidable unless you're Guild Wars 2. I know this game is going to have gear and level differentials. I'm not asking for it to be changed, I'm just pointing it out here as this is a comprehensive look at the subject of 'Skill'.
 
RNG
Randomness can enhance the viewer experience to add tension and hype but has absolutely no place in a competitive game. The biggest counterargument to this are cardgames. Part of the skill of a card game is weighing the probabilities and making the best decision based on what might happen. While such RNG is rooted in the card genre it has no place elsewhere. Another example would be miss chance. If you hit an attack but there's a passive random chance that your hit turns into a miss then good luck means you win, back lucks means you lose regardless of skill. RNG can also make a worse player beat a better player, which is a sentence you never want to be true for your game.
 
Stunlock
To my knowledge, Guild Wars 2 is the only game that came close to addressing this problem completely. If you truly have the audacity to say your game takes skill in an MMO, giving people the ability to stun people is a sure way to decrease the skill ceiling unless handled very carefully. Stunlock also goes hand in hand with the issue of a low TTK. Lets theorize you're in a 1v3 in a game that has a TTK of 7.5 seconds. The solo man is better in each of the seven categories I listed above than the three people attacking him. The solo gets hit by a stun that lasts 1 second and then gets stunlocked for 2 more seconds from the other two people. With a 1v1 TTK of 7.5 seconds, being stunned for 3 seconds against 3 people means you're instantly dead. Games alleviate this issue by having reduced stun duration if you stun too close together and abilities that break you out of stuns. An MMO where a large amount of people can stun a single better player and win is not a game that requires skill.
 
 
Conclusion
Well that's all for this post folks. I will of course respond to replies and opinions if there end up being any. If there aren't, then join me next time when I go into more depth about how Crowfalls systems should work to deliver a truly skillful experience!
 

Edited by Immerse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great read and great post topic. I agree with almost all of these points.

 

Decrease power creep from gear and big guilds that have the crafters at their advantage but provide incentive for having that good gear in terms of class specialization and build customization. If they can strike a balance between a highly competitive moba (looking at you SMITE) and a good RPG with the MMO aspects they plan to implement, this game will be amazing.

 

The other end of that, is resources and management of them in the acute, moment to moment combat that occurs. How will those play into the game and the behaviors of the players? These are questions for the Devs not you, I'm just spitballing :D

 

Again, great read through man props.

Edited by lucky545

Genghiskron, Leader of Blue Dream Mercenaries
Interested in joining a friendly, small, casual multigaming community? Click the link above! ^

Twitch Streaming

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Introduction

 

Ah yes, what a lovely word. Skill. What is skill? What takes skill? Why do 14 year old Koreans always have more of it?

 

For the purposes of this discussion I'll be defining and explaining 'Skill' as a combination of the following seven categories: APM, Accuracy, Reaction Time, Game Knowledge, Consistency, Spacial Awareness and Resource Management. After which, we'll discuss what mechanics are beneficial to create a competitive and skillful environment.

 

 

The Seven Measurements of Skill

 

 

APM (Actions Per Minute)

Notable examples of a game requiring high APM are GunZ, Starcraft and Osu. A game with a low entry APM and high competitive APM create a naturally exponential skill curve. If someone only needed 25 APM in order to be competitive the game wouldn't be very impressive to play (Unless of course it had one or more of the other categories).

 

Accuracy

Overall, accuracy means hitting your opponent regardless of the context. In some games that means keeping your crosshair on/near the enemy, in others it means correctly timing your abilities so they aren't dodged, and sometimes it means accurately inputting key combos. Notable examples of games that require high accuracy are FPS' like Counter Strike and Quake, or fighting games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom.

 

Reaction Time

Reaction Time describes how fast you respond to any given situation in any context. Such a context could be a game with many corners or places to hide. A game with telegraphed animations for attacks would be another. Reaction Time goes hand in hand with Spacial Awareness and Accuracy. Shooters and fighting games comprise the majority of games that require the fastest reaction time.

