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What Makes A Game Better For Competitive Play?


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#1 vVv Doomhammer

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:17 PM

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What Makes A Game Better For Competitive Play?
By Sean �Blazek� Emes, Edited by Jordan �Doomhammer� Kahn




There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of games available that pit players against each other in a competitive manner, but only a tiny fraction of these games ever become tournament worthy. Even fewer still will be featured at live LAN tournaments, such as MLG, to be played in front of thousands of fans and supporters. So what makes one game more viable than another? Let�s take a look at one of the most popular competitive titles to see what it takes to make it to the big leagues.

One of the most successful competitive titles worldwide is Starcraft 2. The title has gained international support with hundreds of thousands of dollars going into tournaments on a yearly basis. It is such
a successful competitive game that players in Korea are known to make a healthy living exclusively by competing in Starcraft 2, and they get a fan base normally reserved for rock stars to boot! While
Starcraft 2 is a massive title in competitive gaming, the gameplay itself is fairly standard for a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game and it hasn�t changed much since the first version came out over 10 years ago. So what makes this game so popular and successful competitively?

Strategy and Entertainment:

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Explosions or Ant battle?





Many games suffer from limited customization of game settings, or maps, and as we�ve mentioned in previous articles here , here , and here , this prevents them from being competitive, since player skill affect the outcome less. A game where players are on an equal footing is critical, and when rapid strategy changes are required it further identifies skilled players.

While Strategy is essential, a game that is based almost purely on strategy is not always better. Take the Total War series for example; a series that constantly improves with each title and takes a vast amount of knowledge and strategy to win battles� but the battles are extremely time consuming and slow, and are pretty boring to spectate.

Starcraft on the other hand has a fairly rapid game pace, and battles that are much more entertaining to watch. Add explosions, numerous combat engagements per game and entertaining ploys and it can be hard to get bored watching top Starcraft players strive for victory.

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Simplicity and Community:

Let�s face it, people won�t spend hours researching a game just to learn how the bloody thing works. If it takes an entire game just to explain why one unit will counter another, chances are the person trying to learn will lose interest. While Starcraft 2 has a slight learning curve, it is fairly easy to explain and can be understood quickly. A game that is simple to learn and play has a much better chance of holding a player�s, and a spectator�s, attention.

Building a community around a game is also a large contributing factor to the success of competitive gaming. With a larger player base it is easier for tournaments to attain sponsors, meaning more money in the pot. Games like Call of Duty can practically force their way into competitive gaming through sheer number of players. A large community also gives developers a wide range of test subjects and feedback to make the game more competitive.

While other factors can contribute, for example hype, private investors and a bit of luck, it is important for the development team to listen to its community and talk with tournament holders if they wish to make their game competitive. At the end of the day, it�s up to the game developers and the gaming community to work together to create games that will play successfully on a competitive circuit. So get out there and start competing!

Edited by vVv Bizkit, 21 February 2012 - 03:33 PM.

Jordan "Doomhammer" Kahn
Doomhammer@vvv-gaming.com

Production Coordinator for Riot Games

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#2 Kirikou Rung

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:32 PM

Good read :)
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#3 -ZeRo- Brawl

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 05:10 PM

Excelent Read.

IMO:

The only problem it's that developers these days Don't want to make games for "competition", but for "casuals". Which is something I understand, But I don't like it. Some Games used to be very competitive and hard to learn and play at a High Level (For example, Halo1, SSBM, etc), but now, their sequels are much easier to learn and play (Not saying that one game takes more skill than other).

This makes the game "playable by everyone", or "enjoyable by everyone".

As I said, I understand this change, but I don't like it.

I know that NOT all the video game designers are this way, but most of them are this way (IMO, like 80%).

Sorry for my bad english lol. Any help is appreciated ;).

Edited by -ZeRo-, 07 April 2011 - 05:27 PM.

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#4 Cheese (former vVv)

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:16 PM

Hey look, it's me.

Brawl unfortunately suffers from a few of the listed problems, but the community and strategy involved allows it to remain competitive.
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#5 Relent is BANNED

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:08 PM

I think spectator ship is the most important thing for a game to truly be competitive today

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#6 -ZeRo- Brawl

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:02 PM

Hey look, it's me.

Brawl unfortunately suffers from a few of the listed problems, but the community and strategy involved allows it to remain competitive.


Exactly.

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#7 xFuSioNx

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:54 PM

Awesome article. To quote: "Many games suffer from limited customization of game settings, or maps, and as weve mentioned in previous articles here , here , and here , this prevents them from being competitive, since player skill affect the outcome less. A game where players are on an equal footing is critical, and when rapid strategy changes are required it further identifies skilled players." I completely and strongly agree with this aspect. It will never be easy, but it can be close to give a fair chance for all players.

#8 Raembo

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 12:05 PM

interesting!
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#9 Nuff Proto

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 12:10 AM

Awesome read !:Victory:

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#10 Soul

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 10:56 PM

alot of game developers dont think of competitive play..they dont think the competitive side would make them more money than just just playing casual i wish some developers would give it chance cause the competitive community is growing and they should noitice that..but honestly in order for a game to be competitive scene it has to keep my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat
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#11 Soul

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 10:58 PM

alot of game developers dont think of competitive play..they dont think the competitive side would make them more money than just just playing casual i wish some developers would give it chance cause the competitive community is growing and they should noitice that..but honestly in order for a game to be competitive scene it has to keep my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat
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#12 The_4th_Watch

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 01:12 AM

Indeed. One of my fears for Halo: Reach on the MLG pro circuit appears to be coming to fruition: less spectator value. Now i think there are more factors than just the "thrill" of spectating involved, but it certainly isn't the same as some of the other Halo titles.
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#13 JorGeY

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 01:15 PM

well said, good read :)

#14 vVv Bizkit

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 11:27 AM

All is very true for the gamers and spectator ship is key to grabbing attention, money, and even gaining new players its also the viewers that help spread competitive gaming like some would say "oh my friend showed me SC2, and even though it looks difficult it can be fast paced and the battles look awesome, i wanna be that kind of player", and bam we got a new SC2 player so yea everything is valid here but spectator ship > just the gamers

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#15 Vagrance

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 06:48 AM

With the MOBA genre still being my favorite to play as well as spectate, it is really starting to rise in the competitive scene. I enjoy watching Heroes of Newerth over League of Legends simply because more skill is involved. I never got into SC and probably never will, I do enjoy microing as it was a major part of gameplay in Warcraft III, I just don't think it's the game for me.

HoN however will be at MLG and Dreamhack and I will be rooting for Team EZ. Go Chu Go!

#16 m0z

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 05:09 AM

Good!!



#17 Indifferent

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

Uh...wow, necro-bump much?


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vVv SugarBear (24 January 2012 - 12:39 PM): @Rapture if you make GM by 2013 I will pay for your copy of SC2




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