I do not like Tony.
I don’t like his splash. I don’t like his model. I don’t like his kit.
I also do not like Grumpjaw.
I don’t like his splash. I don’t like his model (Demon dog BEGONE). I don’t like his kit.
BUT, there is one thing that separates these two characters in my mind. How good they feel to play.
BEFORE I SPEAK/TYPE ANY FURTHER, remember this is a SUBJECTIVE TOPIC. So don’t get your panties in a knot. Just… let me speak.
So, what makes a character feel good to play (or give you ‘The Feels’)? Well, in my opinion, it comes down to a few different points.
- Visual effects
- BIG NUMBERS
- Difficult mechanics
Now, this by itself isn’t particularly hard to figure out. I’m sure everyone has felt the adrenaline boost when they land that clutch spear on Varya, or landed a 1000 damage Gwen Boomstick proc, or loved that beautiful cross map BARON EXPLOOOOOOOOSION. But when these features are lacking, it becomes a problem.
For example, I’m going to go back to my favourite character AND punching bag, Blackfeather. If you play Blackfeather Weapon, he does NOT feel good to play. He had his big numbers taken away from him after the execute nerf, which although made his power curve more stable, made him boring to play. Landing his B doesn’t feel impactful because the damage is minuscule, there isn’t a slow to really reward you for landing it, and the barrier is smaller than the skill cap of CP Taka. His ultimate feels like the only flashy move in his kit, with the potential to outplay your opponents with it, but OH WAIT, it’s only up every 40 years. Plus, they’ve taken away probably the most impactful visual effect from him (Rosetrail D:). Thereby, he doesn’t feel nearly as good to play as he used to. This is a trade of fun for stability.
Now, this pattern can be seen with a large number of characters. Varya getting her spear nerfed but the other parts of her kit buffed. Idris having his passive unlock lowered but his ratios nerfed. Moving CP Vox and his damage back into his AAs and not into his bounces. Decreasing Koshka and her damage while giving her a barrier. All these changes make a character STABLE.
But not fun to play.
If I had to describe it, it’s like having a sharp spear and dulling it into a hammer. Sure, the hammer has a wider surface area and can probably hit things easier, but is it REALLY going to feel as good as impaling someone straight through the heart?
Now, in my opinion, those characters above are still fun to play. Varya can still land clutch spears and have big numbers pop up, CP Idris can dance around fights like a coward, and CP Vox can get pentakills out the ass. And Koshka… well, we all know what she does. Going really fast is one way to feel good, after all (Which, again, is another form of BIG NUMBERS). But Tony?
He does not feel good to play.
His passive is the pinnacle of braindead. There are two ways you use it. If shield is up, go in. If shield is down, probably don’t go in. It’s incredibly binary and boring.
His A just feels bad to use. It doesn’t feel smooth at all, almost as if you have negative attackspeed while using it. Instead of making your AAs do more damage, they should really give you an attackspeed bonus while it’s active, so you can make some feel-good quick triple attacks. Plus, the effect when it comes out sucks. They need to add some sort of visual oomph to the last hit.
His B CAN feel good, but only when you land it on a large number of people. That’s just a form of big numbers though. It doesn’t really feel like it requires skill when the hitbox is so absurdly broken that it could literally hit you from one base to the other and I wouldn’t be surprised.
His C looks stupid. Lets be honest here, there is no way anyone on any animation team looked at his ultimate with a smile on their face and said “Daymn. What a badass.”. Plus, because of how slow it is, it doesn’t feel snappy and good to use. You didn’t mechanically outplay them with your quick wit and reactions. You threw your ultimate out and hoped the enemy team not only already popped their crucible, but are also braindead enough to walk into it.
At least Grumpjaw can have a big, damaging slow on his A for landing it, and his ult feels fantastic when you literally just spit them out infront of your team for an asswhooping.
This is a SAFE character. It’s literally the definition of safe, and the issue I take with him is that it’s not done well. Even early characters like Ringo have a badass ultimate that FEELS good when it lands and chunks half 98% of their health because you have 17 Shatterglasses. The visuals and the BIG NUMBER that pops up feels amazing. Skye feels amazing when you dodge every dash thrown at you and when you shred the enemy team. Almost every character in this game, with their original kit, had something they could do that would give you ‘The Good Feels’. My favourite example of this is Krul. Game design wise, is there any point in his sword boomeranging? Not really. Is there really a time that a boomerang will land in a high tier game. Not really. Does it feel AMAZING? Hell. Yes.
Nowadays, I never play VG solo anymore. It’s become like what LOL has become to many veterans of that game; a background to a conversation. We just make memes and call out some vague strategies while sh*t talking eachother. Because, honestly, that can carry any game in my book, especially the boring ones. The boring ones, which is what I can see VG becoming. Now that 5v5 has come out, they need stable characters. Because when a character is unstable, they can potentially pull off some sort of wacky 1v5 in one game, and be completely useless in the next. But that’s what I want. I want my mechanical outplays, my 1v1s, my perfect executes and skillshots. I want to feel rewarded for my skill. Not shackled to my team, like some sort of dog.
I feel like SEMC is going to take the safe route with characters from now on, sacrificing their enjoyability for stability
SIDE NOTE: One major reason I feel like Captain was one the least popular role in 3v3 was the fact that they didn’t have any big numbers on their actives. If I could get some big bold healing numbers and ‘blocked’ pop ups when I prevent 12 CC ults from touching my Vox, that would feel way better than now.
Also the fact that all the cool visual FXs on captains are saved for the skins (cough Bakuto Phinn cough) doesn’t really help.
SIDE NOTE 2: In case I get those ‘Why complain when you don’t know what the developers are thinking’ comments, well, I just want to say, you’re right. But I can judge them on their actions (or lack of actions), and what I can assume they mean.
- Hero skins have slowly dropped off in their quality increase: SEMC doesn’t want to phase out older devices, and they would prefer to play it safe and not cause these bricks to self-destruct.
- Increased monetisation push: They want your money
- Taking away hero complexity (RIP Blackfeather): They want to give more stability to Blackfeather among skill tiers
- Not reworking Taka: They think that having a character that is specifically chosen by low tier players to 1v5 because there isn’t any vision is fine. Or they hate us.
- No SEA improvements: ???
Point is, there is a ‘most likely’ that you can assume, but not say is objectively correct unless you hear from SEMC themselves. But I do know exactly what I want. And when what I assume what SEMC is thinking goes against what I want, then I’m going to be mad. And if these assumptions and patterns that I’ve concluded are incorrect, IMO, that’s an issue with their PR department AND/OR my brain.
SIDE NOTE 3: Congratulations for making it this far! Have a cookie, and a hint on what my next post is going to be. cough Taka Rework cough