 

Game Knowledge

This category comprises many different subcategories and is dependent on which game is being talked about. Things like stats, perks, tactics, strategies, environments and metagame are all a part of this category. Often times Game Knowledge is less about being skillful and more about having put a lot of time into the game. This is a good way to create the initial learning curve but should not be relied upon. Games like DOTA 2 or League of Legends have a very high amount of static information you need to learn.

 

Consistency

Consistency describes how consistent on average you have to play in order to win. Games with very low TTK (Time to Kill) are often more luck based. It is more impressive to have won several small parts of the fight that end with you winning the fight than it is to get a single hit in that leads to you instantly killing your opponent. Notable genres are often RTS' like Starcraft and most fighting games like Supersmash Brothers Melee.

 

Spacial Awareness

This category describes a game where there are many things happening on screen that you have to keep track of. While perhaps not as pretty to watch or play, a game where you have to keep track of an entire screens worth of projectiles or people is impressive. Notable games would be in the Bullethell/Shmup genre.

 

Resource Management

Resource Management is as it says, managing your resources. Anything from minerals or units in an RTS to a stamina or mana bar in an RPG. Limited resource pools force players to choose the best course of action and greatly help distinguish skilled players from unskilled ones. A good resource management system can be the difference between a janky game and a fluid experience. There are no specific genres or games for this concept as all games allow you to have control over resources in some aspect.

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

In order to theoretically make the most skillful game we need it to require high APM, high accuracy, fast reaction time, a large amount of game knowledge, consistent consistency, good spacial awareness and well planned resource management. As a reminder, of course you don't want the base game to require competitive level execution of those concepts at the entry level. Now with that all being said, what kinds of game systems detract from or add to the skill ceiling?

 

Concepts that benefit skill

 

Exponential Skill Curve

An exponential skill curve means that at the higher echelons of play it will be easy to differentiate yourself from other players. If all you needed to be good at a game was to have perfect Game Knowledge it most likely wouldn't be as skillful because Game Knowledge is almost always static knowledge. Conceptually this skill curve is created by utilizing all of the above concepts and applying them to your own game systems, whatever they may be.

 

The ability to interact with your opponents aggression

A very common (and very lazy) type of combat system has an opponent hit a button to cast a skill on you and once they've done that you get hit. Some games include LOS (Line of sight) so that you can disjoint the attack, but other than that there's nothing that you can actively do to defend against the attack. To counteract this games give you or an ally the ability to heal. While healing is fine (dedicated or otherwise), a combat system feels far more fluid and is more skillful if it requires you to interact with your opponents aggression. Simple ways to do this would be to allow some form of blocking, dodging and/or deflecting.

 

High Time-To-Kill

This was briefly touched upon in the Consistency section and there's not much more to say. If you've ever played any Korean games you'll know you can die nearly instantly in one on one situations. In larger grouped PvP you can die even faster than nearly instantly which the english language doesn't have a word for yet. I've seen the argument made that an incredibly low TTK (Time to Kill) makes a game more skillful because if requires all parties to be playing 100% all the time in order to avoid dying. Ignoring the effect TTK has on group PvP for a moment, lets look at a one on one situation. In a low TTK situation, a single mistake can mean either death or a snowball so large there's no way you're going to win. While it's impressive that you didn't make a mistake before the opponent did, wouldn't it be more impressive if you made zero mistakes three times in a row and then beat your opponent?

 

 

What concepts detract from skill?

 

 

Gear or Level giving an advantage

This is pretty unavoidable unless you're Guild Wars 2. I know this game is going to have gear and level differentials. I'm not asking for it to be changed, I'm just pointing it out here as this is a comprehensive look at the subject of 'Skill'.

 

RNG

Randomness can enhance the viewer experience to add tension and hype but has absolutely no place in a competitive game. The biggest counterargument to this are cardgames. Part of the skill of a card game is weighing the probabilities and making the best decision based on what might happen. While such RNG is rooted in the card genre it has no place elsewhere. Another example would be miss chance. If you hit an attack but there's a passive random chance that your hit turns into a miss then good luck means you win, back lucks means you lose regardless of skill. RNG can also make a worse player beat a better player, which is a sentence you never want to be true for your game.

