I have no idea what section to put this in, so sorry if it’s straight up wrong. In case you are wondering, yes I’m posting this to reddit too. If you feel like I’m writing in a way that doesn’t respect your intelligence and are spoonfeeding you basic concepts, you’d be correct. I’ll let you connect the dots between those two statements.
Firstly, I’d like to define what ‘Adrenaline’ is, in case you don’t know. Adrenaline is what Vainglory is calling a mechanic where you animation cancel the last part of your auto-attack (after you’ve dealt your damage). Normal people call it stutterstepping.
I will be calling it ‘Stutterstepping’ from this point onwards because ‘Adrenaline’ is stupid.
Secondly, this isn’t actually a ‘mechanic’. In most MOBAs, this is pretty simple stuff. You can use this to move while auto-attacking, utilising the time you could have spent finishing your swing to move around. However, for Vainglory, it’s a bit different. Instead of locking you out of starting another auto-attack, Vainglory allows you to start another one up immediately. While other MOBAs have a lockout timer to prevent you from attacking more, Vainglory DOESN’T. So really, this ‘mechanic’ is actually a lack of coding, if that makes sense. Even if you would consider it a mechanic under your own definition (because I’m sure some people do), it’s actually just an animation cancel. This would put it closer to the definition of ‘Tech’ (as in technique, something that abuses mechanics to gain the edge over an opponent) but that’s not really that important.
Now that we’re on the same page, let me actually start presenting my reasoning to why stutterstepping should be removed from Vainglory, as in, making it the same as all those normie MOBAs.
This reaction mainly stems from the announcement of cross-platform play for Vainglory. With Vainglory coming to PC’s and other less relevant forms of computers and laptops (including consoles), you need to naturally think about how the games are going to work in these environments. I don’t even want to think about Xbox1/PS4 controls. We’ll be focusing on the PC side of things for now.
Although stutterstepping is standard on a PC MOBA, the rate that one does it is much different between Vainglory and a MOBA like LOL. If I had to give my comparison between the two, Vainglory’s number of ‘clicks per second to achieve the best stutter on a sniper/marksman/ADC’ is about 1.5 times more than LOL. This feel like it’s going to give me carpal tunnel 12 times a game. In case you somehow don’t know what ‘Carpal Tunnel Syndrome’ is, it’s a disorder that comes from doing repetitive actions with your hand, such as clicking right click over and over. Not a fun time. There are ways to get around this, such as LOL’s attack move, but this sort of solution causes inconsistency between devices, something which SEMC is clearly not looking for. By making the game not FORCE you to do tedious hand movements (because you HAVE TO stutterstep for maximum damage), developers can ease this problem for players.
Of course, that’s not my only point, of course. I’m just trying to get the weak ones out of the way first.
Stutterstepping is unintuitive. If you tell someone who plays any other MOBA that stutterstepping increases attackspeed in Vainglory, a large amount of the time they’ll say “but why thou.”, and that’s frankly a difficult question to answer without the technicalities. Sure, you could show them something like (https://brokenmyth.net/all-about-vainglory-attack-speed/) and they’d understand if you beat their heads in about it, but it doesn’t make logical sense, and it acts as a bar of entry for people who don’t have fast fingers or an interest in researching the game mechanics.
Stutterstepping gives an unfair advantage to high ping and low FPS players. If you live somewhere which isn’t within 10 kilometres of a Vainglory server and if your device is both Apple and has existed for more than 3 years, you’re kinda just forced to give up on being truly competitive. It’s sad but it’s the truth. I can attest to Vainglory being the literal worst when the connection isn’t perfect, with stutterstepping causing massive amounts of rubber banding that slingshots me across Tony ults and straight into the enemies base fountain. Not only that, but the timing for stutterstepping with high ping can be wildly inconsistent, making it a DPS loss occasionally.
Okay, now for the actually interesting point.
Stutterstepping is a Tech that adds no depth to gameplay, has no nuance and is in general just a pain in the ass for absolutely no reason. For most games, mechanics and techs are seen as an entirely positive thing. More mechanics and techs mean more depth, right?
What does stutterstepping actually mean? It means you’re forced to cancel the end of your auto-attack every time if you want maximum efficiency, on every character. This isn’t really mechanically challenging, doesn’t make you make meaningful choices or doesn’t feel particularly good, so why is it in the game? Honestly, there really isn’t a reason it’s there other than a bullet point on a video trying to explain why Vainglory is so special.
Now, let’s compare this to a GOOD tech, which has honestly held together one of the longest standing competitive scenes for a fighting game even without developer support, Smash Bros Melee. We’re going to be focusing on Wavedashing. In case you don’t know what Wavedashing is, it’s a tech that involves dashing towards the ground at a diagonal angle to slide along the ground. This could be repeated numerous times in succession, essentially making you slide all over the stage like it was some sort of waterpark. This opened up avenues for all the characters in the game and gave the competitive scene a fast option to change directions, mix up opponents and engage/disengage. Is this mandatory, however?
No. Some characters, like Jigglypuff, don’t really use this tech except in specific situations, instead relying on its strong back air. That’s what’s so special about a good tech. They spice up gameplay by offering you an option that players might not expect. They challenge you mechanically through quick button inputs that allow characters to work outside the bounds of what would normally be expected. They feel good to execute, as they show off your mastery with the game and allow you to do varying levels of crazy stuff. However, you aren’t forced into using it to be competitive on every single character, letting you pick characters that don’t really benefit it if you can’t utilise the tech. Stutterstepping doesn’t do any of that. In fact, I’d say that it’s a negative in some cases. If you want to be good at Vainglory, Stutterstepping is mandatory at all times. It’s just walking and autoattacking, nothing epic about how many buttons you have to press at once and how quickly you have to do it. Since it’s utilised every second of the game, it gets stale and isn’t fun to use.
If I had to give a comparison (using fighting games again), imagine having to do a half circle motion at the start of every combo in street fighter to gain a 10% damage buff. Doesn’t that sound stupid, pointless and more of a pain in the ass than anything?
That’s about it. Those are my points. This is your TL;DR.
- Different platforms means Stutterstepping is going to be hard/impossible to balance between them.
- It’s unintuitive and doesn’t make any sense, creating a gap between newbies and veterans.
- Unfair advantage between low ping high spec players and high ping low spec players (even more than normal)
- It’s a mandatory and unnecessary tech that doesn’t function as an enjoyable part of gameplay.
I’m not saying that we should riot about removing stutterstepping and how it increases your damage (stuttering only for movement is fine in my book), but I just wanted to point out how counterintuitive/succ the game design is here. Vainglory has a lot of questionable game design and I thought I would point this one out now since the first point is extremely relevant with their newest announcement.
Vainglory, the world’s #1 MOBA perfect for cross-platform, apparently.