League of Legends

Morello was completely right concerning healing.

LeagueofLegends9 - Morello was completely right concerning healing.
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This comment by Morello was shared in a healing discussion and I feel like it warrants a discussion all on it's own. What he describes here is exactly what is wrong with League of Legends today.

Morello –

"Medics are an inelegant solution to a problem that doesn't need to exist. This is a more complex issue, but lemme see if I can make this make sense. Also let me state that I have a ton of respect for Valve overall, but as any designers, there's plenty of disagreement between specifics!

Medics do break stalemates in TF2, yes. This is undeniably true – but they do bring a plethora of problems that are equally bad with them, and aren't, in my opinion, the correct way to address the problem. It's a classic example of a problem pile-up.

When designing the game mode and maps, there's lots of choke points and defensible positions that can easily stagnate. Tight corners with few/no alternative paths, binary attack/defense objectives and pretty over-the-top weapons mean the when skills are equal, it's easy to stalemate the game (and that's actually the defending team's job – remove progress from the aggressors). I think, simply, map and objective design is the correct solution since that's where the problem is born from.

Medics solve that problem pretty effectively (games are much harder to stalemate now with them), but solve a problem by adding more problems, robbing Peter to pay Paul, essentially. This creates a cyclical problem where you pile on a new system or element to deal with a previous problem, but then that element is likely to have problems. It'd be like us dealing with the safety of top lane by removing the towers entirely.

Morello, why are medics a problem? Some of us think they're really fun!

It's a big question and I think a really valid one, because my thoughts on this are pretty unpopular with a lot of players and a lot of other game designers.

The problem is, in the specific case of TF2, multi-threaded:

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  • Medics become the game in skilled play. The entire gameflow is dependent and reliant on the medic, to where killing him or not becomes the central focus. This is because the gameflow relies on them to move action when all else is equal.
  • Ubercharge is only counterable by another ubercharge, unless one team is significantly better than the other. Anything countered by itself creates a single path to victory.
  • Constant healing/overhealing changes the entire combat pacing. This exists in WoW, TF2, and if healing were more prevalent, LoL. It invalidates attrition and removes long-term pacing (well I didn't kill that Soldier, but he's at 10% health and therefore 90% easier for a teammate to clean up) and makes burst much more powerful. Simply, it lessens strategic variety. As you guys have seen over LoL's lifespan, any fight that doesn't resolve near-instantly (Counter Strike) can easily result in no change or progress at all.
  • Medics remove action from second-to-second combat. For FPS, primary gameplay loops are created through positioning, aim, reaction time, movement, map feature exploitation and matchups. The satisfaction of that encounter results in the death of a player one either side. Medics prevent that satisfaction from occurring.
  • In order to make a healer satisfying, they have to be disproportionately impactful. A Priest in your War3 army can be balanced more easily, because the little Priest doesn't have to derive meaning or satisfaction out of making the life bars go up. But when you ARE that Priest, it has to feel good to create a positive experience – and doing so when your job is resource refilling, it needs to be pretty beast to make that feel noticeable.

I think from a "are the fun to use" standpoint, medics succeed very highly at creating a satisfying, impactful healer. The problem of that is they do so at the expense of the rest of the game, and this applies to WoW healers, and frankly a character whose only job is to heal friends. Support is fine, even healing is fine, but making an entire role and core loop out of healing is fundamentally destructive, long-term, to team-based PvP."

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