 

Stunlock

To my knowledge, Guild Wars 2 is the only game that came close to addressing this problem completely. If you truly have the audacity to say your game takes skill in an MMO, giving people the ability to stun people is a sure way to decrease the skill ceiling unless handled very carefully. Stunlock also goes hand in hand with the issue of a low TTK. Lets theorize you're in a 1v3 in a game that has a TTK of 7.5 seconds. The solo man is better in each of the seven categories I listed above than the three people attacking him. The solo gets hit by a stun that lasts 1 second and then gets stunlocked for 2 more seconds from the other two people. With a 1v1 TTK of 7.5 seconds, being stunned for 3 seconds against 3 people means you're instantly dead. Games alleviate this issue by having reduced stun duration if you stun too close together and abilities that break you out of stuns. An MMO where a large amount of people can stun a single better player and win is not a game that requires skill.

 

 

Conclusion

Well that's all for this post folks. I will of course respond to replies and opinions if there end up being any. If there aren't, then join me next time when I go into more depth about how Crowfalls systems should work to deliver a truly skillful experience!

 

From personal experience people who write lengthy essays on skill, usually do not have any of it ;p

Edited by rajah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your post is well written and I only have mild areas of disagreement regarding what makes a game skillful and unskillful, but I think there are some necessary qualifications on what you've put here.

 

In particular, I think your point about RNG is depends a lot on how many random rolls occur.  As the number of rolled-probabilities in a given encounter goes up, the luck factor goes down as the averages tend to win out, while the number of possible outcomes of any particular tactic still goes up.  In those situations, the RNG adds to the competitive factor because while there is still some luck; something could have hit a little harder, someone could have gotten a few more dodges, etc. it's created a situation that you have to react to and is by no means decisive if you can be aware of it and react to it appropriately.

 

I also think your point about high time to kill is off base.  It's better if it isn't too short, but it can also be bad if it's too long.  When TTK is too high you often find that who wins the fight is a foregone conclusion (based on what builds/classes each team brought) or that most decisions in a fight don't really matter much-- you still have one or two decisive actions that one or both teams made, it just takes a lot longer to see the outcome.  There's definitely value in it being slower than instantly, but if people are conceding fights five to six minutes before they would end naturally, you have a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about spatial strategy? Like being able to command units and move them around, predicting moves? Great essay!

 

Spatial Strategy as you describe it would fall under 'Game Knowledge'. Predicting moves would be understanding the metagame.

 

 

 

From personal experience people who write lengthy essays on skill, usually do not have any on it ;p

 

Oh yes I know what you mean! Curse those writers and their analysis!

 

 

Great read and great post topic. I agree with almost all of these points.

 

Decrease power creep from gear and big guilds that have the crafters at their advantage but provide incentive for having that good gear in terms of class specialization and build customization. If they can strike a balance between a highly competitive moba (looking at you SMITE) and a good RPG with the MMO aspects they plan to implement, this game will be amazing.

 

The other end of that, is resources and management of them in the acute, moment to moment combat that occurs. How will those play into the game and the behaviors of the players? These are questions for the Devs not you, I'm just spitballing  :D

 

Again, great read through man props.

 

Thank you for the kind words. 

 

I know SMITE has recently become very popular, although I haven't personally played it to be able to tell if it would be called skillful. Somewhere a developer was suggesting they would like to see an 'ebb and flow' to group combat where 'tanks' can effectively peel for their support and dps classes. While it is still very early (the earliest of the early) his statement did concern me a little. Thinking about the overall feel of group PvP before thinking about how a character moves just by themselves seems like the wrong way to go about making the game.

 

It seems logical you should first make a character that's enjoyable to control and just exist as, then make it so the way characters interact with each other is interesting in a one on one, and then you worry about how it feels in group play. In fact starting with how group play first seems contrary to the 'Start with the building blocks' game design this team currently has that I admire.

 

 

 

Your post is well written and I only have mild areas of disagreement regarding what makes a game skillful and unskillful, but I think there are some necessary qualifications on what you've put here.

 

In particular, I think your point about RNG is depends a lot on how many random rolls occur.  As the number of rolled-probabilities in a given encounter goes up, the luck factor goes down as the averages tend to win out, while the number of possible outcomes of any particular tactic still goes up.  In those situations, the RNG adds to the competitive factor because while there is still some luck; something could have hit a little harder, someone could have gotten a few more dodges, etc. it's created a situation that you have to react to and is by no means decisive if you can be aware of it and react to it appropriately.

 

I also think your point about high time to kill is off base.  It's better if it isn't too short, but it can also be bad if it's too long.  When TTK is too high you often find that who wins the fight is a foregone conclusion (based on what builds/classes each team brought) or that most decisions in a fight don't really matter much-- you still have one or two decisive actions that one or both teams made, it just takes a lot longer to see the outcome.  There's definitely value in it being slower than instantly, but if people are conceding fights five to six minutes before they would end naturally, you have a problem.

 

I disagree with what you've written in regards to RNG. I'll give you an example of when what you've written will lead to a less skillful situation, and if you have a counter example then perhaps we may agree to disagree on this point. 

 

Say you are in a one on one fight. You are 'winning' the fight. Winning in this context means you are outplaying your opponent, perhaps dodging more attacks or you know more about the metagame. Despite your advantange in skill, you're losing more than you should be because RNG is favoring your opponent. Your opponent has done nothing to deserve not losing as hard as he should be. How do you react to this situation? You pray he stops getting lucky. There is no way the player can interact directly with RNG in this situation, and as such a situation has been created where something out of the players control is deciding how well they're doing. This is not skillful. If RNG favors your enemy too heavily, the only way to react as far as I can see would be to run away. Again, your opponent just gained an edge for doing nothing, and you lost an edge for doing nothing. 

 

If the RNG is created in such a way that almost forces things to average out, then there's no reason for it to exist in the first place because all it is is a liability. If the TTK is high and the amount of possible RNG rolls increases but it still favors your opponent slightly, that's still a slight edge your opponent has through no skill of their own.

 

----------------------

 

To your second point about TTK, I absolutely agree. I was not specific enough in my language when describing TTK and I should revise it to say essentially what you have said. TTK is a scale that can be weighed too heavily on either side, a perfect balance is required to make combat feel fair, skillful, but still decisive.

Edited by Immerse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Introduction

 

Ah yes, what a lovely word. Skill. What is skill? What takes skill? Why do 14 year old Koreans always have more of it? 

 

For the purposes of this discussion I'll be defining and explaining 'Skill' as a combination of the following seven categories: APM, Accuracy, Reaction Time, Game Knowledge, Consistency, Spacial Awareness and Resource Management. After which, we'll discuss what mechanics are beneficial to create a competitive and skillful environment.

 

 

The Seven Measurements of Skill

 

 

APM (Actions Per Minute)

Notable examples of a game requiring high APM are GunZ, Starcraft and Osu. A game with a low entry APM and high competitive APM create a naturally exponential skill curve. If someone only needed 25 APM in order to be competitive the game wouldn't be very impressive to play (Unless of course it had one or more of the other categories). 

 

The most skillful games adopt all of these categories and create diverse relationships between them.

 

Accuracy

Overall, accuracy means hitting your opponent regardless of the context. In some games that means keeping your crosshair on/near the enemy, in others it means correctly timing your abilities so they aren't dodged, and sometimes it means accurately inputting key combos. Notable examples of games that require high accuracy are FPS' like Counter Strike and Quake, or fighting games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom.

 

Reaction Time

Reaction Time describes how fast you respond to any given situation in any context. Such a context could be a game with many corners or places to hide. A game with telegraphed animations for attacks would be another. Reaction Time goes hand in hand with Spacial Awareness and Accuracy. Shooters and fighting games comprise the majority of games that require the fastest reaction time.

 

Game Knowledge

This category comprises many different subcategories and is dependent on which game is being talked about. Things like stats, perks, tactics, strategies, environments and metagame are all a part of this category. Often times Game Knowledge is less about being skillful and more about having put a lot of time into the game. This is a good way to create the initial learning curve but should not be relied upon. Games like DOTA 2 or League of Legends have a very high amount of static information you need to learn.

 

Consistency

Consistency describes how consistent on average you have to play in order to win. Games with very low TTK (Time to Kill) are often more luck based. It is more impressive to have won several small parts of the fight that end with you winning the fight than it is to get a single hit in that leads to you instantly killing your opponent. Notable genres are often RTS' like Starcraft and most fighting games like Supersmash Brothers Melee.

 

Spacial Awareness

This category describes a game where there are many things happening on screen that you have to keep track of. While perhaps not as pretty to watch or play, a game where you have to keep track of an entire screens worth of projectiles or people is impressive. Notable games would be in the Bullethell/Shmup genre.

 

Resource Management

Resource Management is as it says, managing your resources. Anything from minerals or units in an RTS to a stamina or mana bar in an RPG. Limited resource pools force players to choose the best course of action and greatly help distinguish skilled players from unskilled ones. A good resource management system can be the difference between a janky game and a fluid experience. There are no specific genres or games for this concept as all games allow you to have control over resources in some aspect.

 

Overall these are some nice concepts to touch on but these things are so intertwined that breaking them up in this manner isn't always clean. 

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

In order to theoretically make the most skillful game we need it to require high APM, high accuracy, fast reaction time, a large amount of game knowledge, consistent consistency, good spacial awareness and well planned resource management. As a reminder, of course you don't want the base game to require competitive level execution of those concepts at the entry level. Now with that all being said, what kinds of game systems detract from or add to the skill ceiling?

 

Concepts that benefit skill

 

Exponential Skill Curve

An exponential skill curve means that at the higher echelons of play it will be easy to differentiate yourself from other players. If all you needed to be good at a game was to have perfect Game Knowledge it most likely wouldn't be as skillful because Game Knowledge is almost always static knowledge. Conceptually this skill curve is created by utilizing all of the above concepts and applying them to your own game systems, whatever they may be.

 

It is important to understand the nature of the curve you are looking for.  The beginners start off where little jumps in advancement don't put them too far ahead of the rest, where by the time you get to the most skillful players the tiniest jumps can put them significantly higher than the next in line.  Also highly skilled games give people a lot of ways to create advantages focusing on the 7 areas you touched on, some may be weaker in one department but may be so strong in another department that it can compensate for them up to a certain level, but ideally to get to the very top you must have a strong foundation in all 7 areas. 

 

The ability to interact with your opponents aggression

A very common (and very lazy) type of combat system has an opponent hit a button to cast a skill on you and once they've done that you get hit. Some games include LOS (Line of sight) so that you can disjoint the attack, but other than that there's nothing that you can actively do to defend against the attack. To counteract this games give you or an ally the ability to heal. While healing is fine (dedicated or otherwise), a combat system feels far more fluid and is more skillful if it requires you to interact with your opponents aggression. Simple ways to do this would be to allow some form of blocking, dodging and/or deflecting.

 

 

High Time-To-Kill

This was briefly touched upon in the Consistency section and there's not much more to say. If you've ever played any Korean games you'll know you can die nearly instantly in one on one situations. In larger grouped PvP you can die even faster than nearly instantly which the english language doesn't have a word for yet. I've seen the argument made that an incredibly low TTK (Time to Kill) makes a game more skillful because if requires all parties to be playing 100% all the time in order to avoid dying. Ignoring the effect TTK has on group PvP for a moment, lets look at a one on one situation. In a low TTK situation, a single mistake can mean either death or a snowball so large there's no way you're going to win. While it's impressive that you didn't make a mistake before the opponent did, wouldn't it be more impressive if you made zero mistakes three times in a row and then beat your opponent?

 

A well designed game has a medium ttk.  Enough to where every decision gains or loses significant advantages but still requiring one side to consistently outplay the other.  Make ttk too long and it minimizes the value of each decision, make it too short and you only really have to outplay your opponent in 1 or 2 moments which may have been intentional or a fluke.  It's kind of the same concept of BoX formats in tournaments.  Bo1 can involve flukes Bo99 puts a smaller emphasis on the individual games. 

 

What concepts detract from skill?

 

 

Gear or Level giving an advantage

This is pretty unavoidable unless you're Guild Wars 2. I know this game is going to have gear and level differentials. I'm not asking for it to be changed, I'm just pointing it out here as this is a comprehensive look at the subject of 'Skill'.

 

This is a gray area, gears and levels CAN detract from skill, but they can also push people into becoming more skilled players.  Any top tier gamer knows that you have to test yourself constantly in every imaginable situation and you learn more about the game the more "weird" situations you put yourself in.  Gear and levels are just another obstacle to overcome it all depends on the individual game's balance.  In the end things all boil down to advantages and disadvantages.  Whether it's from gear, levels, decisions, archetype balance matchups, or something else.

 

RNG

Randomness can enhance the viewer experience to add tension and hype but has absolutely no place in a competitive game. The biggest counterargument to this are cardgames. Part of the skill of a card game is weighing the probabilities and making the best decision based on what might happen. While such RNG is rooted in the card genre it has no place elsewhere. Another example would be miss chance. If you hit an attack but there's a passive random chance that your hit turns into a miss then good luck means you win, back lucks means you lose regardless of skill. RNG can also make a worse player beat a better player, which is a sentence you never want to be true for your game.

 

RNG can be frustrating, but done in a certain way it adds a little unknown variable that players have to consider and react to during the course of a fight.  This goes into creating weird situations to learn the limits of what you are playing in. 

 

Stunlock

To my knowledge, Guild Wars 2 is the only game that came close to addressing this problem completely. If you truly have the audacity to say your game takes skill in an MMO, giving people the ability to stun people is a sure way to decrease the skill ceiling unless handled very carefully. Stunlock also goes hand in hand with the issue of a low TTK. Lets theorize you're in a 1v3 in a game that has a TTK of 7.5 seconds. The solo man is better in each of the seven categories I listed above than the three people attacking him. The solo gets hit by a stun that lasts 1 second and then gets stunlocked for 2 more seconds from the other two people. With a 1v1 TTK of 7.5 seconds, being stunned for 3 seconds against 3 people means you're instantly dead. Games alleviate this issue by having reduced stun duration if you stun too close together and abilities that break you out of stuns. An MMO where a large amount of people can stun a single better player and win is not a game that requires skill.

 

Hard CC is just another variable to play around with, yes it can detract from skill if it is too powerful relative to how easy it is to utilize but tuned correctly it can be yet another variable that simply adds to tactics. 

 

Conclusion

Well that's all for this post folks. I will of course respond to replies and opinions if there end up being any. If there aren't, then join me next time when I go into more depth about how Crowfalls systems should work to deliver a truly skillful experience!

 

I appreciate what you are trying to do here, skill is a very complex thing that would take ages to truly define, if at all possible. 

Edited by Sheen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the reply Sheen. I wont quote what you said lest this turn into a giant nested quote thread.

 

I agree with everything that you said, except that like with Zoel I disagree with your statement about RNG.

 

 

 

RNG can be frustrating, but done in a certain way it adds a little unknown variable that players have to consider and react to during the course of a fight.  This goes into creating weird situations to learn the limits of what you are playing in.  

 

I still cannot think of a situation where you having to react to the game winning for your opponent is a good thing, or a thing that increases how skillful a game is.

 

Edit: I have changed the 'High TTK' section to 'Balanced TTK' and added an additional segment at the end stating the TTK also can't be too high or you suffer just as much as a low TTK. 

 

I have also added a Friendly Fire section under the Concepts that benefit skill section. Sheen, Zoel and Lucky545, I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. Of course anyone else can also share their thoughts as well.

Edited by Immerse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the reply Sheen. I wont quote what you said lest this turn into a giant nested quote thread.

 

I agree with everything that you said, except that like with Zoel I disagree with your statement about RNG.

 

 

I still cannot think of a situation where you having to react to the game winning for your opponent is a good thing, or a thing that increases how skillful a game is.

RNG is just another variable, it does not always have to be game winning, a lucky crit could sway a battle 20% or something.  Just another variable to consider in how cleanly you execute vs an opponent.  Like all variables it can be done well or it can be done poorly. 

 

If you had complete understanding and control of every variable combat then becomes a matter of repeating a formula, forcing people to adapt to a little unpredictability can actually make them stronger in the variables they can predict and push them towards a cleaner style of play. 

 

Take professional level rts for example.  When 2 pro players collide with 200/200 armies, they are not microing every single unit every single split second, that would be impossible.  They will micro the most important parts of their army to execute the strategy they desire, the units will meet up in a certain way that they hope/assume is favorable and then they will react midfight to what is going on.  They can't always precisely predict exactly which mutalisk a random marine might target while it is on a-move and they are controlling their vikings, but they will react to how the armies are colliding and try to constantly readjust based on what is going on.  That is a case of a little rng spicing up fights. 

 

Having no RNG is pretty in theory for people who don't want to get fluked, but it can be done in a skillful way.  Every single competitive game or sport has some degree of rng. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Friendly Fire

This may be one of the single greatest way to distinguish a Tier A player from a Tier S player. In almost every game I can think of the solo man has no advantage when dealing with a larger group of people (Lets say over 5). I'm going to reference the game Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, a relatively niche game. Without going into too much depth about it, think of it just as a fencing game with swords. If you are fighting three other swordsman alone, the three enemy swordsmen need to be careful to not hit each other. The game also had guns, so anyone using a gun would have to be doubly careful not to hit any of their own swordsmen. This ideal created a very beautiful dance of each enemy attacking in waves when they saw an opening while the solo man had to defend everything. Lets say you're fighting twenty people in a normal MMO. Without friendly fire, you just instantly die or you instantly run away. If the game had friendly fire, a group of twenty would have to be extremely careful not to hit their own allies, so much so that having twenty people try and kill one person would be complete overkill and actually wouldn't give the attackers any benefit. The idea of diminishing returns isn't new to video games, but gankers/groupers having diminishing returns on their pack size certainly is.

 

Friendly fire is a feature i've wanted in a good pvp mmo for a long time.  It just adds so many new layers of depth when people have to factor in how their abilities and positioning will affect their allies.  If designed well it pushes people to have to play much more intelligently with their group coordination.  It's no longer just about power meeting power, it's about correctly channeling that power or it can end up being an asset to the enemy or a liability to your own group. 

 

It does help distinguish Tier A from Tier S because it just adds another vital componant that people must be cognizant of, I don't know if it is the single greatest way to distinguish but it's possible because all of your 7 components of skill are affected by it and pushed to another level of depth. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your FF concerns and the use of JK:JA as an example (not a niche game really, I knew tons of old players throughout my gaming years lol), but another, more recent game that brings a similar element to the overkill equation is Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. That game is 1. incredibly immersive, 2. incredibly high skill ceiling, and 3. incredibly AWESOME. FF in that game really depends on skill and spatial awareness, truly. There are several modes of attacks, cleaves/swings, lower to higher swing, higher to lower swings, jabs, etc the list goes on. If you are unfortunate enough to be attacking the same guy as 2 polearm bearers and they start swinging, I tend to back off for the obviously reason of GETTING DECAPITATED haha.

 

I agree that FF should be considered, especially once we figure out how the aiming system will work. That's the biggest thing that the game and it's combat will hinge upon in these early stages. Having a reticule and full 6DoF movement is vastly different than even smite which is horizontal and not vertical aiming based.

 

Imo, FF should be reserved for maybe those top tier levels of play within the game like near the middle where FFA would take place and maybe some of the GvG competitions where there are a lot of resources on the line and strategic territory as well.

 

Again, good thoughts Immerse. Thanks for the PM heads up too on the thread update :D


Genghiskron, Leader of Blue Dream Mercenaries
Interested in joining a friendly, small, casual multigaming community? Click the link above! ^

Twitch Streaming

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jedi Academy added no-skill dual saber spam. Jedi Outcast was by far a more skill-intensive game.

 

While this certainly isn't the time or place to get into a discussion on the merits and pitfalls of Jedi Academies system, I will change my post to say Jedi Outcast as I love both games to death and have no problem switching them to avoid any unnecessary drama. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say just label it as Jedi Knight games. They really were just UT games with a melee focus.

 

Regardless, I think that skill should trump all. And with regards to Immerse's sort of... idk how to phrase it, reservations with thinking about group play in the forefront of the devs' minds; I think there needs to be some element of that regardless of what stage of development they are in. With a teambased game, synergy and team composition are imperative to a team's success a lot of times, but it shouldn't reflect a Flavor of The Month(s) or single class spamming to simply win. There needs to be a class density balance as well as strategic, well thought out, strategic skill and behavior that happens in the moment to moment combat. Without that, the game will feel all too similat to GW2, which as a HUGE fan of GW1, I did not enjoy one. single. bit.

Edited by lucky545

Genghiskron, Leader of Blue Dream Mercenaries
Interested in joining a friendly, small, casual multigaming community? Click the link above! ^

Twitch Streaming

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Take professional level rts for example.  When 2 pro players collide with 200/200 armies, they are not microing every single unit every single split second, that would be impossible.  They will micro the most important parts of their army to execute the strategy they desire, the units will meet up in a certain way that they hope/assume is favorable and then they will react midfight to what is going on.  They can't always precisely predict exactly which mutalisk a random marine might target while it is on a-move and they are controlling their vikings, but they will react to how the armies are colliding and try to constantly readjust based on what is going on.  That is a case of a little rng spicing up fights. 

 

This is an interesting take on RNG that I had not considered. What I mean by that is I don't consider the system in Starcraft 2 to be an RNG system. We're going to get into semantics here, but there's no behind the scenes system that is determining, at random, the outcome of player movement. Lets say you move a bunch of marines into a bunch of mutalisks (Lets say we're not magic boxing the mutas in this example). You spread your mutas out and right as the fight begins, three or four or your mutas are being focus fired just because of how you moved your units and how the enemy moved his. At this exact instant you can now react to 'RNG' by pulling those mutalisks away. You and the enemy will keep doing this dance of pulling injured units away until one side is victorious.

 

In an RPG RNG situation, you can't interact with your enemy critical striking you four times in a row. You most likely just lose. Now lets say that the crits don't do that much more damage than a normal attack so that you don't die instantly to four crits. Let say a normal attack does 1 damage and a crit does 2 damage. I think even in this case my point still stands, why are you letting the game let your opponent do more damage randomly? If a Critical Strike required you to hit their head then I would be fine with it.

 

And now specifically about Starcraft, just because you brought up an interesting topic, we could also go into another topic about Skill that I wrote nothing about, and that is a system where no human being can actually use it 100%. As you said there's no way anyone could individually control every single unit during a battle, or even 75% of them to get the most out of them. This means players will be constantly pushed to their limits, a limit which will always be under the theoretical limit of the game. I'll add this topic into my main post, and this one might actually be the most important concept when determining true skill. If a human can theoretically play at 80 points, a game that only has 70 points can have a lot of people at 70 and thus play perfectly. If the game theoretically requires 90 points to play perfectly, then no human will ever be able to play perfectly and you'll have a large range of people with very few playing at 75-80 points.

Edited by Immerse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...